Rat Rod: The Origins and History

For custom car enthusiasts everywhere, the evolution of the hot rod into the rat rod is essentially common knowledge, but it’s easy to forget the true origin story of this kind of car and the culture that’s broken away from the more generic hot rod. See our origins and history of the hot rod post for more detail on hot rods.

Rat Rod Style

Rat rods (see our rat rods for sale section for examples of rat rods) are generally styled more like the cars of the 40s, 50s and the early 60s but they’re not re-creation or restoration cars[1]. Rat rods are more customized, used mainly for show rather than racing and tend to have that edge to them that sets them apart from the more traditional hot rods. The best way to identify if you’ve got a rat rod is determined by the way it seems to have been thrown together. The ramshackle look is what defines the rat rod, and although the car looks like it might not work, I can assure you it does.

White rat rod

Similarly to street rods, rat rods are an off-shoot from the hot rod, the first true rat rod appeared in the early 90s when Robert Williams wanted to recreate the cars from his childhood. The term rat bike was already circulating and referred to a bike that had been put together on a budget. So when Williams rocked up in his modified 1932 Ford Roadster, Hot Rod editor Gray Baskerville dubbed the car a ‘rat rod’ and so the name stuck[2].

Roadsters

The Roadster, named Eights & Aces, fit the idea of a cheaply put-together car and others began to mimic his design style. The younger generation became once again involved as the custom car hobby became cheaper.

Rat Fink

The 1990s saw a shift in the design style of the rat rod when Steve Sellers built a 1950s Ford with an Ed Roth influence. The idea was to build a car that Rat Fink – Ed Roth’s cartoon character – would drive. The result? An insanely wild car that looked like pure fun to drive[3].

Sellers wasn’t the only person inspired by Rat Fink. Marky Izadardi and his brother Alex built the Purple People Eater[4]. Traditionally muscle car builders, and fans of the Pontiac, they started this build searching for a Pontiac engine that could be used in a hot rod.

The buzz around the Purple People Eater was crazy and it became the car that everyone was talking about. It was featured on the cover of Rod & Custom in 2001 and the fascination with rat rods exploded.

Modern Rat Rods

The modern style rat rods are somewhat different to the original influences and generally look more like rust buckets than their previous pristine ancestors[5]. Despite its popularity, the rat rod trend does receive its criticism and is often regarded as a cheap and talentless industry to be in[6]. But despite this many rat rods are built by master craftsmen with true skill in their field.

Sources

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat_rod

[2] http://www.rodauthority.com/features/car-features/what-exactly-is-a-rat-rod-and-where-did-it-all-begin/

[3] http://www.rodauthority.com/features/car-features/what-exactly-is-a-rat-rod-and-where-did-it-all-begin/

[4] https://www.pinterest.com/pin/301670875009673386/

[5] http://www.rodauthority.com/features/car-features/what-exactly-is-a-rat-rod-and-where-did-it-all-begin/

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat_rod

14/08/2016 / by / in ,

Hot Rod Cars: The History, Origins & Culture

Hot rods are a large part of the custom car scene (also see rat rods) and over the years they’ve increased in popularity to encompass the attitude, originality and creativity of custom car builders all over the world. As much as we may take them for granted, it’s easy to forget that there’s a hot rod culture and an origin story there somewhere.

Let’s face it, hot rods are about American as you can get. Sure, they’re a global obsession, but despite modifications, it will always belong to the American people. And I don’t say that just because of their style but how they encompass the innovative self-expression, rebellious attitude and proud freedom that represents the American spirit.

You won’t be surprised to learn that the hot rod car has evolved throughout the decades into what it is today and originally began as a great way to breathe new life into old bits of junk. The modern-day hot rod seems to have developed into a form of art that encompasses metalwork, sculpting and design both inside and out. See here for a full a-z of hot rod terminology.

What is a hot rod?

Generally speaking, the hot rod is a typical American classic that’s been done up and modified for speed[1]. The modern hot rod doesn’t always have speed in mind but is reminiscent of cars from the early 1900s. For some examples of hot rod cars, check out our Hot Rods For Sale section. Additionally, we have some free hot rod wallpapers to download.

To really understand the hot rod, we need to go right back to its origins in the 1930s.

1930: The beginning of something beautiful

The 1930s[2] was a difficult era for many Americans. The Great Depression[3] left a lot of people with very little money and buying a new car was just too expensive. So how do you solve this? Simple. Fix an old one.

Rescuing old cars and restoring them is kind of how it all began, but the restoration process wasn’t exactly genuine. Parts swapping was common and the resulting cars were mismatched Roadsters.

But swapping the engine for a V8 and amalgamating a bunch of other cars wasn’t the only purpose. The non-essential parts were stripped out to improve performance and before you knew it, there was an auto-racing culture evolving around these botch-job cars. As you can imagine, it was only a short step from there to larger improvements like lowering the front end and raising the rear end.

