One of Jose’s favorite memories of Low Conspiracy Car Club is when they were headed to an LG car show in Stockton. We were going with thirty cars, he recalls. I was in my Bonneville leading the way when I looked in my rear view mirror and saw the rest of the guys following. Back then, no one used a trailer to take their car to the show, everyone drove them. When they showed up to the show, Jose and his club proudly filled up a whole building of nothing but custom cars.
Jose took his brand new Bonneville to John Evans to get painted. I started talking with the guy and I told him that he should hire me because I would bring him business, Jose says. He laughed and then said, If you bring me business, then I’ll hire you.’ In no time, Jose started bringing John business. He hired me and I started from the bottom up. He showed me how to paint real well and we became good friends, explains Jose. I took business cards with me to the shows and we got real busy, says Jose. I’m still busy, but I just slowed down because I’m old, laughs Jose. A passion forever, Jose is still painting cars to this day. Right now, as soon as I finish painting a car, I have another one lined up and ready to go, says Jose.
Back in 1991, Larry Gonzales asked Jose to be a judge for the Lowrider Magazine car shows. At the time, Jose didn’t want to be involved. By 1992, Jose started going to more car shows with Larry and began to get interested. There was already a rule book made, but Jose and the rest of the judges kept adding to the rule book throughout the year. We learned over the years, explains Jose as he describes the process. Many adaptations have been made to the judging criteria, but many of the ground rules remain intact from Jose’s early days.
In 1995, the most controversial decision for the sweepstakes award was made, and Jose was right in the middle of it all. They were both beautiful cars, says Jose about Joe Ray’s Lincoln called Las Vegas and George Torres’ Impala called Loco 64. The complaint was that the Las Vegas car didn’t run, explains Jose. I had seen the car run before he displayed it, and if your engine fired up and moved two feet, no one would complain, he states. After that year, the rule was made that your car had to travel ten feet and be able to move from side to side. I was paid to do a job and I ain’t going to lie, all I got is my word as a man, he says, referring to the sweepstakes decision. Two months after the’95 Super Show, Lowrider Magazine had a meeting in Los Angeles and invited everyone to come down. At the meeting, the members of different car clubs were asked what they would like to see in the rule book and if the staff agreed, then the changes were added to the rule book. One of the rules that was set was rule number 10, which states; Finality of judges determination. Currently, Jose Martinez is a real close friend with George Torrez and he remains friends with Joe Ray.
You can still find Jose with a clipboard in one hand and a pen in the other, as he judges Lowrider Magazine Car Shows and shows all over NorCal. Jose has been judging cars for so long now that he is now judging a second generation of car builders. Some of the new generation of car builders, remind me how I used to judge their fathers’ rides back in the days, reminisces Jose. Stuff like that makes my day. There is always someone or something at a car show that makes me happy to do what I’m doing. Before we end the piece, Jose has some instruction for all the future car builders out there build your car the way your heart tells you. Wise words Jose. n