Love, Lowriders, Latinos

Car show brings crowds to Pittsboro


PITTSBORO — Crowds dropped in on Saturday for the Lowrider Show at the Chatham County Agriculture & Conference Center.

The event, now in its fourth year, is the brainchild of Manuel Araiza, who along with his brothers Francisco, and Jose, and their dad, also Francisco, bring it to life to highlight the Latino culture.

The event attracts lowriders — a moniker that applies to both the cars and their owners — from Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia and all parts of North Carolina to share the love for these meticulously customized vehicles.

City Knights Lowriders Car Club in Fayetteville was one of the clubs that came to support the event. Daniel Castañeda, president of the club, is a Special Forces veteran and says the club was started to help unite Latinos in the military serving in and around Fort Bragg. Through that, he met Manuel and comes to Chatham County to support him every year.

“The common denominator for us was the love for the lowrider car, which is embedded in our culture, for the Latinos, the Chicanos,” said Castañeda in an interview. “You know, we started building low riders as a resemblance of our culture here in North Carolina. … Regardless of background, race or creed, this event unites us by the love for the lowrider car.”

Castañeda’s pride and joy is a true classic: the '67 Impala.

“When you look at this car, you see a 1967 Chevy Impala Super Sport, but it is much more than that, you see La Raza in this car. You see my Mexican culture in this car,” he said.

Lowriders come in many varieties, from iconic 1960s Impalas with hydraulics, to older classics from the 40s and 50s called Bombitas. Newer rides are welcomed too, of course.

“It doesn't really depend so much on the type, but the style and how you present the vehicle that matters the most,” Castañeda told Chatham News & Record. “That you pour your love, and you can represent yourself, represent your family, represent your club, represent your background through your vehicle.”

He emphasized the importance of shedding old stereotypes and focusing on building a larger community.

“This culture is about respect. It's about love for the community. We've had such a bad stigma or reputation for the lowrider being associated with gangbangers and thugs, and at some point, that might have been the truth,” he admitted. “But today, when we look at cars like this, we see pride. We see love. We see culture and that's what we share. We spread it out across the community. Everyone we encounter, we respect, and we pour our love into it to show them that we are men of honor.”

“We are lowriders.”