BIGCCP (BIG CHRIS' CAR PARTS) is a CAR CULTURE BOUTIQUE based in Los Angeles specializing in: vintage car parts + car care products + car culture wearables.
About BIG CHRIS
Born and raised in Pasadena, CA, most people know me as Chris Martinez. But this story isn't just about me as a person, this is about my passion. This is about my hustle. This is about Big Chris from the San Gabriel Valley, and the cars that help shape my identity. This is about wheels, steals, and deals.
The block I grew up on was located in a decent middle class neighborhood, but like all decent neighborhoods in Los Angeles, it had it's fair share of bad influences. Those bad influences also became my homies. From shoplifting at the local grocery store, to having BB gun shootouts on the streets, we were always up to no good.
As we got older our vices grew with us. In our teens we went from stealing bikes in front yards to breaking into cars. At the ripe old age of 17, I graduated early. I became a hustler.
I loved it. I loved making something out of nothing. It didn't cost me a dime to make the money I was making, to me it was all free.
They say "Practice makes perfect", and I became reaaaaaaally good at my craft. I practiced so much that homies were putting in requests for all kinds of things. From car covers to sound systems, stock rims and tires, they wanted it all. And there was nothing I couldn't get.
Breaking into cars eventually led to actually stealing the cars. Specifically, I was into stealing lowriders…not the lowriders you see in magazines, but the ones you see in the streets. You know what I'm talking about… The Cuttys' and the Monte Carlos' that had sound systems and 13's on them. My homies and I were fiends about these cars. These cars were our business, and we would handle our business anywhere. One day you might spot us stripping the cars down in the back of a church. The next day you might catch us at my pad doing our thing, while my parents played poker in the room next door.
This time was the prime of my career, and just as I came into my stride the 90' Euro Cadillac hit the lowrider scene. It was beautiful, and it was clean. The Armenians were paying $1500 for the front end, with the back bumper and tail lights. They were also doing $2500 for the interior including the dash, so you can imagine the motivation this gave me to hustle harder. It didn't matter if it was 3 AM or if I was in the back of the church, my hustle always made me feel good and made me feel alive to be a part of something. I hustled all I could.
It also felt really good to know that I had money.
Although there were tremendous risks and consequences, it never really occurred to me that I could get caught… Until being caught became a reality.
Ask anyone who has been through it before and they'll tell you, sitting in prison for 3 years is not cool. There wasn't much I could do, and I had no choice but to adjust to my new life and do my time. I realize how fortunate I am to have had my family stand beside me during those tough years; they were always there for me. They would regularly make the long trip from Los Angeles to Folsom to visit me, and always made sure I had money on my books. In prison, that means you were living good.
When I finally got out, I had nothing. I was sleeping on my brother's couch and worst of all, I had no ride. I had to do something with myself, so I enrolled in Pasadena City College and got into the automotive program. It felt good to have my hands on some cars again. I got approved for financial aid, but instead of using that money for books and classes, I used it for my passion again.
I bought myself a clean 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Brougham with a Euro clip and center gold 13's.
Eventually I got a job and moved in with my girl. I was in the process of becoming a productive and contributing member of society, but the money wasn't enough. I had gotten used to living a certain life style.
I went from buying whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, to having to budget my money just to make sure the bills were paid. I even struggled to make sure I had gas in my car to get to work.
But something kept eating away inside me, something kept burning. It was my passion. My cars. I wanted to get back into the hustle, but this time in a legit way. As luck would have it, I discovered Ebay, then Craigslist. I also met my boy who eventually put me up on the car parts hustle the legal way, scouring and searching for random parts, and flipping them for dough. I learned quick and started to grow my little trade into something larger.
The same skill, dedication, and focus I used back in the day to steal cars, I now use to run my business. You won't find me back on the block anymore, instead you'll find me at the shop. Big Chris' Car Parts (www.bigccp.com) to be exact, and you can still come to me to get wheels, steals, and deals.