Through LRM, Steve was able to travel to places he may have never seen. It was also through his travel and his eye-catching custom Merc that Steve was able to help the lowrider movement grow at an exponential rate. Steve would promote LRM, lowriding car shows and events, and even helped expand the Dukes Car Club on a national level by referring prospective members to Julio Ruelas. Steve basically spread the seeds of lowriding and helped it grow to where it's at today. "Those times were so much fun," Steve recalls. "When LRM came to town, it was like the circus was in town! We'd sometimes get there two weeks before the event just to promote the magazine and the upcoming LRM show. We'd give out shirts, magazines, tickets, and party all the time." When the car show finally happened, Steve would wear his zoot suit while judging the cars. It was around this time that his close fellow member of Dukes, "Chayo" passed on the title of the "Traveling Duke" to Steve... Steve greatly earned it, and deserved it, but yet reluctantly took the title from Chayo.
Many OG lowriders may remember Steve's Merc through his travels and the countless number of magazine ads, car and event features it appeared in - most famously, his car on the cover of the August 1977 issue of Street Rodder Magazine and his appearances on nationally-syndicated TV series Eye on L.A.
When LRM moved their office from San Jose to East L.A., Steve began working out of that office. It was located right on Whittier Boulevard (across the street from the famous Zorba's Hamburger stand) on the second floor of a small business complex. Steve loved it because it was close to his home and he had a bird's eye view of the cruising strip on weekend nights. He got along great with the staff there, including Johnny Lozoya and Steve Casillas, whom he calls "really great people".
Steve stayed with LRM until it discontinued print for a couple years starting in 1985. During that downtime, Steve landed a great job with the US Postal Service and started a family. He continued to be a part of the custom car and lowriding circuits and even helped keep a particular set of state prison car show events going that Larry Gonzales had started. Steve says that these events were a great way for the inmates to release some tension by being able to talk with the car club members. Guest bands would play and the inmates would feed the car club members food and present hand made awards. Car clubs like Dukes, Groupe, Imperials, Lifestyle, Together and Project Heavy would often attend. These positive, successful events went on for five years.
Today, Steve is 48 years old and has a wife (Kate) and five children and lives in Monterey Park, California. He works for CAST, a security company for on-site movie sets throughout Southern California. Steve still has tons of old LRM paraphernalia, from Lowrider beer mugs to old Lowrider T-shirts. He even kept all his old car show flyers and tickets from LRM and from the big RG Canning, Great Western, and ISCA car shows in the late 70s and early 80s. Steve is also going on his ninth year of having a car show event of his own. The Chariot Ministry car show is a toy fund-raiser held at the First Fundamental Bible Church in Whittier, California, which helps 600 children annually.
Yes, Steve still has his 1950 "Bronze Merc" and says that since some of his kids have recently grown up and moved out, he can spend more time and attention on his low-ride once again. He plans to resurrect it very soon and with the particular plans he speaks of, there is no doubt it will be featured once again on the pages of LRM.