Some Cool Readin From The Los Boulevados Website.

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Some Cool Readin From The Los Boulevados Website.

Post by DeadSled on Tue Dec 30, 2008 5:30 pm

"It seems that the HAMB has spawned a club of boulevard desperados called Los Boulevardos. Lots of folks I like are in it. Graverobber asked me for a tale about how it was on Bellflower Blvd in the sixties. A little stream of conscience riffing.

1965.

I had a '55 Buick Century, lowered to 3' off the ground. Green over cream, not particularly a nice car, but what I could afford. It had black wheels with baby moons and pin walls. I had TWO record players in the car. A Norelco Toaster type for playing 45s while driving and a B&N album player that only worked when I was parked because that ol' Buick tacoed too much to keep the needle in the groove. Took the car to Baron & Roth's shop on Slauson in Maywood and had Ed put "Wiggle Wobble" on the side windows with real long quotation marks, as was their style. I guess I was a pre Rat Rod, rat rod. I thought I was cool, though.

Friday night. Get off work and wash the car. Hit Bellflower about 7 pm on a summer night. Man! The Boulevard was happening then, there were humble cars like mine, girls out in their parents 4 doors, a few hot rods, not that many though. There were lots of muscle cars, 'Cudas, GTOs, 409 Chevies, 'Vettes, E type Jags. The rich kids out stylin'. But the coolest of all were the customs and mild customs. Acres of candy painted cars rolling on Astro Supremes and wire wheels. Martinez interiors with 1" pleats. Watson panel paint jobs. '54 Bel Airs, a '57 Pontiac black with candy Indian Torquoise in the spears, a '54 Chrysler wagon, candy root beer brown on hydraulics with Imperial wires, Watson' Grapevine. Those cars were the ones that got the coveted front place parking spots at Harvey's Broiler, Hody's on Lakewood Blvd, the Clock on Bellflower, Oscar's at the traffic circle, A&W on the blvd. But the best part was driving between those hang outs.

We'd sit low in the seats, hair styled, arm hanging out the window. Bobby "Blue" Bland or Gene Chandler on the 45 player. Seeing and being seen. I think the reason that Supremes and spinner hubcaps and wire wheels were popular was the way they flashed in the streetlights while we passed each other.

My usual circuit went: Start at the Tip Top and check out my friends to see what was happening in the way of parties. Then the Bellflower to cruise the A&W. I had to go in the back way because the driveway was too steep for my car, most of the scrapers did too. Most times we didn't get a root beer, just bopped through to check out the cars. Then north up Bellflower to the Taco Hour. Same thing, just swing through and look cool with my arm hanging down the side. Then up to the Clock, up to Firestone Blvd to Harvey's. make a pass through. By then it was CROWDED. I'd park on Firestone and walk through Harvey's because that's where the really bitchen cars hung out. You were NOT allowed to park at Harvey's if your car wasn't show quality. Not at all on the weekends and on week nights only in the back lot. The front row was for the Sultans, Renegades and Cut Outs. And a few other clubs. Then we went back down Bellflower blvd, making passes through all the drive ins and then to Long Beach where we'd cruise the Cinnamon Cinder. Then I'd park at Oscar's and turn on my album player with Jimmy Reed, Live at Carnegie Hall. We'd hang until friends cruised by or go hit the circuit again. To accomplish that took 2 or 2 1/2 hours.

There would be thousands of cars. And the cops were busy trying to give everyone tickets. I got to know several Bellflower cops all too well. From '65 to '67 I bet I got 18 too low, too loud tickets.

It was fun. I'm glad I got to do it. By '67 the paint jobs were so wild. Lace, panels, seaweed flames, flake, spider webbing, man, you name it. Then it went away. Just like that! People grew their hair long. Went to war and came back different. Or didn't come back. Car guys went racing or found new passions. The chopper deal started then too. And vans, Ugly vans.

Now it's sort of coming back. I have seen cars that would look right at home on Bellflower Blvd, circa '65. I dig it. Keep it up, you Boulevardiers."

-Phil
Vipers C.C.
04/11/06
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Re: Some Cool Readin From The Los Boulevados Website.

Post by DeadSled on Tue Dec 30, 2008 5:31 pm

A couple of people commented that they were surprised that I could remember the details of what went down 40 years ago. Well, it sticks in my mind so well because it was SOOOO Cooool. See, it was better than any car show. Better than what passes for most cruises these days too. Here's why: It was free, unstructured, every weekend night, in almost any neighborhood. What is the main purpose of a car? Motion.

