Grey Lynn is a gentrified suburb of Central Auckland; an area that, while once of a lower socio-economic demographic, has become ever increasingly the home of Audis, soy lattes, and handbag dogs.
It is, therefore, probably one of the last places you’d expect to find a bunch of low-riders, and it is also — rather conveniently — where our offices are based. So when Marcus, the editor of NZ Performance Car magazine burst in rambling about “a whole bunch of low-riders just parked up the road”, we figured it'd be a good idea to scope it out.
The Loyalty IV Life Lowrider Car Club is a club with its origins in Australia, and a growing New Zealand presence. While a number of the people here are based around the Tauranga area, for a time period on a Friday morning, they had taken over a section of Grey Lynn roadside parking.
The reason was simple. Club member Ashlee’s airbagged ’82 Cadillac Fleetwood was in at Zero Nine Customs, getting the tyres white-walled. With the club on their way to the Air Ride and Lowrider Nationals at this year’s V 4&Rotary Nationals, this was a last-minute stop to get those finishing touches on her car.
And, while Ashlee’s Cadi was undergoing some last-minute refurbishment, Jeremy’s beautiful ’62 Impala had undergone a last-minute change of ownership. Jeremy’s been mates with some of the guys in the club for a while, and has finally got in on the scene by buying his first low-rider from another club member. The car originally came into the country with hydraulic suspension installed, but it was pulled and replaced, due to the difficulties involved in getting the car legal. Jeremy hopes to have hydraulic suspension installed and some custom paintwork done in the future, which should definitely make his neat Impala a standout car.
Jeremy’s ’62 is a pretty neat car, but you should see what Hayden fronted up with. Just at this impromptu park-up, three of the cars in attendance were his own! Although, since Hayden is the man behind Jokers Wild Kustoms — a Mount Maunganui–based one-stop kustom shop — you’d expect him to have a decent pack of cars. The ’79 Cadillac Fleetwood is a pretty recognizable car, but as nice as it is, it pales in comparison to another of his rides.
Being able to source and install his own hydraulic systems means nothing less than a three-wheeling epitome of low-riding — a six-four Impala coupe. “It was in pretty shit condition,” Hayden says of the Impala, not that you’d ever guess by looking at its smooth finish now. Look a little closer, and you’ll notice the 23-karat-gold plating on trim panels, the headlight and tail-light bezels, badges, and even extending to the custom engraved original 72-spoke Zenith wheels.
Hayden’s third car in attendance was a ’59 Impala two-door sedan — a genuine one-owner car with 54,000 original miles on the clock. He’s had it for around a month and a half, after purchasing it while on a holiday and ‘buying trip’ in the USA, and driving it all around before returning to New Zealand. So far, he’s fitted the 13-inch wires, but has big plans in place for the Impala — seeing how his other cars have turned out, we don’t doubt that one bit.
The other ’59 Chev in attendance is an Impala wagon belonging to Mel — “a hot-rodder who was converted to low-riding just last night,” according to other club members. The New Mexico car is an original-condition rust-free driver, with a 283ci small block under the bonnet, and it landed in New Zealand just three weeks ago. “It drives like a dream,” Mel says, and while she doesn’t have any plans in place to make her Impala any more of a low-rider, her mates will no doubt be doing their best to change all that.
Josh owns the other wagon in the group, a ’64 Impala. With a two-pump 36V hydraulic system, it goes up and down easily enough, and hits the three-wheel motion all day. Wire wheels and some intricate airbrushing down the sides give this smooth car all the appeal it could ever need.
Last, but not least, is Joel’s ’38 Chev roadster. Having been Australian-built, the ’38 is a rare factory right-hand drive model. “They only made 126 of them,” Joel says, “and there’s less than 50 of these ’38 Chev convertibles in the world.” He purchased the car in July last year, and has only just gotten it on the road. He has no plans to install any hydraulic or airbag suspension, and only really intends to add more aero-correct accessories. His wife also has a ’47 Chev that’s currently in pieces, so it looks as though there’s going to be more than one old old-school car joining Loyalty IV Life’s ranks in the future.
From here, the club are on to the ASB Showgrounds in Greenlane, to park up at the Air Ride and Lowrider Nationals hall at the V 4&Rotary Nationals on Saturday, January 30. If this sort of stuff floats your boat, make sure you head down to check out these sweet cars, along with other ground-scraping cruisers from the Carnales and Old Skool Rydz low-rider clubs.