Bay Area Lowriders Turn Classic Car Customization into an Art Form

Whether they’ve been driving lowriders since the 1970s or are working on customizing their first car in 2016, San Francisco Bay Area lowriders share a love for driving “low and slow,” according to Roberto Hernandez.  

For lowriders like Hernandez, cars are about more than custom paint jobs and bumping hydraulics -- there’s a romance to it. “It’s like a dancing machine,” Hernandez says.

The art of lowriding comes from the customization -- the endless possibilities for making a statement with each tiny detail of a classic car. Each creative decision a lowrider makes is an expression of his or her own personal style. “This is where I feel at home, I can be who I want to be," says Ruby Ramirez, a member of the Califas Bomb Club, a Bay Area association of lowriders. 

That’s just one reason why Hernandez believes lowriding isn’t going anywhere. “I know this is just gonna keep going, it’s not gonna stop,” he says. “It’s magic!”

Want to know more about local lowrider history? Check out this story about the birth of Oakland's hyphy culture from KQED's Sandhya Dirks. 

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