Velvet Barrios pp 179-196 | Cite as

Cruising Through Low Rider Culture

Chicana/o Identity in the Marketing of Low Rider Magazine
  • Denise Michelle Sandoval
Part of the New Directions in Latino American Cultures book series (NDLAC)


In May 2002, Low Rider Magazine celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary. For a quarter of a century, Low Rider Magazine has played a key role in shaping and marketing the cultural practice of low riding while also creating a contemporary image of the low rider lifestyle.1 As the editors boast on the magazine’s web site: “Criticized as a gang magazine, simply because of its Chicano character, looked down on by the mainstream press as an amateur effort, Low Rider has cruised to the top. Now the number-one car magazine on the news stands, readers in over 30 countries wait eagerly to check out sculpture and sport straight from Aztlán.“2


Cultural Practice Dress Code Ticket Sale White Photograph Alternative Space 
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  1. 1.
    See Michael Cutler Stone, “Bajito y Suavecito’: Low Riding and the ‘Class’ of Class,” Journal of Latin American Popular Culture vol. 9 (1990): 85–126. “Low rider refers to any automobile, van, pickup truck, motorcycle, or bicycle lowered to within a few inches of the road. It refers, as well, to any individual or club associated with the style and the ‘ride’ characterized as ‘low and slow, mean and clean.’ These are customized vehicles with heavy duty hydraulic suspension systems (‘juice’), costly lacquer jobs, stylized murals, etched glass logos, plush interiors, and a proliferation of luxury extras” (85).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Stuart Hall, ed., Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices (London: Sage Publications, 1997), 1.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    For more information on the history of the Pachuco/zoot suiter, see Mauricio Mazón, The Zoot Suit Riots: The Psychology of Symbolic Annihilation (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984); Brenda Jo Bright, “Remappings: Los Angeles Low Riders,” in Looking High and Low: Art and Cultural Identity ed. Brenda Jo Bright and Liza Blackwell (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1995)Google Scholar
  4. Luis F. Plascencia, “Low Riding in the Southwest: Cultural Symbols in the Mexican Community,” in History, Culture and Society: Chicano Studies in the 1980s ed. Mario T. Garcia et al. (Ypsilanti, MI: Bilingual Review Press, 1983). See also Arturo Madrid’s essay “In Search of the Authentic Pachuco,” in this collection.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    See Tom Wolfe, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby (New York: The Noonday Press, 1965)Google Scholar
  6. James J. Flink, The Car Culture (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1975)Google Scholar
  7. Calvin Trillin, “Our Far-Flung Correspondents: Low and Slow, Mean and Clean,” The New Yorker 54 (1978): 70–74.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    William Grandante, “Low and Slow, Mean and Clean” in Natural History 9 (1978): 28.Google Scholar
  9. 21.
    See John Berger, Ways of Seeing (New York: Penguin, 1973).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Alicia Gaspar de Alba 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denise Michelle Sandoval

There are no affiliations available

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