The dry lake beds of LA were a popular racing site and so speed became the top priority for customizations.[4]

Green hot rod car

1940s and the effects of the war

With the outbreak of World War II[5], hot rodding ground to a halt. But by the time 1946 came round, and the end of the war, the fighting men returned with a wealth of new mechanical skills the army had taught them and they were able to return to customizing cars like never before[6].

With a lot of military airports abandoned after the war, these become the very first dragstrips and hotrodders began to pit themselves against each other in a test of speed[7].

The Ford Model A and Model T became popular hotrodding choices for their lightweight frames and so a new era of street racing began. With driving-related injuries and deaths on the increase, this era was also responsible for the public association of juvenile delinquency and hot rods.

The 40s also saw an increase in hot rods as a large majority of car enthusiasts gradually found themselves involved in the fad of customization. Most hot rods on the streets were now being built from older cars that underwent body modifications[8].

1950s: The time for safer hot rods

In 1951[9], the National Hot Rod Association was created, racing moved from the streets and onto drag-strips.

During this time, the culture gradually fused with the new rock and roll style music which subsequently developed the modern rebellious and raucous personality that it’s associated with. By 1955, Hollywood was starting to see the new culture for what it was and featured it in the film Rebel Without a Cause.

At this point in the hot rod’s history the actual term ‘hot rod’ was used more often as a derogatory for cars that didn’t fit in[10].

1960s: The appearance of the muscle cars

The 60s saw the introduction of muscle cars[11] and shortly afterwards, Chrysler produced the hemi-engine. With the rise of the muscle car, it was no longer necessary to put a Cadillac engine in a Ford to make it go fast as there were performance cars available that could already do this. It was now easier to buy a car with ready-made performance – and an awful lot more space inside – than to build one yourself.

So the shift from speed to appearance began to take place during this era and a lot of hot rods were starting to appear in shows with eye-catching paintjobs[12].

Hot rod with flame decal

1970s: The shift from speed to appearance

The shift to appearance continued throughout the 70s[13] and hotrodders were starting to emphasize customized exteriors. Whilst this was happening, rat rods became a subsidiary focus in the custom car world with builders starting to create basic, stripped-down shells of old cars from the 20s, 30s and 40s.

The oil crisis in 1973 meant there was pressure from the public for the automotive industry to make cars more fuel efficient which restricted performance and so the hot rod was popular once again. The purpose behind these new hot rods was not to race, but to drive them on the streets, and so ‘street rods’ were brought into existent[14].

1980s and 1990s: The perseverance of the hot rod

[15]From being put together out of old scraps, to becoming a hobby, custom car building grew exponentially throughout the 80s and 90s. Hot rods became more than just cars, they were works of art.

2000s and modern day: The hot rod today

Hotrodding[16] has become such a global culture with owners pouring thousands of dollars into doing up their cars, designing them how they want and showcasing them at a wide range of events. But they’re a lot more than customizations, hot rods are known for containing some of the best automotive technology in the industry.

Modern day hot rods can be as time-consuming as a full-time job and there has been a whole industry dedicated to creating the ultimate ‘dream machines’. The hot rod culture is as strong as ever with its new breed of traditional hot rod builders, designers and artists dedicated to these ‘dream machines’[17]. But despite all this change, the hot rod culture still carries the same passion, dedication and imagination as it did in the 30s.

The global culture of the hot rod

The modern hotrodding culture is a global phenomenon, especially in America, Canada, the UK, Australia and Sweden[18] and has been subdivided into two main categories: the hot rodders and the street rodders[19].

Those building hot rods use a lot of original parts and stay true to styles that were popular in the 40s, 50s and 60s[20].

The street rods, however, are normally built with a majority of new parts and simply pay homage to the traditional roots of the hotrodding culture[21].

Hot rod racing

Ford’s flathead V8 came into being in 1932 but it wasn’t that popular in its early years. It wasn’t until later in the 30s when the V8 became a staple ingredient for the perfect hot rod.

The ideal place for trying out these new style hot rods was on the streets and these ‘speed contests’ often ended ugly. The move to the dry lakes wasn’t much of an improvement and the racing hotrodders descended into chaos[22].

The SCTA (Southern California Timing Association) was formed in 1937 and began to organize the racing scene with a more sophisticated timing system in place and racing became safer.

The history of modifications

The 1930s saw Harry Westergard customizing cars from his garage in Northern California. He would chop tops, lower suspensions, incorporate grilles, shave door handles and build custom hoods[23]. Westergard’s influence continued through his employee George Barris who moved to Southern California in the 40s and opened his own place[24].

