A lowrider (sometimes low rider) is an automobile or other vehicle modified so that its ground clearance is less than its design specification. This can be accomplished by substituting tires with a smaller outer diameter or through more extensive modifications based on desired aesthetics or performance, such as altering the vehicle's aerodynamics, lowering its center of gravity, or changing the effective gear ratios of the drivetrain. The term "lowrider" can refer to both the vehicle and its owner.
Lowriding began in the Mexican-American Barrios of Los Angeles California in the mid-to-late 1940s and during the post-war prosperity of the 1950s. Initially, some youths would place sandbags in the trunk of their customized cars in order to create a lowered effect. This method was replaced by lowering blocks, cut spring coils, z’ed frames and drop spindles. The aim of the lowriders is to cruise as slowly as possible, "Low and Slow" being their motto.
In 1959, a customizer named Ron Aguirre developed a way of bypassing the law with the use of hydraulic Pesco pumps and valves that allowed him to change ride height at the flick of a switch. 1958 saw the emergence of the Chevrolet Impala, which featured an X-shaped frame that was perfectly suited for lowering and modification with hydraulics. Between 1960 and 1975, customizers adapted and refined GM X-frames, hydraulics, and airbrushing techniques to create the modern lowrider style.
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