Editor’s note: This photo essay was produced by a participant in a photo workshop offered by Boyle Heights Beat this summer.
In Boyle Heights and East L.A., cruising and car shows are a huge part of the Chicano and Chicana culture. These cruises are a way to show that cars are more than a source of transportation. People have invested in a rusty old car and spent days, months, and even years to make it look like the beautiful cars we see rolling down the boulevard.
There are many ways to get into this culture, from movies to spotting a car on the street, but for me, it’s in my family. I grew up going to car shows with my family for as long as I can remember.
My grandpa, Carlos “Moon” Arevalo, has a 1971 Vega that got wrecked in an accident and he wanted to beautify his car again. It took him four years to get this car back to its original look, and it even has its original tires.
He also has a 1977 El Camino super sport that he fixed from the bottom up. After many years of the car sitting around he finally started fixing it in 2009. It took him five years to finish this car.
He says lowriding has always been in his blood and wanted to have his grandkids grow up around his cars and sooner or later pass his cars down to them. That same vision has rubbed off on the next generation with my brother, who is now fixing up a 1968 Dodge Dart.
The following photos are from a couple of different nights of cruises that happened this summer in East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights.