Few will disagree that “Straight Clowning,” a candied custom built by the late Mario Duarte in 2000, rolls with the best of today’s lowriding class clowns. The 20-year-old from North Hollywood, California, had many creative aspirations and now his parents have left the job of competition up to his bike club Neighborhood Dreams. For the most part, the guys left in charge of the golden wonder helped the bike along with donated custom parts, both gold and chrome-plated.
What captures the most attention is the wild Aztec gold and flaked paint job taped off with burgundy patterns. Carlos Rivas of Royal Customs (San Bernardino, California) conducted the paint job, while Brian “Tazroc” Garcia airbrushed a memorial image of Mario on the full fender. Underneath all of that paint is sheet metal skin with a traditional gas tank modification fitted with a secret compartment cover by a Plexiglas door. So what other shenanigan modifications were played out on this ’79 Schwinn? There are many.
With a sinister grin, we can show you some serious contest point-getting modifications like twisted front forks, engraved rims with twisted spokes, and a very unique double sprocket system and special filigreed foot pedals that surely make everyone smile except the competition. Even more custom twists and gimmicks emerge, like a sissy bar, and a purple and gold velour banana seat with mirrors for a nice reflection.
The boys of Neighborhood Dreams with Raul have been building some of the hottest lowrider bikes for 10 years now and have connected with many other top lowrider creators in the industry. For instance, Henry’s Upholstery (Pasadena, California) stitched the seat and F&H Plating (North Hollywood) and Astro Plating (Van Nuys, California) turned polished metal into show-quality gold and chrome.
When Mario was in the magical process of building the bike to its unlimited potential, he was going for a run at the Lowrider Bike of the Year title. Since then, his family donated the bike to the club so that the club’s veteran members can try again at a lowrider championship as a tribute to the memory of Mario.