Petersen Museum Gets Down with Lowriders

Los Angeles, CA – (August 20, 2007) – Modifying their suspension and dropping as close to the pavement as possible, The Petersen Automotive Museum will showcase one of the most famous and culturally significant kinds of vehicles of the past 50 years. On November 1, 2007, La Vida Lowrider: Cruising the City of Angels will track the origins and progression of the vehicles that continue to represent artistic freedom and cultural resistance.

“The Petersen Museum is paying homage to the historical connection between the automobile and the city of Los Angeles,” said Dick Messer, director of the Petersen Automotive Museum. “Following the success of our initial exhibition on the local Lowrider culture, we decided to offer a new wave of enthusiasts the chance to experience the ways in which the lowrider automobile became a symbol of the Latino culture and the remarkable progressions it has made over the past 50 years.”

The Petersen Automotive Museum will honor these cultural symbols with significant ties to Los Angeles for a seven-month exhibit showcasing more than 20 vehicles that are set to cruise into the museum, including:

* Beauty Mark
o Lowrider Magazine remarked that this 1979 Lincoln Mark V “makes a lasting impression wherever it goes”. This candy violet luxury lowrider with eye-catching pinstriping was featured on the June 2007 cover of LR Magazine. An external modification includes a modified front bumper, chopped to reveal the full grille. The car was customized in Southern California shops, but now cruises the streets of Las Cruces, New Mexico. It represents how lowriding has now spread to other parts of the United States.

* She Devil
o This pearl pink 1965 Buick Riviera with candy fuschia on top represents one of the favorite body styles of its time. The car has won various paint awards at many different car shows. Some other features include a hot rod interior, retractable headlights and shaved door handles and emblems. She-Devil is sure to impress by showcasing a style of lowrider customizing based on fantastic candy and pearl paint jobs and flashy interiors.

* Chavez Ravine
o This chopped and mural-clad 1953 Chevy truck makes its debut at the Petersen Automotive Museum after two years of labor. Owned by Ry Cooder (Buena Vista Social Club), the truck is a personal tribute to the Los Angeles community of Chavez Ravine, which was bulldozed to make way for Dodger Stadium. Customization was carried out by Fernando Ruelas of the Duke Car Club, the oldest lowrider car club in Los Angeles, and the murals were hand-painted by Chicano artist Vincent Valdez. This vehicle visualizes a very important chapter of Los Angeles and Chicano history.

* Dressed to Kill
o One of the first Southern California cars to be featured in Lowrider Magazine, this custom 1971 Buick Riviera would become the car to beat in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. The revolutionary Riviera set a new standard and would eventually be featured on the cover of CDs, calendars and promotional posters. Its appearance in the upcoming Petersen Automotive Museum exhibition will be the first opportunity in almost a decade for the general public to view the iconic car.

* Gypsy Rose
o Adorned with about 150 carefully painted roses and a distinct palette of candy pink, red and white, this 1964 Chevy Impala broke ground for lowriding culture by winning top awards at car shows when lowriders were first being recognized as a class of cars worth judging. Veteran lowriders and non-lowriders alike recognize Gypsy Rose as a legendary machine that rued the shows of the ‘80s and ‘90s and cruised the streets in unmatched style.

Lowriding began after the post WWII resurgence in automobile manufacturing. The burgeoning new car market left in its wake an abundance of used cars affordable to anyone with limited means, including many Chicano fathers and sons who restored and modified their rides to be the finest in the neighborhood. Often, they painted these vehicles vibrant candy colors and incorporated artwork on the hoods and trunks, giving them an overall theme.

According to Lowrider Magazine, the term ‘lowrider’ was first used by police after the Watts Riots of 1965 to refer to the young kids who were causing trouble. These kids, famous for removing the springs from their vehicles and sometimes putting heavy objects in their trunks to achieve a lower profile, have redefined the term to denote cultural resistance and artistic expression.

The Petersen Automotive Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, a pioneer in automotive education, and one of the nation’s largest and preeminent automotive museums. The Museum is located at 6060 Wilshire Boulevard (at Fairfax) in Los Angeles. Admission prices are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and students with ID, and $3 for children ages 5 to 12. Museum members and children under five are admitted free. Covered parking is available for $6 per car. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday and holiday Mondays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For general Museum information, call (323) 930-CARS or visit the Museum’s website at www.petersen.org.

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