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Hagerty Employee

What low riding really taught us about the resilience of car culture

Every time a new car culture buds from the streets, there are those who want to prune it with regulation. Buried in most motor vehicle codes are these attempts to vilify certain unruly elements of vehicular expression. At best they're bureaucratic solutions to problems and forces with deep community roots-the kind not easily controlled with difficult-to-enforce Band-Aid rulemaking.

   Some quite interesting information and theories in this article.  If true - and I have no reason to doubt - it explains a lot about how low-riding began, and why.  Some things I had no idea about!  For instance, cement bags in the trunk: apparently, I've created a few low-riders completely by accident over the years! 😊

   When I see some of these cars, I am always amazed at the level of engineering and assembly that is required - quite impressive in most cases.  I figure that most I see nowadays aren't created in protest of anything - they just look cool and are fun for their creators and owners.  But maybe not.  Maybe there is still some underlying "stick it to the man" stuff bubbling.

   When I was jacking up front suspensions in the '60s, I had no idea I was working against some sort of social norm - I just thought it would throw more weight rearward and give me better hole-shots.  When I was throwing height into rear suspensions, I didn't consider what sort of statement I was making - I was just looking for clearance for big meats, again in pursuit of dusting off the car next to me (and possibly looking good, but that's pretty subjective).

   I don't know if I was part of some sort of protest movement or not, but I can sure see how the low-rider culture probably was.  All I can say today is, for whatever reasons it started, I'm glad it's around and I respect those who build them and drive them for their creativity and contributions to the automotive community in general!

   Good article!

New Driver

One small note. The minimum headlight height was 24" until the 90s when it was changed to 22".

My Beetle sat at 17" and I got many tickets for it back in the day.

While "low and slow" is not my cup of tea, I have huge admiration for the beauty ,attention to detail, everywhere, and love given to these vehicles. So many are incredible works of art.