Welcome to the celebration of a periodical automotive publication containing photography, articles, and illustrations in the interest of showcasing an automotive style and flair now known as the tradition of Lowrider culture.

The year was 1977 when Apple 11 Computers went on sale for the first time, and snow fell on Miami; also for the first time ever. The movie Star Wars hit the cinemas and Elvis Presley left the building for the last time. Happy Days’ Fonzie jumped the shark, the BeeGee’s released their soundtrack to “Saturday Night Fever,” and Led Zeppelin played their last concert in the U.S. The mini-series “Roots” premiered on ABC TV, while Chico and the Man’s Freddie Prinze passed away, shocking fans and viewers. Also that year, Sonny Madrid and his Band of Brothers in San Jose, California would publish the first ever magazine for Lowriders, called Lowrider Magazine.

Most of us can still remember the local mom and pop stores that probably still stand today around the old neighborhood; the ones that began selling the first Lowrider magazines from atop their counters. Back in those days, rent was $240 a month, gas was 65 cents, and Lowrider’s brand new issues were on sale for a dollar. I remember to this day when I bought mine. The owner of that liquor store in Montebello told me, “You sure you want to buy this? There are three left and if they don’t sell by the end of the day, I won’t have these here taking up space.” So after work that day, I went back to see if they were gone, and as I came up on the empty counter where they sat earlier, I thought to myself, “the stack of three magazines were either returned, or put away somewhere else.” When I asked about them, the old man and lady behind the counter told me that they finally contacted the guy who delivered the magazines and asked him to bring back more. Excited as I was, I walked to my car in the parking lot and thought, “wait till this San Jose publication captures the Lowrider scene here in the surrounding areas of Boyle Heights, E.L.A., Montebello and Pico Rivera; it’s going to blow up!” Little did any one of us in any town, city, or state know that Lowriders even existed past our respective areas. If not for the magazine’s continued popularity, we would have believed that the Lowrider world was flat and the edge was San Fernando! But before we knew it, Lowrider not only proved that there was life in San Jose, Fresno, and Bakersfield; we also found out that it was alive and spreading because of promotional car shows being held from the Santa Clara Fairgrounds down to Odessa, Texas.

Even though a whole lot has changed in the last 35 years of publishing this magazine, we have all arrived at a place where Lowriding is an American past time and ritual because of it. Over the past three and a half decades, Lowrider Magazine came to represent a way of life and a diary that has featured over three thousand Lowrider cars, trucks, and Bombs. Over a thousand car clubs have been represented throughout the pages, in addition to nearly two thousand car shows, picnics, and happenings; and who can forget the great party atmosphere of the Lowrider tour car shows as well! This new 2012 January Issue of Lowrider will start the celebration in a tribute to all of the years and memories that were chronicled from the opening pages of the very first issue. Inside the next 12 issues, we will include up to six pages and a “collectable” back-to-back poster collage of the best of Lowrider magazines, past to the near present. Lowrider Magazine has changed and grown, just like the movement that it has fueled, and without it, we wouldn’t be so well recognized, respected, or admired. Much like the classic 5.20’s wires or artilleries, Lowrider has endured, becoming our bible in the fact that as long as the magazine is around to pay homage to our lifeline, Lowriding will never die. That should be everyone’s belief. To know Lowrider is to love it. It’s our magazine; it showcases the blood, sweat, and tears that have molded us into the nation that we have become. Long Live the Lowrider, and Long Live the magazine that represents it!

We also bring in the New Year with this special January Issue by turning on the spotlight from a Bomb fender to feature The Oldies Car Club. Ricardo and the boys have proven that this decades-old Bomb club is a tradition that will last longer than a lifetime. Check out their story as just like the cars they adore, it never gets old.

We have coverage of the annual Imperials Car Show at Hawaiian Gardens, a mainstay within the yearly must-attend events. There are very few shows out there in which there is loyal support from the fans and exhibitors, and this show is certainly one of them. It takes years to build a reputation good enough to garner this level of support, and this year’s monumental event was the club’s 11th; a testament to club’s connection to the community.

We hit the road running with no limits in bringing you an immaculate ’55 Bel Air Convertible for this first cover of 2012. Check this “lighter shade of brown” two-tone combo and appreciate how much more rare it is when it’s displayed on the ground.

This month’s Image segment centers on a real “roll model”―Bomb Club Originals leader “Rocky” Placencia. Rocky is one of those die-hard Lowrider leaders who came from the old school of Lowriding stomping grounds known as the City Terrace area. He has a lot of values and philosophies stemming from his upbringings and he is here to teach them to you from his favorite classroom; the Boulevard.

Please go worldwide on our website and visit our web-exclusive stories as we bring you coverage of an annual picnic thrown by one of Maryland’s premier car clubs, Street Dreamz. We also bring you the “drastic-in-plastic” hobby of Lowrider model cars and the show where these scaled down creations are displayed.

Saul Vargas and the Lowrider Garage are here to steer you straight for the New Year, as your resolution could be an easy-to-install CCP frontend rebuild. You just never know when you might need to pull close and straight to the curb if the cops pull you over!

Happy 35th!

Joe Ray

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