It’s no secret how car clubs are formed; a group of individuals who have the same interest agree to take that interest to the next level by forming a car club. The first order of business is always to decide the name of the club. General opinions are that the name should have some meaning and relate to the type of members the club would like to attract. It’s interesting to hear and learn how a club came up with their name, and Goodfellas’ story is no exception.
When the six founding members of the “Goodfellas’ L.A. Wiseguys” decided to form their club in the fall of 2006, they met up and began suggesting names. The names Goodfellas and L.A. Wiseguys were the top picks. The name Goodfellas won the vote as the club name. But when it came time to create the plaque, co-founder Steve Ballesteros suggested the name “L.A. Wiseguys” be placed on the ribbon of the plaque. It made sense to the founders because they were Goodfellas, who could also be Wiseguys at times. With that, the two names were incorporated, and the plaques were cut. The first plaques went to the founding members, which were: Al Romo, David Ballesteros, Steve Ballesteros, Julio Ramos, Danny Castillo and Tim Ramirez.
The founding members had been friends for years, attending car shows, cruising and working on their cars together, so their bond was strong and they mutually respected each other. They all agreed that prospective members should possess the same qualities as they exemplified and most importantly, have respect for themselves and the club.
As prospective members earn their way into the club, they are invited to attend car shows and club events. Once the club gets to know the members and their family members, they confer with each other to see if the prospect is worthy of joining the club. The club remains firm in the belief that you can have five good members with halfway built cars, versus 20 negative members with fully built show cars that are more of a headache than they are worth. Goodfellas carries the belief that the strength of a club is in its individuals, not in the club’s vehicles.
The club has put Al Romo and David Ballesteros in place as the spokespersons for the car club, and Johnny Guerrero and David Rodriguez are the spokespersons for the motorcycles. Any club business is handled through these four individuals.
The club started out with 5 vehicles and one motorcycle in 2006. Over the years, the membership has increased and they are currently up to 50 plus cars, trucks, and motorcycles. The vehicles range from the late 1930’s to the 1960’s models, and are stock original, semi-custom, and street custom. The motorcycles are stock with some personalization and full custom Lowrider styling. Some of the members have both a car and a motorcycle, or more than one vehicle with a plaque. The club attends local cars shows in the Southern California area and has traveled to Las Vegas, Paso Robles, and Fresno shows as well. The club likes to enjoy their rides so they tend to drive them as much as possible. Many Goodfellas club members are regular show winners in their respective classes. A feature in Lowrider Magazine on twin brothers David and Steve Ballesteros also known as the “Cuates” has also brought notoriety to this great club.
The club stays active and motivated with weekly outings and regular meetings. They participate in fundraisers, car shows, cruise nights and host club events. The club recently held its first picnic, which was so successful for the club that they’ve already begun to plan the next one.
Family also plays a big role in the club. Although they are a car club of men, they strive to keep Goodfellas as a family-oriented club. The members are encouraged to include and invite their spouses, children, and other relatives to the club’s social gatherings. The family members are allowed to represent the club by wearing club colors, as the club is proud of their own families and want the world to know that they are affiliated with Goodfellas as well. They are definitely one of the few clubs that truly understand that it’s the family that makes the club. Without them, they are just a bunch of guys that only know a small percentage about each other and that they love cars. It is the family that speaks for the character of each member.
Right now, the club is content with the number of members they have. Currently there are 49 full-plaque members and 9 potential members. Goodfellas will always remain as one chapter and they do not plan to expand to other areas. The club’s goal is to focus on the amount of members they have now and to do their best to keep politics and drama away from the club. Goodfellas is determined to remain a positive example for the next generation of members, and for the culture of Lowriding overall. We here at Lowrider would like to thank the club for the opportunity to tell their story and to feature their great rides.