Chrome glistened in the sun and car hopping was taken to new heights at this year’s King of the Streets Lowrider Car Show and Hopping Contest. The annual event took place Saturday at Piers 30-32 on Embarcadero. The ninth annual event was held by the Embarcadero Piers 30-32. San Francisco Lowrider Council.
Lowrider classic cars were the star of the show, but custom lowrider bikes and hydraulics were also on display. In recent years, the event was held at Fort Mason and Cow Palace. There were also food vendors, arts and craft stalls, and a DJ. A cruise was held in the Mission District, as usual.
Before the hopping competition, cars are displayed in the pit. | Photo: Cheryl Guerrero/Hoodline
Roberto Hernández, Founder & President of San Francisco Lowrider Council, considers lowriding an artform.
“When you create a lowrider,”He explained, “it’s coming from your heart, your soul, your mind. It’s your creation. You’re creating an art piece. And so, I call it the art of lowriding. And it’s great to see us all come together.”
People can spend years on their cars’ creation and then bring it to King of the Streets to debut it. “Just to see that,”He said, “and be together to experience that … It’s fun and it’s exciting.”
“We come every year, but this is my first year to bring this out. It’s been under construction for a couple of years. Today’s the debut,” said Ashley Palomo of her 1966 Impala, ‘Peach Sunset’. | Photo: Cheryl Guerrero/Hoodline
There are awards for the Best in Show award for cars and bikes and for hopping. The act of making a car bounce or hop is called hopping. The contest judges measure the tire’s bottom to see how high the car can jump in air. Hernández says that when hopping started out they used 12” rulers. The measuring device now measures 120 inches. And instead of having one battery for hopping in a car, there can now be up to 14 batteries made specifically for hoppers.
Participation of a car in the hopping competition | Photo: Cheryl Guerrero/Hoodline
What’s so beautiful about lowriding now, Hernández said, is that although it started with the Chicano or Latino culture, it now brings in people from many ethnicities and backgrounds. Lowriding culture is now found all over the globe, from Japan and Brazil. People take on not only the cars but also the clothing, style, aesthetics, and accessories.
“I would have never imagined,”He told us: “never ever, when I started lowriding that it would become international.”
It’s easy to understand why Hernández would have found it impossible to imagine lowriding would one day become international. When the San Francisco Lowrider Council was founded 41 years ago, they were fighting to allow cruisers to travel and not be harassed in the city. They won the fight in court. He stated that advocacy and the social justice consciousness of lowrider movements has led them to become involved in everything, from fighting gentrification within the Mission to fundraising for John O’Connell Technical School each year to the annual Santa Toy drive. The Council was also a part in starting the Mission Food HubThe pandemic began.
Still, they can still celebrate each other and their art through the cars, cruises and once-a-year car shows.
Eric Lopez brought his 1948 Chevy Fleetline Aerosedan, a 1948 Chevy Fleetline Aerosedan, to the event. A member of Frisco’s Finest Car Club, Lopez said there are a lot of misconceptions and negative stereotypes about lowriders, but lowriding is really about expression and culture.
“It’s in our blood,”He explained, “it’s in our culture. It’s all about the cars and culture. It’s what we do. We put our pride into our cars. It’s something that’s appealed to me since I was a kid. And we’ve been doing it since I was a teenager. And it’s how we express ourselves.”
Detail of Eric Lopez’s 1948 Chevy Fleetline aerosedan door. | Photo: Cheryl Guerrero/Hoodline
Lopez has been coming with this Fleetline to King of the Streets for many years. But for him it’s still a work in progress. “Next year I’ll be back,”He said, “and it’s going to be different. I still got visions; I’m going to do more things with it.”
Here are some more scenes from Saturday night’s show:
Northstar, a winner of the award, was built and owned by Abel Rueda.
A black Impala takes part in the hopping competition.
Phillip Dominguez IV with his 1962 gold Impala “I want to say [to] people out there building their cars, trust the process. It took me 2 ½ years to get me where I am today.” And he says it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of his father and father’s friends.
Display of Lowrider bikes
Roberto Hernández prepares incense and candles before the opening blessing of the hopping contest, which was dedicated “Young Hogg”, a member who has died.
Another Impala participates at the hopping contest.
The contestants view the hopping contest.
Pretty in Pink, a Lowrider bicycle winner, was built by Charley Fabiani and owned by Andrea Salcedo.
Toy lowriders in a pit before the contest started.
All photos by Cheryl Guerrero