Racing hot rods were all the rage in the 40s and 50s, until Mexican Americans customized classic cars, made them lower and slower, and changed car culture forever.
Inspired by the paseo, when young people gathered in town centers to flirt, caballeros would deck their horses out to one-up each other.
Lowriders replaced horses, but a spirit of showmanship persisted and transformed these cars into mobile art pieces.
Owners invest tens of thousands of dollars and hours on repairs and custom paint. Some lowriders defy their name with hydraulics that suspend them high in the air.
Their popularity grew in the 60s and 70s. Española, New Mexico became the “Lowrider Capital of the World” and continues its annual Lowrider Day parade to this day.
But the culture has evolved. Fewer people are taking on the cost of building lowriders and even Lowrider, the print magazine devoted to fans, has gone virtual after 42 years.
Yet, the devotion for lowriders runs deep and has gone global, reaching Japan, Brazil, Sweden and Indonesia!
There’ll always be a hunger for weekend cruising and cultural pride!