Metalflake just shines and crackles when it's in motion, under streetlights or in sunshine. Glasspacks or straight pipes sound best when driving by, much better than being revved up in a parking lot. Lots of roadsters look bitchen when nobody is in them but some of them look like Bullwinkle riding in a little cartoon rowboat when they drive by. Guys sitting so high you can see their belts. When someone gets it right it's as important as stance.

Ain't it cool when the shyest girl smiles at you as your cars pass on the Boulevard? She wouldn't do that if you were standing on the corner, two feet apart. Just like Susanne Somers in Grafitti, in the blue T Bird. So you had to pay attention. So when your friend asked did you see the silver '64 Bel Air with the turquoise flaked top, you can answer, Yeah!, did you notice that it was spider webbed? It's cool to bop through the hang out with Wiggle Wobble by Les Cooper on your record player. Not so bitchen if your parked next to someone trying to out volumn you with Angel Baby.

Bumpin' the Boulevard is all about making a quick but lasting impression. Back then it was EASY to remember the people who worked hard to be noticable. The guy who shaved his beard into flames. The chick who ratted her hair up 3 feet tall sitting next to the guy riding low in his '49 Chevy fastback with the dark maroon paint. Cathy, out in her old man, Bob's, candy green '58 Impala with lifts and a silver microflake top while he was at work. Locals knew she was Bob's girl, but out of towners always gave chase. She loved it. The drunken goons who drove off the curb at the A&W at 8pm Friday night and had to be towed away after we all laughed at them. Revving your loud pipes or doing a burnout when you know the cops could hear it, but couldn't tell who did it. It's all about MOTION, man.

A Watson paint job cost $4000 dollars in '65. If you bought that you wanted to show it off. Maybe it'll come back. I have much more respect for the Mini truck guy or VW dude or kid in his rice rocket if he's out on the Boulevard than for the guy sitting at the burger joint behind his car in his lawn chair waiting to see who won the 50/50 raffle. And candy apple red looks sweet on anything you put it on.

So before this thread rides off around the bend on the HAMB Boulevard, I'll close with, put your car into MOTION. Wash it, wax it, clean the windows, put some fine tunes in the player, grab your best gal, or go looking for some. Get a bunch of like minded people and go driving. Check out your reflection in the shop windows downtown as you drive by. Looks cool, huh? And you can most definetely believe that someone is gonna tell their friends, "I saw the coolest cars driving down (your main drag here) last night. It was a gold '62 Buick with Supremes and a Lime Green metal flake top and a '60 Ford Starliner with a silver flake top over dark, dark blue. Man the lights were splashing from the wheels. I could tell my girlfriend wished she were riding with them."

That's why I remember. And that's why I always take the Boulevard when going through town. That's why I know where every store with clean windows is. That's why I keep my car clean. Because I AM a boulevardier.

-Phil
Vipers C.C.
04/19/05
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Re: Some Cool Readin From The Los Boulevados Website.

Post by DeadSled on Tue Dec 30, 2008 5:31 pm

More History...

By Ryan Cochrane
04/20/06

Lowriders have become a cultural phenomenon of sorts. You see them in all sorts of mainstream movies, rap videos, and even white suburbia these days… The lowrider is literally an accessory to hipsters looking to set an image, sell some product, or otherwise degrade a Spanish/American heirloom. Go to Wall Mart, buy the latest urban/rap/crap CD and rub the case against your cheek. That dirty cellophane feeling? That’s the modern American lowrider.

Obviously, it hasn’t always been that way. Lowriders were born from the creative souls of the 1940s/50s barrio youth culture. These guys were zoot suit wearing pachucos freshly back from the war that taught them so much about mechanical things. Some say it happened in East L.A., others (myself included) like to think the birthing grounds were further southeast in El Paso. Regardless, it paints a pretty cool picture if you know the culture and have an understanding of the people.

Imagine a ‘47 Chevy bomb loafing down a dirt road in an El Paso barrio. He’s got the trunk loaded with sand bags and the skirts mounted a little lower than stock - it’s all part of the look. Maybe there is some Mexican music in the background and a young Latin girl scampering to get out of the way… Of course he is sitting back and low in his seat.

From that point on, Mexican/Americans had their spot in the automotive culture. As they grew into this country, so too did their automotive sophistication, ideas, and art. It wasn’t long until Chicano painters in south central L.A. were giving George Barris ideas. And of course not too long after that was the beginning of the Bellflower custom craze… Which, in turn, lead to the traditional late 60s Lowrider. The real deal. El trato verdadero.

¡Permita hay revolucionario!
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Re: Some Cool Readin From The Los Boulevados Website.

