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On behalf of The Enthusiast Network and Lowrider Magazine, we are both humbled and honored to celebrate America’s Automotive Heritage here at the National Mall in Washington D.C.
As we share the stage with distinguished guests and personalities from the automotive world, we would like to thank the Historic Vehicle Associations President Mark Gessler, Director of Operations Diane Parker, and Historian Casey Maxon. Without their vision and support, none of this would have been possible. We would also like to thank Nancy Brunner of Quaker State & Shell Oil, we could not have accomplished this without you.
Today we stand here amidst some very legendary vehicles. The McGee Roadster, the Hirohata Mercury, and the Gypsy Rose are assembled here today to take part in a piece of automotive history. In short, today is a celebratory day for not only custom car enthusiasts but for those who take pride in the traditions of lowriding and Americana. From current day enthusiasts to those who have long passed – but helped pave the way – it is both an honor and a privilege to stand here as these historic vehicles are added to the National Historic Vehicle Register to recognize their significance in American automotive history.
These cars are the quintessential example of American car culture that represents all walks of life. They are more than just automobiles; they are time capsules that tell a story. Behind each of these incredible builds is a rich history filled with stories of pain and pleasure. They reflect the artisans who helped create each vehicle while serving as a monument to the many sleepless nights and strained budgets.
In light of that, the legendary lowrider “Gypsy Rose” is a 1964 Chevrolet Impala designed to go low and slow. With a one-off paint job, and the necessary hydraulic system and wire wheels, Jesse Valdes created this car to showcase his ingenuity and passion for car culture. But as we stand here at the National Mall, I am positive that he is looking down from the heavens and wondering how a car designed to cruise the streets of East L.A. would now share center stage with other remarkable vehicles.
Since its creation, the Gypsy Rose’s famed appearance in the 1970’s sitcom “Chico & The Man” was followed by hundreds of magazine features. It’s more than a car. It’s an iconic art piece that represents an automotive culture specific to the Hispanic community. In essence, Lowriding is our foundation, the cornerstone of our upbringing, and an automotive identity born and bred in Los Angeles. The Gypsy Rose has become the mascot of the lifestyle.
So as we celebrate this honorary day, I would like to congratulate all who stand here as collectively we represent a fervor and passion for the automobile. It is our unique visions; and persistence to push the envelope, which will inspire generations to come. It is truly an honor to stand amidst our community’s legends and the powers that recognize and appreciate their hard work.
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