The 30s also saw influencers such as Jimmy Summers, Roy Hagy and Carson Top. By the end of the decade, custom designers were lowering the body, adding glass-pack mufflers, removing trim, frenching headlights and rounding the corners of the doors, trunk and hood[25].

Integration became the choice of customized design in the 40s and 50s. Builders would integrate the fenders and tops into the body, remove the small trim pieces and create a simpler look in contrast to the mismatched style of the previous era.

As the popularity increased, the 1950s saw a different kind of customization. Cars were receiving baroque modifications with complex trim, canted headlights and scoops and vents appearing on the quarter panels and the hood.

The official car clubs

The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) was one of many hot rod organizations established in the 50s and took the culture a step closer to respectability. Hot rodders gathering at night would often create a loud, raucous and rowdy scene. This caused concern for police and American citizens. The street racing was getting out of hand with drugs, injuries, deaths and law breaking all becoming embroiled in the stereotype that was forming[26].

As the culture of streets rods and drag racers separated from the general hot rod community, organized car clubs sprang up everywhere including the Pasadena Roadster Club and the LA Roadster Club. The main aim of these clubs was to bring together those who had similar interests and to create some form of ruling to help reshape the public opinion[27].

These car clubs did a lot more than bring people together, they created social and public events for car enthusiasts to enjoy. They began to host car shows where members could display their customized projects. Over time, the opinion of the general public changed as car show competitions and magazine coverage started to display the true craftsmanship behind customized cars[28].

TV and film appearances

I’ve already mentioned the 1955 film Rebel Without a Cause which featured the hot rod culture. Throughout the years there have been a number of films that have become firm favorites within the hotrodding community.

The 1973 American Graffiti by George Lucas is one of the top contenders for the most iconic film[29]. The 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run made in 1981 were both directed by Hal Needham and both pay tribute to the car culture, winning places in the hotrodders heart.

Daniel Petrie’s 1982 film Six Pack and HB Halicki’s original Gone in 60 Seconds are both films worth mentioning too[30]. Although not technically hot rod films, the Fast & Furious franchise[31] is perhaps one of the best-known film series that celebrates custom cars and has once again found a place for them in the international media.

In all honesty, there are simply just too many films to name them all and in their own way, they all create a hot rod culture legacy that lives through the years.

It’s easy to see how the hot rod has changed with each decade and each cultural shift but the enthusiasm and talent that surrounds the culture is one thing that hasn’t changed.

Sources

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_rod

[2] http://automotivetechnology.wyotech.edu/articles/short-history-of-the-american-hot-rod

[3] http://www.history.com/topics/great-depression

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_rod

[5] http://automotivetechnology.wyotech.edu/articles/short-history-of-the-american-hot-rod

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_rod

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_rod

[8] http://auto.howstuffworks.com/hot-rod2.htm

[9] http://automotivetechnology.wyotech.edu/articles/short-history-of-the-american-hot-rod

[10] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_rod

[11] http://automotivetechnology.wyotech.edu/articles/short-history-of-the-american-hot-rod

[12] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_rod

[13] http://automotivetechnology.wyotech.edu/articles/short-history-of-the-american-hot-rod

[14] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_rod

[15] http://automotivetechnology.wyotech.edu/articles/short-history-of-the-american-hot-rod

[16] http://automotivetechnology.wyotech.edu/articles/short-history-of-the-american-hot-rod

[17] http://www.vonskip.com/p/hot-rod-history.html

[18] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_rod

[19] http://www.vonskip.com/p/hot-rod-history.html

[20] http://www.vonskip.com/p/hot-rod-history.html

[21] http://www.vonskip.com/p/hot-rod-history.html

[22] http://auto.howstuffworks.com/hot-rod1.htm

[23] http://www.kustomrama.com/index.php?title=Harry_Westergard

[24] http://www.kustomrama.com/index.php?title=Harry_Westergard

[25] http://auto.howstuffworks.com/hot-rod2.htm

[26] http://auto.howstuffworks.com/hot-rod5.htm

[27] http://auto.howstuffworks.com/hot-rod5.htm

[28] http://auto.howstuffworks.com/hot-rod5.htm

[29] http://beta.hotrod.com/articles/hdrp-0610-top-car-movies/

[30] http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/best-hot-rod-movies.380365/

[31] http://www.fastandfurious.com/

11/08/2016 / by / in ,

Free Hot Rod, Muscle Car & Lowrider Wallpapers

See below for some awesome free lowrider wallpapers, muscle car wallpapers and hot rod wallpapers. Which one is your favourite? I’m going with the red 1959 Cadillac.

To download one of the custom car wallpapers, simply ‘right click’ and click ‘save as’ to download the wallpaper.

