Lowriders -VS- Kustoms

As seen in Car Kulture Deluxe Magazine by Ron Springer


So tell me, why is it that a bunch of guys and gals spanning multiple generations and multiple ethnicities who share a common passion for all things four wheeled cannot put aside their petty differences and “make nice.”
I can hear the notification tone on my Android going nuts even as I peck on the keyboard of this computer.
Easy answer is that we all think whatever we are doing is better than whatever someone else is doing and that “WE” have it right and “THEY” have it wrong.

Take the rivalry between the Lowrider crowd and the Kustom group…not that either of these examples show any signs of gelling into a cohesive group…but the basic idea is still sound – These are two groups of enthusiasts who share a love for all things “Low and Shiny.”

At the core of it a Traditional Lowrider or “Throw Back” is a cultural icon for a group of highly dedicated and skilled car lovers who design and build cars that… 1. Have a low to the ground stance. 2. At the pinnacle of the genre’, have insanely beautiful paint jobs. 3. Have interiors that are highly modified and expertly crafted. 4. Have drive-trains that lean toward reliability as opposed to horsepower. 5. Typically utilize Custom Wheels and narrow white wall tires. 6. Have numerous accessories added to enhance the exterior of the car including chrome, stainless and one off hand-made items.

The fundamentals of building a Kool Klassic Kustom or Traditional Kustom Car are fairly easy to identify as well. A Kustom has…1. A low stance relative to the ground. 2. A paint job that is very nearly perfect in execution and appearance. 3. An interior that is expertly crafted and unique. 4. An engine and transmission that will carry the car down the road reliably without sacrificing appearance or function. 5. Very Kool and often unique Wheel Covers wrapped in wide white wall tires. 6. Numerous body modifications including but not limited to chopped tops, shaved door handles, and frenched head and tail lights.

On the face of it, both groups of car enthusiasts would seem to be headed in the same direction. Aside from opposing preferences for Wheel Covers –vs- Custom Wheels and Modified Sheet Metal –vs- Accessory Additions, the goals are virtually the same.

The Kustom crowd has always tended to sacrifice the under hood and chassis areas of the cars in favor of spending their time and money on the body and interior. The Lowrider owner tends to shy away from the sheet metal work and instead concentrates on minute details and elaborate designs over the existing shapes and mechanisms. Why one prefers wheel covers and the other prefers wheels (aside from trying to achieve period correct status) is a total mystery; however that bias seems to be breaking down of late in both groups.

And why can’t a Kustom Car have a decent stereo system? For that matter, why can’t a Lowrider have a chopped top?

Just imagine for a moment if folks from both camps got together and collaborated on their builds. What kind of cars would come out of such an alliance? Here’s my take: Kustoms with:Chrome Wheels,Highly detailed engine bays,Paint that speaks to the “Art of the car.” Chassis and undercarriage detail that makes you want to lie on the ground for hours staring at the frame. Sophisticated suspension schemes opening up new avenues of possibilities…i.e. NO SKIRTS NEEDED because the car can be raised like an early Citroen to change the tires. Interior modifications that rival the best and most luxurious Coach-built cars ever conceived…and decent stereo systems.

Lowriders with:Body and sheet metal modifications that enhance and improve overall appearance.Insanely hand-built, one-off wheel covers sparking a resurgence of interest in creativity and workmanship.Wide white wall tires.Elaborate vintage engines and unique induction systems.

If I am wrong about all this, then by all means tell me. But don’t ring in to say that small tires just don’t look right, or that Subwoofers have no place in the trunk of a Kustom. Don’t drone on about how Lowriders don’t get awards at car shows unless it’s at an “all Lowrider show.” And I don’t want to hear about the time some “Hispanic Male” flipped you off on the parkway either. Put all that aside and tell me why the best things from both groups can’t combine to create even more creative presentations in iron, glass, rubber and cloth. Tell me that…or forever hold your peace…please!


et ita abscedit  Ron

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