How did you get into old cars / trucks?
As a young boy, well before my teen years, my uncle Richard would often make the trip from East L. A. to La Puente to visit my mother (his sister). It was always good to see my tio and I can remember as a young impressionable boy being fascinated by his car. He drove a two tone 1956 Chevy Belair, Adobe Beige over Sierra Gold. But it wasn’t a typical car…not to me….this one had a certain “look” to it. And it wasn’t just the car, it was also him. Actually it was all of my tio’s from East Los. They had this certain style about them. It was how they carried themselves. It was how they talked. It was how they looked. It was how they walked. The 56 Chevy was simply a reflection of my tio Richards “estilo”. They went together…a perfect match. The car was dropped very low and unlike the upholstered seats in my mom and dad’s car my tio’s car had sarapes over his seats. I remember how nice the colors of the serape looked in that car. He also had something hanging from the mirror although I can’t remember now what it was. He even had one of those magnetic figures on the dash. As a young kid I was just in awe, telling myself that someday I was going to be just like my tios ….drive a car like that, walk like that and talk like that. You see for me, as a youngster growing up into my teens it wasn’t just about the old cars it was more about the entire style. The car was just an extension or reflection of the owner. It wasn’t so much that I got into old cars. What it really was is that I got into the “Chicanada”. And growing up in La Puente that meant bombas (and lowriders)….everywhere….all the time. Seeing all the “older vatos” with their Bombs re-instilled in me the desire for that style, that look, which I found so attractive as a young boy. It was that Q-VO lifestyle that I witnessed so young that drew me into the life Lowriding….and Bombs.
What was the first Chevy bomb vehicle you owned?
I was leaving a friend’s home one day back in ’73 when I came across a 1954 Chevy 210 2 Dr parked in the driveway of a home down the street from his house. I took a chance and pulled over to ask if the car was for sale. Long story short I bought the car within days for $200.00. The paint wasn’t too great, a faded India Ivory, but the car was straight and ran like a clock which was all I needed at the time. Get me to where I need to go and get me out from where I shouldn’t be. In a few weeks after I bought the car it was slammed with 5-20s and cross bars on it. Now it had personality…..and attitude. On this car I didn’t put sarapes on the seats, I did something different. It wasn’t long before the car had a primed deck lid, hood and front fenders and other various primer spots around the rest of the body. The primer wasn’t applied because I liked that look, but that’s another story. The interior of my 54 had a different look. I didn’t put sarapes on these seats I put INK on them (and the entire interior). I carried magic markers in the glove box so that any time someone got into my car or was hanging out with me I’d give them a marker and tell them to write their ”placa” anywhere inside the car…..seats, headliner, door panels….wherever, except the dash…..that area was reserved for me. Looking inside that car was like looking into a tattoo parlor. Slammed with primer spots on the outside and all kinds of ink on the inside my 54 had a radical attitude and that’s how I liked it. I ended up selling that car a few years later, for $200.00. My 54 sits hidden in a garage at a home in La Puente to this day, the placas, the artwork, the memories, the ghosts are still there. If only that car could speak, the stories it would tell.
Which Chevy Bomb is your all time favorite?
There are literally hundreds of beautiful cars on CB, way too many to choose from. Every time one would stand out in my mind another car would be posted and draw my attention. Chale Juan, I’m taking the 5th on this one.
What have you gotten out of Chevy Bombs?
The first thing I got from Chevy Bombs was an extremely serious addiction. Back in 2006 when I first started “using” you could count the active members (contributors) on 3 or 4 hands. There were a lot of registered users at the time but the addicts; I mean active members, were only a few. Because of this it was easy to bond with certain members very quickly. We spent many an hour just cutting it up and having a good time. The addiction became so bad that my family began to recognize the back of my head more than my face. I was always being told “are you back on that web site AGAIN?” and “are you STILL on that web site?” I’d hear it from my wife, daughters and even my young granddaughter. It got to the point where I would simply answer, if I even heard their comments, “I’m visiting with my friends…go to bed I’ll talk to you in the morning”. This would happen all the time. For some reason that never went over to good with the wife she actually called me an addict and Juan and Eddie you guys were the “dealers” lol. What I’m saying is that Chevy Bombs provided, and continues to provide, an avenue not only for education, resources, information, networking etc. in regards to this car hobby but more importantly an opportunity for people of all ages, backgrounds, geographical areas, religious and political beliefs to actually come together under a common interest and form lifelong friendships. A word that comes to mind is “carnalismo”. It was used a lot back then. Perhaps it still is. For me, my involvement wasn’t about the cars so much as it was about the carnalismo that I experienced on the site. I’ve met a lot of good vatos on CB both in person and with my keyboard, jente that I would never have had the pleasure of knowing had it not been for CB.com. I don’t play on CB to much any longer. I kicked the habit a long time ago. It wasn’t easy but for me it was necessary to do so. Yet to this day I have nothing but admiration for the site and a grip of respect and gratitude for Juan and Eddie for what they have done, not only for the culture, but for each of us that have benefitted from all of their effort in creating CB and doing all that they have in order to ensure its continued success.
