As the new millennium begins, a new type of ancient warrior is reborn, a hybrid if you like. For James A. Torres of Houston, Texas, his assailant would take almost two years to create and train for combat. It all started one day when he caught a glimpse of his first LRB magazine. Seeing all of those bikes in the magazine fueled his desire to construct one of the top bikes on the show circuit.
James had a great idea, but where to start? The first thing that he did was to consult with his father, Eugene, about the subject. His father saw the fire in his son’s eyes and knew that this would mean a lot to the 15-year-old. Eugene agreed to take on the project with his son, by first finding the perfect frame to undergo extensive body modifications. James and his father stumbled upon a ’72 Schwinn frame in a scrap heap, waiting to be demolished. When the two saw the frame they saved it from total destruction.
James and his father then took sheet metal and body filler to the rescued frame, and began to fill away at the bone-stock Schwinn frame. First things first, they started on all of the metal work, and removed the lower support bar in the front, and created a cool front tank like no other with reversed jagged edges to give it a unique look.
As the metal quickly cooled down, the father and son team moved on to the rear of the bike, where Eugene filled the whole rear section, beginning with the seat pole and working back. He used sheet metal to create a wall, and then added flames, which would later be decorated with artwork. “Aztec 2000” started to take the shape of a fearless warrior, but what warrior would be without armor? So Eugene got cracking on the bike’s front shield and designed a graceful bird as the warrior’s coat of arms.
The frame was all done, but what about the rear of the bike? It already had cool skirts, but what if Eugene created a hand-made fender and spare tire cover that would split in the center? James liked the idea and off his father went, back into the garage to create two new items for the bike. With all of the metal work done, Eugene and James laid a thin coat of body filler, to fill in any imperfections on the already immaculate frame. Upon seeing the frame’s perfection, Eugene and James took it over to Fidel’s house where Fidel and Eugene would lay out some custom colors.
Fidel, Eugene and James put their heads together and decided that red, blue, gold and orange would suit the frame just fine, giving it a rich look of grandeur. Fidel loaded his spray gun and began to shoot candy red as the primary color, before going over it with blue, gold and orange patterns and graphics. As the paint dried, they noticed that the whole collage of paints looked absolutely great, but it was missing a little something, can we say some artwork? For this, Eugene and James took the bike over to their friend Ivan’s house, where Ivan got down with his trusty airbrushing kit. Ivan laid out fireballs in the oranges, drew up some animal claws, applied some striping along the frame, and detailed the warrior’s coat of arms.
The bike started to take shape more and more, taking the form of James’ dreams. Eugene and James weren’t about to quit now that they were almost done with the bike and ready to take on the world. The bike was going to need some custom parts and upholstery, so Eugene went back to the drawing board, and came up with a list of things that would be placed on the bike, starting off with a set of hydraulics. Eugene decided to go with a Red’s hydraulic pump and Pro Hopper bike cylinders, all installed by Eugene himself with the help of his son. The bike was now able to move up and down at the hit of a switch.
The members of team Torres were happy, but the bike still looked a little too plain to them. So once again Eugene decide to make some custom pieces, including everything from the pedals to the handlebars. The last thing was the construction of the seat. The seat was upholstered in black and designed to open in the center where a gold-plated seat pan would pop out and display its beauty.
Eugene sent some of the pieces out to Rick Low, to take advantage of his engraving talents. Eventually, all of the custom pieces made it to Vision Gold of Houston, where they were given the royal treatment and dipped in either chrome or gold. Once all of the custom pieces were accounted for, the assembly line was on the move and each piece was put on with extreme care, with Eugene and James working late into the night and not stopping until the last bolt was in place.
When Aztec 2000 was finished, the father and son team was ready to hit the lowrider show circuit with their awesome warrior. The two didn’t hesitate to join Latin Image with their new bike and didn’t hesitate to show up at some of Lowrider Magazine Tour shows, where they took top honors more than once.
The fire that had once been in James’s eyes was now a full-on inferno. This boy was on the top, taking hits from every angle and not budging an inch, even when his opponents hit him with all that they had. His combatant took the others head on, just like the fearless Aztec warriors of old. So when the next show rolls around in that part of Texas, watch out for Aztec 2000, a bike that knows no fear whatsoever.