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Lowrider: Wikis


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1948 Chevrolet Fleetline "Bomb" from the Viejitos Car Club Orange County

A Lowrider is a car which has had its suspension system modified (with hydraulic suspension) so that it rides as low as possible. Lowriders often have user controlled height adjustable suspension. Lowriders are very often classic cars from the 1950s which rode low to begin with, although large numbers of 1940s and 1960s cars are also modified, and to a lesser degree newer vehicles. The word is also used to refer to those who drive or own such cars. A lowrider will traditionally have many factory offered accessories / options and often many after-market accessories added. As a result of the modifications, many lowriders are not street-legal vehicles.


Description of vehicles

The 1964 Chevy Impala hardtop or convertible is one of the most popular lowriders, and to a lesser extent other 1958-1966 Impalas. Although the 1961–66 Chevrolet Impala is usually sought after by car collectors, vehicles including the 1978–88 GM G-bodies (which includes the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Buick Regal, Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, and Pontiac Grand Prix) and their 1973–77 relatives are usually seen as entry-level lowriders. Although heavy customization of the cars is popular in the lowrider scene, some lowriders pass for restored stock cars, especially those based on 1930s–1960s American cars. In some countries, other cars like the Volvo PV544, Morris Minor, air-cooled VW Beetle, Ford Zodiac, Vauxhall Victor and Vauxhall Cresta (and other cars with Trans-Atlantic styling) are often used as substitutes for American cars. This is generally due to the lack of American car imports, costs or even a desire to build a unique lowrider out of a domestically produced vehicle.


A 1938 "Sharknosed" Graham as a bomb lowrider, which easily passes for a restored stocker.

Lowrider exteriors range from conservative enough to pass for a restored stocker to outright beautiful. The more conservative often feature period accessories such as sun visors, fender skirts, bug deflectors and swamp coolers, along with factory options available at the time. Interiors will often appear as if they came from the factory, with sound systems being hidden so as not to spoil the original look of the car.

The more outrageous exteriors typically feature expensive custom paintjobs that consist of several thin layers of different colors, metal oxide flake or pearl flake, clear coat, metal leaf, airbrushed murals or script, pinstripes, flames or any other hand-painted graphics, or any combination of the above. Lowriders traditionally feature small gold or chrome spoke wheels (able to tuck beneath the wheel well and allow the lowest ride height, but which can look out of proportion when the car is raised to stock ride height), with or without knockoffs and whitewall tires (though steels and period or factory hubcaps were also common on cars built up until 1959). Other Traditional Lowrider wheels are Astro Supremes, Cragers, Tru spokes, Crowns, Daytons and Zeniths all with 5.20 tires ; which were used during the 1970s and early 1980s . Other common custom exterior enhancements are; rear wheel skirts, extensive use of chrome or gold, antennas or fins and continental tire kits (a full matching spare tire on display in a rear bumper case). The most detailed vehicles have engine, exhaust and performance modifications and/or beautifications.

Paint, neon or LED lights, chrome or gold accents, cosmetic mirrors, after market steering wheels (of which a chain-link steering wheel is iconic), fuzzy dice that hang from the rear-view mirror or head rests and swivel seats that allow for easier and more stylish entry and exit.

Another common modification are the car doors, such as suicide doors (doors which open in the opposite direction to a standard car door), scissor doors (doors opening vertically) and gull-wing doors (doors opening towards the roof, swinging up), which are less common than many of the other door configurations.

Many low riders now feature any combination of mobile electronic audio and video devices, most stereotypically a loud audio system that features a powerful amp and large subwoofers (commonly referred to as "subs" and "woofers") and primarily focuses on producing heavily-exaggerated bass. Miniature TV screens embedded into the headrests of the seats are popular, and accompanying devices include DVD players and, more recently, video game consoles outfitted with wireless controllers.


Many lowriders feature custom hydraulic suspensions that allow the driver to alter the ride height at will. These systems range from simple to complex and are usually measured by the number of hydraulic pumps (generally 2 to 4) used to control the various hydraulic combinations that ultimately produce a specific motion from the vehicle. These pumps are powered by multiple batteries installed in a rack in the trunk of the vehicle. The speed at which the car lifts depends partly on the voltage generated by these batteries, which can range from 24 all the way up to 124 volts. The most common motions are dipping/raising the four corners of the vehicle (referred to as corners), dipping/raising the front or rear of the vehicle (front, back), dipping/raising the sides of the vehicles (side to side), and lowering/raising the vehicle as a whole (pancake). A skilled switch operator can manipulate his controls (hitting switches) to raise one wheel completely off the ground (3-wheel motion), or to hop one end of the car completely off the ground.


Most people customize their interiors, either by restoring it to original condition, or modifying it to match the exterior of the vehicle. This can be rather expensive once cost of materials and labor are accounted for. Some people install video monitors either on the inside of the doors, the back of the seats, or the center console. Additional graphics may accent a customized interior. Steering wheels are often replaced to match other modifications better. Traditionally, lowriders used velvet, mirrors, smoothed out panels, and woodgrain however that is often considered old school as more modern techniques and materials have come into popularity.

See also


External links

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