The slang word “Gabacho” is used to describe someone from the United States who is a descendant of the Hispanic culture. Although it can be considered a derogatory word, Americans of Mexican decent often use the adjective to describe their White American friends. Some consider it an alternative to the word “Gringo”.
Ten years ago, a group of Chevy Bomb enthusiasts from Huntington Beach California decided to start a car club. Jim Ramsey, Rich Doyle, Rick Finn and Bob Morgan had already been cruising together and attending car shows on the weekends. Not long after the decision to start the car club was made, Don Pearson and Terry Sanders also joined the guys on their weekend outings.
As the guys started to attend more shows, they began to notice that they were the only “white guys” at the shows. Although they were never mistreated by anyone at the shows, some of the more established clubs could not believe that these “white guys” were the owners of some of the baddest Bombs at the shows. Their authentic enthusiasm earned them the thumbs-up approval from their fellow Chevy Bomb enthusiasts.
Now that they had the respect of the scene, it was time to come up with a name for the club. The guys wanted a name that was unique and could attract potential members with the same type of cars. One day, Jim Ramsey and Rick Finn were in Jim’s garage talking to one another when Jim’s wife Margie came out and said to the duo, “You guys are a bunch of Gabachos into Lowriders.” Rick & Jim looked at each other and immediately decided that the name of the club was going to be the “Gabachos.” Rick & Jim added the “HB” to the name, in order to represent the city of Huntington Beach, the town where most of the members resided. Rick drew up the club logo, and soon the logo was on the cars as well as tee shirts on the club members.
Already a unique presence at the shows they were attending, the club name made them stand out even more. As I stated in the opening paragraph, the term Gabacho can be used in a derogatory manner, but in this case, it was just another thing that made this group of guys unique within the pantheon of Lowriding. The overall response to the name of the club has been positive, and people really appreciate the use of the term in a more friendly and humorous manner. Many of the members of the club have been into Lowriders for over 20 years, and count Lowriding legends like the Tovar brothers, Joe Epstein, and Mike Ramos as personal friends.
The club has been run with minimal regulations since day one, as the bond and respect they have for their automobiles has allowed them to police themselves. A lot of the members have other commitments, so there are no dues or regular meetings. The majority of the club is comprised of Chevy Bombs, but there are also early Cadillac’s in the lineup as well. The club has cars from the 1930’s to the 1960’s, and each and every one of the club cars is in pristine condition, and riding low to the pavement. The Bombs in the Gabachos are accessorized and restored to near-showroom specifications, and their chrome pipes can sound off with the best of them. Many of this club’s rides have a lot of the more highly sought after accessories that people spend years and quite a bit of money to acquire.
The club attends shows like the Sultans Signal Hill California Show, Legends at Point Fermin in San Pedro, California, The Orange County California Labor Day Cruise, and the Huntington Beach California Main Street Cruise. The club also plans on attending some of the bigger Lowrider shows in the future.
The families of the club members are very supportive of the club, and they regularly participate in club gatherings. The club plans to limit itself to one chapter, as they prefer to focus on quality over quantity when it comes to their members and rides, respectively. Currently, there are about fifteen members in the club, some of whom have more than one car flying the “HB Gabachos” plaque. The club lost founding member Rick Finn suddenly in 2006, and would like to dedicate this feature to his memory.
The name of the club still gets some laughs once in a while, but once the critics see what the club represents, the laughs turn into looks of amazement. Remember that the next time you see a pristine Chevy Bomb cruising down the streets; it just may be a “Gabacho” behind the wheel.