Low Rider - - CON­TENTS - Joe Ray Ed­i­tor-In-Chief Joe.Ray@mo­tortrend.com

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.

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