As a very young boy, Ralph Castillo would go by his Nana’s house in Phoenix and watch his older brothers customize rides, cut out cars and install pumps and dumps to make them lay on the pavement. Eventually, his oldest brother followed his dream and became a small business owner doing what he loved to do. Ralph continued to visit his brother at what later would become “the shop” and watch his brother work on hydraulic installs. Ralph became hands on, learning how to install and design custom audio at the shop with the help of Albert Cordova and Mike Estrada. The shop was also a clubhouse for Spirit car club of Phoenix.
Soon after, he became a member of Spirit car club. Regarded as one of Arizona’s most respected and enduring Lowrider car clubs over the past three decades. Their lineup has graced the Lowrider scene from cruising Central, to winning club awards at the Civic Plaza, the Mesa Supershow, and hittin’ switches at the Las Vegas Super Hop in October! Like many other clubs, its members are loyal and proud of the black and white colors they display. Ralph’s allegiance is far stronger than most. He shares the same bloodlines as the club President, older brother Frank Castillo of Franks Hydraulics. His most vivid memories as a small boy were witnessing firsthand the rapid and successful growth of Spirit car club. As a boy, he would ask his brother when do I get to fly a shirt? Frank would reply, where’s your car? Well, with that motivation, it inspired Ralph to purchase his first car while in High School. The 84 Regal he saved up for and purchased was his first project and he enjoyed transforming it to his own creation. But he soon realized that his dream car was not a GM product, he loved the lines of the ’83 Lincoln Continental. So he sold the regal and went shopping for his desired dream car. Talking about fate, while car shopping with his good friend Big Gabe, a Lincoln pulled up next to him at a red light with a for sale sign. A few minutes later, Ralph was driving his Lincoln home.
This project wasn’t completed overnight, it took over eight years to get him where he is today, with still more work to come. Ralph wanted to ensure everything under the hood was perfect. Teddy Mason, of Teddy’s Custom Automotive, gave the Lincoln more horsepower and more chrome with an engine dress-up kit. When it came to bodywork and paint, brother in-law Mike Estrada installed the moon roof. The vinyl top came off and Mando, at El Camino Custom Body and Paint, laid on the award winning Pagan Gold Candy. The interior was also renewed with beige ostrich and leather with embroidered Lincoln logos on the seats and headliner. Most Lincolns are land sharks that stay low on the street, but Ralph wanted to give the bottom of his ride a full effect, so the undercarriage was chrome plated by Pete’s Custom Plating, of Phoenix. The baby Lincoln needed new shoes so Alex Rodriquez, of Auto Culture, hooked him up with 13×7 Daytons and Coker 520 Premium Sports. When it came to laying the Lincoln, Franks Hydraulics crew did the honors with a two pump Black Magic set up. Though future plans call for Frank to do his magic inside the Lincoln trunk, we will expect nothing but the best for his younger brother.
Ralph is a true testament of someone who grew up eating, sleeping, breathing, and loving Lowriders. His older Brothers Frank and David Castillo immersed him in the lifestyle that for the most part kept him motivated as a youngster, and grounded as a responsible young man taking care of his own family now. Ralph really wants to thank Spirit car club, the Franks Hydraulics crew, his nephews Mikey, Frankie, and David Castillo, Big Gabe, Big Ed, Carlos, Will Cordero, and Dee for all their help and support in building Summer Madness. He also realizes that none of this would matter without the love and support of his wife Tency, Children, Seriana, Alicia, Mariah and Ralph Jr. Next time you hit a big show in Phoenix, check out the Spirit lineup. You will notice a bright Gold baby Lincoln amongst the rest of the impressive rides, but that Lincoln’s owner is a home grown product from the ground up of who and why Spirit C.C. is still doing it.
Owner: Ralph Castillo
Vehicle: 1983 Lincoln Continental
City/State: Phoenix, Arizona