I've written before about my admiration for lowriders and lowrider culture; but when it comes to chronicling the ranfla lifestyle, the real horse's mouth is Lowrider Magazine. After a humble birth in 1977 San Jose as a one-color mag distributed at area car shows, Lowrider has grown into a publishing institution with over 1.5 million readers worldwide, and spinoff publications like Lowrider Bike, Lowrider Truck, Lowrider Arte and Lowrider Euro.
As luck has it, in my magazine stash I have a copy of that very first issue: Lowrider Magazine #1, January 1977. Return with us now to those thrilling Cheech & Chong days of yesteryear, and enjoy a few hits.
Cover: an anonymous cute muchacha shoots a come-hither glance in an embroidered London Fog coat.
Lovely fender candy. Note the various carbon-dating cues of 1976: gaucho pants, high waist elephant bells, square headlights conversion.
When I look at this ad, I marvel at the amount of work that must have gone into it -- manual paste-up with Zipatone and Letraset, hand lettering. Five years later a new San Jose company named Adobe would revolutionize electronic publishing with software like PageMaker and PhotoShop. Call me a Luddite, but I like this better.
Lowrider cruise to Gilroy, CA, a/k/a "Garlic Capital of America."
Livin' la vida loca. It looks like "Charly" was pretty much in charge here, and the other girls were best advised to accept their second-billing Angelhood. I wonder where they are now; I imagine a few are grandmothers.
STONEDBROWN! That has to be the ultimate 70's band name.
"Santa Barbara Lovelies" gracing the fender of a '75 Malibu SS, next to an ad touting CBs and 8-track players. Awesome.
Two key NorCal lowrider clubs of the era: Thee Individuals, and Las Carruchitas.
"Calecia Biker." Young vato stays on the scene with a gangsta lean. A very early incarnation of the lowrider bike phenomenon - note curb feelers and wide whites.
All your friends in the joint will thank you.
"He's the dude on the corner, the vato chavo lowrider!"
Keepin' it real.