Lowriders are cars that express social, cultural, and aesthetic identities. These cars have been a vehicle of choice for cruising, a popular pastime in many American communities since the mid-twentieth century. Lowriding puts both the cars and their riders on display.
Unfortunately, Lowriders and cruising are often viewed in a negative light,
associated with street gangs and criminal activity. In the 1980s, the California Legislature adopted a definition of cruising and gave municipalities the power to prohibit it. This ordinance was “discriminatory in nature” and the police department has historically used it as a tool to monitor gangs and regulate other illegal activities such as sideshows and speed exhibitions. Recently, the "No Cruising" ordinance was overturned by the Sacramento City Council.
"We're not just about lowriders. We're about the people. When you write the word, 'lowrider' everyone thinks of the car. It's not the car— it's the Men and Women, the Family, the People, la Cultura.”
The Sacramento area is home to more than 40 car clubs. Cruising and the
Lowrider communities are important parts of the city’s culture and history. The Lowrider community is rich with personalities and men and women who are passionate about their cars. The cars and Lowriding culture resonated across gender and racial lines and the face of Lowriding is evolving.
The spirit of Lowriding has transcended generations. For many in the Lowrider community, customizing cars has become a family affair, a chance to banter and bond and pass knowledge and skill sets down to the younger generations. Not only is the Lowrider a visual statement but it is an expression of a way of living.
These photographs highlight the rich tapestry of the Lowrider community in Sacramento. Lowriders are much more than cool cars. They are a celebration of heritage, culture, and self-identity, an expression of art, personal values, pride, and the solidarity of community and family.