Faculty Mentor

Martin Meraz Garcia

Document Type


Publication Date



Chicano Education


This research paper focuses on the rich heritage of the Chicano people who chose to express their culture through the customization of vehicles. I discuss the history of the automobile in the Chicano culture and the reasons why low riding became such a dominant idea for Chicanos. This paper will show how customizing in terms of painting, lowering, sculpting, and fabricating gave the Chicanos a favorable alternative activity instead of joining a gang. I will further discuss how this positive movement motivated and generated a generation of workers who excelled in the field of automobile customization through their artistic capabilities and/or their skilled labor learned during WWII. My paper will show how customizing helped integrate art and politics especially during the Chicano Art Movement. Many chose to express their needs and also the needs of their community through their designs and intricate paintings found throughout their vehicles. I will be utilizing popular Chicano magazines, books on Chicano art, and history books focusing on the low riding generation.