As luck would have it, we were out in San Diego during a road trip when we spotted this Sting Ray, which belongs to Christian Hernandez. Needless to say, we struck up a conversation, expressed interested in shooting the bike, and after exchanging information realized that they too were on a little vacation—and actually lived a few blocks away from our studio in Santa Ana.

1981 schwinn sting ray pancho villa

A day later, we agreed to meet up at the LR studio to capture these images and the history behind this bike definitely has deep-seated roots. What initially started off as an excuse to build a father-son project, they stumbled upon this 1981 Schwinn Sting Ray that was in the hands of a friend. “The bike was in good condition but we needed to add our own flavor,” Christian, who wanted to dedicate the bike to the memory of his grandfather, explains. “My grandpa would always talk to me about Pancho Villa, so that’s what inspired the theme of my bike.”

1981 schwinn sting ray flaked striped fender

For starters, the bike was taken to Choice Of Colors where the crew sprayed the bike frame and fenders with a heavy micro flake brandy paint. From there it was dropped off to Mike Lamberson of Draggin Lines, where he added the red and cream-colored striping followed by a hint of leafing. As if that weren’t enough, Christian wanted a bit more customization so he put his bike in the hands of Sal Elias, who added the murals, which were inspired by his grandpa’s stories of the Mexican Revolucion and Pancho Villa.

1981 schwinn sting ray custom sprocket

For the seat, they went with a unit from Red Beard Leather, who came up with a custom hand tooled leather seat sporting two revolvers. In the end, the father-son team put together a definite showstopper that snapped necks, and they’ll be the first to admit that they knew they had an award-winning bike, but winning at the LOWRIDER Las Vegas Super Show is what confirmed those beliefs and added even more pride in this epic build.

1981 Schwinn Sting Ray

Vehicle Nickname
El General

Owner
Christian Hernandez

1981 schwinn sting ray true life santa ana

City/State
Santa Ana, CA

Club
True Life

Body/Paint
Axalta

Interior
Tooled leather banana seat

Wheels/Tires
144-spoke