One of the bigger headaches of building a Lowrider is providing yourself with enough space to tear down and assemble it. Sure, there is always the driveway and garage of your home, but if you're not getting visits from your local code enforcement officer because you have a car in "disrepair" on your property, then you are probably getting grief from your family, as your project's body, spare parts, accessories or in-use tools are taking up every available space on your property. Many of the members of the San Gabriel Valley chapter of Old Memories Car Club found themselves with this common problem, and became frustrated without a decent place to work on their projects. Without a proper place to work, builds were taking too long, and this cancer was delaying the members' rides from hitting the streets and representing the club.
Chapter President Ray Vargas decided that he needed to come up with a solution for the problem, and took it upon himself to spring into action. The family home that Ray owned sat on a large piece of property in the San Gabriel Valley, and with plenty of space available, Ray came up with a plan. First, Ray had to run the plan by his family and get the okay to turn the family's property into a shop and meeting place for the club. Ray and his wife Maggie sat down and talked about Ray's plan to expand the family's home. He promised to add a set of garages that would be used to not only store his car collection, but to provide a place for the club to work on their projects as well. Despite the fact that there would be a lot of money spent, quality time lost and possible disruption to the family's activities while the expansion was taking place, Ray not only got the go ahead from his wife, his children were all for it as well.
Ray did not have to look far for an architect or general contractor for the project; one of his Old Memories club members is an architect and another one is a general contractor in the chapter. With the combined talents of these two members, the design phase began. After the plans were laid out and the city had given the green light, the build was underway. The transformation was completed inside of two short years.
After the dust settled, Ray had expanded his primary residence by adding additional rooms, a second story, and a large den area for the club to hold their meetings. Ray also added three 2-car garages and poured yards of concrete on the property, in order to provide plenty of parking spaces for the club members' rides. This space instantly brought an organization to the club's projects that made life better for all the members. The club has a white board on the wall of one of the garages that lists the projects that are in the works, and outlines what tasks need to be completed for each of the projects. There are chests full of tools and plenty of space to work on the club's latest builds. Ray also set aside an area of the property to store members' projects that have not been started yet.
On the day we visited, the build team was working on one of the club's latest projects. Busy members were installing glass, brakes and assembling engine components to yet another soon-to-be-classic ride. On any given day of the week and time of day, there is someone working on something at the Vargas residence. Because of the availability of the work spaces, there is no reason for a project to drag on, so members pitch in to help get the rides out of the shop and on the street as soon as possible to represent Old Memories.
The dedication Ray has to the San Gabriel Valley Chapter of Old Memories is evident by the money, blood, sweat, and tears he has poured into this expansion project. He has truly opened his home to his club, and a gesture like Ray's does not go unnoticed, nor unappreciated. The members expressed appreciation to Ray and his family for a place to work on their rides, and likewise, we appreciate the opportunity to see what few have seen outside of the club. Thanks to Ray Vargas, his family, and the San Gabriel Valley Chapter of Old Memories Car Club.