Close to the ground and pretty to behold, lowriders get museum honors

1958 Chevrolet Impala front corner top down

Lowriders — and we don’t mean low-rise jeans — are custom cars that cruise low to the ground, and so slowly, so that onlookers can get a good view of the paint job, the fantastic suspension, and most importantly the driver showing off his or her good looks.

The cars’ background and their fascinating history will be on display in extraordinary colors and detail next month at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, celebrating the artistry and craftsmanship of the Chicano and Latino youth communities that popularized lowriders in Southern California in the late 1960s.

Lowrider cars were instrumental in fostering the custom-car scene well beyond where it first developed, in L.A. and along the West Coast. Today, lowrider communities can be found well beyond SoCal — in the Southwest, Chicago, Kansas City and New York City. Internationally, there are lowrider communities in Japan, Brazil, Thailand and even France.

“The lowrider displays are always a fan favorite, and we are excited to open the most comprehensive lowrider exhibit in the museum’s history,” said museum director Terry L. Karges. “This exhibit celebrates the rich history of lowriders and will give visitors the opportunity to learn about their impact on the automotive world, the culture at large and the history of car customization.”

Among the models to be showcased in the “Best in Low: Lowrider Icons of the Street and Show” exhibit will be one of the most famous lowriders, the 1964 Chevrolet Impala known as “Gypsy Rose.” The stunning ride earned its initial notoriety in the 1970s television sitcom “Chico and the Man,” and In 2017 became the first lowrider to be inducted into the National Historic Vehicle Registry.

The exhibit will also feature the 1954 Chevrolet 210 Sedan “Sphinx,” an influential car in the Japanese lowriding community, and the “Twisted Toy” bicycle, a three-time Lowrider Bicycle of the Year, plus other motorcycles, bicycles and artwork. There will also be cars that were designed and driven by women.

The exhibit opens May 11 and will be on display through April 2025. For information, visit

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