With the flow of automotive history, new vehicle types and styles will always come into being. One of these styles holds a special place in motorists’ hearts. We mean the lowrider automotive subculture, which is one of the most recognizable car tune styles. It originated as an entertainment for veterans of World War II, became the main vehicle of the hip-hop revolution, and today represents an expensive hobby for car enthusiasts from all over the world.
We at Salvagebid have prepared some interesting facts concerning when and how lowriders appeared and what factors conditioned their popularity. Let’s dive into the subject! We promise it will be an interesting journey.
The History of Lowriders
The lowrider culture originated in the second half of the 1940s. Latin American from the working-class neighborhoods of Los Angeles stand at its roots. In an effort to stand out and reveal themselves, they started to paint their cars with bright colors and add various ethnic patterns to the vehicle’s design. Additional automobile lights were also used.
In the cabin, Latin American car enthusiasts used different decorative elements to make the style unique and costly. Along with that, they strived to make automobiles look aggressive and solid. Changes in the car’s structure and the maximum lowering helped with it. A low-slung vehicle, moving down the street smoothly and almost scraping the ground, was regarded as the pinnacle of chic.
Because local authorities and police did not support such lowrider modifications in terms of road movement safety, a law prohibiting suspension manipulations was passed in 1957. It stated that no car part should be installed lower than the bottoms of its wheel rims. The police were fining the whole automotive groups that followed the lowrider subculture and even confiscating the rebuilt vehicles. As a result, the entire automotive movement went underground, with illegal and specialized car workshops specializing in lowrider tuning.
To override the legal ban, amateur mechanics installed hydraulic suspension on their lowriders, which allowed for effortless and fast clearance changes, including when approaching the police. It was a watershed moment in the history of lowrider car tuning.
Lowriders quickly became an important attribute of the Latin American culture in California. Sadly, over time, such machines became associated with criminal activity.
Specific Features of Lowriders
Lowrider is a separate vehicle class that stands out with its customization. The main feature of this style is the fully lowered suspension. However, there are other distinguishing features, as follows:
- usually, motorists use American cars from the 1940 – 1970s for customization;
- automobiles are brightly colored, with a lot of silver chrome.
- airbrush painting with a lot of layers, most often with Latin American patterns and logos;
- comfortable interior with soft seats;
- small wheels with narrow tires, designed to visually emphasize lowered suspension;
- a common usage of the alloy wheels.
- availability of a height-adjustable suspension that allows the car body to rock up and down and even bounce;
- powerful audio systems;
Today, lowriders are associated with African-American and Latin cultures. The image of a bright car with a low clearance capable of swinging and bouncing on a suspension became famous in American films and popular hip-hop clips, gradually contributing to the formation of mass culture.
Lowrider Vehicle Types
Because the lowrider movement had no boundaries, car enthusiasts and amateur engineers working in specialized workshops took on the challenge of designing unique and cool automobiles. As a result, we can highlight the following types and styles of lowriders, based on the vehicle’s exterior features:
Traditional and Classic
A traditional lowrider is a car without hydraulic suspension. We can also highlight the classic subgroup of customized vehicles, which have all the same features but also hydraulic suspension. Here, powerful American rear-wheel-drive classic muscle cars of the 1960s–1980s with expensive leather and wood trim rule the ball. The brightest representatives are the Chevrolet Impala, Pontiac Grand Prix, Oldsmobile Cutlass, and Buick Regal, which you can find at online auctions from Salvagebid. The interior is dominated by chrome-plated details such as a chain-welded steering wheel, gear knobs, power windows, and door handles. Outside, there are round mirrors and classic glossy body paint, often with flame-pattern vinyl.
These are lowrider vehicles manufactured between the 1930s and the 1950s. The name comes from their appearance, which was inherent at the time: the absence of bumpers, a low roof, visors, and additional elements in the form of headlights. We can recall the Chevrolet Fleetmaster, Chevrolet Fleetline, Cadillac Eldorado, and Buick Skylark models as examples, some of which are available in our marketplace.
The minitruck category includes off-road customized vehicles made in the United States. They gained popularity in the 1980s. A lowered or pneumatic suspension and boosted engine, along with good acoustics and a powerful subwoofer, are the minitruck’s distinctive features. The Nissan Hardbody is considered the most common vehicle in this category, but you can also find other customized models.
Modern cars of American, Japanese, or European production fall under this category. The style suggests the presence of expensive audio and video systems, in addition to the suspension, engine tuning, and the installation of large 20-inch alloy wheels.
There is also such a group of lowriders, in which pneumatic cylinders are installed on various nodes not only of the suspension but also of the body. A cab that rises or tilts in all directions, a lifting body cover, various platforms, and different kinds of turning mechanisms are the characteristic features here. These cars are designed exclusively for the show. Some cannot even move fast on their own, not to mention lacking proper registration.
The Bottom Line
Lowriders can be definitely named as unique and one of the boldest movements in the automotive world. As evidence, we can point to the important role lowrider style has played in popular culture, particularly in influencing hip-hop. That is why collectors and car enthusiasts all around the world are hunting for impressive examples of lowrider vehicles.
If you consider buying a classic car that can be rebuilt for the lowrider modification, there is no smarter solution than to look for one on the Salvagebid online marketplace. To start your search, you can register at our online car auctions and start bidding. If you have any questions or requests, our team is at your disposal! Call: +1 (360) 347-1300 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Pacific Time) Monday through Friday, or email [email protected].