Many Lowrider Car Clubs are bound together by a tight-knit group of friends looking to collectively work towards establishing a legacy. Padrinos Car Club is one of these clubs, and they continue to push for excellence in everything they do. Padrinos Car Club started with a group of childhood friends who were looking to ride and cruise in and around the Bay area. David Gomez and a group of friends got together and set the guidelines for a small, but active car club; one they hoped would be void of all the drama that is so often found in many of the larger clubs. “Back in 1994 in Concord, a couple of buddies and I were talking about having our own club because a few of us were in different car clubs and wanted to start our own thing locally,” explains David. “Eric Guerrero came up with the name “Padrinos” and we all agreed that we should use it. We already knew we wanted Fermin Munoz as President, since he was the oldest and the guy we all looked up to. Through the years, we had established ourselves as a small, five-car car club, only because we didn’t want all the hassles of a full car club,” he says. While some would think that the club would be too small to make noise, this was far from the case, and the Padrinos were quite content with their membership size. “We were satisfied to have three to seven cars at any given time,” explains David.
That small, “group-of-friends” type structure worked well for many years until the time had come for a change. Rather than start from scratch, the Padrinos wanted to take that drama free environment that they had set up and expand its borders and members. “We had the same president up until 2010 when we decided to make a change,” recalls David. “I bumped into my old friend that I grew up with by the name of Frank Pintor. He had been in Primos Car Club from South San Francisco since 1993. The club had lost contact with each other and everyone just ended up parking their cars for many years,” says David. “When I bumped into Frank it was good timing because we were looking for a change and they were looking into changing their name to try and structure a club with more longevity. He wanted to do something so they wouldn’t lose touch again.” The opportunity was perfect for both clubs and they knew what they had to do. “We ended up merging with the Primos car club in late 2010.”
With the merger complete, the Padrinos, always proud of their laid back attitude and kinship vowed to never lose sight of what was important. “With the merger, we decided to abolish the president position and decided to structure things differently. Instead of having chapters, we are all one club because we wanted it all to be one big family,” David explains. “Now we have five captains; Oscar Reyes is in charge of the San Francisco area, I am the captain for the East Bay, Antonio Esparaza is captain of the Sacramento and Yuba City area, Robert Oseguera is the captain of the Modesto/Oakdale area, and Frank Pintor is kind of a floater. We took all the arguments away from the club and now problems are talked amongst the captains.” This revolutionary structure has helped Padrinos to minimize drama as they build their leagacy. “What we want Padrinos to be is a stress-free club. We don’t have mandatory meetings or events, but what we do require is communication. We are lenient as long as there is communication. We took out the major things that cause problems in car clubs like money, politics, mandatory meetings, and so forth. We go with the flow.”
They accomplished their goal of solidarity, as the one thing the Padrinos wanted to emphasize under the new structure was family. The club prides itself in its reputation of providing a family-friendly environment. “The family orientation is our biggest asset. You have to be family-oriented to come into the club. When you see our car club, there are usually numerous kids with us, and that’s what it’s all about. I never feel tension from any other car club and that feels good,” says David. Even car selection is left to the discretion of the members and not dictated by rules. “We don’t really try to get members to do what the club wants to do. We want the members to do what they want to do their rides, so long as it’s presentable.” The club does insist on a couple of standards for presentation. “We have Lowrods and Lowriders. Our Lowriders must have 13 or 14-inch wires with white walls and stock cars can be stock with hubcaps. Our Lowrods have to be a Lowrod and not a Hotrod, and they have to be real low to the ground with some muscle behind them. We don’t require a specific paint job, as long as it’s decent.”
The Padrinos also give back to the Lowrider community annually with a car show that is a must-attend event for those in the scene. “We have our annual Carnitas Fest and we share that event with the Expandable Car Club. This year’s is scheduled for July 21st, 2012,” says David. “Last year, we had about 250-300 cars, and we passed out about 650 plates.”
The Padrinos would like to thank the dedicated members who have been in the club since day one. “Thanks for keeping it all going and staying committed,” says David with a smile. With dedication like that, you can be sure the Padrinos will be out on the Boulevards for years to come.