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Lowrider procession in East L.A. memorializes car club legend

February 6, 2011 | 10:30 am

There was a a funeral procession like no other in East Los Angeles on Saturday -- one involving lowriders from as far away as Las Vegas who participated in a 10-mile trek in honor of a car-club legend.

The memorial was for Jesse Valadez, a founding member of the Imperial Car Club who has died of cancer at age 64. Acccording to the Associated Press:

"He loved that car. It was known as the legend of the lowriders," said his brother Armando, 63, who co-founded the Imperial Car Club with Jesse in 1964. "It was his pride and joy. It was his baby."

Mourners, many wearing shirts touting their car clubs, gathered Saturday morning for a service at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, before joining the procession to Rose Hills Memorial Park, 10 miles east in Whittier.

The first Gypsy Rose, a 1963 Impala, was featured in the NBC sitcom "Chico and the Man," which brought customized cars into the national spotlight.


Photo: Visitors to Los Angeles' Petersen Automotive Museum examine Gypsy Rose, a 1964 Chevrolet Impala lowrider, on Feb. 10, 2008. Credit: Associated Press