It was as a 15 year-old in 1979, that Doug finally put the wheels of his dream in motion, literally. He managed to save up enough cash from both his summer farming job, and a part time Parks and Recreation gig to buy four tires and wheels. He owned no car mind you, just 5:20 thin whitewalls and the highly sought-after True Spoke rims. He kept them in his closet at home. "My dad thought I was a little nuts," he says. After all, his dad Francisco and his uncle Joe were no stranger to working on classic cars. His father owned a '57 Ford Fairlane 500, and his uncle Joe drove a '56 Ford F-100. The Fairlane was stock, but his father had lowered the vehicle with cut springs. Though modest in nature, the lowrider influence was evident in his childhood, and slowly but surely had him wrapped up like the click of a seatbelt. The cars were "not much" he admits, but they impressed him a lot when they went for short drives through town. It was enough to keep motivating him. Doug would pull the wheels and tires out of the closet once a month to clean and polish them, dreaming all the while about what kind of ride they would one day support. His automotive determination was strong, and about a year later, at 16, he finally had a car for those wheels.
The car was a '68 Chevy Impala hardtop, and he had spotted it in a gas station parking lot with a big FOR SALE sign on it. Looking back on that day, Doug says, "It was nothing fancy, I forked over $400 and my dad dealt another $400 for the pink slip, and I drove it home and swapped the wheels out for the ones [I had] in the closet." And just like that, Doug was cruising in style. Within a week, he bought hydraulics and had them installed the following weekend by his friend Nuna. He was doing it big, hitting the switches with front, back, and side-to-side, and jamming to a new cassette stereo, all inside three months of the purchase date. Not bad for a 16 year-old.
At this point in the interview process, we found ourselves in Doug's house, located on a busy street corner across from a church and an elementary school. There was enough lot space for a multitude of cars, an enclosed trailer, a three-car garage, plenty of room for other members' rides, and you could still play a game of flag football. Doug walked us through his property, and after the photo shoot, it was off to lunch at one of his favorite spots, El Marinero on Crows Landing Road. This is where Doug, today sporting a black and gold football New Style jersey, orders his usual plate of Chili Verde, and then relaxes behind dark sunglasses, contemplating the possibility of neighborhood kids taking mail out of his box on their way home from school. It's a regular occurrence he says, because when he comes home, the mailbox door is always open. Today is no different, and as we pull up to Doug's lot, the mailbox door is ajar, having been pilfered by tricky and sticky hands. We suggest, not so jokingly, about putting up a sign stating that stealing mail is a Federal Offense punishable through fines and hard jail time. Ah, the work of a car club president is never done.
Doug's list of accomplishments is about as long as some of the pinstripping jobs on his big traditional masterpieces. After the '68 Chevy, Doug got his hands on a '65 Chevy Impala convertible, then built a candied cobalt blue Chevy Camaro. In 1987 at 23, Doug and pals Frank Rodriguez and Joel Moreno founded Serious Play Mini Truck club with his all new '87 Chevy S-10, titled "Future Shock." That creation he says, "afforded [me] the opportunity to meet and establish friendships with many people in the industry.". His next project went from four wheels down to two, although this time it wasn't on a bicycle like it was before. Doug put his stamp on a candied-out '88 Honda Interceptor motorcycle, and later that same year, he showed his creativity in the car world, aptly freaking a wine colored Chrysler Le Baron convertible.