Lowriders: Cultura y Historia

I’m convinced there are two kinds of people in the world: those who drive for the purpose of getting from point A to point B, mere transportation if you will; and people like me who drive cars to, well, drive cars. Two types of people, two world views.

-Daniel Kosharek

  One of my favorite things about SF is the effortless blend of old and contemporary culture. As you drive through the suburbs, you will see traditional adobe style homes with modern cars. Believe me, seeing a medley of traditional architecture and anything contemporary is bound to capture your attention. Speaking of classic and contemporary combinations, one of my favorite examples thus far is the New Mexico History Museum’s Lowrider’s exhibit.   For those who are unfamiliar with the colloquial term “lowrider” (or, bajito y suavecito), it is used to characterize a car with a suspension lowered inches from the ground. The term also refers to the driver of a lowrider. A lowrider’s appeal is not speed; rather, it is fancied as artwork, a marriage symbol, an ancestor’s memorial, and so much more. Lowrider’s have existed for decades, though there is not a specific location that has been deemed the birth place of lowriding. Some studies have shown perhaps Mexico; other studies have shown perhaps Los Angeles, California or El Paso, Texas. Nonetheless, there is a lowrider world capitol: Espanola, New Mexico. Today, lowriders cars and lowriders represent Hispanic culture in Northern New Mexico and other places nationwide. This week, I was lucky enough to visit the Lowrider exhibit:   Upon entering the exhibit, I was greeting by mounted, chromed engine. lowriderengine Lowriders were and still are used for the purposes of showing off how nice, or bajito y suavecito (low and slow) one’s ride is. lowriders1

Three Wheel, 2013

Impala Verde, 2013

Likewise, lowrider’s are made for special occasions, family gatherings, and many more symbolic purposes.

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Irene Maria and Dave Jaramillo, Jr. in Dave’s Dream

1960 Ford LTD, San Juan, 1980

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(Top) San Gabriel Park, Albuquerque

1983

(Bottom) Patrick, 2003

Jeff, 2003

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