When you think about a car club, the word family always comes to mind. The concept of brotherhood, unity, and commitment are the core principles that most car clubs hold onto. But no club defines themselves more as a family than Slow Lane Familia (SLF) does.

It was founded in April 1997 by Richard “Grumpy” Ayon as an alternative to gangs for the community. He wanted something to give the youngsters to look forward to. Meetings were held at a park right in the center of the neighborhood, welcoming everyone in attendance (spectators included) as if they were family. Members became family and the bond between them became so strong that the decision was natural to substitute the word “Club” with “Familia.” With Grumpy’s guidance, brotherhood became the core pillar of what they came to pride themselves upon.

Straying from the common car club format, SLF focused on internal sponsorship for new members instead of recruiting. New prospects are required to take an oath of brotherhood and respect, along with committing to positively impacting the world around them. Members and their family bonds were encouraged and strengthened amongst their love for the lowrider scene. SLF doesn’t have chapters. Grumpy’s mission instead was to continue the kinship among his members, renaming his chapters as “Familias,” with each one having a head to run the day-to-day operations while Grumpy remained the sole president/founder. The first Phoenix Familia was established in 1997, following with Familias in San Diego (2007) and the Inland Empire (2011) in California.

Slow Lane Familia celebrated a huge milestone in April 2017 with their 20th anniversary. Several car clubs, solo riders, bikers, friends, and family came together to honor the Familia’s accomplishments. Grumpy’s inspiring speech about strength and solidarity left everyone in awe. “Carnales, let’s continue to cruise in the Slow Lane and give back to the community in need,” he exclaimed. He reminded them all of why they were a part of his familia. Sadly, on April 13, 2018, just days short of SLF’s 21st anniversary, Grumpy’s life was cut short in a motorcycle accident, leaving behind an entire community to mourn his death. And though his presence and leadership is missed, his legacy of brotherhood remains at every car cruise, show, and community event. “Today is a good day to be Slow Lane.”