Look Book: Automotive Edition

Photo: Jake Chessum

Julio Luna, Supermarket Owner

How did you get into lowriders?
A friend had a lowrider, and once I saw his, I got myself one the very next day. I got a 1960 Thunderbird. Then I sold that and I got ten more after that. Every year, I try to come out with a different car for the car shows.

What kind of car is this?
It’s a 1964 Chevy Impala. I did a frame-off restoration. I have around $50,000 invested in it already. It’s a very expensive hobby.

What is it you like about driving this kind of car?
What I like most is when I see the faces on the people when they see us. You get a lot of attention.

Who’s “us”?
It’s the Lunatics Car Club, up in Yonkers. We meet, we talk for a little bit, and then we go out cruising. We also put in all the hydraulics.

What’s up with the Chuckie doll?
It’s just decoration. People seem to like it. I’m going to put an airbrushed mural of Chuckie on the back, ’cause that’s the thing with lowriders, you personalize it a little. And I just really like the movie—and he looks kind of crazy.

Photo: Jake Chessum

Nita Sulzer, Homemaker

That’s a lovely color.
It’s called Seafrost. We always get the silvers, but this year I said to my husband, “I think it’s time for a change. Let’s get another color.” I saw Seafrost; I said, “I love it”; we got it.

Have you always had Jaguars?
Oh, yes. There’s no other car that rides like a Jaguar.

Never drive anything else?
We had a Lexus and a Lincoln, but once we got the Jaguar, we never looked back.

Where do you live?
We live in Manhasset, right up the street from the Americana shopping center. Very convenient! We’re in the same condo 22 years now. If you think this car is beautiful, you should see the condo. We have a clubhouse, three tennis courts, and a swimming pool. It’s beautiful here, it really is. And we have security at the gates, so I don’t worry about anyone coming in and robbing me.

Photo: Jake Chessum

Edwin Ramos and Johanna Lopez, Construction Expediters, with Jaydee Anne de la Cruz and Elijah Ramos

Why did you pick this car?
Johanna: The space is good for all the kids—the backseat goes down. It has navigation and DVDs, so what else can I ask for?
Edwin: Because it’s a good manly car! It’s almost like a Navigator.

How many kids do you have altogether?
Johanna: He has one daughter from someone else, I have one daughter on my own, and we share the boy. He’s 2 months old. We can just pile them all in here. They watch cartoons, like Bratz and Raven. We go to the park, Chuck E. Cheese, and we can totally get the whole family together.

Any rules in the car?
Johanna: We used to have a no-eating rule, but that didn’t work so well.

Photo: Jake Chessum

Jina Eisakharin, Buyer in Training

What kind of car is this?
It’s a CLK 320, and I just love it. I am in love with the car.

What do you do?
I just started becoming a buyer for a department store in the city. I’m, like, training.

Do you drive to work?
No. There’s no parking, and I don’t want someone to hit it and scratch it.

If you won’t drive in the city, where do you drive?
I live in Greenvale, Long Island. I drive around there.

So you’re interested in fashion. Do you consider your car an accessory?
Yeah, I do. It’s such a high-fashion car. It’s very trendy, like myself.

If your car were a dress, what would it be?
A Chanel. Or maybe something from Chloé.

Photo: Jake Chessum

Victor Nuñez, Aircraft Catering Loader

Your license plate says “Vickiana.” Who’s that?
My daughter. I named the car after her.

Have you had the van a while?
I bought it in ’88. It has 126,000 miles on it.

Do you think about getting a new one?
Kind of, but this just runs so well, why would I bother?

Photo: Jake Chessum

Dena Gittelman, Sells Discount Dog Treats on eBay

Do your bumper stickers get a lot of honks?
Not on the Upper West Side! But I like to quote Annie Hall: “I love being reduced to a cultural stereotype.”

To photograph the cars and drivers in this section, “Look Book” staked out the parking lots of Fairway in Harlem, Home Depot in Long Island City, the Americana Manhasset Mall on Long Island, and Ikea in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Look Book: Automotive Edition