Joey Hernandez has been an avid lowrider enthusiast since his days of being a teenager in the concrete breeding ground of custom car culture; East Los Angeles. Growing up near the legendary intersection of Downey Road and Whittier Boulevard, Joey remembers gasping in awe when he first laid his eyes on these one-of-a-kind, custom lowriders cruising up and down Whittier Boulevard every weekend.
As an eager and impressionable youth, catching such up close views of these cruisers on his own simply wasn’t enough for Joey. He also had the privilege of going to car shows with his brother-in-law Jesse, and Jesse’s car club Techniques, which made it very easy for Joey to get bitten by the lowriding bug. As a teenager, Joey joined Techniques Car Club Los Angeles and bought his first car, a 1972 Impala, from a fellow club member. Life’s responsibilities gradually took him from a boy to a man. Joey got married and became the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Erica. However, even though family was his first priority, his passion for lowriding could not be denied.
Happy with his family life, he continued his obsession, building different cars and even a mini truck, to represent the car club and express his hard work and love of the lowriding culture. In September 2007, at the Techniques 35th anniversary party, tragedy struck Joey and his family when his 1983 Grand Prix caught fire and burned to the ground. The setback did not stop Joey, in fact it did the opposite; it pushed him to take a new car to the next level. Joey pressed on, eventually finding the suitable replacement for the Grand Prix in San Diego, CA. Fate found Joey staring at an impeccable 1979 Lincoln Continental Mark V, with a purchase price of only $1200. He immediately seized the opportunity and purchased the drivable and perfectly kept classic from its original owner.
The car was disassembled, and the first order of business was a color change from the factory blue paint. The Lincoln was sprayed a black pearl with red flake to continue with the same color scheme as the Grand Prix. During the build of the Continental, tragedy would once again strike the Hernandez family, this time in the form of something much worse. Joey’s beloved wife Socorro passed away from a stroke just two days after Christmas, on December 27th, 2007. She was just 46 years old. As a tribute to Socorro, a heartbroken Joey and his daughter Erica decided to continue on with the build of the Continental and use Socorro’s favorite colors, black and red, as the symbolic inspiration of her memory throughout the car. After All in One & Munoz Auto Service finished the body work, the car was sent to Speedy in East LA so he could take care of the chrome, the customized Techniques blinkers, interior panels and LED accent lights. Speedy finished off the one-off pieces with a Techniques trunk emblem to replace the Continental emblem, giving a little personal flair and a sense of pride to Joey’s classic.
Once the exterior was complete, Joey took the Continental over to Anthony at Top Stitch to freshen up the interior with leather and suede in black and red. Joey & Anthony also added just the right amount of wood grain accents to the interior, giving the car an elegant maturity. Joey’s brother, Robert, handled the audio portion of the interior with Pioneer components. The hydraulic set up was the next order of business for the Mark V. Under the expert guidance of Angel Duarte, Joey installed one whammy pump, 6 batteries, 4 switches, and 6 solenoids in the Continental’s trunk. The trunk was then finished off with the same materials and color scheme used through out the car. The engine and suspension was also outfitted with plenty of chrome and paint accents to keep the car show judges busy. To cap off the exterior attitude of this beauty, the finishing piece was added to the adjusted suspension in the form of 14″100-spoke wheels with red accents.
One of the essential components of a car build is the name of the car. A theme, a symbol, or a meaning behind the car can often help builders find a name for the car, as well as capture it’s style and identity. When it came time to decide on the name for the Continental, Joey and Erica incorporated those very three elements. “I always wanted my car to have the Famous Stars and Straps logo” says Erica. Apparently, the initial Grand Prix was going to have the Famous Stars and Straps “F” logo as well, but unfortunately it was destroyed before it could be added. Erica was always called “princess” by her mother, so a crown was definitely in order. They decided to combine the two inspirations, adding a crown to the “F” logo and added some jewels around it. Erica then found a Famous Stars and Straps tee with the word “family” on it that incorporated the “F” in the design. Since the car was a family project, Techniques member Grouch put all the elements together, and suggested to Joey and Erica the name “Family Jewels”. The name was perfect for the car and stuck instantly, leaving only a final stop in the project; a trip to Mike Lamberson for the final paint touches.
Mike added silver leafing, pinstripes and the placement of the “Family Jewels” lettering and the “F” with the crown and jewels that Erica had envisioned. The car was finally born. The build of this beautiful car took 8 months from start to completion. The appropriate first stop for the car after completion was a visit to Socorro’s grave site, so that Joey and Erica could share the joy in completing the car with her. The first show the car attended was Techniques’ Hollywood Park show, in July of 2008. Since the Lincoln‘s debut, Joey & Erica have been collecting trophies and hardware at every show this unique car has been displayed.
Often times, whether we like it or not, we are reminded that life is very unpredictable, and a tragedy can strike us at any moment. We can never be fully prepared for the unseen tragedies and bad news that comes into our lives, but even in the worst of times, it’s vital to try to find ways to cope emotionally. One of the most important coping mechanisms is to continue on with our routines and remain strong. In lowriding, a normal routine is to work on a car, attend car shows, and participate in club activities. To some, these routines are simply motivated by the sheer love of classic cars, and the desire to win competitions to earn respect. While these motivations are also true in this case, it’s obvious that for the Hernandez family, it cuts much deeper. The tasks associated with completing the build of the car helped Joey and Erica cope with the devastating loss of Socorro. While nothing could ever take her place, and although Socorro did not get to see the car completed, we can only imagine that she is looking down on Joey and Erica, beaming with pride at the finished project.
Owner: Joey & Erica Hernandez
Vehicle: 1979 Lincoln Mark V
City/State: Los Angeles, CA
Club: Techniques Car Club
Engine: 400ci paint accents by All in One of Montebello and Munoz Auto Service in ELA. Striping and lettering by Mike Lamberson of Riverside.
Body/Paint: All in One of Montebello did the Black Pearl with Red Flake. Munoz Auto Service in East LA did the finishing touches and small detailing on the paint and body. Mike Lamberson of Riverside pinstriped, Silver Leafed and lettered the car. Speedy in East LA did all the chrome, custom blinkers, trunk emblems, and accent lights.
Interior: Anthony at Top Stitch in Montebello redid the interior in Black and Red leather and suede. Top Stitch installed the custom wood grain panels and custom steering wheel. Speedy in East LA did the custom interior panels and accent lights.
Sounds: Joey’s brother Robert Hernandez installed the Pioneer touch screen, 2 amps, 2 woofers, 4 tweeters and 2 6×9 speakers to add some nice in car entertainment.
Hydraulic Set Up: One Whammie Pump, 6 batteries, 4 switches, 6 solenoids were installed and set up by Joey and Angel Duarte.
Rolling stock: 14″ originals 100 spokes on Firestones