10 Cars That Make Perfect Lowriders
Drop it like it’s hot with these body-bouncing lowridersby Kirby Garlitos, on
Lowriders have been a part of American car culture since the 1950s. Interest and attention in the subculture have increased in subsequent decades to the point that lowriders aren’t just found in the U.S.; they’re found all over the world.
The essence of a good lowrider hasn’t changed over time, but the interpretation of one has become far more sophisticated in recent memory. There are many different avenues that now come in building the perfect lowrider. But if there’s one thing that hasn’t changed, it’s the choice of cars among those who want to get in on the fun. These 10 cars have long been favorites in the lowrider community. Years can pass, but you can be sure that these rides will remain near and dear to the heart of people who make this subculture as fun and as vibrant as it already is.
The 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air is a go-to classic if you’re looking to have some lowrider fun. It’s one of the most popular models of its time, and its ostentatious appearance — it featured chrome headliner bands, chrome fender spears, and a Ferrari-inspired front grille — has contributed to its stature as a classic among classics. It helps, too, that the Bel-Air boasts a massive V-8 engine that can be customized in several different ways. You can lower the car’s ride height, throw in some fancy wheels, and watch as the ladies drool over your ride.
|Engine:||4.6-liter V-8 engine|
|0 to 60 MPH:||7.8 seconds|
|Top Speed:||120 mph|
|Curb Weight:||3,456 pounds (1,568 kilos)|
1964 Chevrolet Impala SS Coupe
The car many people affectionally refer to as the “64,” the 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS personifies the lowrider lifestyle better than any car in history. Its unique body style and lowered stance mean that you don’t have to go overboard with modifying the car to make it stand out.
That said, there are different ways to dress up the Impala to make it stand out more than it already does.
Its connections to Hollywood have contributed to its sought-after status, and there’s no denying that if you roll up in a 1964 Chevrolet Impala lowrider, you’re going to attract a lot of attention.
|Engine:||5.4-liter V-8 engine|
|0 to 60 MPH:||6.6 seconds|
|Top Speed:||120 mph|
|Curb Weight:||3,400 pounds (1,542 kilos)|
1990 Chevrolet Caprice
If you’ve ever seen a car with a hydraulic setup that allowed it to bounce up and down like nobody’s business, chances are that car was a 1990 Chevrolet Caprice. No car in the ‘90s epitomized the lowrider scene like the third-generation Caprice.
It was, in many ways, the most popular lowrider of its time.
You could dress it up in outlandish colors to go with all the suspension upgrades required to create a proper lowrider. Girls have displayed an affinity for Caprice models that have been given the low rider treatment. I can say that because I used to have one.
|Engine:||5.0-liter V-8 engine|
|0 to 60 MPH:||8.8 seconds|
|Top Speed:||120 mph|
|Curb Weight:||3,693 pounds (1,675 kilos)|
1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
From the long body to the partially covered rear wheels, the 1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo is one of the most popular models of the lowrider community.
The level of customization that’s available to the Monte Carlo is limitless, as we’ve seen from all the examples that have popped up in recent years.
Mind you, the Monte Carlo also comes with one of the biggest engines you’ll ever see. Its 7.4-liter V-8 engine produced 270 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque when it was new. Sure, the Monte Carlo is a big and heavy car, but important modifications can help cut some of that weight off and turn the long sedan into the ultimate pimp ride.
|Engine:||7.4-liter V-8 engine|
|0 to 60 MPH:||10.3 seconds|
|Top Speed:||117 mph|
|Curb Weight:||3,604 pounds (1,635 kilos)|
1947 Cadillac Series 62
The 1947 Cadillac Series 62 is one of those classic cars that have become popular in the lowrider community, not because of how high it can bounce into the air with a proper hydraulic setup, but because of how different it is to see a Series 62 that sits closer to the ground than it already does.
The Series 62 classifies more as a provocative classic car, but we have seen some examples get the lowrider treatment.
It’s a tricky car to customize because of how robust its body looks, but there are examples of Series 62 lowrider that are just to-die-for.
The owners have taken liberties in their modifications — one example we came across came with seats from the Cadillac Escalade — but a lot of these Series 62 lowrider was customized right. No shortcuts were taken, and the finished products look about as good as you’d expect them to be.
|Engine:||5.7-liter V-8 engine|
|0 to 60 MPH:||13 seconds|
|Top Speed:||90 mph|
|Curb Weight:||4,454 pounds (2,020 kilos)|
1941 Pontiac Torpedo
The 1941 Pontiac Torpedo falls under the same category as the 1962 Cadillac Series 62. On its own, the Torpedo is already one of the most desirable cars in the classic car market. It was the biggest car Pontiac had created at the time of its launch. From the way it looked to the way it was built, the Torpedo’s notchback styling is as timeless as the covered wheels that the model came with.
