This month’s issue of LRM is a triple threat of sorts; the heavyweights in our culture duke it out over the course of a main event and two undercards, proving who the pound-for-pound best are within the scene. We kick off our coverage of these unique events, which feature a triumphant return of the L.A. car show scene at the L.A. Convention Center, a Super Show from the Land of the Rising Sun, and a Mexican Fiesta―which includes Lowriders taking over Milwaukee, Wisconsin! Round one goes to the Torres Empire, who proudly presented the City of Angels with a car show that brought back not only memories of the glory days from the past, but also brought out the most outstanding classic and fancy cars ever displayed in the showroom called the L.A. Convention Center. I’m sure that all the car exhibitionists had this event penciled in on their calendars and walls for months in advance, as it seemed that there were riders from every city and state with every make and model imaginable. Even though this show was on a Sunday, this three-day event (move in included) certainly brought out the best of the baddest Lowriders on the planet, especially those from the town the venue was built upon. Traditional rides with the best in paint were joined by the classiest of all the classics and Bombs in a colorful caravan of 600 or so in a parade on La’s downtown high rises. The majesty of this incredible sight was one for the ages and those lucky enough to catch a glimpse were treated to a display of the immaculate craftsmanship that our culture is founded upon. It was like the Lowrider faithful were given the key to the city! The historic magnitude of this show gave the entrants so much pride that everyone just wanted to be inside the hall and on display. Those on hand could care less about competing for trophies; they were just glad to be there for what became history in the making. This show will be in discussion for years to come, and though it has been over for a few months, I don’t think anyone has truly left the place since. When it comes to the colorful caliber and unique quality of the Lowriders in attendance, I don’t think anyone believes that what they witnessed can ever be matched again. Maybe they’re waiting to see a repeat at next year’s event? Congratulations goes out to the incredible promotional efforts put on by Sam Torres Empire and their staff; they certainly put their heart and soul into this show!

For decades now, Japan has been a sponge that has soaked up the culture of Lowriding in all aspects. If not for the Japanese interest and invasion of Lowrider-styled cars back in the ‘90s, the values of Lowrider classic cars would be nowhere near what they are worth today. Think about it; ‘58s and ‘59s cost about $400 bucks in the ‘80s, now they’re worth in the hundred thousands! Even if you had a ‘62 or ‘64 convertible in those days, they still weren’t in high demand. Enter the Japanese interest in the Lowrider scene and the cars themselves not only became more valuable, the fully restored versions of them also saw a huge price increase; especially those built at a show-quality level. Those ‘64 convertibles that were left deserted back in the days may cost tons of money to build by today’s building standards, but they also sell for the same amount, too. Every piece, part, accessory, or hour of labor that it takes to build a classic car today has a price tag on it that eventually adds up to the total amount that the car is worth. Japan made Lowriders an investment, and they also helped to make them become iconic, and thus the status quo for some Lowrider builders and owners. In Japan today, the Lowrider way of life is still as strong as ever, and that’s because of the way they love and study our designs and paint schemes which are now being applied at their own body shops all over the country. We have to admit that the quality in some ways and style is closer to our own, maybe closer then we think, and that’s a good thing! Let Lowriding spread and be represented as long as it reflects the pride and devotion that embodies our image. To back up what I’m saying about the quality and style of Japanese Lowrider builds, check out our coverage of the Japan Super Show and compare their style cars to our style. If you didn’t know it, you would probably think that the show we featured was just down the street at a local convention center.

To cap off this issue’s trifecta of shows, we covered the Mexican Fiesta, which exhibited some amazing Lowriders out in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I’m sure that many of you reading wouldn’t believe that Milwaukee would be an area you considered to be “on the scene,” but turn the pages of this issue and take notes. Lowriding is everywhere, even in towns where you can’t imagine. I always thought that there were only “cheeseheads” that represented that far away land, but now it’s time for the Green Bay Packers to move over, ‘cause Lowriding is taking over the whole field!

I’m happy to further prove my point about the ever growing passion of this culture; as even in hard times, this Lowrider issue has featured cars from Arizona, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Nevada, Colorado, California, Canada, Texas, and New Mexico. This ain’t Lowrider Nation! This is Lowrider Worldwide!

We chose this Platinum Silver ’57 on our cover as it does a superb job in representing all of us. Aside from the obvious beauty this relic has to offer, nothing compares to what its owner has to say. His motto reads “I will always roll on 13-inch wires, dripping fluid.” That’s what we breed, that’s what we bleed!

There are a whole lot of us who have role models, mentors, or just good guys that taught us a lot about Lowriders. Some of those guys have either passed away and left behind their legacies, or have taken ill with any number of afflictions, especially diabetes. Today, it seems as though all the good guys have it. One day the wheels will fall off for all of us, and when it does, someone has to mount that wheel back on and ride in that person’s memory. For now, just enjoy the times we still share old and new. Appreciate the sounds as 5.20s buzz down the road or the smell of acid from charged batteries that take us to another battle down the Blvd. Never take these special things for granted and thank the ones who got us here and while you’re at it, shout out a little prayer in respect and thanks. n

Make sure your windows have no fingerprints before you put that plaque up!

Joe Ray