The ‘70’s are considered to be the greatest time period in Lowriding history by all the purists, veterans, and founding fathers who were blessed enough to have grown up in this era. It was a beautiful time, as ambition exceeded innovation, forcing key holders to be more dedicated to their rides and peers than many of the casual cruisers of today. Yes, they lived and breathed it back then, and it’s safe to say that the picnics and cruises from the 70’s are something that we will never see again. During that time many car clubs began forming, with a common agenda and priority of cruising the Boulevard on the weekends. Southern California had Whittier to cruise and Northern California had Story, and King making these areas the proving grounds of those early days. It is said that as many as 15,000 people would show up on the weekend to cruise Story and King, but only a very small handful of those in attendance would make their presence felt. One club that always made their collective presence felt on that special cruising spot was New Style Car Club. Not only were they a force to be reckoned with on the Boulevard, but also at car shows throughout California, where they began to earn a reputation of building and driving quality Lowriders.
“I started New Style car club in ’73,” states the Lowrider Hall of Famer, Andy Douglas. “We were all in high school when we started it [the club], but we didn’t break out the official club until ’74.” All of the original New Style members grew up in the gang infested East Side of San Jose, CA., where they attended Overfelt High School. “We were at the Jack In The Box (on Story and King) when we got the idea to start the club,” recalls Rick Garcia. “It was Andy, my brother Manuel, Robert, and I that had the idea, but Andy was the one that said ‘Let’s get it going,’” explains Rick. “Andy is the founder of the club, he is a real go getter,” says Rick with admiration. Two blocks away from the infamous intersection at Andy’s parents’ house on Gainesville Ave, is where Andy provided the first hydraulic installations in San Jose. “That’s also where New Style started,” says Andy. “We (New Style) were the first club in San Jose with 5.20’s and hydraulics,” Rick notes with pride. “People used to make fun of our wheels,” laughs Tony Bueno. “They used to say that we had bicycle wheels.” Of course, this was before everyone else in the area jumped on board with the 5.20 look.
Andy is famous for bringing hydraulics to the masses in the ‘70’s, but it was a friend of his named “Poppy” from East Los Angeles that inspired him. “Poppy was my friend from East L.A.,” explains Andy. “He got the L.A. look inspired in me.” The 5.20’s, the dropped rear with the front lifted was something that Andy picked up from visiting his friend Poppy in East Los Angeles.
In ’74, the four-member club went down to New House in the Los Angeles area to have plaques made up for the club. “The original name for the club was The Style,” explains Andy. Once he and the rest of The Style members got to the shop, they saw plaques with a name too similar to theirs. The plaques hanging on the wall read New Style. They started debating on the name since they didn’t want a name that was too similar to another club’s name. The guy working told them that New Style was an LA-based car club that broke off from a club called Santa Ana Classics. The club had ordered the plaques but fell apart before they even got started. “We called the club and found out that they had a big fallout,” says Andy. The worker told them that he had 20 plaques ready to go and if they wanted them, they wouldn’t have to pay for the molding since they were already made. Needless to say, this good fortune drove them to change the club name right then and there to “New Style.”