San Jose: Innovators of
Lowrider Culture

While lowriding has origins from many different locations, the impact San Jose has had on lowrider culture is undeniable. From Lowrider Magazine to legendary cruising to car hopping innovations, explore this page to learn more.

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San Jose Lowrider Culture

Historical exploration of San Jose lowriders by Professor Arturo Villareal

Story & King Cruising Coverage

KCRA reporter John Gibson visited San Jose, California, in 1978 to report on the low rider scene at the corner of Story and King roads, purported to be the “Low Rider capital of the world.

Story and King News Coverage

Interviews of spectators, residents, SJPD, and lowriders about the Story and King cruising explosion. Hear different perspectives of what the scene was all about.

Low & Slow - The Art of Lowriding Documentary

Low ‘N Slow, the Art of Lowriding, explores the complex cultural role that custom cars play in the Mexican-American community. Featuring Northern California lowriders, especially San Jose footage.

KNTV 11 Live Wire Episode 64 'Lowriders' 1979 San Jose, Ca

KNTV Channel 11 in-depth report on lowriders and lowriding scene in San Jose in 1979.  Brief interview clips, San Jose locations, and outtakes of lowrider cars, automobile shows, shops, and drivers.

East Side Story & King Documentary

A short trailer produced by Len Ramirez about San Jose lowrider culture. Unfortunately, the documentary was never completed.

Story & King:
Legendary Cruising

Cruising from sundown to sun up was a common weekend occurence along Story and Kind Rd. Parking lots at the corners of the intersection were filled with lowriders and 1000s of cars packed the short strip of road. After the closure of Whittier Blvd, San Jose became the Cruising Capital of California and the world!

Andy's Hydraulics:
Next Level Car Hopping

Few innovators come and completely change the lowrider game. Andy’s Hydraulics was one of those innovators who’s ideas took off in San Jose by offering one of the first hydraulic supply shops for lowriders by lowriders. Known to be the first to hit back bumper and flip a car over in 1978.

Birthplace of Lowrider
Print Media

In January 1977, San Jose State University students Sonny Madrid, Larry Gonzalez, and David Nunes published the first Issue of Lowrider Magazine out of this modest storefront at 282 Willow Street (now a historical landmark). But it doesn’t stop there, numerous other publications we’re also produced in San Jose influincing the landscape of lowriding across the country.

Facts About San Jose
Lowrider History

  • Teen Angel became a prominent artist in San Jose through Lowrider Magazine
  • San Jose State University students created Lowrider Magazine in 1977
  • The film “Duke of Earl” was partially filmed in San Jose, most notably at Hammer & Lewis and the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds
  • The very first National Lowrider show took place in 1978 at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds
  • Artist David Gonzales (the creator of the Homies) was featured in Lowrider Magazine and by Biney Ruiz of 5 Star Productions in his early years of illustrating
  • The film Zoot Suit was written by San Jose State alum, Luis Valdez
  • The first formal lowrider club in San Jose was New Style Car Club founded in 1974
  • The “lowrider man” was created by San Jose artist Joe Hernandez, one of the first artists hired by Lowrider Magazine
  • Biney Ruiz of 5 Star Production laid the groundwork for car shows and supershows as we know them today, combining music acts with car exhibits
  • The original Lowrider Magazine office is now a historical landmark!

Early Lowrider Clubs of San Jose

*Not a comprehensive list

59 Elites, Alum Rock Cruisers, Antano Car Club, Brown Persuasion, California Stepsides, California Style, Chicano’s Pride, City Life, Classic Image, Classic Impalas, Classic Styles, Dukes, First Impressions, Grand Masters, Ladies Unlimited, Ladies of Persuasion, Lady Bugs, Latin Union, Legends, Los Amigos, Low Conspiracy, Low Reflections, Low Riders Unlimited, Low Sensations, Midnite Classics, National Low Riders, New Classics, New Style, New Wave, Pure Imagination, Realistics, Reality Car Club, Royal Emperors, San Jose Highlites, San Jose Stepsides, Sophisticated Ladies, Street Escorts, Uniques

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