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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Elbows out: Houston birthed the slabs, a car culture of its own

Editor's note: When this was published in last month's issue of Hagerty Drivers Club magazine, we received quite a few letters from people who felt that we were pushing a particular agenda. As the author of this piece, let me assure you that we have no such intentions.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/magazine-features/elbows-out-houston-birthed-the-slabs-a-car-culture-o...
111 REPLIES 111
BeatCancer
Intermediate Driver

.

DUB6
Specialist

Can't say as I disagree with @BeatCancer except maybe to declare criminality.  It certainly seems plenty anti-social to me.  This is a story about some people who are expressing their anger and desperation through some very dangerous actions and unsafe ways.  I'm not arguing that they don't have legit reasons to be angry, but these reactions to their problems can only add to their plight.  Dressing out cars (or trucks, motorcycles, etc.) to express cultural frustrations isn't new - but the extended wires are in fact dangerous in many ways.  Add to it that they seem to be settling differences by gunning one another down in the streets, and I can't find much reason to celebrate or romanticize them in any way.

natakin
New Driver

You couldn't be more wrong. The writer is having to address the explicit racism in all these comments. I love it when car culture can be a true expression of what's wrong with American (read: white affluent male) society, esp. with Hagerty.
MidntPurpleRain
Detailer

@BeatCancer I think you are plain looking for reasons to gripe. No these cars are not my cup of tea either and I don't understand the culture, but that doesn't mean that is is bad. Elbows poking is no more dangerous than flame throwers on a hot rod, or street racing, so your argument reeks of just plain not liking the culture. I don't know you, but your comments lead me to believe you aren't as open minded as you claim.

 

Take this article at face value. Sajeev and Jack did a very good job of highlighting a  very niche and regional car culture and I applaud them for that.

OldCarMan
Instructor

He certainly wrote well about something that is a perverted aberration, of no social value, to car culture or society, ever. It is NOT at all like flamethrowers, or street racing. It has nothing to do with being open-minded. Culture is far too kind of a term for this. Promoting, glorifying, or admiring, a drug-fueled, gang activity, is not a culture, people need or want. Making it an "outlaw" thing does not make it equal to anything, in the car culture past!
MidntPurpleRain
Detailer

@OldCarMan your comment certainly lives up to the stereotype of your handle...

 

It is funny how we used to view segments like hot rodding and motorcycles post WWII as a counter culture of dangerous degenerates. Yes, some were but many weren't. Now it is main stream. Not saying that SLABs will be, but you're passing judgement on a culture you have never interacted with and that leaves you no room to speak. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater when judging any segment of car culture. If I comment any further on your flagrant display of ignorance it'd go against community guidelines. Hopefully you're a better person to interact with in public than through the anonymity of the internet.

JEL395
Intermediate Driver

could not agree more. Hats off to Hagerty for bringing any & all aspects of car culture to this venue. Although not where I put my car dollars, viewing, learning and experiencing other cultures is a pleasure. Again thanks to Sajeev & Jack for taking me places I may not have gone on my own. Never Stop Driving.
MaxDepreciation
New Driver

Are you open to many things automotive? You say you are, but it sure doesn't sound like it. 

What line does this cross that loud (or no) mufflers doesn't? Loud cars are much worse than this and yet many enthusiasts young and old fawn over crazy loud engines. 

OldCarMan
Instructor

Sorry, NO. Loud crappy "music", making your heart beat in time, is NOT and never will be like hot rodding, of any time. We used to worry about excessive noise tickets with crappy mufflers. When they stopped enforcing the laws, all the kids that grew up with 20 baseball cards in their bicycle spokes got stupid and left all their mufflers off. They are the ones driving around a show rapping their pipes to impress no one!
MidntPurpleRain
Detailer

@OldCarMan one man's crappy music is another man's favorite song. Take your keyboard rage somewhere else. Comments from you and others here make me embarrassed to be a car person. If you ever said "why aren't people interested in old cars" please go back and read your comments because you have clearly demonstrated why.

janedon
Advanced Driver

Every generation says the same thing about the next one----& the world is going to hell in a handbasket--this "Probably" goes back to Caveman days when "Pops" saw Junior "Writing" on the cave walls-
sclin10
Advanced Driver

I'm confused. All I see is a period....period.
MidntPurpleRain
Detailer

@sclin10 long story short, the OP made come comments sparking the thread then edited their post to a period after they started taking heat.

