Last month, we talked about old school hydraulics, and some of the vintage parts in that realm that are still available. In this month's Lowrider Deluxe, we take a full-on look into the '70's, a decade known for Pet Rocks, The Brady Bunch, Converse, Bell Bottoms and Disco. Even though we could easily dedicate a whole magazine to these decade-relevant topics, we are going to keep it Lowrider for you, and take a look at some of the old accessories and fads from that era.
I always say that Detroit had their best years in the 70's. GM had the Bonneville, Cutlass, Regal, Cadillac, '76 Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Malibu, El Camino, Caprice, and Impala, while Ford had the Lincoln, T-bird, Cougar, and the LTD. These American-made classics comprised the more popular cars that Lowriders were building back then.
The saying "one man's trash becomes another man's treasure" couldn't be more true than in the world of automobile restoration. If you have some vintage accessories and artifacts, along with the knowledge of them that you'd like to share with the public, drop us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chain Steering Wheel
Chain steering wheels on Lowriders evolved around the late 60's/early '70's. . Though the joke was that you could drive away in handcuffs with these smaller wheels, the reality is that people were being impaled by these steering wheels during traffic accidents. Despite the legal ramifications against them, these steering wheels have survived, and are still available at local automotive swapmeets, or online retailers like eBay. They have been seen in the price range of $30-150, depending on the condition and availability.
California Auto Radio of Downey, California is best known for creating the culture's most sought after color bar. Once it was introduced, people tried to emulate or modify the model, much like this one that we are featuring today. This was a dual screen color bar, which had separate control knobs. In this condition, this rare find has been priced to sell for as low as $300, and priced as high as $600, depending on the condition. If you cannot find an original one, you can go to manufactures like MDCT, who are currently reproducing them for about the same price as a used one. These models feature modern technology that will help to keep it working for years to come.
The Grand Prix door handles
These handles from a 69-72 became a popular item, as people use to swap them out and modify them for their Lowrider. The purpose was to streamline the car and not to have bulky eye sore door handles. A set this clean can sell for as much as three hundred dollars.
Rabbit ear antennas
There were several different models of automotive rabbit ear antennas. Today, we are highlighting a set from Sony. We have actually seen a NOS set sell for $50, showing us that they are still out there, and that the deals on them can still be found.
While out at a shoot, I ran into this set of True Spoke knock-offs. These were bought at an old auto parts dealer, who still had them on a shelf in the back. The comple set sold for $20.
The idea of cutting or splitting bumpers is believed to have originally come from early Corvette's or '70's Camaros. The idea was to show off more of the car grill. These bumpers were never new or from a factory. To achieve this look, builders would actually cut them themselves; sometimes they were cut really well, and other times the builders should have let the professionals handle the task!
These wheels are still out there. This one was bought at the local automotive swapmeet for $25, with an original Premium Sportway 5.20. One down, three to go, as this is how some are collected.