The origins of pinstriping can be traced back many different ways throughout history, from everyday items used during the Roman Empire, to more modern uses like lettering on fire trucks, store fronts, and of course, custom car paintjobs. During the 1950's pinstriping on custom cars were made popular by the likes of Von Dutch, Dean Jeffries, and Walt Prey whose intricate techniques and styles have influenced many of today's pinstripers.
As a kid growing up in Michigan in the 1960's, the custom car culture and pinstriping profession had already held a significant influence on Mike Lamberson. At an early age, Mike used to build plastic model cars with his own twist; the model cars he built would always be finished off with a pinstripe. Mike felt the models were simply not "done" until he striped them. In 1971 at age 13, Mike and his family relocated to Pomona, California, where he saw his very first Lowrider cruising Pomona's famed Mission Boulevard.
A few years later, almost completely by chance, Mike found a local pinstriper and decided to stop by his shop to better observe the artist at work. The flow of the designs and the skill of the pinstriper fully enthralled Mike, giving him the courage to express his desire to learn from the pinstriper, and to even inquire about the possibility of an apprenticeship. Distracted and visibly annoyed, the pinstriper finally put down his brush and escorted a dejected young Mike out of his shop. He was simply "not interested" in teaching his skill to a youngster who would one day take work from him.
The negative encounter with the pinstriper did not deter Mike, in fact it made him more determined than ever to become a pinstriper. He found an old car hood and put in on the floor of his first apartment and practiced for hours. Since he did not have a reputation in the custom car scene, Mike sold his striping skills to car dealerships and body shops around the Southern California area. For the first 20 years of his career, Mike was mobile. He would travel to each job and work on-site at the dealerships and body shops, building up his skills and techniques while slowly but surely creating a name for himself in the upper echelon of his field.
In 1996, Mario DeAlba Sr. who was working at one of the shops that hired Mike for pinstriping, asked him to pinstripe one of his prestigious show cars. After Mike pinstriped Mario's car, his pinstriping really began to get noticed at the local car shows. Mario's car was featured in Lowrider Magazine, and as a result of the magazine feature, Mike began to get a lot of business from the Lowriding community. He would work at the dealerships and body shops during the week, and on the weekends he would drive to his customer's home to commence work on pinstriping their Lowriders. As a result of his work on Lowriders, his referrals continued to grow, keeping him quite busy, and more importantly, quite happy.