There are many Lowriding landmarks in and around Southern California, and the most hallowed of all of these hotspots is the famed Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles. Many in the scene have earned their stripes on this glorious stomping ground, which was simply the place to be on weekend nights for the lucky Lowrider car clubs and individuals that were fortunate enough to be Lowriding on the street during its heyday. While it was made of asphalt, this Boulevard might as well have been made out of red carpet, as people from all around Southern California came to Whittier to see and be seen. The City Terrace community of East Los Angeles is a stone’s throw from this legendary cruising spot, and a number of Whittier cruisers came from this nearby community, including Steve “Rocky” Placencia.
City Terrace offered a great place to grow up for the young Rocky, who had a number of friends with older brothers that owned Lowriders and were in the scene. He fondly remembers seeing them cruise by on their way to the local car wash where they would get their cars ready for a weekend of cruising. Sometimes if he was lucky, he would jump in one of the rides and hit the boulevard to cruise with them. This was an engrossing hobby for the young boy and he loved the scene on the Boulevard so much that he vowed one day to build his own Lowrider and take part in the weekend ritual.
It would be a number of years before Rocky would be able to fulfill his dream of owning and building his own Lowrider. That time came for Rocky when he chose to pick up a 1953 Chevy Sedan that he found in Venice Beach, California. The car was in great shape, so Rocky kept it in stock condition, with a few exceptions, of course. He lowered the ’53, and added pipes, one-inch white walls, and crossbar hub caps. His dream was finally a reality, and the excited young Rocky finally had what he always wanted; an eye-catching cruiser that he could drive on the Boulevard. Although the days of cruising Whittier Boulevard on the weekend nights were long gone, it was not uncommon for Rocky and his wife Susan and their friends to cruise Whittier Boulevard on Sunday afternoons, as they often reminisced about the glory days.
After deciding that 1953 was a great year, Rocky took on his next project, another ’53, this time a two-door hard top, which he set out to build for his wife, Susan. Susan was no stranger to Lowriding and Chevy Bombs herself, as she spent many nights on the glorious Whittier scene cruising in her own 1969 Chevy Impala. The couple found the car at Joe Epstein’s shop and Rocky immediately decided to restore it for Susan. As he and Joe began work on the Chevy, tragedy struck; Susan was diagnosed with Cancer. After an extended hospital stay, Susan successfully beat Cancer, and was greeted by her beautifully restored Bel Air upon returning home! Joe and Rocky had worked overtime to make sure the car was ready in time, and Susan’s triumph over such a deadly affliction proved to be an unbelievable blessing. Finding humor through the pain, Rocky and Susan joked that she simply had to beat the Cancer; after all, nobody else was going to drive that car before her, so she fought tooth and nail to get home before anybody had the chance!
The lucky couple was well received on the Lowrider scene, and they had a special group of friends that they spent many weekends with. Cruising, attending car shows and working on each other’s rides allowed these friends to build a bond together, and it was only a matter of time before a car club based on these friendship ideals would be formed. Rocky had an idea of the club he wanted to form and knew that with the right group of loyal friends, everything would fall into place.