BeatCancer
Intermediate Driver

This isn’t important. I would delete my post if I could. Nothing is worth descending into immature name calling. 

MidntPurpleRain
Detailer

Well, ignorant and disparaging posts have a habit of doing that. See below...

JeepCJ5
Intermediate Driver

The article was definitely not romanticizing the violence. Seems like it was just a story about a culture that probably the majority of us readers don't know much about. The "Giraffe Poke" does look ridiculous, but it's still not any wider than my dually. And I would suspect that these cars aren't sitting around unattended where a blind grandma is trying to get around.

While I have zero interest in having vehicles that look like these, I have enjoyed the few articles such as this one and the ones by Ethan Gaines that explore experiences that have been far different than my own.
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

Having lived in Houston for 5.5 years and seeing these stupid wheels in action on I-10 and other spots in town I can say that I find no good reason for them. It's just a literal ton or two of stupid. The cars are fine, the wheels are incredibly dumb and to most don't look good. Hate to say it but I'm not surprised violence seems to follow these cars. No thanks.
PRScott
Instructor

That is the dumbest thing to do with a car! Glad it's a long way from me!
SublimeExcision
New Driver

Interesting article, good story, great photos. Great to read about something I'd never encounter in my own life and learn about something new.
People getting riled up over this article just have too much time on their hands.
Nice work, Jack. Glad you made it out of Houston alive.
CitationMan
Gearhead

I would like to see more articles like this on automotive sub-cultures. I would also like to see articles on how the overall culture of our time influences our choices and what is manufactured. Like what are the cultural reasons behind all of the current bland and boring car colors?
Sajeev
Community Manager

I have some ideas for other sub-cultures, luckily there are several floating around Houston so this won't be a far stretch for me. 

Mexglx
New Driver

I thought it was interesting to see even the OG slab riders looking down on the newer GM bodied slabs that aren't 80's caddies. Did you see any euro-slabs (blasphemy)?
Sajeev
Community Manager

I saw plenty, but they are often American in proportioning: Quattroportes, Jaguar XK & S-types, S-class, 7-series...waiting for Houston's JDM folks to import a Toyota Century and order some swangers and vogues for it. 

eighthtry
Advanced Driver

Discrimination.
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

Are you in Houston?

Sajeev
Community Manager

That's an understatement, I'm a native Houstonian. 😀

Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

Cool.  I'm in the Austin area now but I lived in the Houston / Katy area for 5.5 years ending in 2018.  Still go back at least a few times every year.

GlockandRoll
Intermediate Driver

As if that is something to be proud of.
OldCarMan
Instructor

RE: car colors. Dealers have to sell what they stock. So people are too dumb to realize you can actually order a vehicle the way and color YOU want. Don't buy off the rack!
In harder economic times, colors tend get very conservative and boring. In better, more optimistic times, colors get more exuberant. The car companies all have department of very talented people, that determine what colors are trending and which look the best on a vehicle, for a particular market demographic. Dealers will seldom take a chance on colors, lest they get stuck with something unpopular.
kyree-williams
Detailer

This was exquisite, gentlemen! Bravo!

