Many Lowriders often know the streets they cruise on like the back of their hands. They can recite from memory every location, parking spot, and eatery they frequently go to in their nightly quest to be the baddest on the Boulevard. While it takes a certain talent to have this constant map in your mental glove box, even the most seasoned Lowrider cannot predict the twists and turns they will face on the road of life. Take the story of 52-year-old Lowrider aficionado Raymond Foley, who was born in Louisville, KY, in 1958. Raymond’s journey to becoming a Boulevard legend led him to face a test that would have made a lesser man give up his car keys forever.
Raymond’s parents moved to the City of Compton, CA in 1962, giving the young boy a chance to grow up in this budding SoCal city, a place where Lowrider cars had slowly began to emerge. After vowing to himself that he would one day get behind the wheel of one of these amazing vehicles, 14-year-old Raymond officially dedicated himself to the Lowrider culture. “Back then there were no Car Clubs, so it was just a bunch of friends and family members getting together to cruise and enjoy their rides,” recalls Raymond. It was in this very time that the Compton High student got his first taste of automotive freedom, as his oldest sister, Ranonna, gave him a Camaro. The eager Raymond couldn’t wait to begin customizing his new ride.
After the Camaro was given to him, he immediately had it repainted in an elegant green color, and decided to give the car a white vinyl top, in order to bring even more life to the exterior. The car was clean, but to be official, he knew he would have to add the necessary loud sound system and give the car the era-defining 13-inch Cragars to ride on. Raymond then joined the Camaro Firebird Club, cementing his street status by joining this exclusive, 60-member club. Every weekend, this dedicated rider would make the drive to Sportsman Park in Los Angeles, CA, to spend time with his friends and fellow Club members. After he graduating from high school, Raymond went straight to work for Rockwell International. This job allowed him to switch gears and save up enough money to also graduate from the Camaro. He moved on to purchase a ’77 Cadillac DeVille. Raymond drove the Caddy in its stock condition for a few months before deciding it was time to customize the car. This decision would become a much longer journey than he could ever imagine.
Raymond initially took the Caddy to Tijuana, Mexico, where it received a new interior. The next day, he dropped his car off at the legendary Orlie’s Hydraulics, where their dedicated crew had his car finished and laying on his front yard in a mere 24 hours later. The ’77 seemed complete, now that it had an F.B.S.S. setup and was painted Peanut Butter Gold. The car even had 13-inch spokes, but a jarring reality would leave his Lowriding dreams far from complete. One night, after leaving his girlfriend’s house in the Fruit Town district of Compton, Raymond unknowingly walked into a gunfight and was shot in the back, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down and restricted to a wheel chair for the rest of his life. After being in a coma for two weeks at MLK Hospital in Compton, Raymond was transferred to Rancho Los Amigos Rehabilitation Center, where he had to learn how to use his arms to operate his wheelchair and become self-dependent. Devastated, he was forced to sell his precious ’77 Cadillac Deville, since he no longer had the ability to drive it. Raymond was determined to be back in a Lowrider again, and worked hard to cope with his disability. His friends took notice, and felt compelled to help him regain his rightful place within the culture.
After a few years passed, one of his friends gave him a present in the form of an ’83 Coupe DeVille. The car was already cut, but needed some additional work, so Raymond took it to Red’s Hydraulics for a set-up overhaul. He decided that even more work should be done to this new Caddy, so he took the car to Tui’s Shop in San Bernardino, CA where the car began its new transformation. The car was then upgraded to a Euro style ’95 Fleetwood Brougham, after the interior was changed and the side moldings were added. Walter, from West Coast Paint and Body in Lynwood, CA, painted the frame red and the car’s body was painted in a classy silver color. Motivated by their success and determination, Raymond and Tui teamed up to open up a small shop, called Dream Team Customs. The business flourished, and they were forced to move to a bigger location in Paramount, CA. With a bigger space to play with, Raymond decided to strip the car down so that he and Tui could take it to the next level in time for the ’09 Vegas Super Show.
The Cadillac was taken off of the frame, and paint expert, Doc, painted it silver before adding custom graphics to the frame. Doc also added a few graphics on the side of the Caddy. Unsatisfied, he decided to go all out by adding additional graphics to the hood, trunk, and roof of the Caddy. He also gave the car some pin stripping, and added custom graphics to the wheels. The interior of the car was also upgraded with blue suede, which covers the seats, roof, and dashboard. The interior also received a ’90’s-style dashboard and steering wheel upgrade. Tui took the setup and rebuilt it, as he chromed out the two-whammy pump setup, and added bent tubing throughout the setup. The engine and engine compartment were also redone by Tui, who replaced the original engine with a ’95 Chevy 350, fully loaded with a chrome upgrade. He also gave the engine compartment chrome wheel wells. The suspension was also taken apart and chromed out, while the Caddy was upgraded with ’96 Impala Disk brakes. The crew decided to keep the exhaust and transmission in stock condition, as these components didn’t need any work.
After 10 months of constantly rebuilding the car, the guys of Dream Team Customs finished the car in time to take it to the Super Show in Las Vegas, where it was one of the show’s most talked about rides. Gracious for being able to take home numerous awards at the Super Show, Raymond would like to thank the Dream Team Customs crew: Tui, Flexx, Benson, Jr. and Wink for making his dream come true. Great job, fellas!
Owner: Raymond Foley
Vehicle: ’83 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham
Club: Majestic’s Car Club, Compton California
City/State: Compton, California
Engine: The stock engine was replaced with a ’92 Chevy 350, then accessorized with a chrome dress up kit and flex hoses.
Body/Paint: After blocking the car down to smooth, straight lines, Walter from West Coast Customs in Lynwood, CA upgraded the Cadillac’s body by adding the side moldings. The car was then given to Doc, who laid down a silver base paint before deciding to pattern-out the entire car, including the hood and trunk lids. Doc then added a finishing touch by adding pin stripping, accenting the patters and bodylines.
Interior: Jesse from San Bernardino, CA took the stock interior and reupholstered it with blue suede, complete with embroidered Cadillac logos.
Sound System: Spank’s Motor Sports in Compton hooked Blue Magic up with an Alpine sound system, including the head unit, tweeters, woofers, and amps.
Suspension: Dream Team Customs built two custom whammy chrome tanks with Adex Dumps and custom bent tubing. The waterfall style set up allows the Caddy to lock up and lay at the hit of a switch, while being powered by 8 batteries, controlled by four switches.
Tires: 155/80 R 13
Wheels: Zeniths 100-spoke wires