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The History of Lowriders - Articles Surfing
To quote the band War, ?the lowrider is the one to meet.? For almost one hundred years, lowriders have been not only the one to see, but the one to meet. Stemming from an old Mexican ritual called paseo which made horses the utmost symbol of prestige, lowering stock cars to almost sidewalk level and customizing them dramatically has evolved into the same sort of symbol of status.
From Mexico to Los Angeles to Chicago to the rest of the world, the art of customizing a stock car into a lowrider has been an evolution. In the 1940?s lowriders only graced the streets on Sundays. As their popularity began to grow lowriders not only became more plentiful but they became the vehicle of choice for anyone who wanted attention and accolades and cruised the highways on a daily basis.
George Barris became the early face of lowriders by combining his creativity with his passion for cars and developing one of the first businesses to customize lowriders for sale. George and his brother, Sam, used their expertise in body work to straighten fenders, bolt on accessories, and use paint schemes that were unheard of during that time. Lowrider creations from the Barris brothers flourished into a very lucrative business. George used his business sense to introduce lowriders to Hollywood which resulted in not only the use of lowriders in many well known movies such as High School Confidential, but it also helped him become ?the person? to contact when Hollywood stars wanted to transform their personal vehicles into lowriders.
The original lowrider artists focused mainly on customizing Chevrolet cars because they were less expensive than other manufacturers? vehicles at the time. Today, any brand, make, or model vehicle is fair game to become a lowrider. The art of creating a lowrider has also evolved well beyond using heavy weights and chopping springs to bring the body close to the ground. Modern lowriders feature hydraulics which not only raise and lower the car, but also make it hop, and tilt it from side to side.
By today?s standards, the modifications the Barris Brothers made famous with their business Kustoms of America, look pretty minor. Today?s lowrider can feature triple dipped chrome accessories, gold plating, spectacular paint schemes, twin side pipes, spot lights, and everything from custom-spoked rims to spectacular spinners. The same pride which motivated early Mexican horse owners to sacrifice their own necessities in order to put more glitz into their horses, still drives modern day lowrider owners to spend a small fortune to craft a vehicle which is a tremendous source of gratification.
Exploding from early Mexican-American Sunday cruising to become rap video stars and the utmost way to display cool-status with a car, lowriders have come a long way from their modest beginnings. Back then it only took a little effort and a little time to create a lowrider vehicle which would turn heads. Now lowrider enthusiasts spend thousands and thousands of dollars along with countless hours of body work and modifications to create their show-stopping lowrider masterpieces. The methods may have changed, but the madness is the same?the lowrider is the one to meet!
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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