Funnily enough, I have family in Houston, have visited many, *many* times, and never manage to catch these.
Sajeev
Community Manager

Houston is a big city, you gotta live in the right places to see them. Glad you enjoyed the article. 

drhino
Technician

You’ve been lucky
ATLpaul
Detailer

I wonder if the Caddy CT6 makes it to those folks doing customizing using Caddys. I always thought the CT6 was the proper size for a Caddy sedan, alas it only lasted a few years. It is a good vehicle outside the sometimes herky jerky 8 speed automatic and it surely has the looks.
Sajeev
Community Manager

I have seen several CT6s and they look kinda perfect as a slab. Its got the right proportions. 

zappafanx
Intermediate Driver

One word: Sad
sclin10
Advanced Driver

Another word: asinine.
ELDee
Intermediate Driver

Seriously?
I remember when ‘Dubs’ entered the car language at the SEMA Show years ago. The point was to extend a trend to the extreme, within the confines of safety. Yes super-large diameter wheels were impractical, but you could actually use them on your car if a inclined.
These extended hubs are not practical & are not safe. Adding in the violence associated with this Slab idea doesn’t make it cool. Writing the article in a style of a very poor imitation of Tom Wolfe doesn’t make it cool. Nothing makes it cool.
Proper editing would have told readers about it in a straightforward manner, does proper editing exist anymore?
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

You'd think after reading Bonfire a few times I'd be better at this Wolfe imitation thing. Or did you mean the Look Homeward, Angel fellow?
DUB6
Specialist

Vanity, thy name is Jack Hagerty  🤣

drhino
Technician

Those wheels are right up there with the “Carolina Squat”. People have been doing things to their vehicles forever that reflect their taste (or lack there of). It may be painful for some of us to look at; but, do what you want with your property. Once it becomes a danger to others (see the aforementioned “Carolina Squat”); it goes too far.

The criminal aspects of this have no place in civilized society.

Jack, to draw a parallel to hot rodding here is misplaced; in my opinion. Hot rodding is about making the vehicle perform better. A better old time analogy might be the lead sled style custom.
Zephyr
Instructor

A little background - Houston is the only large city in the United States that does not have a planning code or planning department. You can build whatever you want, wherever you want - even a 40 story office building next to a single family home. They regard any sensible regulation as an infringement of the individual property owners rights. So I suppose that it's no wonder they allow cars with those ridiculous and dangerous wheels on the streets.
daffodildeb
Intermediate Driver

True. I remember when we had the closing for our first house in Spring, a little north of Houston. It was in a subdivision, and the deed restrictions specifically pointed out that we couldn’t put an oil drilling rig on the property. Given that our back yard was about 50 feet across, that wasn’t a dealbreaker.
CJinSD
Instructor

Our founding fathers believed that every individual had inalienable rights granted by God. We can argue about why they didn't believe that these human rights extended to people from cultures where no individual had any intrinsic value whatsoever("another dropped body in the slow burn of crack-fueled gang violence. Or you might get carjacked out of nowhere by someone who would throw your lifeless body to the curb"), but you can see why modern progressives find common cause with every anti-Christian, anti-white culture they can find. By marginalizing people who care about individuals and their rights, you eliminate the limitations placed on authoritarian power by the people who enabled large pluralities of the world's populations to have worthwhile lives.

Wolfenhaus
New Driver

I thought this article was a fascinating look into a car sub-culture I’d never heard about before.
SilentBoy741
Instructor

“The rest, you’re just trying to put the Cadillac style on it.”
He says as he polishes his fake Rolls Royce hood ornament.
Mexglx
New Driver

Great article and insight into a car sub-culture I don't understand, but respect. Much like a lifted 4x4 p/u truck rolling coal, I wouldn't do it or own one. I was part of the import scene in the early 90's adding performance parts to Honda's, Toyotas, BMWs and Porsches. As a result I am partial to small performance cars. I also don't get the romanticism for 1920's, 30's cars. To each their own. I enjoyed the article and the origin story. More car sub-cultures please.
sclin10
Advanced Driver

These cars are for people who want everyone to know what morons they are without opening their mouth.
sclin10
Advanced Driver

I yearn for the days of baby moons.
MidntPurpleRain
Detailer

@sclin10 Comments like these are for those who need to.