’74 LA Low Rider Show


A look at the fine Low-Riders created in the early 1970’s. A very colorful world, experienced in wonderful black and white.

In 2006 I came across an eBay auction for 44 black and white Polaroid photos, taken at an 1970’s Low-Rider show. The auction showed one of the Polaroid photos a bit larger. The rest of the photos were shown just stacked, and overlapping each other. The title of the auction was rather vague, I can’t remember what it was, but it did not draw any attention to it. The one photo that was showing a bit larger, was the leading photo of this article. Showing the first version of the Charlie Lopez 1949 Mercury low-rider.

I had always liked the “Nostalgia Sleeper” Mercury, its early version, but also the better known gull wing version with glass top insert. There was a very low minimal price for the auction, and the shipping to the Netherlands was also reasonable. So I placed a bet on it, but did not expect to win, figuring more Low Rider enthusiast would find the auction as I did. However, several days later it turned out I was the only bidder on the auction and I had won… A week later I had the 44 black and white Polaroids in my mailbox.

They were wrapped in plastic, and as soon as I opened the package a chemical smell of freshly developed photos filled my office. I carefully looked at the photos and they were a lot better, and nicer than I had ever expected. The Polaroids had aged wonderfully, with a nice sepia tone to them, and the wonderful edges of the Polaroid are looking great.

One of the photos had a small text on the back, mentioning that the photos were taken at the Los Angeles Convention Center in 1974. I’m not even sure if all 44 photos were taken at the same event. Some of the photos are stamped with “Polaroid” at the back, while others have only a serial number. But perhaps the cassette in the camera was changed during the show… Perhaps some of our readers will be able to recognize the cars and the location. Nowadays in 2013, the photos still smell the same as they did when I first opened the package.

We will be sharing the whole collection in a series of articles here on the Custom Car Chronicle. Lets take a look at the first ten Polaroid photos.

CCC-1974-Polaroid-05-WOscar Trejo 1966 Chevy Impala


CCC-1974-Polaroid-01-WChevrolet Vega “Tiny Dancer” painted by Walt Prey

CCC-1974-Polaroid-23-WBuggs Ochoa Galaxie


CCC-1974-Polaroid-19-WAlbert Provost’s 39 Chevy




CCC-1974-Polaroid-15-WHenry Shister Volkswagen


CCC-1974-Polaroid-14-WCharley Lopez “Nostalgia Sleeper” 1949 Mercury. And on the left we can see the nose of the “Tower of Power”. A 1956 Chevy owned by Ishmael Robles


 Take a look at the second or third part in the series on these black and white Polaroid photos.



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Rik Hoving

Rik is the CCC editor in chief. As a custom car historian he is researching custom car history for many years. In 2004 he started the Custom Car Photo Archive that has become a place of joy for many custom car enthousiasts. Here at CCC Rik will bring you inspiring articles on the history of custom cars and builders. Like a true photo detective he will show us what's going on in all those amazing photos. He will write stories about everything you want to know in the realm of customizing. In daily life Rik is a Graphic Designer. He is married to the CCC webmaster and the father of a 10 year old son (they are both very happy with his excellent cooking skills)

2 thoughts on “’74 LA Low Rider Show

  • October 31, 2013 at 21:24

    Rik, what is the size of those polaroid photos? Reason I ask is I had a Polaroid camera and my photos were more square in aspect ratio. These look more rectangular and the quality of the photograph is really excellent.

    I am looking at the wild interior with the “living room” hanging lamp from the headliner. There have to be speakers in the headrests of those seats. Wild stuff.

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