Founded in 1902, Cadillac was formed to be the high-end luxury vehicle, branding a mark of automotive excellence that stretched the world over. Owned and manufactured by General Motors, and named after French explorer Antoine Laumet de la Mothe Sieur de Cadillac, who founded Detroit in 1701, the Cadillac has gone on to become the symbol of the American Dream. We are excited to start the New Year 2010 Lowrider Issue with this beautiful cover car, bringing you a brand new take on some classic automotive history. Cadillac's precision manufacturing led to unmatched reliability, and simply made it a better product than its competition. Well known for the Harley Earl designed "tailfins," the Cadillac brand's innovative technologies also included the Delco electric system, which handled self starting, ignition and lighting functions. They unveiled the first mass produced V-8 engine, and introduced lacquer paint, which reduced manufacturing time, and provided an improved finish for car exteriors. Safety glass and the curved windshield were a first, along with the "Synchro-mesh Silent-shift Transmission." Power seats with memory, telescoping steering wheel adjustment, automatic door locks, and emergency brake release were additional Cadillac innovations, which other vehicle manufacturers followed and imitated. Every year since the Cadillac's inauguration, showroom floors exhibited the latest makes and models, such as Fleetwood Broughams, De Villes, and El Dorados. Cadillac remained ahead of the design curve, and simply had more tricks and gadgets than any would-be competitors within the market. Lincoln Mercury would break out with some type of "state of the art" accessory, and Cadillac would immediately answer with 5 more! Air suspension debuted in '57, and "load level ride" was introduced too. Of course, some of us know about that level ride system and the technology it comes with, because that's the first thing you rip out before you cut out your car for hydraulics! Take for instance, the "Voluptuous" beauty on the front cover, and I mean the one in Red! Besides being one of the best luxury cars ever made, take note that Januarys Cadillac also exhibits patience, detail, and devotion, and those certainly weren't factory included. Rick Ortega from the Lifestyle Car Club built this custom Cadillac his way, a/k/a "the attention to detail way." American full-sized automobiles, like the Cadillac, have certainly had their highs and lows. The 1970's and late 80's saw a decline in sales because of low ratings on government safety, emissions, and fuel economy. No one wanted a big boat anymore! Designs also played a factor in slumping sales as well. Those design changes have stuck, as today's four door vehicles are now the same size as yesteryears two door models.

In this Month's "Original" series, please check out the transformer metal art done by "Topo" Villafana, talk about full custom! This modern day arranger of metal sculpture takes on a fleet of Big Body middle-90's Cadillacs, and converts them into two-door, hardtop coupes and convertibles. Auto designers need pay close attention to the dinamics of these luxury beauties he has created, and take out their pencils to draw all over again. This month's "Image" also appreciates the movement and efforts put forth by Rigo Reyes, a Chicano activist first, then a leader of Amigos San Diego chapter CC since '77 and one of the founders of the San Diego Lowrider council. Being the activist first was instrumental for his efforts in helping the Lowrider image. Also in this special issue Lowrider Magazine is proud to introduce the nominees and winners of this year's Alma Award as a media sponsor. In "Raza Report," you will recognize the outstanding achievements of Latinos in motion pictures, television, and music. The NCLR Alma Awards show how diversity strengthens our country, while balancing and strengthening the entertainment industry.