SEMA 2023: Lowriders

One of the highlights of The SEMA Show for me is getting to see the lowriders.

Lowriding emerged from the Latin American community in Los Angeles in the mid 1940s when the cars were just slammed as low as possible.

In 1958 the California Vehicle Code made running cars that low illegal, so in 1959 Ron Aguirre developed the hydraulic suspension system to allow him to raise and lower his car with the flick of a switch.

It was around this time that GM began producing their ‘X’-frame chassis, rather than the traditional ladder style chassis that regular readers of this blog will be familiar with from pre-war cars. Over time a lot of GM cars used this chassis, most notable in the lowrider scene was the Chevrolet Impala.

The X-frame was a great platform for mounting hydraulics. Cars of that era are still super popular in the lowriding community. There was actually a beautifully prepared X-frame on display at SEMA. You can see how rather than having two main legs that run the length of the car, the chassis converged into a X shape in the middle

What draws me to the lowrider scene is the preparation in the cars. There must be thousands of hours invested in these cars and they are absolutely stunning! Lots of airbrushed artwork on the bodies and the use of really beautiful colours, etching in the chrome, custom interiors. Each one of these cars is a work of art.

Just take a minute to appreciate the time and effort that’s gone into these cars.

There were a couple of cars that I think pre-date the X-frame.

A Tesla Model 3. Thinking outside the box!

I’m not a big bike guy, but I do like the way that the style transitions onto bikes. Some of the custom push bikes people make into this style are absolutely insane.

Redcat Racing had a stand showing off a lot of their RC cars, some of which are RC lowriders. These are absolutely incredible! Suffice to say I really want one!

Heres a link to Redcat Racing if you want to check them out for yourself:

There was a lot of RC stuff at SEMA this year, and it will be getting its own dedicated blog post where I go into a lot more detail. If I remember, once it is written I will link it here.

Check these out though!

Thanks for reading! Although lowriders are native to the western United States there is a growing scene in Japan and a small scene here in the U.K which you can learn more about here: Hopefully I can get to a show where they are soon as I’d love to support the community here!

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By Richard Francis

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