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Do you consider Lowriders to be "Classic" cars?

If you are local to the Los Angeles area and have an interest in aftermarket modifications or tuning, consider checking out this exhibit at the Petersen Automotive Museum. Many might not realize it, but these cars could actually be considered the grandfathers of the tuner/aftermarket movement, and have created a global phenomenon for car enthusiasts of all ages.

Petersen Automotive Museum, World's Premier Automotive Museum, Invites the Public To Get Down Low With One Of Los Angeles' Most Prominent Cultural Symbols

Modifying their suspension and dropping as close to the pavement as possible, The Petersen Automotive Museum will showcase one of the most famous and culturally significant kinds of vehicles of the past 50 years. On November 1, 2007, La Vida Lowrider: Cruising the City of Angels will track the origins and progression of the vehicles that continue to represent artistic freedom and cultural resistance.

"The Petersen Museum is paying homage to the historical connection between the automobile and the city of Los Angeles," said Dick Messer, director of the Petersen Automotive Museum. "Following the success of our initial exhibition on the local Lowrider culture, we decided to offer a new wave of enthusiasts the chance to experience the ways in which the lowrider automobile became a symbol of the Latino culture and the remarkable progressions it has made over the past 50 years."

The Petersen Automotive Museum will honor these cultural symbols with significant ties to Los Angeles for a seven-month exhibit showcasing more than 20 incredibly modified vehicles that are set to cruise into the museum.

Lowriding began after the post WWII resurgence in automobile manufacturing. The burgeoning new car market left in its wake an abundance of used cars affordable to anyone with limited means, including many Chicano fathers and sons who restored and modified their rides to be the finest in the neighborhood. Often, they painted these vehicles vibrant candy colors and incorporated artwork on the hoods and trunks, giving them an overall theme.

According to Lowrider Magazine, the term "lowrider" was first used by police after the Watts Riots of 1965 to refer to the young kids who were causing trouble. These kids, famous for removing the springs from their vehicles and sometimes putting heavy objects in their trunks to achieve a lower profile, have redefined the term to denote cultural resistance and artistic expression.

For general Museum information, call (323) 930-CARS or visit the Museum?s website at


  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    They are an abomination! :P
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 52,989
    I don't think "classics" is the right term. These cars and their history are much more akin to the hot rod story in California. True "classics" are not modified cars. So yes, the allusion to the tuner crowd is much more apt than to the accurate restoration of real classics.

    The hot rod phenomenon used common, readily available cars, just like the lowriders did (and do).

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  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 19,791
    There were a large number of low-rider '80s compact pickup trucks. Definitely not classics.

    A mid '60s Impala with airbags? I would still call it a classic.

    '14 Jetta TDI wagon; '98 Volvo S70 base; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 41-car history and counting!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 52,989
    Yes generically speaking, using the term loosely, but in officialdom/language that car collectors speak, it's not. I'd like to see the term tightened up so that it doesn't become meaningless. Maybe we're already too late for that, if Petersen thinks these cars are classics. But maybe that's just PR stuff to attract attention. I would think Petersen would know what a "real" classic consists of.

    I like "low rider" much better. That tells me exactly what we are talking about.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 38,032
    I wonder what percentage of 62-64 Impala 2 door HTs are unmodified...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 52,989
    I'd imagine the SS cars were left alone, but maybe don't have original engines. The 2 dr HTs probably underwent lots of abuse and the 4-doors were mostly junked I would guess except for the old folks survivor cars you see now and then.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 38,032
    Seems a lot of the 2 doors got pimped out, SS cars included. Kind of a shame in that they are handsome enough cars, but production was high so few can be called rare.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 52,989
    Yep, 746,800 Impalas for 1965. Not exactly rare.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,967
    Yep, 746,800 Impalas for 1965. Not exactly rare.

    Heck, try more like a million plus. That 746K was just for the V-8 mainline Impalas. Add another 56,600 for the 6-cyl Impalas, and then another 243,114 for the Impala SS! (considered a separate series that year).

    And that doesn't include the ~144K Biscaynes and ~270K Bel Airs Chevy sold that year! Now these two series didn't have the hardtops and convertibles...just wagons and 2/4 door sedans. I doubt too many people made a lowrider out of a wagon, but I've seen plenty of low-rider sedans.

    Hey, someone tell me if this is true...I've heard that the main reason lowrider Mopars are so rare is that the front torsion bar/rear leaf spring setups were a lot harder to fit with hydraulics than the coil setups on the GM cars. Any truth to that?
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,293
    ...survives into the future, will we be seeing plenty of Camry and Accord low riders? It will be a weird future if that happens! I've already seen a first-generation Avalon painted white with purple flames!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 52,989
    I think a low rider has to be long, low and slow, with a quiet burble and a whole lotta longitudinal attitude. An Accord or Camry just won't cut it.

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  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    We already do on Accords (not so much Camrys). It's not unheard of to see a '92 or '97 Accord with drop springs, new wheels, and a body kit riding around on the bumpstops. It is far more common on Civics and Integras, though.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 38,032
    Around here I think unmodified 90-93 Accords are rarer than messed with ones.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 52,989
    Yeah but they call those "slammed", not low riders---at least not in San Jose!

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  • Im an old car fenatic! I love anything pre 1980. Im not sure what you mean by lowrider. Personally I consider a lowrider anything big/low/baged/hydros/bigrims/even some just custom cars. You dont see people going around terring up cars that are ss's or cars with original hard to find parts like # matching cars with big blocks, 4spds etc. But now in this generation customizing is BIG. Customizing your car is like showing who you are and your classic shows what kind of a person owns it. As long as someones enjoying it instead of it sitting there rusting away too nothing im happy
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