Rick Ortega: We found Mario after we were cruising the boulevard as this kid named Neil was cruising his T-bird. That car was bad. We asked him who painted his car. It was his uncle Mario. My old '64 Impala, "Master of Elegance," was the first club car that Mario painted and after that the club kept going back.
Mike Lopez: When I dropped off my car, I remember it sat for weeks, and then one day Mario told me to come down. When I seen the car, it had some weird patterns. I couldn't understand what he was doing. When I left, I was like, what the hell did I get myself into. Two weeks later, Mario called and said come on down, "I'm done." I didn't know what to expect. The results were the "Twilight Zone." Mario made me who I am with that paint job that he laid down. I'll always be grateful for that.
Ruben "Buggs" Ochoa: He was king and he went out king with all of his artwork that he laid out through the years. That's why I'm here today-to pay respect to the man who always kept us on guard.
Saul Vargas: I remember when I was going to paint my Monte Carlo and Mario asked me for a deposit. I was like, sure, no problem, how much? Mario said to bring $300 to be put on the books, so I chuckled when I told him that I was on the way. When I showed up, I handed him a $20 bill and a bucket of change that amounted to about $300. He laughed so hard and said, "F*cker, in all of my life, I have never had anybody pull this sh*t. I'm always going to remember this." He got busy and I ultimately went with another painter. Mario would always tell me, "Saul, when it's time to do your Impala, I got you. I'm gonna take care of you, cha-ching."
Danny Galvez: I was inspired by that dude. That guy was on a whole different level. Paying tribute to him was an honor. He helped make the club what it is today and elevate the standards in the lowrider world.
Efrain "Buggs" Gonzales: I came down to pay respects to the man who influenced me, as he made me look at paint differently. To help work on his coffin was a big honor for me as those who knew him were very lucky to know his artistic side as well as his personal side.
Rico Duran: I finally got to meet and party with Mario when we went to Arizona. He was really cool people. He was down to earth and I had to pay tribute to him by helping out in whichever way I could.
Albert "The Fireman" Gonzales: Mario set the bar in custom paints and I don't think that it will be broken or topped.
George Correa: All the running around that I did to help out for Mario's funeral was for the love of Mario. Why wouldn't I help? He left me many memories and a paint job that I'll always be grateful for.
Chuy "The Rabbit" Alonzo: He learned from other people to make his own style. It's too bad that he took to the grave what he knew, and that those who were learning from him didn't get to learn it all.
Joe Ray: Mario was known as "Mario Classic Colors" and then he changed it to the Candy Factory when he went crazy cranking them out like an assembly line. I got to know him on a personal level when we could talk about colors, the different combinations. We would always argue about colors and color combinations, as he would keep me on guard. It was great as I knew that he would not let anybody into his world. Now that he's gone, I can appreciate the paint jobs even more, as well as the colors that he would lay down.