Best of all, the Torpedo remains highly customizable for anyone who’s looking to start his next lowrider project.
Units are hard to come by these days, and you could pay a premium if you find one that’s in at least good working condition. But if you do find one, the customization possibilities are incredible. You could add an air ride, modify the suspension, and even drop a more modern engine.
|Engine:||4.1-liter inline-eight engine|
|0 to 60 MPH:||18.9 seconds|
|Top Speed:||90 mph|
|Curb Weight:||3,900 pounds (1,800 kilos)|
1964 Buick Riviera
Part of what makes the lowrider culture so incredible is the myriad of ways that you can customize a car depending on how you want to look and perform.
The 1964 Buick Riviera was marketed as a luxury car by Buick, and that’s part of what made it a status symbol for a lot of people.
That includes people in the lowrider community, which hailed the Riviera’s weight and performance capabilities — it was lighter than most Buicks of its time, but still had the same amount of power — as two key factors that contributed to its status as a favorite in lowrider circles. The pointy front end, as well as other notable design characteristics gave the Riviera a new identity as a go-to model among tuners and riders alike.
|Engine:||435 CID engine|
|0 to 60 MPH:||7.2 seconds|
|Top Speed:||115 mph|
|Curb Weight:||4,191 pounds (1,901 kilos)|
1958 Chevrolet Del Ray Delivery
The Chevrolet Del Ray Delivery is an interesting choice in this list. It sprouted from the Delray lineup and it’s known for its hearse-like looks as much as it is known for its rarity.
Yes, there aren’t a lot of Del Ray Delivery models running around these days, and if you do get to see one, it’s probably been recast as a lowrider already.
Outside of its looks, the Del Ray Delivery is a favorite in the lowrider community because it effectively gives prospective owners a blank canvas on how they’d like to customize it. Having the freedom to customize and turn a car into a lowrider is a big part of a culture that’s grown exponentially in recent years. If you’re looking for a suitable ride that won’t cost a lot of money, the Chevrolet Del Ray Delivery is for you.
|Engine:||3.9-liter inline-six engine|
|0 to 60 MPH:||13.7 seconds|
|Top Speed:||110 mph|
|Curb Weight:||3,442 pounds (1,561 kilos)|
1984 Cadillac Coupe De Ville
The Cadillac Coupe de Ville was one of the best-selling models of its time, and it’s easy to see why. Back then, Cadillacs were still considered the creme de la creme among American luxury cars, and the de Ville, in its numerous forms, was a popular choice among buyers looking to show off their sense of class and style on the road.
These days, the Coupe de Ville holds a special place in the hearts of a different community: the lowrider community. We’ve seen de Villes get tricked out different ways. The model’s mechanical versatility has been a boon to customizers, a lot of whom have worked on modifying the coupe’s chassis and suspension to fit the lowriding lifestyle.
The de Ville’s stock 4.1-liter eight-cylinder engine can also be replaced with a unit that’s more appropriate for the car’s new identity. The Cadillac Coupe de Ville doesn’t stand out in today’s world, unless, of course, it’s dripping in hydraulic juices.
|Engine:||4.1-liter eight-cylinder engine|
|0 to 60 MPH:||13.1 seconds|
|Top Speed:||105 mph|
|Curb Weight:||3,935 pounds (1,785 kilos)|
1979 Lincoln Mark V
Of course, this list would have the Lincoln Continental. No other model has turned the knees of customizers weak with excitement and anticipation quite like the Continental. Old school models, in particular, are favorites to get the lowrider treatment.
Like most cars in this list, the Continental is a huge car that leaves a lot of room for customization and subsequent attention from a lot of people.
Lower the Continental and it suddenly looks longer, adding another visual treat to the eyes of casual and fanatic observes.
Throw in some bling rims, add some graphics or liveries, and inject some hydraulics, and just like that, the old, mild-mannered Lincoln Continental has turned into a body-bumping, come-see-me attraction.
|Engine:||6.6-liter V-8 engine|
|0 to 60 MPH:||14.6 seconds|
|Top Speed:||109 mph|
|Curb Weight:||4,656 pounds (2,112 kilos)|