Post by DeadSled on Tue Dec 30, 2008 5:32 pm

Summer of '63


I was sitting here watching the Munsters on TV Land today, and I really got to thinking. How much fun was it to be around in the 50s and 60s? I was born in '67, so I'm not a kid anymore, but I was born too late to enjoy those times.

It must have been fun to be on the production crew of the Munsters. It was a slapstick, anything goes TV show that literally makes you belly laugh out loud. It is in no way like TV today where it seems like the only way shows can be funny is if they are off color. It must be hard to raise kids in this day and age with all the problems in the world. Parents have the hardest job in the world that is 24 hours a day, everyday. It is a job that deserves big money pay, and can be thankless. My Mom always said that the rewards come after your kids have grown and become a responsible, productive part of society. All you parents out there, MY HAT IS OFF TO YOU!

Anyway, if you think back, whether you heard about how it was "back in the day" or you lived it, I can't help but think that times were better. I understand technology is way better today than then, but it seems like the moral fiber of things is going to pot. The cost of living vs. wages is screwed and there are alot of really poor people in the world. Including the good ol' U.S.A. Yep, I think times were better............

Turn the clock back to about 1963ish. Can you imagine hitting the local cruise spot? A hamburger and a Coke were way less than a buck, and the price of gas, probably around 35 cents a gallon! You know that places like The Clock Drive-In, A&W, Harvey's Broiler and so on had a fair share of everyday family cars, but can you imagine the awesome kustoms and rods that were there? This was a time when car magazines were beginning to get kinda "fruity" (for lack of a better term). Stories about slot cars, mini bikes, go carts and goofy show rods started popping up. It seems to me that the era from about '62 or '63, until the arrival of lowriders in the early 70s, that the best place to see kustom cars was on the street. The magazines just weren't covering cars like this. You know, the Los Boulevardos style cars that we all dig.

The Summer of '63 You just finished your Junior year and school was out until after Labor Day. You hated those tough accelerated college courses, but they put you way ahead. Your big brother knew what he was talking about, and you're glad you listened! What was it going to be like to be a Senior? Should be a breeze. You only need 8 credits to graduate. Life was good! You were young and had your own wheels! You turn into the drive-in behind the wheel of your in-progress '58 Chebby Impala. It isn't much--yet, but you're working at the local Mobil gas station nearly everyday and the money is slowly coming in to get your sled finished to perfection. You spent all your hard earned savings to buy the little kar at Honest Joe's Auto Shack. She wasn't the prettiest kar on the lot, but the price was right. The paint was faded, it needed tires, and it wasn't running too great. Well, your best buddy Todd helped you get her running better. A simple tune up, carb rebuild and an oil change and she was running like a champ. Your other best bud Teddy was taking auto body classes at the community college and needed a kar to use as a project for the welding and leading unit. He shaved the door handles, nosed it, decked it and fixed up a few minor dings to perfection. For now, the '58 was turquiose with a white top and had various gray primer spots, but it was clean! Your boss noticed that you are a hard worker and has taken a liking to you. You're never late, and are always willing to work overtime when he needs you. His full service customers are always telling him what a great kid you are. The mechanic that works the two stalls in the station has taken a shine to you as well. A coupla weeks ago you mentioned that you'd like to get the Impala a little closer to the pavement for that kleen, low, kruiser look. The mechanic (Rudy) says it would be a piece of cake, and said if it was ok with the Patron, he'd come in on Saturday and get her dropped. The Boss said it wasn't a problem--"if Rudy is willing to do the work, it's ok with me." Well, it's Saturday night, and earlier today Rudy did his magic. With a few coils cut out she was definitely lookin' sharp! While you were working on dropping the kar this afternoon, The Patron strolled in and noticed a few of your tires were getting bald, and the other two had cords showing! He said with a smile, "You're about due for a set of tires, eh? You know, I've been thinking. You're a hard worker, and I don't think I could find a better kid to pump gas, clean windows and check air and stuff. You've been working here for close to a year, you're never late and you always do what I ask you to. If you want, we can put a set of those new skinny whitewalls on your car, and I'll take 5 bucks out of every paycheck until you pay me back for the tires." Wow, new shoes for the car! You quickly agree, and the Boss told Rudy to unwrap the new set of skinny whites and get 'em on the kid's car. He also asked Rudy to align the car, too. "We don't want those new skins wearing out too fast now, do we?" About 3 weeks ago, you managed to score a set of the '59 Impala DeLuxe hubcaps with the beautiful 2-bar knockoffs at the local junkyard. Merle's Auto Salvage was THE BEST place to find quality used car parts at the best prices! You had been doing business there for quite some time, and scored alot of neat trinkets for the kar. Ol' Merle really likes you and thinks what you're doing to the Imp is "Neato!" He gave you the deal of the month, and let you have the near perfect hubbies for just $5.00! It broke you until next payday, but it was worth it! You re-assured yourself that the $5.00 was well spent--especially after you saw the way your ride looked with the new tires and caps! You had stopped to pick up Todd and Teddy and headed straight for the strip. Time to get some dinner. You guys had decided on A&W tonight. A Papa Burger, some onion rings and a Big Root Beer sounded great!

