San Diego – Lowriding is an American hobby, born in Barrios, California. But it is often misunderstood.
As Kathleen Baide of FOX 5 has found, driving low is much more than auto and cruising. It’s about embracing a culture – and taking everyone for a spin.
“We like to cruise them low and slow, with the music going on inside the car. It just takes you to another world,” said Marcos Arellano, or “rabbit.”
It’s a rabbit world he’s lived in for over 40 years as a low-key owner in San Diego.
“It’s not a hobby for us,” Rabbit said. Instead, he calls it a passion.
His wife, Jovita, co-founder of the United Lowrider Alliance, goes further.
“Low culture is in our hearts. This is a Hispanic heart, a low Chicano heart,” she said.
But they don’t just pour their hearts into it – they pour thousands of dollars into customizing their cars.
“For a paint job now, now as we speak, you’re looking at $8,000 to $12,000,” Rabbit said.
Add graphics or murals and it could exceed $30,000. Other distinguishing features such as new rims and tires range from $2,000 to $8,000. And that’s just outside. Rabbit says the interior, from the upholstery to the all-important stereo system, can add $4,000 to $14,000.
When asked how the love affair between Spanish culture and cars began, Rabbit said, “No one can really say when it started. We can narrow it down to the 1960s.”
For Rabbit and many like him, it all started in childhood.
“When we grew up, our parents did not have the money to afford to take vehicles to mechanics. So they had to learn from their uncles, from their brothers, and from their fathers how to work in cars,” Rabbit said.
It is a skill set that is passed down through generations. It has also become a way for families to celebrate milestones.
“This Friday, we’re going to do a quinceañera caravan. Then on Saturday, another family asked us if we could take the bride and groom, and pick them up at their house,” Rabbit said.
You’ll also find lower driveways at funerals, picnics, parades, and car shows. They’re part of the fabric of the Latino community — which is why Jovita says they’re fighting to lift the 30-year ban on cruise nights in National City.
“It is important for us to re-sail so that we can bring back the culture, and make more memories,” Jovita said.
“This is more than a passion, it’s a lifestyle for us,” Rabbit said. “We talk about it, we live it…it’s just a big, big passion for us, this low-key stuff.”
And to find an original one, Rabbit says there are things to look for—like a clean paint job, no-scratch chrome, no tinted windows to show off the interior, nice trim and smaller frames with a white wall on them.
“And of course, you have to have hydraulic components on it,” Rabbit added.
It must be low to the ground.
“My car, I could carry it all the way and the tire would hit the ground, all the way to the ground,” Rabbit said. “You can’t even pay a dollar bill from there because it’s so low.”
But the music always lifts high. Because like sailing itself, it’s not about the destination – it’s about enjoying the ride.
#Lowriding #cars #cruising