It takes integrity, dedication, sacrifice, and persistence to become a true Lowrider Original, and in this issue, we sat down with someone who exemplifies all of these qualities perfectly. He is none other than Lowrider Legend, Anthony Fuentes; a mainstay of the Lowrider Movement since the 1970's. Anthony was born in the city of Lynwood, CA, and he grew up around the buzzing Lowrider culture that was slowly emerging from the SoCal streets at the time. Anthony remembers playing in his neighborhood, and noticing that every other home either had a Lowrider car parked in its driveway or stored in the house's garage. He longed for the day when his family would also have one of these amazing machines in its possession; a day that would soon come.
At the age of 9, Anthony's fascination with these dream machines became a reality when his older brother, Ralph Fuentes, got his first car; a '72 Grand Prix given to him by his father upon receiving his driver's license at age 16. The eager young Anthony began accompanying his older brother to different cruising spots, such as Whittier Boulevard and Pacific Boulevard. Around that time, he met some of the scene's OG Lowriders like Michael Tovar, Ted Wells and Magu. Though these guys were local legends already, his main influence was his older brother, Ralph. Too young to have or build his own car, Anthony wanted to express his creativity in this new and exciting Lowrider world, but didn't have an outlet to do so. While cruising with Ralph, Anthony saw kids his age on Lowrider bikes, and he decided that building a bike of his own would be a great way to get involved with the culture. He figured he could learn how to work with his hands, and maybe even show off his bike at the shows he loved to attend. His optimistic world would soon change drastically, however, due to the unfortunate passing of his father during his high school years.
The Fuentes boys were now without a father, and older brother Ralph invited his brother to live with him, a move that young Anthony was grateful for. Ralph, wanting to keep a tradition alive, gave Anthony his first Lowrider car when he was 16, just like his father had done for him. This touching gesture gave Anthony a renewed sense of confidence, as well as a 1964 Malibu Convertible, that was lifted front and back. Encouraged by the positive influence of his older brother, Anthony focused on his Metal and Paint shop classes in high school, using the school's resources to fix up and paint his own car. Anthony also spent time working at McDonald's, and was able to save up enough money from the job to get some of the car's parts rechromed, including the front and back bumpers and some of the moldings. Working on the car and seeing the progress he was making became an inspiration for Anthony beyond his belief, and it was at this turning point in his life that he forged his career path.