Pineapple on the Outside, Luau on the Inside
My Fantasy Lowrider
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Fantasizing about cars is one of my favorite daydreams (and it’s a damn good thing my dreams don't come true because if they did, I’d have a volume of Plymouths, Volvos and dune buggies on my hands). So when asked to dream up a lowrider for myself, with no consideration for the logistics, difficulty, time and coin that actually goes into creating any work of art, it was a no-brainer. I immediately decided on a Polynesian theme: a pineapple exterior and a luau interior. Pineapples taste good to me, their shape is hilarious and their golden ratio proportions are enticing. They also summon thoughts of tropical beaches, drinks, sunsets and the aloha lifestyle. The same can be said for the luau that would take place on the interior of my lowrider.
Glorious island aesthetics need an equally glorious make and model to go with them, which is why I’d personally want them to happen on a ’61 Plymouth Valiant, the car I recently spent a couple years driving. Though my Valiant was cool, the suspension was always off, so to make the thing into a true lowrider it would have to be completely rebuilt. First, I’d need to lower it by getting rid of some springage. I’d also need a brand-new hydraulic system installed. Sixteen switches, byotch (and thousands of dollars). Then I'd need 11-inch, 100-spoke Dayton rims and some white-walled tires to go with it. The 100-spoke Dayton is a classic and would balance out my aloha theme with classic lowrider appeal.
I won't need extra power or toughness: No headers, cams, high-performance coils, customized exhaust systems or extra barrels in my carburetor, just chrome plating on my slant six and a spotless sheen on everything else. We're cruising here (and picking up lovely ladies), not drag racing.
So back to the interior luau. First, let’s talk about the art of upholstery. Since the paint is going to be gold flake with a cross-hatched pineapple pattern and green pineapple leaf trim, the interior should speak to this theme, but not copy its idea. So since the outside is gold, the inside should be green and lush like the islands. I feel that this best translates into green velvet. I’d also want to make the headliner blue like the tropical sky with painted-on clouds, and I’d change out the steering wheel for a tiny bamboo one and place faux orchids and hibiscus flowers around the interior. I’d probably also throw in a hula girl and tiki god for good measure.
Then there would have to be some sweet sound system, to go with the sweet island soundtrack of the Vintage Hawaiian Treasures series, Dick Dale, The Ventures, Surfaris, and anything with slack-key guitar, steel guitar or the ukulele. And I'd want to go the opposite direction and focus on the treble, not the bass. I really need to hear that ukulele.
Once my lowrider hits the streets, those who lay their eyes upon it, if only for a second, will forget they live in the desert and will be filled with the warmness of aloha. Then they'll shudder and cringe from the overpowering treble.
Manoa Project Summer Institute Performance at National Hispanic Cultural Center
Spanish Cooking Classes: Tapas at Instituto CervantesMore Recommended Events ››