Lowrider car show brings Chicano culture to fair

For the second year in a row the Los Angeles County Fair has brought the culture of the lowrider car scene to the fairgrounds with the Low and the Slow car show located behind the NHRA Museum. Visitors are able to enjoy the candy painted vehicles as they stand idle on their hydraulics, as well as other lowrider themed displays. / photo by Vincent Matthew Franco
For the second year in a row the Los Angeles County Fair has brought the culture of the lowrider car scene to the fairgrounds with the Low and the Slow car show located behind the NHRA Museum. Visitors are able to enjoy the candy painted vehicles as they stand idle on their hydraulics, as well as other lowrider themed displays. / photo by Vincent Matthew Franco

Vincent Matthew Franco
Social Media Editor

The Los Angeles County Fair, along with the sights and sounds that accompany it, is back for the month of May. This year’s Fair is a little more special because of their partnership with Notorious Entertainment to bring “The Culture of the Low And the Slow” lowrider classic car show to the Fairplex. 

Located between the NHRA Museum and Expo Hall 4 were two rows of candy painted, low riding cars on chrome coated rims and even some brightly painted lowrider bicycles. Some cars stood idle while others were propped up on their hydraulics, resting on three tires while one hung up in the air. It was as if the cars were waving with that hanging tire at all who strutted by to the music of oldies and funk music blasting through the speakers. If cars were not posed, they were seen bearing the Mexican flag as it graciously fluttered in the cool spring breeze.  

Even with the Los Angeles County Fair’s extensive history and the deep car culture that is rooted in the city of Pomona, this is only the second year that a classic car show like this was hosted.

“I love it that the fair gave us an opportunity to display the culture, the Chicano culture, the lowriders, the music…I love that they gave us an opportunity because it just never happened before,” Bobby Rendon, FB county clothing brand vendor, said. 

In his vendor tent, Rendon was seen talking to customers about the oversized striped polo shirts, tank tops and Charlie Brown sweaters that make up the proper uniform for attending any car show. Aside from clothes, folks could take a peep in the small photo gallery tent exhibiting a deeper look into car culture. The photos take the viewers to the streets of Los Angeles and give them the opportunity to see in more detail the intricate interior design of some vehicles as well. 

Besides operating one of the few vendor tents sprinkled within the car show, Rendon also has two of his own classic cars on display, a 1966 Ragtop Chevrolet Impala and a 1965 Ragtop Chevrolet Impala. For someone who was born into car culture, thanks to his dad and uncles, Rendon keeps a special place in his heart for his cars. 

Underneath all the blaring music and fizzing beers that make up a car show is a synonymous feeling of nostalgia that everyone presents experiences. Even if someone may not have spent their childhood in the backseat of an old Ford or Chrysler, they can still relate to the feeling of warmth that only an Oldies song can make someone feel. With that comes the teaching of younger generations to appreciate such fine machinery.

“For the next generation, so that way they can see the cars and admire their cars and open their eyes to (say) ‘Wow these cars are beautiful man. What is that called? What year is that?’ and just keep it going,” Rendon said. 

To add to the evolving car culture in Southern California, folks are starting to bring along RC cars to car shows. These miniature cars are the exact same versions of lowriders and are built to the scale of their larger counterparts. The Delegation Car Club, in particular, was there solely to show off their collection of RC cars. Representing the club was a couple, Elizabeth Moreno and Carlos Perez. 

“We’re so happy that they invited everybody back for a second year,” Moreno said. “I think it’s a great move for everybody, and everybody seems to enjoy it.”

Perez could be spotted with his RC control in hand, walking up and down the aisle of cars zooming his RC car between the feet of the attendees. As soon as people began taking notice, crowds would form around the small cars and Carlos worked his magic. If he was not drifting the car around, he was going up to folks and working the RC’s hydraulics, making the car bounce up and down. 

A special thing about these kinds of events is the opportunity for people to learn a story or two through the cars. Each one, in their own respective way, is not only an art piece but a piece of history. 

Ramon Picazo Picasso and his 1964 Bently Rolls-Royce embody exactly that. Picasso has owned the vehicle for over 40 years and has kept all its original parts, body parts, and interior original. He gives credit for being able to do this to the hands-on building that the car company did back in the day.

“First of all, it’s not an AutoZone car, you got to have specialty parts places to buy the parts,” Picasso said. “All the mechanics that used to work on these cars are either retired or have already passed on. So we’re kind of on our own.”

His passion for older vehicles is also something to credit when it comes to the upkeep of his car. 

Picasso’s car was one of the few that was not surrounded by a chain to keep attendees at a safe distance so swarms of people could be constantly seen surrounding it. When asked why he spends so much time and energy on such old cars, he simply replied, “I don’t know, I just love cars.”

The Los Angeles County Fair and “The Culture of the Low and The Slow” will be open until May 29.

Vincent M. Franco can be reached at vincent.franco@laverne.edu.

Classic cars play a vital part in Chicano culture, especially in Southern California. The Low and Slow car show at the Los Angeles County Fair celebrates that culture with a variety of cars on display. / photo by Vincent Matthew Franco

Vincent Matthew Franco is a senior journalism major with a concentration in print and online journalism. He has been involved in journalism and print media in high school, community college and is now at the social media editor of the Campus Times and a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine. He previously served as arts editor.

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