Hot Rod wallpaper 1600x1200

Hot Rod wallpaper 1600 x 1200

1959 Cadillac wallpaper 1280x800

1959 Cadillac wallpaper 1280 x 800

Plymouth Barracuda wallpaper 1600x900

Plymouth Barracuda wallpaper 1600 x 900

1969 Chevrolet Camaro wallpaper 1280x800

1969 Chevrolet Camaro wallpaper 1280 x 800

Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz wallpaper 1024x768

Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz wallpaper 1024 x 768

Dodge Challenger 2 wallpaper 1920x1200

Dodge Challenger 2 wallpaper 1920 x 1200

Hot Rod Roadster wallpaper 1600x1200

Hot Rod Roadster wallpaper 1600 x1200

Hot Rod wallpaper 1600x900

Hot Rod wallpaper 1600 x 900

Oldsmobile Toronado wallpaper 1600x1200

Oldsmobile Toronado wallpaper 1600 x 1200

All of images here are believed to be in the ‘public domain’. If you are the rightful owner of any wallpaper posted here, and object to them being displayed – please contact us and it will be removed immediately.

14/07/2016 / by / in

Lowriders: The History, Origins & Culture Of Lowrider Cars

A lowrider is a car that’s been modified to sit low on its axle where the ground clearance is less than the original design. This is how Wikipedia[1] defines the lowrider, and in a very broad sense of the term, this is what lowriders are generally recognized as today. But there’s more to lowrider cars than being close to the ground. There’s a culture and a global phenomenon that has evolved around them. You can view a selection of lowriders in our Lowriders For Sale lowriders for sale section.

The origins of lowrider cars

The origins of the lowrider is something that’s a little more murky, and although numerous cultures and eras will claim the lowriders’ heritage, they all contribute in their own way to the culture that we know today.

It’s generally agreed that the origins can be traced back to the 50s and early 60s in South California[2]. Those that were part of the Mexican culture created the style known as the lowrider that played tribute to their pride of the Mexican American culture.

Although this may be what we consider as the official start of the lowrider culture, it could be attributed to the previous generations of hotrodding that became popular in the 20s. By the time the 40s came around, car enthusiasts were becoming bored and moving on to more customizing builds which included many of the features associated with the lowrider car.

In can be discussed that the 20s is the true origins of the lowrider as many Mexican immigrants in America were too poor to afford new cars. Ford had been producing more cars than ever since 1908 and so by the mid-20s the average number of cars increased from 1 per 7 people to 1 per 2.25[3]. Middle-class white Americans began to cast away their old vehicles in favor of newer, updated versions and this is the true beginning of the disposable, replaceable and upgradeable world we live in. This influx of cheap, second-hand cars meant that the Mexican immigrant families could now afford a vehicle of their own.

Blue Lowrider Car

With their large families, the cast-off cars would ride low to the ground from the sheer weight of the people inside. As you can imagine, over time, this became – for want of a better word – fashionable, and cars would be weighed down by sand bags[4] instead of people to keep that lowrider look[5].

It’s largely up to you which origin story you prefer, but there’s no doubting how far the lowrider has come today. Despite its Mexican origins, the lowrider has come leaps and bounds with professional hydraulic systems and other modern technology.

The assistant professor of American Studies at the University of Kansas is the best person to ask about the nature of the origins. Ben Chappell talks to Michael Arria from Motherboard[6] about his book: Lowrider Space: Aesthetics and Politics of Mexican American Custom Cars[7]. In the first part of the interview where they discuss the origins of the lowrider, Chappell talks about the mystery surrounding lowrider history and how certain aesthetics have become associated with the lowrider culture, irrelevant of where the lowrider came from.

If we fast forward a little to the 60s and 70s, the lowrider car became a class of its own and has, since then, remained as once of the most popular types of modified cars[8]. But there’s more to a lowrider than some lowered suspension so we’re going to take an in depth look at the different aspects of a lowrider, including the modern day culture that surrounds it.

What is a standard lowrider?

Other than Wikipedia’s very basic description of the lowrider, there’s more to the whole look than a lowered suspension. Stereotypically, the car itself is a Chevy Impala from the 60s, 70s or 80s. Other popular models include the Chevy Monte Carlo, Buick Regal, Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and 60s Ford. But lowriders don’t always have to be a car, Chevy trucks and Chevy El Caminos are popular choices for building a lowrider truck[9].

We’ve mentioned the low suspension a number of times, but let’s take a look at some of the other features of a lowrider. More often than not, lowrider cars feature insane paint jobs that not only include bright colors but serious talent and a lot of detail. Pinstriping and multiple colors are common on a single car. Some will even take it further and use small metal flakes within the paint which reflect extra light and gives an overall appearance similar to a disco ball.

Interior modifications are common too, including luxury and/or eye-catching materials. Ultimately the interior is just as important as the exterior and so a lot of dedication can go into getting this right. Having said that, some cars will feature the latest gadgets whilst others will deliberately keep it simple so the focus is on the exterior.

