By on June 25, 2015

Sonny MadridThe founder of Lowrider magazine, Sonny Madrid, died Monday at 70.

The San Jose, Calif. native founded the iconic magazine during the mid-1970s, Hemmings Daily reports, when two events linked to his previous magazines — published as a student at San Jose State University — provided the seed capital needed to launch the first issue in January 1977.

From there, Madrid and his staff sought to connect every last independent lowrider community as they could, with Madrid leaving the Bay Area in his 1954 Chevrolet sedan delivery to promote the magazine in locales like East Los Angeles — where lowriders began — New Mexico and Texas; the staff expanded outreach further east.

Madrid was also key in the decision to add pin-ups to the front of every issue of Lowrider, beginning with the November 1979 issue. Despite the initial outcry from both male and female readers, magazine sales climbed 15 percent to 20 percent, per figures reported in Charles M. Tatum’s book, “Lowriders in Chicano Culture: From Low to Slow to Show.”

Overall, Madrid’s Lowrider not only covered and helped to grow the lowrider scene, but also promoted the music, fashion and culture surrounding it. However, the original magazine would fold after the December 1985 issue over financial difficulties. The resurrected Lowrider returned in 1988 after former staffer Alberto Lopez bought the magazine from Madrid; Lopez later sold the magazine to publisher McMullen Argus in the late 1990s.

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4 Comments on “Lowrider Magazine Founder Sonny Madrid Dead At 70...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Looks like Bill Murray.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Alllllllllllll my friends love the low rider…

    Hey man, where else was I supposed to get my Latina fix as a Midwest kid? (Of course trying to sneak peeks at it on the newsstand. My good Catholic Mother would never allow such FILTH in her home.)

    Little did I know I’d later marry a girl about 60% Latina, thanks Sonny Madrid!

  • avatar
    STS_Endeavour

    Aww. That’s sad news. From time to time, I may pick up a LRM if a particular work catches my eye. Rest in peace, Sonny. Thank you for your hard work.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    And in the picture he’s standing in front of my very first car: a 1941 Chevrolet Special Deluxe Sedan, blinged out with the flying lady hood ornament, fog light, sun visor, and I’m sure a few other options as well.


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