By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Meanwhile, inside the Sports Arena, they’re bouncing. This is where cars compete to see which one can, with the aid of sophisticated hydraulic equipment, thump and fly off the ground to ultimate height. This height is measured by crews with scaffoldlike measuring frames, and the winner will also have reached his winning height by resting his bumper on the floor, jutting the hood of his car proudly toward the planets. The massive hydraulic systems installed in the back of the lowrider cars were originally used to raise and lower the ranfla on the street according to the proximity of the police, who‘d issue citations to those incorrigible homeboys ’n‘ girls riding too low to be respectable. But in these systems’ increasing power homies discovered the art and sport of bouncing for height (which is reminiscent of some ancient Scottish Highlands game, couldn‘t say why) and suaveness -- lowrider cars can actually dance, too, by way of these hydraulic manipulations, solo funky bump ’n‘ swang or choreographed shit by an entire crew! Kinda scary. Totally hilarious. And back on the fine-art tip, conceptually it’s really something to witness how, as the cars bounce higher and come down harder, many of them get simply trashed in the process -- wheels bend in and fly off, fenders pop out, windows shatter, engines pour smoke. This is some exciting nihilism: Beautiful things built for the purpose of putting their very survival at risk.
Your ranfla at one time should‘ve had a name, such as “Gypsy Rose,” the original Chico and the Man lowrider on display here at the Sports Arena (over 1,000 painted roses and a cocktail bar in the back). In the old days it would’ve been, like, “My Cherry Amour,” “Little Red Rooster” (my casper bro Matt‘s ’57 Ford, red w spiderwebbing, 45 rpm record player and VibraSonic sound system); you‘d see a thousand rides called “Moody Blue.” And this is another story, but then there was my debonair friend Eddie’s classy “Van Gina.” (His girlfriend refused to ride in it.)
Life goes on (slowly); car clubs even have Web sites now (OGrider.com, Truucha.com). These days you don‘t have to name your ride, but it’s still a nice touch: “More Ta Bounce,” “Foreplay,” “Forever Rollin.” Outside, a lot of the really vintage rides still make the effort: “Touch of Love” is a ‘58 Chevy wagon, purple, with angels ’n‘ fine ladies painted on the front; “Illustrious” is a niiice ’70 Monte Carlo, black, clean lines, no fuss; there‘s a ’50 Chevy Deluxe cab truck called “Gold Rush”; a ‘48 orange-sparkle Chevy, “Blvd Bomber.” I notice a lot of guys in wheelchairs here today. Sad, maybe, but you oughta see their eyes light up when they gaze at these cars. I imagine them imagining their glory days. I imagine myself bumpin’ down the boulevard in my very own custom ride: “Winds of Change” or some corny shit engraved on the windows -- no hoody rat, just another American dreamer on top of the game -- and other wicked-ass forms of Cali swangin. (Can‘t front, but I can dream.) It’s a tribe thing.
Best be bumpin your ride, homie. You may want to practice the lowrider riding style in your 2001 gray Volvo. Try to picture that your steering wheel is either 10 times too big or too small, and made of gold-plated chain or covered with butterscotch fur. Look around you and check your Volvo ranfla, with its completely orange or leopard-skin fuzz-lined walls and ceiling -- the “wall-to-wall pussy” stylee -- looking good, man. You are riding low, very, very low, and you be bumpin, slangin and swangin to Zapp. (“Just say no! Yeow!”)
But something‘s wrong. You’re bouncing, but you‘re stiff and straight. Style solution: Just pretend you’re trying to fish a pencil out your back pocket. Lean . . . bounce . . . Got the feeling?