A fairly standard modification is a powerful stereo system[10]. This becomes important at local gatherings when people want to dance – and since lowriders are shown off in some festival environments, partying is certainly popular.

Lowrider Car

A few additional characteristics can include custom wheels, narrow tires and a streamlined exterior, all of which work together to create the well-known lowrider-look[11].

What I love most about the lowrider is how it goes against the standard reasons behind customizing a car. Generally speaking, when you visit a car show, the cars customized have had their performance improved in some way, whether it’s an insane engine or a supercharger, it’s all about going fast. The lowrider takes a different approach. It’s all about being sleek, stylish and sexy[12].

How did the lowrider get to where it is today?

During the late 60s, the lowrider culture was beginning to reach its peak. Sonny Madrid, a San Jose College student, decided to piece together the very first lowrider magazine simply called Lowrider. It simply contained a mass collection of amazing, good quality lowrider pictures. After 1,000 printed copies, the magazine became a huge hit and by the late 70s, it was the most popular Chicano magazine in US history[13].

By the time the 80s came around, rap artists began featuring lowrider cars in their music videos which sparked their popularity with white American youths[14]. But unfortunately it’s not all happy stories. Lowriders were becoming more associated with gang crime and violence. Similarly to bikers being stereotyped as violent, lowriders received their own label[15]. It’s unclear where this image seems to have come from – perhaps the late night gatherings in parking lots, or violent behavior of Mexican gangs – but the modern day lowrider is far from the stereotype.

What’s real cost of a lowrider?

To answer this question we have to look at a range of contributing factors, including the modifications that most lowriders undergo.

The most common modification for a lowrider is the suspension. Generally an air suspension, the lowrider has its suspension springs replaced with a rubber bag that is connected to an air reservoir and an air compressor. The inflation and deflation of the rubber bag is what raises and lowers the car.

The popularity of these types of suspensions stems from the easy installation and the cost – something around $400 for a simple system. Whilst they provide the main feature of being able to raise and lower the car, air suspensions work really well in providing a smooth ride[16].

However, for those that invest more in their car, they’re likely to replace the somewhat simple air suspension for a hydraulic suspension. Instead of the rubber bag, the hydraulic suspension uses a hydraulic actuator attached to a compressor. The compressor injects the actuator with liquid at such force that it causes it to expand rapidly and push the components around it away – thus acting like a spring.

This is a much more costly way of ‘pimping my ride’ as each actuator system will normally need the power from multiple batteries and are generally quite complex systems. Each actuator can cost around $500 and you’ll need at least two – maybe four – per lowrider. That’s not to mention the cost of additional batteries and a very labor intensive installation process[17].

Chevrolet Impala Lowrider

Alongside the lowered suspension, lowrider cars experience a number of other modifications that I’ve already touched on briefly. Lowriders – as in the people – will often swap out their standard wheels for bigger ones which also shows off any custom metalwork that’s been done. With bigger wheels comes thinner tires as there is less space in the wheel well for standard rubber.

When it comes to looking at lowriders for sale, it can be difficult to determine what it is you’re looking for unless you have a specific idea in mind. Many enthusiasts enjoy doing the modifications themselves and can easily spend around $2,000 to $3,000 on one. But for those looking for a car that already has the modifications – and depending on the desirability of what you want – you could be paying in the region of $20,000. That’s a big difference[18].

Alongside all the modifications you made to a lowrider car, the sale value may not necessarily cover the costs. As with most custom car projects, the labor intensive and costly side of building isn’t always covered once the car is up for sale. As long as it’s a hobby and not an investment, it’s fine.

How to live with a lowrider

Unfortunately owning a lowrider is not enough to keep it in top condition, and because of their numerous modifications, a lowrider requires a special kind of care.

If you’ve installed an air suspension system then it’s important to regular check the rubber bags. They may be tough but that doesn’t mean they don’t leak. The more you use the car, the more you need to check. Whilst we’re talking about suspension, chances are your system uses hoses to raise and lower it which are notorious for leaking. Although hopping may look cool, it can be a rough ride for a lowrider and will take its toll on the car.

Lowering the car without installing adjustable suspension may mean you have a few issues with speed bumps and rough terrain. Without the correct clearance whilst driving, you can cause some pretty costly damage to the undercarriage.

When it comes to improving handling, a lowered vehicle is probably not going to make that much difference. Sure it lowers the center of gravity – which in theory should improve handling – there are other factors that contribute to a car’s handling such as anti-sway bars. But if that wasn’t enough, chances are the mileage on your lowrider isn’t all that great either. Modified suspensions equals more weight which equals a higher gas consumption.

For the lowrider enthusiasts who are in it for the culture, this probably doesn’t matter but if you are thinking of racing it, make sure you know what you’re doing.

