A New Magazine for Lowriders

BLVD keeps the movement real for the streets

By Al Carlos Hernandez
Published on LatinoLA: December 1, 2002

A New Magazine for Lowriders

The Lowrider custom car market generates over $2 billion dollars a year in sales. The person most responsible for this vehicular revolution is former Lowrider Magazine owner and publisher Alberto Lopez.

Anytime you see Snoop Dog or JayZ hitting the three wheeled motion, thank Lopez and all of the Old School homies, who virtually invented the genre way back in the day, when you literally had to heat the springs to lower a car and the first hydraulic shocks were taken from airplane landing systems.

I am uniquely qualified to speak on the issue, my credentials being that I was a former owner of a '48 Fleetwood Chevy bomba, a lime green 1960 Impala on 520?s, and a slammed 1966 Mercedes 250, which measured two tacos up off the oil pan. Some people read Onda Latino magazines for the bajitos, other for the babes. Regrettably, I?m OG enough to be qualified as a Bomba myself.

Let me give you a quick course; let's call it Lowrider Magazine Industry 1A.

The original Lowrider magazine was founded by Sonny Madrid in the early 70s and road a wave of success for several years. The magazine fell on hard times and was purchased by former Lowrider sales executive Alberto Lopez and his wife Deena in the early 80s.

The Lopez?s turned the magazine -- which chronicled the lowrider cultural and lifestyle movement revolution throughout the world -- into a hundred million dollar industry. When I say throughout the world it?s no hyperbole: Lowriding, and the socio-hip lifestyle engendered within, is big in Japan and other parts of the world.

A few years ago, Alberto sold the magazine and spin off magazines to a corporation called Primedia, a mega-magazine corporation which publishes almost every kind of automotive/motorcycle/recreational vehicle lifestyle magazine imaginable. It?s like the MacDonald?s of maquinas.

In order to insure the continuity of purpose when Alberto sold the magazine to the corporation, his brother Lonnie Lopez, a well-known graphic artist and lifestyle enthusiast who worked with Alberto and Deena from the beginning, took over as Lowrider's editor.

A major part of the lowriding industry is the mega-car shows held throughout the country. At the shows car clubs and custom car builders have an opportunity to show their cars, bikes, trucks, win trophies, and compete in car hopping contests. Car shows are a celebration of a certain family-oriented lifestyle.

Primedia, in an attempt to bolster the bottom line, started to pack the magazine with lots of industry-related ads and began squeezing the lifestyle and community input from the magazine. During Lowrider magazine-sponsored car shows, the corporation started changing the competition rules, thereby making it more sponsor-friendly and less accessible to car builders and community participants. Because of this, many of the car clubs from across the country started boycotting Lowrider Magazine and the car shows they endorsed.

To make a long story short?Lonnie Lopez and Elliot Gilbert started their own magazine and called it BLVD.

Says Lopez, ?Over the past few years, we felt our vision of what a great magazine should be was drifting slowly off course, and then more rapidly away from showcasing the best lowriding traditional cars, bombs, trucks and bicycles -- the heart of the lowriding lifestyle. The ads became overwhelming; the few pages remaining for cars hardly did justice to the owners who invested years of hard work and dedication.?

BLVD Magazine has premiered to rave reviews, supported by many grass root and legendary car clubs from across the country. Lopez and Gilbert are taking the custom car magazine format to another level through the use of a big picture format, high tech high definition photo and paper quality.

What is unique about the BLVD?s vision is that bilingual sections will include not only Spanish but Japanese, making it trilingual. This will expand and expound on the international flavor the magazine is trying to capture, spinning it towards a more sophisticated upscale atheistic tip.

Lonnie has even managed to bring his brother, Lowrider King Alberto, out of retirement. He has returned to the lowrider movement with a new lowrider show and film company called Six Four entertainment.

Alberto did his first show at the LA Sports arena during November and filmed it as part of a documentary. Alberto said, ?I feel this is a new beginning for the lowrider movement, a revival of spirit. I am proud to be associated with Lonnie and Elliot. I know that they are working hard to keep the movement real on the streets.?

For more information contact Lonnie at lonnie@lowriderblvd.com or Alberto at http://www.sixfourentertainment.com

About Al Carlos Hernandez:
Al Carlos is a national columnist.

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