For countless people around the country, their vehicle of choice is an extension of their personality. That can express itself in countless ways — a high-powered sports car or a high-end luxury vehicle being only two of many possible manifestations. One of the longest-running traditions can be found in the world of lowriders. As an essay at the National Museum of African American History explains, “‘Lowrider’ is the name used for cars transformed into cultural expressions and for the dedicated aficionados who make and drive them.”
Lowriders aren’t just distinctive for their ability to, well, ride low — that approach to driving can also be viewed as a marked contrast to, say, hot rod culture, as muralist Gabriel Gaytan noted in a Vice article. Lowriders are generally associated with Latino communities in southern California and Texas and, after a brief period of dormancy, they’re out in the world again.
As with virtually all social activities, the pandemic put a temporary pause on cruising. Now, though, lowriders are again active in southern California — and a new article by Daniel Hernandez at the Los Angeles Times charts their resurgence. Hernandez writes that “cruising is reaching heights not seen since the heydays of the 1980s and ’90s, according to interviews with car owners, law enforcement officials, neighbors and aficionados across SoCal.”
Hernandez cites a host of reasons why, but one stands out in particular — the way that lowrider culture has become a more global movement in the last few years. Add to that the sense that it’s also become multi-generational and you have the makings of a bona fide phenomenon — and the return of a welcome tradition.
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