The lowrider culture

As you’ve probably guessed form the lowrider origins, the culture that surrounds the lowrider is much more than a normal car ownership society. There are some important personal morals that are founded within this close-knot community. I’ve already briefly touched upon the importance of family and friends, in essence owning a lowrider is in itself a social medium. It will often involve hanging out to talk about cars, what’s going on and a way for people to stay communicated[19].

Chevy Lowrider

The widespread notion that lowrider culture is involved with gang-like behavior is just that, a notion. It’s an image that’s become associated with the car due to bad press, stereotyping and an overall misunderstanding of the culture.

These types of cars require a lot of motivation, money and dedication. You need to have a steady job in order to pay for the modifications, upgrades and repairs. It’s not just a case of picking one off the streets and keeping it running, there’s a lot more to it than that.

Famous appearances of lowriders

In 1974 NBC’s Chico and the Man featured a Chevy Impala named Gyspy Rose in the opening credits and the culture as a whole began appearing in a number of magazines including Rolling Stone, The New Yorker and Car and Driver[20].

In 1975, the band War released a single that pays tribute to the lowrider lifestyle as well as the car. It became a top-ten hit the same year and began to bring the lowrider culture into a more mainstream environment[21].

In 1979, the film Boulevard Nights created association of b culture and gangs which only further fueled the modern-day misconception[22][23][24].

The Modern-Day Lowrider

Despite their popularity throughout the years, these days it’s rare to see a large number of these cars on the roads. The political pressure of the 70s saw an increase in police enforcement which has taken its toll on the lowrider community. That doesn’t mean the culture is gone, in fact there are hundreds of events in cities across the US every year with over 200,000 attendees[25].

But the lowrider culture isn’t restricted to the US and can be found all over the world including throughout Japan and Europe where car enthusiasts will pay a lot of money for customized imports. Generally speaking, the lowrider cultures in these countries vary slightly and have developed and grown within the traditions of their own culture which gives each lowrider community its own style[26].

Owning, modifying and maintaining a lowrider is founded on a lot more than a love for cars and has a stronger heritage than most customized cars.

Quoted sources

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lowrider

[2] http://www.historyaccess.com/historyoflowride.html

[3] http://www.historyaccess.com/historyoflowride.html

[4] http://carmecrazy.com/2014/09/09/low-slow-origins-lowrider-culture/

[5] http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art39902.asp

[6] http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/lowriders

[7] https://www.amazon.com/Lowrider-Space-Aesthetics-Politics-American/dp/0292754248

[8] http://auto.howstuffworks.com/under-the-hood/trends-innovations/lowrider.htm

[9] //www.justcustomz.com/custom-trucks-for-sale/

[10] http://auto.howstuffworks.com/under-the-hood/trends-innovations/lowrider.htm

[11] http://www.historyaccess.com/historyoflowride.html

[12] http://auto.howstuffworks.com/10-great-lowriders.htm

[13] http://www.convictedartist.com/lowrider_history.html

[14] http://www.convictedartist.com/lowrider_history.html

[15] http://www.montereyherald.com/general-news/20080317/lowrider-car-show-celebrates-mystique-of-custom-car-culture-lifestyle

[16] http://auto.howstuffworks.com/under-the-hood/trends-innovations/lowrider.htm

[17] http://auto.howstuffworks.com/under-the-hood/trends-innovations/lowrider.htm

[18] http://auto.howstuffworks.com/under-the-hood/trends-innovations/lowrider.htm

[19] http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/04/lowriding-this-culture-is-about-more-than-cars/?_r=0

[20] http://www.historyaccess.com/historyoflowride.html

[21] http://www.historyaccess.com/historyoflowride.html

[22] http://www.historyaccess.com/historyoflowride.html

[23] http://carmecrazy.com/2014/09/09/low-slow-origins-lowrider-culture/

[24] http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/lowriders

[25] http://www.historyaccess.com/historyoflowride.html

[26] http://carmecrazy.com/2014/09/09/low-slow-origins-lowrider-culture/

13/07/2016 / by / in ,

Bumongous

This is Bumongous a 1950 Buick Sedanette that was build back in the 1990’s by Troy Trepanier. It was rated as one of the top 10 hot rods back in 1992 and also featured on the front page of Hot Rod magazine.

The car is fitted with a 510ci Big Block Chevy, Fuel Injection (with NOS) and the power is delivered to the road through a Turbo 400 automatic transmission. The smooth body is finished in Tangerine and Wineberry.


This piece of hot-rodding history was sold at a Barrett-Jackson auction for a hefty $34,650 which is understandable given the importance this car had in the 90s.

