Located on the outskirts of Rancho Cucamonga, California, is Sin Shop, a facility that specializes in the restoration of classic cars. From frame-off restorations to hot rods and lowriders, the shop has become an adult playground, of sorts, and even better is the history behind their name.
Founded by brothers Frank and Gil Melendez, their roots trace back to the streets of East Los Angeles. Back in the day lowriders were built by those brave enough to experiment, as there were hardly any “lowrider”-dedicated parts available. For most, building a lowrider meant fabricating your own parts or finding someone like the brothers to do it for you. During that time, their grandmother, Michelle Rangel, used to say, “Es un pecado lo que hacen con esos carros,” which translates to: “It’s a sin what you’re doing to those cars.” That quote is what inspired them to eventually call their shop Sin Shop.
As the shop grew in popularity so did its clientele. During the heavy migration of lowriders to Japan they became the go-to shop for Japanese purchasers. They would custom build anything their Japanese clientele wanted and soon became known for their style and craftsmanship. With one brother focusing on paint, electrical, and hydraulics, the other is a master at bodywork and mechanics. It’s this deadly combo that makes their business model successful.
You also have to consider their history. Back in high school the brothers used to cruise around Garfield High School long before lowriding became accepted. It was a lifestyle they fell in love with but one backed with plenty of knowledge that was passed onto them by their father, who was a mechanic. Almost nightly, the father would teach them valuable lessons in the garage and as their skills began to develop so did the quality of their builds. As time passed, their popularity grew so much so that their home garage could no longer take the workload, so in 1987 they opened their first shop in Ontario, California.
Now that lowriders have taken on a mass appeal, Gil will be the first to tell you that “lowriders are now mainstream.” But as the brothers continue to expand the empire they’ve built, they’ll tell you firsthand that the primary reason they have so much new business and repeat customers is because they treat every customer like family and care for their cars as if they were their own.