The kandy and flake were glowing under the flourescent lights. You could hear some great music drifting through the warm summer night air. Every now and then you could hear a hopped up car squeal out and rev through the gears a few blocks over. Maybe you would hear an occasional metallic scrape when one of the dropped cars would drag bottom turning in to the burger joint to check out the scene. Not a muscle car in sight! Rat rods? Nope. Only the finest kars were allowed to park in the front row. The family sedans or wagons were alotted to the spaces further in the back. The up and coming rides that might have some primer spots on them from where the door handles, and various shaved trim used to be were always towards the rear as well. You found a spot among the other up and comers and started to take it all in..............Kar after kar rolled through. Chrome spinner hubcaps caught reflections of car headlights and the neon of the A&W. You always loved the Olds Fiestas, but you consoled yourself by remembering what a great deal your Chevy caps were. Not many guys were running them either. A few cars had lake pipes, some had dumps and others had pencil tips. The really lucky guys had a set of the the deep chrome reverse wheels with Cal Custom Spider Caps. A few other lucky ducks had the All New Astro Supreme wheels. Man, they were beautiful. Maybe someday I can buy a set...............Occasionally, a Mexican kid from the barrio in a ground hugging Bomba would roll by low and slow. He'd push in the clutch and hit the gas and let the split pipes sing. What a sound! You would also see the rich kids cruise through, too. Usually in Daddy's new Chrysler 300 Convertible or Lincoln. They usually just drove through once and didn't come back. Alot of guys would give them a bad time by saying things like "Hey Preppie! Does Daddy know you took the car out tonight? Where's your chauffer, Junior? Hey Cinderella, your carriage is going to turn into a pumpkin if you're not home by midnight!" It was mostly good natured ribbing. Nothing like the violence that plagues us all today. There was definitely alot of action going on................

After a while, you decide to head out to one of the many other drive-ins to see what other kool kars were around. New neighborhoods meant new kars, and kustom trends that were common to the area. Maybe diamond shaped holes for frenched antennas, or the nose up and the tail dragging. In another area, panel style paint jobs are the rage. Some painter in the area is making his mark. In yet another area of town, the trend seems to be brightly kolored kandy tops with lots of chunk Metalflake. The bottom of the kar may be partly or completely in primer, but the tops of these cars are gorgeous! All these different styles and choices make it tough for you to decide which way your Impala will be finished--but it will be done............someday! After midnight, things are starting to die down and it's time to head for home. You drop off Teddy first. You guys are getting together tomorrow after church to do a few more minor dents. A nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon and evening. Next, you drop Todd at home. He has to go visiting family tomorrow, and won't be around until the early evening, but he promised to stop by in his hot rod model A. Your street always looked like a car show when all your buddies would stop by. It was always about cars...........and then girls. It was about good times.

Vietnam hadn't happened yet. There was no middle east turmoil. Gasoline was cheap--and made in the U.S.A. Most cars driving on our streets were built here, too. Drug abuse was knowing one weird guy that occasionally smoked a joint, and Coke was a bubbly and refreshing soft drink. Crack is what happened to your sidewalk when a heavy truck drove over it, and being gay meant being happy. Everybody you knew had both parents, married and living together. Everyone's Dad had a good job, and Mom stayed home to raise kids and run the household. You and your neighbors weren't rich, but everyone had enough to get by. If you had a beef with another guy, you'd get down and dirty in the school yard or alley and settle it. Shootings, stabbings and other stuff like that were the rare exception, not the rule. The streets were safe. Kids would play games in the street until after dark. You never worried about some pervert stealing one of your kids. You hated to have to stay inside and play because the weather was bad or you were sick. Stay in and play video games? Even if we had 'em, no way! Everybody was outside and fun things were happening. Most people didn't even lock their cars. Crime was low and the air was clean(er). Yep, I think that times were better. Now, where's that TV Guide. I think the Munsters are on again in a little while.

-OG lil E
04/12/07
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