Companies” is a monthly feature where we recount the odd beginnings, interesting
permutations, or otherwise unique and noteworthy circumstances of a toy or hobby
manufacturer. If you think you know of a Cool Company that you’d like to see
featured here, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Freezing a Pose in a Hot Niche
By Timothy Dickey
Blue 1960 Lowrider Dancer
If you’ve ever seen a Hip Hop
video or John Singleton film (Boyz in the Hood), you've probably seen a
Lowrider car--a 60s-era sedan lowered and restored with a seriously
cool paint job, immaculate chrome rims, and perfect upholstery and
Of course, the key
feature of the Lowrider is a custom hydraulic system that can lift
the body of the car off the chassis, freezing it in a cool pose or
making the front or back end hop up and down. But
Lowriders aren’t just cars. They’re
cultural statements, and one-of-a-kind ornaments that both admit you
to and establish your rank in an intensely loyal community.
Devotees can easily put six figures into restoring and
outfitting a car, usually a vintage Chevrolet.
Thanks to LOWRIDE2FREEDOM, however, consumers can put down
$19.95 and “represent” their Lowrider leanings with a highly
detailed, electronically pose-able Lowrider replica in 1:25 scale. And
consumers do, with fervor. That’s
why LOWRIDE2FREEDOM is our Cool Company of the month.
Tricking It Out Family Style
Owned and operated by the
father and son team of Donald and Mark Woods, LOWRIDE2FREEDOM’s
incredibly accurate, durable plastic models have been featured in Lowrider
Magazine, and discovered by members and admirers of the culture
all over America and on distant continents.
“We’ve gotten orders from all over the place,” says Mark
Woods. “Through the
wholesale (operation) we get orders from Asia, Australia and
Unlike static die-cast replicas that are also zooming off
shelves, the Woods’ products have specific appeal because of their
simulated hydraulic functions. They’re not remote control; trick moves are operated with a
wired, video-game-style controller.
1965 Chevy Impala
Dancer with controller
Orders are also rolling in through LOWRIDE2FREEDOM’s
internet-based retail operation, which Mark oversees at www.lowride2freedom.com.
Customers hail predictably from Los Angeles and other urban
markets, but also Arkansas, Mississippi, and military bases far and
appeal seems to be largely, but not exclusively, adult in nature.
“I wouldn’t so much call it a toy,” explains Mark Woods.
“It’s almost like a token…like a cool gadget for
somebody who really just likes Lowriders.”
their second year of operation, LOWRIDE2FREEDOM is looking at twice
the profits from the first year.
They seem perfectly “posed” in a hot
niche—vehicles--that saw an 8% rise in retail sales in 2001*.
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