Lowriders were born to stand out. They represent our heritage, speak volumes about our creativity, all the while delivering on the old-school values and traditions of our culture. Since its inception, lowriding has gained fame for outrageous paintjobs, exotic upholstery, plenty of chrome, and the mandatory hydraulic systems. While lowriding has remained relatively unchanged in terms of the platform, when it comes to the powerplant it’s safe to say that the LS is all the rage.
In the past decade we’ve seen a surge in the use of LS engines and it’s with good reason. We’re yanking out old “stovepipe” motors and lackluster V-8s and replacing them with the more reliable, more powerful LS engines. Surprisingly enough, the trend is one that even Tri-Five purists are now installing. In decades past you’d be hard pressed to convince them to drop their matching-numbers motors but now they’re trading in purity and “period correctness” for performance and guaranteed reliability.
Aside from the power increase and proven reliability, these engines have in turn given us a new sense of pride when it comes to the mechanical workings of our cars and it’s introduced a new level of sophistication. Whereas before we could only paint, engrave, or chrome motor parts, the LS has introduced us to a plethora of options, including forced induction, serpentine kits, and a whole slew of custommachined parts that’s limited only by your budget. And while we’re not competing in quarter-mile drags or busting donuts, the truth of the matter is that we’re not here to do any of that. Rather we’re here to push the limitations of lowriding and we do it for own self-satisfaction.
Case in point, my Cadillac Eldorado. It has a 6.2L LSA V-8. The same motor found in the Cadillac CTS-V and it packs a punch with 556 hp and 551 lb-ft of torque. For me, it was a personal decision to go with this motor simply because I wanted the car to be a conversation piece, but along with it I knew I had to get ready for the shade that would be thrown my way.
In one particular instance, I had my hood up and as I was wiping down the motor and checking the fluids, some random guy walks up to me and says, “Do you know what kind of motor you have in there?” Now keep in mind, he didn’t ask the question out of curiosity. Instead he asked it in an almost condescending way as if he was ultimately trying to offend me, so I promptly replied, “Yes.”
Not even a second had passed and the man continues with, “No. Really … do you? Where do you think you’re going with those little tires?” And I answered, “I’m actually going to CVS to get my blood pressure pills.”
Needless to say he walked away bewildered and seemingly distraught.
Now, at the end of the day, especially in this day and age of Internet warriors, you’ll have a bunch of people trying to throw salt in your game, but that brings me to my next point—the fact that we as lowrider builders are competitive. We want the best we can afford and spare no expense in building our cars, and to be honest that’s the beauty of our scene, so do what you want and how you want to it—all I ask is that you own up to it and get ready.
On the other hand, I understand why someone would say it makes no sense to have a 500-plus horsepower motor in a lowrider designed to go low and slow, but if we were to take such a realistic and logical approach to life (or building our cars) think about how shitty and boring life would be? I mean seriously, at that rate we could then logically say a steak is merely a “food source,” at which point a steak at Denny’s should be no different than one served at Mastro’s. And why buy a car when you ride a bike or take the bus? You get the point.
The bottom line is we do what we want because we can and so long as we’re not taking from someone else then why the hell not, and to be honest I’ve always been a firm believer that being realistic is the fastest way to mediocrity and that’s not what lowriding is about—that’s not what I’m about.
I’m here to make a difference, whether anyone likes it or not, and so long as I’m not robbing anyone of their paycheck it shouldn’t really matter. That said, this entire issue is devoted to cars using LS drivelines. It’s something we started about six years ago and it’s only getting bigger.
Last but not least, this issue includes coverage of the Denver Colorado Lowrider show as well as a sneak peek at the latest Quaker State–sponsored Roll Models segment. In this segment we’re featuring law professor and attorney Ryan Johnson. An avid lowrider and advocate for chasing your dreams, he’s proof that it’s never too late to live out your dreams; his story is one that is both inspiring and moving.
Congratulations to the Carnales Unidos Merced Chapter on their 40th anniversary. Car clubbing for four decades is a remarkable feat, but having a chapter for that amount of time defines their legendary plaque.