Low Ridin into spring break

'Low riding is a fad for some people and for others it’s a lifestyle,' said Louis Gonzalez, CEO of Lowriders Unlimited, sharing his inspiration to start a club. But the cost to maintain the cars and trucks has discouraged others who were afraid they couldn’t afford it. 'I didn’t  have the time or money to do it anymore, but deep inside I still want to do it again,' vice president Eddie Sanchez said.
Micheal Uribes / The Collegian

“All…my…friends…know the low rider.”

These lyrics, from the song “Low Rider” by the musical group War, about the effect of low riders, reflect their place in pop culture.

A low rider, defined loosely as a car or truck which has had its suspension system altered so that it rides as low to the ground as possible, is a way of life for some who have made “low riding” a group thing.

'Low riding is a fad for some people and for others it’s a lifestyle,' said Louis Gonzalez, CEO of Lowriders Unlimited, sharing his inspiration to start a club. But the cost to maintain the cars and trucks has discouraged others who were afraid they couldn’t afford it. 'I didn’t  have the time or money to do it anymore, but deep inside I still want to do it again,' vice president Eddie Sanchez said.
Micheal Uribes / The Collegian

That is the case with Louis Gonzalez, CEO of Lowriders Unlimited, a club composed of approximately 10 members. He has been running it on and off since 1989.

The club members mostly go on drives and attend car shows to show off their cars. They also help each other with various projects and act as a support system.

“It’s really family-oriented,” Gonzalez said. “[Lowriding is] a blast. It’s kind of like a sport, really.”

He first got into low riding through his brother, who enjoyed low riding, but after a short time, lost interest in it. Gonzalez, however, still enjoys working on cars and continues to have a passion for it today.

“Low riding is a fad for some people and for others it’s a lifestyle,” Gonzalez said. “For me, it’s a lifestyle.”

Like Gonzalez, fellow member Eddie Sanchez has also been interested in low riding ever since he was little. He got his first car, a Saturn, when he was 21 and has been fixing up his cars ever since. He has worked on three cars and has won 17 trophies at various car shows for his work.

However, he recently had to stop modifying his cars and sell them because of financial problems and managing his personal life, including his marriage and raising children.

“I didn’t have the time or money to do it anymore, but deep inside I still want to do it again,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez, like Gonzalez, believes that Lowriders Unlimited is different from other clubs in the sense that it is more of a family affair.

“The people are really nice,” Sanchez said. “We became a family. We spend a lot of time together. We go on picnics or have barbecues. Not all clubs like us have that kind of camaraderie.”

Gonzalez said vehicle customization is a great experience but it is also very demanding.

“Customizing cars is fun and a real challenge,” he said. “It’s really a part of art. You get something in your head and you want to do it. It’s an extension of yourself.”

The cost to customize a car can vary in how expensive it is. But often it is not as expensive as most people perceive, Gonzalez said. He believes that you don’t have to throw all your money away to be the best.

Sanchez agrees with him and said that a basic street custom can go for about $2,000 while a radical custom can go up to $40,000.

Gonzalez believes that you have to be passionate about lowriding to be successful, because if you don’t enjoy it, then you won’t get things done. He said that it takes time and patience, but is all worth it in the end.

“You get a real feeling of accomplishment after you have finished,” Gonzalez said. “People are appreciative of what you’ve done.”

His advice for beginners is to start slow and go piece by piece. He also advises that students work on a car that they won’t need day to day. Sanchez said that the OG’s, which stands for “Original Gangsters” low rider club, will also help beginners get started since they have the most knowledge about lowriding.

Gonzalez really wants to expand the club and do more get-togethers, picnics and similar events. He thinks that lowriding will continue to be popular.

“As long as people are dedicated to it, lowriding will continue to be popular,” Gonzalez said. “When you’re a lowrider, you’re a lowrider.”

More low riders

To check out low riders and to get more information about the club, take a look at the Lowriders Unlimited Web site,
www.lowridersunlimited.com.

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