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What Happened To Hydraulics? Nothing. It’s Still Here

00:00 [Music] 00:06 the customization and hydraulics of the 00:08 classic lowrider is an icon of modern 00:11 car culture originating in southern 00:13 california during the 1930s with popular 00:16 international appeal today 00:18 just saying the words low rider is 00:20 likely to invoke vivid imagery for 00:22 pretty much anyone 00:23 for me it's a 1964 chevy impala bouncing 00:26 up and down in a way that doesn't seem 00:28 healthy for its suspension 00:30 or the human brain but it would sure 00:32 deliver an a-plus performance in a dr 00:34 dre music video unfortunately the car 00:37 enthusiast tradition was squashed by 00:39 reactionary laws against customizing 00:41 cars by lowering their suspension but 00:43 that didn't stop low riders from taking 00:45 over california car culture after all 00:48 isn't that what low riders are built to 00:49 do 00:50 travel under the radar in 1959 mechanic 00:53 ron aguirre figured out that he could 00:55 take a general motors x-frame chassis 00:58 and attach it to some hydraulic pumps 01:00 lowering and raising the car with a flip 01:02 of a switch with aguirre's discovery the 01:05 modern low rider was born first released 01:08 in 1957 the x-frame changed the course 01:10 of low rider history because its unique 01:13 design allowed for more support on the 01:15 vertical axis 01:17 the 1964 chevrolet impala is considered 01:20 the classic frame and body for hydraulic 01:22 implementation for this reason 01:25 that's the incredible thing about a car 01:27 hydraulics these systems didn't come out 01:29 of a corporate think tank 01:31 car enthusiasts had to do everything 01:33 from scratch using whatever they had 01:35 lying around in their garage 01:37 i like to think of myself as a diy guy 01:39 but i don't think i could ever build a 01:40 hydraulic system all by myself or at 01:42 least one that would be safe to use 01:46 if you want to turn your car into a 01:48 bouncing demon it's a lot easier now 01:50 than it was back in 1957. the only thing 01:53 stopping you are your country's laws and 01:55 regulations which we all know can be 01:58 worked around wink wink 02:01 [Music]

For many, the peak of “the lowrider culture” came in the 1970s on Whittier Boulevard in Los Angeles. It's here you’d find circles of vibrantly painted muscle cars that glided “low and slow” throughout the streets as depicted in the 1979 film Boulevard Nights. The muscle cars featured so prominently in the ‘70s are no longer as mainstream, but for those who think lowrider culture is gone, it’s only because you stopped looking. But let’s take you through some history.


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