So, you want to attend a lowrider show?
Back a couple months ago, I was invited by my friend David to my first proper lowrider show. The show was put on by Krazy Vatos of Atlanta. I rode down with David & once we arrived, I could not believe everything I was seeing. After going to countless car shows over the past 15 or so years of my life, I had never seen some of the things I saw there. Today, I’m going to try and explain in great detail everything I saw. Lastly, I will put a gallery at the bottom of this article with some of my favorite shots.
First, the level of detail on these cars is off the charts.
In the world of tuner culture, there are definitely “clean” builds. Builds that have hours poured into the small details. Builds that once assembled, stand out amongst the rest. With lowriders, that attention to detail is multiplied. It’s not uncommon to see a car with over 1,000 hours put into it. Some cars spend upwards of 6 months in paint – layer by layer being applied. Some have wheels that take 4 months just to get re-spoked & chromed. Others have custom hardline built in for hydraulic systems. The list goes on and on, but rest assured, these cars have dedicated owners that don’t know the meaning of the word “quit”.
If you can touch it, you can engrave it.
A large part of lowrider culture is getting your parts engraved. There are some folks that have engraved mirrors or bits of trim. But over the course of this show, I saw everything from hydraulic pumps to battery tie downs engraved. And it’s not just engraving. Some folks will have their parts chromed or gold plated before/after getting them dimpled & engraved. One car that stuck out to me was this 87 box Chevy that had nearly every single part imaginable chrome plated and engraved. The owner has been building the car for years and years. His list of engraved parts is as follows: Mirrors, door trim, window trim, hinges, wiper arms, door handles, bumpers, battery tie down… even his door lock knobs are chromed & engraved. You can find him on Instagram, @87purp.
Hopping is a form of art.
Normally, we associate lowrider with their ability to get airborne. There is so much work that goes into this. Not every car can just stand on its bumper. These guys build cars specifically for shows where they can hop the cars up and get them to stand. Sometimes, the cars have to be cut up & modified quite a bit in order to do this. Most lowrider cars you’ll see on YouTube, hopping 5-6 feet up are normally undriveable. Or at least, not very streetable. These guys get serious about these builds, though. And most of the time, you’ll see that the amount of time put into them is the same or MORE than the ones that don’t hop.
Lowrider culture is all about “family”
[Insert Dom Toretto meme here] but seriously, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more tight knit community. Everyone of every race & denomination can be found at these shows together. During the hopping contest, one of the cars had a suspension issue mid-hop. Immediately, everyone gathered around to see if they could help get it fixed so they could keep hopping. Another could not get his car started, and 7-8 strangers pitched in to push start it and get him on his way. Having never met 98% of people in attendance, I had never quite felt more like I belonged somewhere in the presence of total strangers.
Please enjoy this full resolution gallery down below:
Text & Photos by Ben Battles