20/06/2016 / by / in ,

Harry Gant (Nascar Driver) Biography

Harry Gant from the 1980s or 1990s, taken by Ted Van Pelt (Wiki Commons)
Harry Gant developed his driving skills in the 1950s through street racing on the country roads of Alexander County, North Carolina. He began his career driving a 1957 Chevrolet – that he’d built with his friends – on a dirt track in Hickory. Once a full-time driver, Gant used his skills to win the Hobby Class championship and then went on to win over 300 races, including the NASCAR Sportsman Series championship in 1972, 1973 and 1974.

The old dirt track in Hickory was eventually paved in 1967 and Harry Gant discovered his skills on the asphalt, winning his first race in the NASCAR Sportsman Series. From there he moved in to the Winston Cup Series and then started racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

In 1973, Gant finished 11th whilst driving the #90 Truxmore Industries Ford and then went on to make six starts and two top-ten finishes in the following 4 years. When 1979 cam round, Gant had decided to take this seriously, selling half of his construction business and becoming a full time driver.

Harry Grant’s Nascar Career

Harry Gant’s NASCAR career spanned twenty years and 474 races. He won 18, came in the top ten 208 times and had 17 pole positions. His best season came in 1991 when he earned the nickname ‘Mr. September’ after winning 4 consecutive cup races at Darlington, Richmond, Dover and Martinsville with two Busch races in September. This was his career high and it placed him in 4th position in the standings, along with 1 pole position, fifteen top 5s and seventeen top 10s. Gant also holds the record for being the oldest driver to get his first career win at the age of 42 and also the oldest driver to win a Cup race whilst he was 52.

Gant retired from racing in the Winston Cup and the Busch Series at the end of the 1994 season. He then only ran a partial season in the Craftsman Truck Series in 1996 whilst driving his own car, #33 Westview Capital Chevrolet C/K. He also substituted for Bill Elliott in the 1996 Winston Select and drove Bill’s car, the #94 McDonalds Ford Thunderbird.

Overall, Harry Gant had an impressive career and won the International Race of Champions in 1985. In 1991, he was the National Motorsports Press Association Driver of the Year and was eventually inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in 2003. Three years later, he was named in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame but let’s not forget his induction into NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers of All Time in 1998.

His career wasn’t all about driving though and in 1983 Harry Grant appeared in the Burt Reynolds movie Stroker Ace as well as appearing Days of Thunder in a short interview.

Retirement has suited Gant as he works on 400 acre farm with 350 heads of cattle, not to mention the refurbishment projects on three rental properties and he also helps out in the family-run Gants Family Steakhouse. Alongside these activities, Gant is simply grateful to be enjoying time with his family.

24/05/2016 / by / in

Ralph Earnhardt (Nascar Driver) Biography

ralph_earnhardt

Ralph Earnhardt’s racing career was sparked by the conditions in the farming community where his family lived. After school, Ralph worked in a cotton mill where the wages were poor. In his late teens, Earnhardt began building cars in the garage. His aim was to race on the local dirt track which happened for the first time in 1949. In 1953, Earnhardt began his professional career and quickly made an impression.

Ralph Earnhardt And Nascar

Earnhardt’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was in 1956 where he came second at the Hickory Speedway in North Carolina. Later in the same year he won the NASCAR Sportsman title. In 1961, Earnhardt achieved his highest finish in the Grand National by finishing 17th. The same year, he substituted Cotton Owens as a relief driver at the Daytona 500.

In 1989, Ralph Earnhardt was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame and then in 2004, he was inducted into the Oceanside Rotary Club of Daytona Beach Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame in 2007.

Whilst Ralph Earnhardt was being inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame, his son, Dale Sr won the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway and then later, in 1997, was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Alabama. In 1998, both Earnhardt and his son were named in NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers of All Time.

When asked if he’d thought about retiring, Earnhardt replied ‘ I feel fine and I believe I am driving better than I ever did, I should be, a man learns something every race he drives and I drive three times a week.’

Earnhardt had a particular interest in the new up and coming drivers and was the one who started Bobbie Isaacs racing career. He also provided the necessary guidance that started his son’s career. Sadly, Ralph Earnhardt died of a heart attack in his home in 1973 at the age of 45.

24/05/2016 / by / in

Jerry Cook (Nascar Driver) Biography

Jerry Cook

Jerry Cook started his NASCAR racing in New York at the age of 13. He moved his racing schedule to the original paved Utica-Rome Speedway in Vernon, New York and won his first track championship there in 1969.

Jerry Cook went on to become one of the best drivers of all time in the modified division, winning the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series six times in 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1975 and 1977. Over his career, Cook took part in 1474 starts and achieved 342 victories which gave him an average of winning every four times he got into his car. An amazing 64.5% of his starts secured him a top-five position and an impressive 85% of his starts landed him in the top-ten.

