Fifteen unique cars will be on display during Dale Gas! (which translates to “Give it gas!” or “Step on It!”), a lowrider car show hosted by the Doña Ana Arts Council from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, June 22.
The show was inspired by a photography exhibit titled Lowriders, Hoppers and Hot Rods, which runs through Monday, June 25 at the DAAC Arts & Cultural Center, 1740 Calle de Mercado, in Mesilla. Dale Gas! takes place on the courtyard next to the Arts & Cultural Center, so people can view the exhibit while at the event. The photography exhibit is curated by the state of New Mexico and features photographs of lowriders and other specialized cars through the decades.The exhibit is also on display during the Arts & Cultural Center’s office hours, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
MORE: Lowrider exhibit to open at DAAC Arts & Cultural Center
The cars that will be on display at Dale Gas! are owned by members of the Imperials Car Club of El Paso and Good Times Car Club in Las Cruces. While the organizers of both car clubs enjoy lowrider art and culture, they also hope to expand the show to showcase more cars in the future.
“This is the first time for this show and I wish we could add more cars and more styles of cars, like hot rods, to the show because it’s a great opportunity to tie the fine arts to automotive arts,” said Jesse Paredes of Good Times Car Club.
Common characteristics of lowrider cars include lowering of the car frame, detailed and vibrant paint jobs, wire-spoke wheels and whitewall tires, and hydraulic systems that enable the raising and lowering of the front, rear or sides of the car.
According to Paredes, these specialized cars are often about the expressive details.
“I always loved that my uncle could put a hand under the rear wheel fender of his car and the front door would pop open. I loved that feature, and I always wanted that feature, so I added it on one of my builds,” he said.
Edward Rodriguez, a member of the Imperials Car Club, said building elaborate, artistic cars is more than just a hobby.
“For the amount of time, money and pleasure we spend on the cars, it’s more of a way of life,” Rodriguez said.
Most people approach art cars with either an interest in murals applied to the body, or line and contour paint highlighting, Rodriguez said.
“It’s an individual choice and makers take a lot of pride in these cars,” he said.
Representatives of both car clubs agree that the key ingredient to art car culture is family. Rodriguez said he sees the specialized cars as a way to take nice rides with family or friends, while Paredes has spent hours building personal cars with his two sons.
“My two sons helped me build one of my prized cars and they were so mad when they heard I might sell it,” Paredes said. “A build takes countless hours and endless nights of work, but I really liked how it kept my sons out of trouble.”
At Dale Gas!, entertainment will be provided by the popular cumbia band Jarabe Mexicano from 8:30 to 10:15 p.m. The band is making a southern New Mexico tour.
“Jarabe Mexicano are a really top-class group who has played all over the United States,” said DAAC Executive Director Kathleen Albers. “They are known for their high quality cumbia.”
MORE: Western New Mexico University hosts second annual ¡Fiesta Latina!
The New Mexico State University DanceSport team will demonstrate dancing style and encourage dancers onto the floor. Food, beer and wine will be available for purchase from Paisano Cafe on the patio or inside the restaurant.