The Suitcase Lady


August 20, 2013, 9:19 pm

Sometimes you just get lucky. We had finished eating a late dinner at a restaurant in Albuquerque on Central Avenue, the old Route 66. It was 11:00 P.M. on a Sunday night. “Let’s take Route 66 through downtown back to our hotel,” I suggested.

As we approached downtown, the traffic suddenly became thick and then stopped. My husband began to look for an exit from the tie up, but I said, “Wait a minute, I think we may have just joined a parade of cruisers.”

A minute later this was confirmed when we spotted a lowrider parked at the curb but dancing up and down for an appreciative audience.

New Mexico is an epicenter for fabulously customized cars. These vehicles are truly rolling pieces of Hispanic American folk art which have been recognized by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. In 1992 the Smithsonian acquired “Dave’s Dream”, a legendary lowrider from Chimayo, New Mexico.

Lowriders are outfitted with hydraulics activated by switches. The driver can change the height of the car, drive on 3 wheels, hop the front wheels off the ground or dip the sides of the car.

Paint jobs on these cars are eye popping with multiple thin layers of colors, metallic paints, airbrushed murals, pinstripes, flames or combinations of the above. Interiors are lavishly upholstered as well.

Toward the end of the cruise we saw a series of cars at the curb with wings: their doors opened upward making the cars resemble giant birds in flight. Checking that custom feature out on the computer later, we learned that vertical opening doors are called “Lambo Doors”. And, better yet, a customizing kit is available for our little Fiat 500. This is very tempting.

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