The 26th President of the United States Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt was once quoted as saying, “People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads as a boss drives.” What Mr. Roosevelt was trying to say was that a good leader will set the direction and the pace he wants his organization to follow without force. This quote and the theory behind it fits the role of a car club president and the subject of this month’s Lowrider Image profile. I am talking about a determined individual who is the longest standing president of Techniques car club, Mr. Raymond “Ray” Carrillo.
Ray was born in 1960 in East Los Angeles, California; an era when Chicano street life and car clubs were the “in thing” in the neighborhoods. Ray’s father had a 1949 Chevy and a 1950 Chevy truck in those days and while Ray’s father led to his interest in cars, it was someone else who introduced Ray to Lowriders. He recalled being 10 years old and watching his next door neighbor wash his green 1964 Chevy Impala every Saturday morning to prepare it for its weekly cruise down Whittier Boulevard. This ritual was all it took for Ray to fall in love with Lowriders.
At 10 years old, Ray was still a few years away from driving age but that didn’t stop him from soaking up Lowriding and the contagious sights and sounds of the scene on Whittier Boulevard. A few years later when Ray was 15 years old, he would sneak out of his house on Friday nights and walk down to Jim’s Burgers on Whittier Boulevard and Rowan Avenue with his best friend. The duo would put their money together and split a Coke and an order of fries while they checked out the girls and the cars that used Jim’s Burgers as its Friday night hangout. That club was the Imperials car club. The attention that the club and the club’s cars received further solidified Ray’s infatuation with Lowriding.
Another defining moment for the young Ray was his first cruise down Whittier Boulevard in 1975. He was in a brand new 1975 Caprice Classic with his friend, his friend’s sister, and her boyfriend. The maiden voyage down the boulevard sealed Ray’s fate. He vowed one day to cruise the Boulevard in his own Lowrider and Lowride for the rest of his life.
An old friend, Patrick Velasquez (R.I.P.), who was a member of the club at the time, also introduced Ray to Techniques car club in 1975. In 1977 at the age of 17, Ray was finally able to buy and fix up his first Lowrider. He purchased a 1972 Chevy Monte Carlo and he quickly put on a set of Cragars with 5.20’s and set out to cruise the Boulevard, hit the nightclubs and frequent school dances on the weekends. This same year also marked the launch of this publication and Ray remembers picking up the first issue at New House Auto Parts on Beverly Boulevard. He also considers 1977 as the year he officially started Lowriding.
After graduating from Cathedral High School in 1978, Ray joined Techniques car club after he was brought in by club member, Jerry Joaquin. When Ray joined, Sergio Alvarado was club President and he confidently led the club down the Boulevard. Three months after joining the club, Ray was elected club treasurer, a position that was the first of many for Ray.
Before long, Techniques car club was a huge part of Ray and the Carrillo family’s lives. Ray was taking his younger brother Sam, who at the time was seven years old, to club meetings and events. Sam followed by becoming a member, since it was a natural progression for Sam to join the club because of his connection to Ray as well as his friendship with the club members. Sam is still an active member of Techniques C.C. to this day, and the next generation of the Carrillo family is already part of the club; Sam’s three sons are involved with the club and enjoy Lowriding with their father and uncle. The youngest of Ray’s three daughters currently claims his ’69 Impala as her own and the eldest of his three grandsons, Joseph, also loves Lowriders.
As is customary with a lifetime in the culture, many Lowriders have come and gone in Ray’s garage and driveway. Since the 1972 Chevy Monte Carlo, Ray has built five cars; a 1976 Chevy Impala, an ‘83 Cadillac, a ‘63 Chevy Impala, and a 1981 Chevy Monte Carlo. As Ray put it, a true car lover and Lowrider will always have projects on the back burner. Currently Ray has three cars; a 1974 Ford Thunderbird, 1969 Chevy Impala rag top and a 1946 Chevy Style Master. He also has a 1950 five-window truck and a 1988 Harley Davidson. Right now the T-Bird and the Harley get the most seat time.
Ray has also worn many hats within the Techniques club, starting with his time as club treasurer. From this initial appointment, Ray has gone on to serve the club in a variety of other positions including Vice President. In the year 2000, Ray was elected club president, and he knew that he had big shoes to fill as club leader. Past club presidents Al Quintano, Roland Ortiz, Sergio Alvarado and Ruben Quinones have led the club to greatness during their time, and Ray knew he had a responsibility to continue to be the leader that these gentlemen had been before him.
Over the past 12 years as club president, Ray has expanded the club from two chapters to eight chapters. Chapters have opened in the Inland Empire area of Southern California, Arizona, Dallas/Ft. Worth Texas, the San Fernando Valley area of Southern California, and overseas in Japan.
Ray has also increased the club’s involvement in their local communities by participating in community fund raisers and events. His goal is to show those outside of Lowriding that there is more to Lowriding then what the media and law enforcement often portrays. Families are a very important part of the club as well. Ray and the officers of the club make sure that the families are always included in club activities because he truly values their support and dedication. He and his family, as well as other club members have generations into the club and consider it to be a part of their family’s history.
While he has done much work in his tenure as club president, Ray does not take full credit for the evolution of the club. He credits all of the old members who shaped and molded the club in the early years, and he is proud to be a part of that group, having 33 years under his belt as a club member. Those individuals, along with Ray, are very proud of the current members who are keeping the club rolling strong.
We asked Ray his feelings on the Lowrider Culture today and this is what he had to say. “The culture has changed in a huge way, it has gone high tech. It is something else to see what the cars are doing and how much money and time is being put into them and spent. As far as the pride and dedication, it is stronger than ever. I am happy to see LRM remembering the good old days in the current issues with their centerfolds filled with old photos, but I’m even happier to say that I was there.” When we asked Ray how long he plans on Lowriding, he made it known that he has no plans on retiring from Lowriding or the club anytime soon. “I still love Lowriding today just like I loved it back in my teens,” he says. “As the old saying goes; it’s in my blood.” He plans on Lowriding until the day he dies and he wants to be buried in his Levi’s jeans and his club colors.
As the longest running club president Ray has set the pace and led the club to a huge milestone. 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of Techniques car club. It is also the thirty fifth anniversary of Ray’s commitment to Lowriding. These two milestones are a testament to his love for the culture. Congratulations to both Ray & Techniques car club from us here at Lowrider Magazine.
Ray would like to dedicate this feature to the man who made him who he is today, his father, Raymundo Carrillo Sr. who passed away two years ago after battling Cancer.