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Buckeye man hopes public switches gears on lowriders’ reputation

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Al Luna, of Buckeye, prepares his 1954 Chevrolet 3100 truck for the upcoming lowrider custom car show at WestWorld on August 12. (West Valley View photo by Ray Thomas)

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Buckeye resident Al Luna is clearly passionate about lowriders.

When the Air Force veteran describes what patrons will see at the Showcase Supershow Custom and Classic Car Show at WestWorld of Scottsdale on Saturday, August 12, his voice changes. There’s a spark in his tone.

“You’re going to be amazed,” Luna said. “You won’t believe what you’ll see: the cars, the displays, the colors, the interiors, the craftsmanship, the chrome, the gold, the engraving, the stereo systems, the lights.

“People who have never seen it before at that magnitude leave going, ‘Wow. I didn’t know people could paint like that, or do airbrushing like that.’ They are so artistic.”

Luna is a lowrider owner himself, who is customizing a candy apple red 1954 Chevy truck. He’ll appear at the show as part of the Lowrider Legacy Exhibit, which celebrates the history and roots of the culture. Frequently, the community gets a bad rap.

“The lowrider community is involved in a lot of things other than just lowriding,” he said. “We do benefits. We do toy drives in December every year. Last year, we bought more than 800 hot dogs and hamburgers for the event. They were all gone.

“We stay pretty busy. There’s always a car show going on, too.”

The Showcase Supershow Custom and Classic Car Show will feature hundreds of cars, according to James Rivas, a Mesa resident who is with the organizer, Motor Sports Showcase. The vehicles will range from Chevys from the late 1950s through the 1960s, to newer cars like Camaros. A portion of the proceeds go toward scholarships.

“People put on car shows to make money,” Luna said. “I get it. That’s what you do. With Richard (Ochoa of Motor Sports Showcase) and his team, their focus isn’t just on that. They bring the community together and help with scholarships to ASU or wherever the student wants to go.”

This is the first time the company is having it in the summer and it’s a first for WestWorld.

“Normally, we do it earlier in the year,” said Rivas, also known as Mega 104.3’s “Manic Hispanic.” “We try to stay away from the heat. It’s usually outdoors and a family outing, sort of picnic-type thing. Since we decided to do it in the summer, we were a little nervous. But I think we’re going to have more than 400 cars, bikes and trucks.”

It will have music, thanks to Rivas, who serves as entertainment director, too. Among the performers are Kid Frost, who is dubbed an “OG lowrider legend,” DJ Kane of the Kumbia Kings, comedian Joey Medina and the Gap Band Experience.

“The Gap Band Experience is an old-school band who used to be called the Gap Band,” Rivas said. “They just don’t have Charlie Wilson. We wanted to give a little Latin flavor, too, with DJ Kane. We’re bringing a couple of artists we pay a lot on the Cruisin’ with the Manic Hispanic show.”

Luna has always been fond of lowriders, as his first car was an Impala that he owned for more than 18 years. His wife, Elizabeth, has been by his side – his “shotgun partner” – for 31 years.

“I always liked that style of cars,” he said. “When I bought one, I wanted to build it in the style of the lowrider, with the 13-inch rims, the custom paint and the look.”

Luna encourages everyone to go to the WestWorld event – if they have an interest in cars or not.

“They are so artistic,” he said. “They are able to paint a picture on the hood of a car that looks like a photo to a T. They’re doing that with an airbrush. They look like glass. It looks like you can reach into the paint and pull the color out. It’s incredible.”

 
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