Jun 1, 2016

Hittin' Switches | Mercury Grand Marquis by Hi-Technix

Here at Mat Canyon, we are known to feature quite a numerous variety of cars. But for any loyal reader on our blog, it is easy to see that here at Mat Canyon, we do have a bias to prioritize more on performance oriented builds nowadays. It would either be a purpose built race car or an extensively built street car which is built to be fast. Especially if that car has a title to be 'fastest' in some category, that car would be given priority. But once in a while, there are certain car cultures that do grab my interest where the objective in that subculture has nothing to do with speed.

Despite receiving a good amount of exposure worldwide,  lowrider culture is still largely uncharted territory in Malaysia. For any Malaysian, the only time they would see a proper lowrider is when they view a west coast rap video. However, recently at Art Of Speed 2016, the organizers got a chance to bring one properly built lowrider to be showcased at the event. The car they got is a 1992 Mercury Grand Marquis that was built by a shop known as Hi-Technix which is based in Okayama, Japan.

Lowrider culture doesn't really have a definite date and location of origin but it was said to start some time during the 1950s in the Mexican-American neighbourhoods of Southern California specifically in Los Angeles. Back then, all they did was they filled up the trunks of their custom cars with sandbags to make their car to look visibly lower. But later on, this crude method was replaced with lowering blocks, chopped springs or drop spindles. Among the popular cars that will be the choice to be turned into a lowrider would usually be long wheelbase American made cars like the Cadilac Deville, the Chevrolet Monte Carlo or the ever iconic 1960s Impala.

Throughout that time era, the lowrider culture exploded in Southern California due to some factors. During the time, the lowrider culture were mostly practiced among the Mexican and African-American community whereas at the time, they were largely segregated by society especially in Los Angeles. So during that time, they feel that the custom cars they build is a source of pride for them as a minority at the time. In a way, it was a counter culture where they took an American icon which is the car and turned it into a canvas of expression. Indirectly, the lowrider becomes the owners' very own work of art.

Fast forward to a modern and more diverse time, lowrider culture has made been exposed to various places across the globe including to the land of the rising sun. Ironically, while a lot of Americans are becoming more interested in the Japanese car culture like drifting, the Japanese has took a huge interest in lowrider culture. Among some of the reasons of this expansion would be that in Japan, a healthy number of American cars are used on the roads of Japan today. Just like many technologies that the Japanese have mastered, a number of them quickly studied and started building their own lowriders in Japan. Some even used late model Japanese cars as platforms for their builds like the Honda Accord SM and late model Datsuns.

 So in the 2000s, numerous shops that specialize on lowrider builds started sprouting all over Japan. Soon enough, they started having their own lowrider shows where numerous builds are showcased. It has came to a point where the scene over in Japan is just as strong as their Californian counterparts.

The vehicle that was brought out by Hi-Technix is a 1992 Mercury Grand Marquis. The engine and interior is left stock but the guys at Hi-Technix gave the undercarriage a full clean shave and tuck. The car was built from the ground up starting with a Full Wrap Frame which was custom built and fabricated in the shop as a base. The hydraulic system is operated with four pumps and is powered by 12 full size car batteries that is stuffed in the rear trunk.

This kind of automotive subculture may not be to everyone's liking especially for those who are far from being Americanized. It is also highly unlikely for lowrider culture to become popular in Malaysia. But I find it fascinating on how car culture can influence so many things varying from fashion to music. If there is a subculture that is capable to be that influential, lowrider culture would be a strong candidate for that.

Owner: Hi-Technix Custom Hydraulics
Model: 1992 Mercury Grand Marquis
Location: Okayama, Japan

4.6L SOHC Modular V8,

4-speed automatic,

Full Wrap Custom Frame,
4 Hydraulic Pumps operated with 12 Car Batteries,

Dayton Rev Wire Wheels 14 x 7jj,
Suretrac Power Touring Tires,

Custom Pinstripes by Jetwrench,


Hi-Technix, Okayama, Japan.


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