A greater sense of Culture, a greater sense of Tradition, a greater sense of Pride and a very large dose of Carnalismo…that’s what I’ve got from CB.
As a ChevyBombs.com Veterano, is there anything you would like to share to the world?
Yes there is.
First…Always engage the brain before putting the mouth (and keyboard) in action. Respect for each other is foundational to what CB is all about. I’ve heard it said “I respect those who earn my respect”. I’m not going to argue that, each person has the right to their own opinions. However, my opinion in the matter of respecting others is “I will respect you, not because you’ve earned my respect, but because you have my respect coming, and you will continue to have my complete respect UNTIL you do or say something to lose my respect”. In other words you can’t earn my respect, I’m going to give it to you BUT you can lose it. I say this because I remember instances of great disrespect between CB members back in the day. Vatos getting personal with each other out in the open in front of the world for all to see. Vatos airing out their discontent with others in a public forum rather that handling their business privately behind the scenes. I must admit that watching this drama unfold made for some good entertainment and some of those late nights in front of my computer. But at the end of the day, these actions, the “keyboard wars” as I like to refer to them, were only detrimental to the purpose and vision of Chevy Bombs. I believe that it’s always best for men to handle their business in a private matter and in person if possible. Not by means of a public forum using a keyboard as a weapon. This is just an opinion of mine. You may have a contrary opinion….that’s fine, I respect that.
Secondly….I must say thank you to two very important people in my life. Without these two I would not be who I am today. I am convinced that without these two I would be behind prison bars to this day but more probable….DEAD. The first of these is my wife. Now I’m not a mushy kind of vato but I need to say to the world that my wife is literally a God send. Since my youth when I wasn’t fit to be in society until this day she has stuck with me through thick and thin. And believe me I have made it really thick and thin many times over the years. To say that she is the better half in this relationship is an understatement. She has supported me 100% in all of my ventures and dreams even if some of those dreams seemed more like nightmares. She’s trusted me even when I’ve doubted myself. She has proven her love for me not with words but with her actions. We’re coming up on 41 years together, 38 married, and I must say, to the world, that I am truly a blessed man and also that I love you Laura very, very much. (ok that’s all the mush you’re getting from me on a public forum).
Now CB has a policy of not bringing our views on religion and politics into the public arena and I respect that and I also agree with that policy. But since the question was asked of me “is there anything you would like to share with the world” I’m going to say “yes there is”. I’m not speaking about religion; I don’t consider myself a religious person. But I will speak of a “relationship”. The second person I must thank is my Lord and savior Jesus Christ. I should have died at the age of 18 when I was lying in a street in La Puente bleeding to death from a hole in my lung but I didn’t. I should have died multiple times back then but I didn’t. At the very least I should be locked up behind bars to this day but I’m not. I should not have a brain that functions as well as it does today but I do. I should have been divorced and lost out on this beautiful family that I have today but I’m not divorced and I have lived to see my family grow into a beautiful and blessed family. I could go on and on but I won’t. What I will say is that if there is anything good in me today it is 100% because of what Christ has done in my life…period. I was nothing. I was no good to be around. I was a dead man walking and then HE came into my life. If it wasn’t for HIS grace, forgiveness and mercy in my life I would not be who I am today. Simply put I am what I am by the grace of God and I thank HIM for saving a sinner such as myself.
Juan and Eddie, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be a member and contributor on chevybombs.com it’s been a blessing in my life.
TONY M. (41 Helmet)