Friday, July 27, 2012

9 Things You Didn't Know About Lowriders

You’ve probably heard the song, and you’ve probably seen cars bouncing up and down in rap videos, but what do you actually know about lowrider culture? Is it just a hetero-macho male activity centered on crazily customized cars and scantily clad women? Or is it something deeper? A thoughtful and creative activity that celebrates Mexican, Hispanic, and Latino-American communities, with roots extending back to the earliest days of post-colonized Mexico? Why don’t we, like the aforementioned song says, “take a little trip, take a little trip and see” if you know the answers to these nine questions about lowriders?

  1. What is lowriding?:

    The term lowriding describes showing off the results of a heavily customized automobile either on informal neighborhood cruises or at special community events and car shows. Lowriding refers to slowly driving a lowrider car, the frame lowered until it nearly touches the ground, and the driver seated in such a way that just the top of their head is visible. Historians trace this uniquely Mexican hobby to Juarez, Mexico, circa 1920, where the popular activity among stylish young men was to cruise the town in customized American cars. Going even farther back in time, lowriding has its precedent in the cultural traditions of Mexico’s cowboys, or charros, which included masterful displays of horsemanship and the creation of elaborately designed saddles.

  2. What is a pachuco?:

    Going as far back as 1920, in Mexico and in the Western United States, nattily dressed, nightlife-loving, street-smart Mexican men were known as pachucos. Lowrider culture was born out of the pachuco lifestyle, which was defiant, flamboyant, and, as in the case of the infamous zoot suit riots of 1943, provocative enough to inspire violent backlash from whites. Cruising in an American car weighted down with sandbags in the trunk evolved into lowriding as we know it today.

  3. Is there a connection between lowriders and the Chicano movement?:

    Lowrider culture became even more provocative with the rise of the Chicano movement at the beginning of the 1960s. The identifier Chicano can be traced back to the confident, even defiant spirit of pachucos in the 1940s and 1950s. The word, actually a derogatory term, became a label of pride among American-born Mexicans who were proud of their heritage and took action to end discrimination and injustice against Hispanics and Latinos. Lowriders found common ground among leaders of the Chicano movement and were inspired into collaborative community activism.

  4. What is a lowrider car?:

    A lowrider car is a drivable work of art created by extensively customizing the automobile’s exterior and interior. Early to mid-1960s Chevy Impalas may be the most recognizable model of choice for transformation into lowriders, but cars dating as far back as 1930 and as recent as 1980 are fair game for the kind of extensive customizing that defines a lowrider car. Exteriors feature period factory options, as well as elaborate paint jobs with distinctive, hand-painted lettering and graphics. Lowrider cars are installed with hydraulics or suspension air bags so that the body of the car can be raised and lowered with the touch of a button.

  5. How do lowrider cars bounce up and down?:

    The tradition of cruising in lowriding automobiles, rockin’ an attitude that lowriders like to call “low and slow,” may have originated out of driving used cars in some need of repair and with poor suspension. Bad roads and speed bumps, as well as unsympathetic police officers looking to ticket those driving cars not legal for street driving, inspired lowriders to install hydraulic lifts that would raise and lower the height of their vehicles. Add some powerful springs, and you end up with a ride that, with enough hydraulic power, can bounce up to six feet off the ground.

  6. Are there women lowriders?:

    Yes. Although you might not know it from looking at a current issue of the popular Lowrider Magazine, in which every woman pictured is in a bikini and poses provocatively in front of a car. Lowriding is a community-oriented, yet very macho and male-dominated culture. But women lowriders do exist and build cars as elaborate and as beautiful as those built by their male counterparts. East Los Angeles’ The Lady Bugs car club, founded in 1975 and famous for its lowriding Volkswagen bugs, is one of the earliest examples of an all-woman lowrider club.

  7. Are lowrider cars legal?:

    Lowrider cars are definitely street legal, however, state laws may prohibit the extent to which a car can be customized before it’s declared unsafe for public driving. For instance, multi-colored lights and deeply tinted windows are illegal in some states. The bottom of lowrider cars cannot scrape the street, and rims need to be small enough so as not to scrape the fenders and possibly create sparks while driving on rough roads. And hydraulics can be used only at certain speed limits, usually 15 miles per hour or under.

  8. What’s a lowrider bicycle?:

    The first lowrider bicycle, or the first example of a bike that most likely inspired the design of the first lowrider bicycle, may have been the customized Schwinn Sting-Ray the TV character Eddie Munster rode in the 1960s television show The Munsters. Some historians believe lowrider bicycle culture simply came from lowrider fathers helping their young sons customize their bicycles, until the frames sat only a few inches above the street. Lowrider bicycles feature fancy mirrors, twisted chrome, and of course, elaborate paint jobs. Despite the popularity of BMX bikes, lowrider bikes still remain a vital part of Hispanic culture.

  9. Are lowriders a gang or a club?:

    Movies and television, along with incidents of violence at lowrider events and car shows, have reinforced the stereotyping of lowrider clubs as fronts for gang or drug-related activity. However, anyone who puts in the amount of time (not to mention money) into customizing a classic car is left with very little time for gang activity. Lowriders are very aware of their cultural heritage and pride themselves on positively representing their communities, often participating in fundraising events for charitable causes.

Taken From Auto Insurance Quotes

1 comment:

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