Lowrider Pimps

(The Viejitos are also featured in lowrider Magazine Jan 2007 issue)

(Gallery Coming Soon)

Images: Jaymz Eberly / Ian Young
Interview: Ian Young

In a time when lowriding was at its peak, legebdary Los Angeles Viejitos were crusing the avenues and doing their thing as one of the most reputable car clubs out there. While some lowrider owners either won’t come out at all or don’t show up on time to interviews, Javi, the 31-year-old native of East Los Angeles is out here in person with his clubmembers in tow leanin’ hard and disturbing the peace all the way from East L.A. to Compton  to meet with  us…. early.  You remember how in Goodfellas when Henry showed up early to meet Jimmy at the restaurant and he was already there … waiting for him … like that. 

And that’s the same way they ride the block, out there everyday showing pride and riding hard. They’ll be out there putting in the work to make sure lowriding is being represented to the fullest and making sure you get your complete East Los Angeles experience. Maybe a strange idea since it is a well-known fact that cars that look like this are police magnets, but to own one of them and not cruise it would be clearly a crime against nature. 

The Viejitos are known as one of the best that ever did it. Brothers Javi and Mario along with the rest of the club are here to stay, and making sure you see them.

Lowrider Pimps: So what is Lowriding to you, you know, in your own opinion?

Mario: What do you mean what is  lowriding to me, homes?(laughing)

Lowrider Pimps: I mean like, what do you get out of it?

Mario: What do I get out of it?  (still looking at me like he’s amazed at my question and I should already know)

LP: Yeah.

Javier: Pleasure.

Mario: Yeah, you-know, I mean … I like old stuff you know? I like old cars … car shows.

Javier: Yeah your kind of raised on it (lowriding) in a way, you-know cuz when you were a little kid and your out there and you see that shit …  your like, hopefully when I grow up … you know.

LP: You kinda tell yourself that’s what I’m gonna do.

Javier: Yeah it’s like your little dream you have, you know?

LP: Hell yeah . . . so how’d you get started?

Javier: My brother. (laughing … nodding toward his brother Mario)

Mario: He got started by me. .. Mario.  I got started by just , you-know, being raised in my neighborhood looking out at all those ballers, you know? They were (the ones) having all the ‘64’s … the ‘62’s … those were the ballers so, I wanted to have one too.  So … for some reason I ended up having one (laughing … fellow club members join him in menacing laughter)

LP: So how long have you been crusing?

M: I been cruising … lowriders since I was like 22. That would be probably like … nine years ago.

LP: Alright. So what makes a good car/lowrider in your opinion?

M: I think you gotta fit into that, you know?  It depends. It’s the way you look, the lines of the car, y-know?

LP: With the good paint and all that?

M: Yeah, the good paint … rims. Make sure you got the right motor … all that matters.

LP: You can’t be like halfway with it…

M: Yeah… exactly.

LP: So tell me a little bit about your car over here, man? What’s the year and everything …

J: Mine?

LP: Yeah.

J: It’s a “50”.  A 1950 (Black & Grey bomb style) Chevy Deluxe.

LP: Oh, ok … ok.

M: Where you found it? (asking Javi … laughing). Where you got it from?

J: I stole it from this dude that owed me some money… (all laugh).   Nah, I bought off some dude who was gonna go to prison … needed some cash … I helped him out, y-know?

LP: Yeah… well what do like most about it though?

J: The color. I’m a Raider fan.

LP: Yeah … I see that. I see you got the Raiders … colors and logo everywhere in there, yeah.  That’s shits tight.

J: The color and the style.

LP: How long have you been working on it for?

J: I’ve had it what … four or five years?

M: Five years.

LP: So where do you see the whole lowriding culture going in the future?

J: It’s going far man, it’s come along way shit … you see how they got it everywhere. I mean, from where it came to where it is now y-know? It got big.

LP: You ever got caught up in any of the sterotypes or the politics in lowrdiing?

J: No … well actually, with the police and stuff like that … they’re pretty cool about it. Because, I don’t know … down here … I guess they know when they see somebody rolling in a car like this, especially these old cars …  we call ‘em “bombs”, y-know the police hardly mess with you. Because they know…we’re about the cars. We’re not out here causing trouble or anything like that. We just wanna cruise … and show off our cars and that’s it.

LP: Well usually they would like, target the lowriders wouldn’t they?

J: Yeah, back in the days. That’s another thing, like I said, from where it started to what it is now … you don’t get harassed by the police no more.  Or at least in my experience, I never even got … y-know they’ll look at you and say “nice car” and stuff, but as far as harassment and stopping you, pulling you over to check you for drugs and shit like that … they don’t do that.

LP: They calmed that down?

J: Yeah, they calmed that way down now because they know … the people that drive these old type of lowriders, they’re into the cruising scene that’s it. 

LP photographer Jaymz: Plus it doesn’t cost fifty cents to make these things either … you don’t fuck around.

J: Yeah…exactly.

LP: Well do you have a crazy story or something …  about the car you’d wanna tell? Some standout situation you’ve been in with the car?

J: Nah, nope.

LP: You know how Hotrodding and Lowriding are looked at in different ways, like Lowriding isn’t really excepted while Hotrodding is like all over TV?  Like, they kindof have a preconceived notion that people are sort of on the bad side if they fuck with lowriders, y-know?

J: People especially with these types of lowriders, we’re not into … y-know fighting or anything like that.  We’re about the positive shit y-know? We go to other people’s shit.  Like, say another car club invites us somewhere, we’ll go. Like, there’s no beef.

LP: Camaraderie.

J: Yeah like if they do a show or something … like just last month, like you know how a lot of people did “toys for Tots….

LP: Yeah.

J: We go … to support and all that.  And it’s like that, they support us … we support them. If we have something, they’ll come and show their support over here with us and that’s how it is. It’s a big brotherhood.  That’s lowriding you know?

LP: Well do you have any closing comments or shout-outs you’d like to give to anybody out there?

J: Yeah I wanted to send a shout out to all of the Viejitos Car Club all over the country right now and I hope we expand out to more.

LP: This is the East Los Angles chapter huh? You guys have bunch of different chapters or what?

J: Yeah … a bunch of chapters.

LP: That shit’s tight … well I really appreciate you guys time and we’ll see you guys out there. Be cool and keep it going man.

J: Alright you guys too. 

The Viejitos slide away as casually as they came. With the same sound of pounding oldies from the trunk fading away into the distance they leave you with a sense of honor and pride that you’ve had the chance to see them. It’s not everyday you see three or four classic-mint condition lowriders from the ‘50’s slide passed you but when you do, your glad you did.  This is Ian Young signing off… see you fools on the boulevard...