In each season between 1969 and 1982, Jerry Cook finished as one of the top-three drivers in the final standing which made him over a million in prize money. At the end of the 1982 racing season, Cook announced his retirement and took a job with NASCAR at Daytona Beach, Florida where he helped to create the modern NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series.

The decision to reformat the Modified division’s championship was founded on the idea to enable more teams to compete. The result was a limited schedule with un-conflicting races. In 1995, Cook was involved in drafting the first set of rules for the newly formed NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series which later became the Camping World Series.

Jerry Cook’s current position with NASCAR is as the Competition Administrator and works at the NASCAR Research and Development Centre in Concord, North Carolina. He lives with his family in Mooresville, North Carolina and are all deeply involved with NASCAR racing. His son, David, worked on the interior of Sam Hornish Jr’s #77 Dodge at Pensake Racing South. His daughter, Kristi, is the Executive Assistant to the former Cup Championship team-owner, Robert Yates, whilst her husband is an engineer with KB Racing.

Jerry Cook Awards

Throughout his successful career, Cook has received a number of awards, including being inducted into the National Motorsport Press Association Hall of Fame in 1989. In 1993, he was inducted into the New York Stock Car Association Hal of Fame and then in 1998 he was named as one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers of All Time. NASCAR also named him #3 in their NASCAR’s Modified All-Time Top 10 list and then in 2009, Cook was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

24/05/2016 / by / in

Darrell Waltrip (Nascar Driver) Biography

Darrell Waltrip, after his 5th place finish in the Atlanta 500, November 4, 1979. (Wiki Commons - Bill Ferguson)

Darrel Waltrip’s successful career began in 1959 at the age of 12 and continued for 40 years. Initially driving go-karts, he spent the following 4 years building a 1936 Chevrolet Coupe with his Father. He raced the Chevy in a stock car race on a local dirt track near his home in Owensboro, Kentucky.

After an unsuccessful start – the first race ending when he crashed the Chevy – Waltrip migrated to asphalt tracks where his history in go-karting put his skills to good use. P.B. Crowell noticed the young Waltrip in the late 1960s and suggested a move to Nashville where Crowell was an owner and driver. Waltrip took Crowell’s advice and drove at the Music City Motorplex at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds, winning two track championships in 1970 and 1973 which kick-started his career as a professional driver.

Between 1972 and 2000, Darrell Waltrip won an outstanding 84 races and was crowned champion with the NASCAR Cup Series in 1981, 1982 and 1985. But his success didn’t stop there, he won the Coca-Cola 600 five times: in 1978, 1979, 1985, 1988 and 1989 and was the second all-time winner of pole positions – a total of 59.

Darrell Waltrip – Nascar Driver Of The Decade

Alongside his driving achievements, Darrell Waltrip was extremely popular. He won the NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver Award twice and was named American Driver of the Year three times, as well as being named NASCAR’s Driver of the Decade. In 1998 he was named as one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers of All Time.

Waltrip wasn’t always popular with the fans and fellow drivers. He would often appear on the local television and radio to help promote the racing events but his ‘take no prisoners’ and ‘win at all costs’ aggressive attitude didn’t always go down too well. He was nicknamed Jaws and was openly critical of NASCAR as well as the other drivers.

It wasn’t until his Daytona 500 warm up in February 1983 until Waltrip received a wake-up call. There was an accident on the track where Waltrip was lucky enough to walk away with just a concussion but it changed his attitude toward the driving world and spent many years after the accident trying to repair the relationships with fans and fellow drivers. By 1989, his efforts were rewarded with his first NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver award.

It seems that Waltrip was the perfect example of what NASCAR wanted in their drivers; he was good with media, popular with the fans, good looking and the driving skills that could take him to the top.

Now retired from driving, Darrell Waltrip enjoys his life in Franklin, Tennessee with his wife and two daughters. But he’s not quite out of the spotlight yet as he works as a television race commentator for Fox Broadcasting and Speed TV – as well as a columnist for Foxsports.com

24/05/2016 / by / in

“Trabantimino” : Liz Cohen

This is “Trabantimino” which is a based on an East German Trabant and now looks like it would feel at home on a Transformers movie. The car is now powered by a Chevy El Camino engine and the body separates to reveal the chassis using a collection of hydraulics.

The car was created by artist Liz Cohen as part of an exploration into DIY culture and a playful mix of identities and has one first place and special recognition awards in the Main Street Showdown Supershow that is held every year in New Mexico.





Liz Cohen was formely a photographer and during the 8 year project she took time to hybridize herself by taking photos, similar to those in found in car magazines, of herself in a bikini. After doing most of the hard work on the car by herself she was able to show herself not only as the bikini clad model but also as the car mechanic behind the project.


Liz Cohen (Source : Salon94)

Liz Cohen (Source : Salon94)



You can see more of Liz’s work by heading over to Salon94.


04/10/2013 / by / in