This Austin native holds the door open to his neighborhood’s car club tradition

The gatherings at Austin’s Chicano Park can be intimidating to outsiders and disruptive to newcomers. John Chavez wants everyone to feel welcome.

By Pete RamirezJanuary 4, 2022 10:44 am, ,

From NPR’s Next Generation Radio Project:

Bumping to Tejano music, John Chavez rolls his muted black 1979 El Camino to Chicano Park in Austin’s East Side every Sunday.

“We try to keep the scene going,” he says of his car club, Prophecy de Tejas. The group coordinates with other car clubs in the area to host free events at the park that include music, barbecue and, of course, beautiful vehicles of all kinds.

The smell of barbecued brisket and sausages permeates the park as all sorts of clean and shiny cars crawl along the two-lane road. If the pristine vehicles aren’t cruising, they’re parked in a row to showcase their features to all who pass by. Some of the lowriders use their hydraulics to raise one end of their cars, defying gravity and making them stand on three wheels.

As president of Prophecy de Tejas, Chavez has made it his mission to welcome new people to the car scene and continue the lowrider tradition his father introduced to him as a young boy. Chavez thinks car culture should be open to everyone and that it’s a privilege to have the freedom to enjoy what he calls a classic American hobby.

“We have the opportunity to do a lot of things that a lot of other countries don’t,” he says. “We got a lot of freedom to enjoy.”

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