The builder's lifestyle was slowly shaping his passion, while also making him realize how much differently the outside world was viewing him. "In 1980, when I started building my bikes, I was a freshman in high school and I had the interest in building the sheet metal. The school offered a lot of vocational classes like auto body, welding, fabrication, and those types of classes. I learned how to weld, how to do body work, primer, and basic mechanics," he says. "At the time I used to dress like a Cholo, and since I wasn't a part of the "normal"-dressing students, the teachers actually pushed me towards those classes. They assigned me to them. Looking back it's been a blessing because it helped me learn to work with my hands." Turning that almost racist negative into a positive, Fred continued his vocational education. "After I graduated, I took some electives at El Paso Tech, and my father also taught me how to sodder and work construction, so from those experiences I learned how to perform the work it takes to build a car." Family commitments became his top priority, and it would be awhile before Fred Perez used these vocational skills and entered the car building arena.
"I got married in '84 and stopped [building]for a while, but then in '89 I moved to Colorado and saw that there was a little bit of a Lowrider Movement here, so I started taking my bike out with my sons and we started doing car shows again," he reminisces. The car shows brought out his youthful hunger, and Fred was once again bitten by his builder's bug. "As a kid I always wanted Bombs, I fell in love with them. However, when you're older and you have a family to feed, a home to mortgage, and a job that doesn't pay you the money to fix one up, you can only daydream of owning one," he laments. Undaunted, Fred pressed on, working with his situation in the best way he could. "In 1990 I joined Unique Image Car Club here in Colorado, and I was with them for 5 years. They were mostly all mini- trucks, but I still had my bikes. It looked a little odd with me as this 30-year-old man with bikes and everybody else had mini trucks and '62-'63 impalas." Fred tried his best to fit in with the club, and decided to go the mini-truck route. "I bought an '85 Chevy mini-truck, and I had front, back, side to side, the bed used to lift, and I installed all the hydraulics. The truck was primered so I couldn't participate in the car shows. I saw a 1950 Chevy Bel-Air for sale for $5,000, and I sold my mini truck and bought it," he explains with pride. That initial pride of owning his first Bomb would soon fade after he realized that his work as a lumber retailer was not enough to satisfy his needs for his hobby and his family's needs. He simply did not have any money, and something had to give, and it did.