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Southern California serves as the birthplace of the lowrider custom car segment, and the area remains a hotbed for the niche automotive scene, despite plenty of legislation that effectively bans their use. Though the lowrider scene predates the iconic 1990s film Boyz n the Hood, the movie helped solidify lowriders as one of the most recognizable and unique custom car segments.

Southern California birthed the lowrider scene

Lowriders are effectively a product of Southern California’s hip-hop scene, in which cars, most often large American models from the 1960s through the 1990s, are slammed to the ground and sport adjustable suspensions that can alter their ride height in seconds. Additionally, they often feature intricate paint jobs with eye-catching colors and other visual elements. The interiors are also typically customized, usually with attention-grabbing upholstery and a bevy of aftermarket parts.

One aspect of the lowrider scene that sets it apart is how these custom cars are used. Unlike most aftermarket specials, lowriders are meant for cruising — to borrow a cooking term, “low and slow.”

‘Boyz n the Hood’ helped cement the lowrider’s status

The 1991 John Singleton film, Boyz n the Hood, is an iconoclast film of the early ‘90s, focusing on the trials and tribulations of three young men in the Crenshaw “hood” of Los Angeles. The film underscores the culture of those living within a LA ghetto and the inherent social, race, and violence issues of growing up in such neighborhoods. The film showcases how some growing up in this environment yearn to escape it any way they can, while others fall victim to its criminal culture and violence.  

The film includes a star-studded cast — featuring Cuba Gooding Jr., Ice Cube, Laurence Fishburne, and Angela Bassett — and a car that has become an automotive film icon, a 1963 Chevrolet Impala lowrider driven by Ice Cube’s character, Doughboy.

The Impala features many of the mainstays of the lowrider scene, including gorgeous paintwork, aftermarket wheels, a custom interior, and adjustable suspension used for low cruising. Coupled with long, sleek lines of the stock Impala, the “Touch of Gold” Impala is certainly one of its era’s most memorable automotive film cars.

The lowrider scene was already well-established before Boyz n the Hood hit theaters. Still, Doughboy’s Impala helped underscore the aftermarket car segment and introduce it to an entirely new audience. With Ice Cube serving as its owner in the film and the movie’s popularity, the Touch of Gold Impala furthered the lowrider’s popularity in the hip-hop scene.

What happened to the ‘Boyz n the Hood’ Impala?

According to LA Car, rapper and actor Ice Cube once owned the 1963 Impala he drove in the film. However, Ice Cube later sold it to an undisclosed collector in Japan for an unknown amount. The publication suggests the Southern California lowrider scene has crossed the Pacific, as “Japan is thriving in an emergence of the American lowrider culture.”

Though the 1963 Impala lowrider has effectively taken its curtain call from the limelight, Boyz n the Hood’s iconic status among 1990s films ensures it will continue to be one of the most recognizable movie cars, particularly among lowriders, for decades to come.

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