The lowriders that are saving lives
Top Gear meets LA ex-gang members seeking redemption through cars…
Posted: 16 Oct 2013
Relationships with authorities aren't always as emphatically positive. Rick Burrell is a reformed Crip gang member and owns the Low Life Hydraulics shop in Inglewood. He says: "I get why police give us a hard time in this neighbourhood - it can be a tough place. I used to think lowriding and gang-banging were the same. I mean, even the car clubs were banging back in the Seventies."
Like most of South Central LA, Low Life is based in a mortician-grey low-rise. The street in front is a place of sliding eyes that read the tiniest instruction in a hand sign, a tattoo or a colour. There is a general feeling - more instinct than certainty - that getting on the wrong side of the wrong person here would be extremely irreversible, and end in a major disinclination to boogie.
"I see gang life every day," says Rick. "I see the violence. And I know that, nowadays, lowriding's completely different. These cars help people get out of that life, give them something positive to do with their time, and club members encourage that, and look for people they can help. It's a lifestyle. It might have come from the same area geographically, but it's grown away from that drama. We're against it. And it ain't cheap. Some of the cars out here are worth $100,000. You don't want some knucklehead messing around with your car if you've put that much in it.