Known to be heavy into Chevy iron, the Tovar’s eldest, Eddie, had a new project to share with us. “We took on a Merc because we want to build a custom; I wanted to take a different route. I want to break out of my little box, my comfort zone. I’ve always had Chevys, but ever since I was a kid I’ve loved customs so that’s why I picked me up a ’49 Merc. Even though their dad and uncles had the Chevy customs there was a movie, Rebel Without a Cause, that got Eddie into having a Merc—that look of an era when James Dean was king. “That kind of car was always out of my reach but I came up on one, happened to find it up in San Jose, California. It’s getting back to the custom part that’s in me,” Eddie adds. I’ve had my lowrider and now I want something different.

“You know, my brothers and I have developed an eye not just for lowriders but we’ll go to the Grand National Roadster Show and we’ll feed off that, take a look to get ideas. I mean we go to bike shows, hot rods, whatever, we’re not stuck in one box.” Michael adds, “You know what it is, it’s the love of cars that we’ve got in us, no matter if it’s a Ford, a Merc, or a foreign car. It’s in use regardless of what make or model. We respect everyone’s version of a custom car, and we feed off that stuff. As Eddie says, we are lowriders at heart but there’s a respect we share with others who build their dream car. Hey, if that’s what you love then that’s what you build. I was lucky enough to experience the last couple of years they cruised Bellflower Boulevard and got to see Buicks and Pontiacs and Fords with beautiful pearls and candies, Cragars and chrome, and Larry Watson. Seemed like he was everywhere back then!”

David Garcia Sr., Drag N Shop, Santa Fe Springs, California

The Drag N Shop has been synonymous with many a custom car. Since the late ’80s, the Garcia family, David, Mary, and their two sons, Joseph and David Anthony Jr., have been working together for their love of all things custom. Learning from their father, the guys have grown up to have talents and skills that keep the creative juices flow. Joseph, with his killer metalworking skills, can make just about anything with torch and hammer in hand while younger brother David Anthony can draw, paint, and pinstripe along with the best of them. Not many people can actually attest to knowing custom creators like Bill Hines, Larry Watson, Ron Aguirre, and Steve Stanford on a personal level, but these guys don’t gloat. Their work speaks for itself. As kustom renaissance men, the Garcias have been a part of many a major project. Whether they’re waiting in the wings for a car to be farmed out by Boyd Coddington via Cypress Auto Body or even putting together a certain green ’65 Buick Riviera for Sony Audio at the Las Vegas SEMA show, these guys will work like zombies into the wee hours of the night to get things done right.

“Back in the ’60s we used to call them customs or cruisers, I think. I really didn’t hear the term ‘lowrider’ until the ’70s, right around the time the magazine came out,” David says. “Back then a lot of the guys were pachucos who drove cars like ’56 Chevys; my cousins had Plymouths but not too many ’39 Chevrolets. There were some Fords, but that was more of a rich guy’s car because they were more expensive. I do recall a guy in high school who had a ’57 Chevy—it was black with a metalflaked roof that was done in a backyard in Canta Ranas (Santa Fe Springs, California) area. It was nosed, decked, with a flaked top, the usual stuff back then.”