The 2006 Pixar animated film Cars featured a cast of anthropomorphic vehicles living in a world without humans. One of the main characters was a hot shot rookie race car named Lightning McQueen, voiced by Owen Wilson. McQueen was a flashy red race car with a lightning bolt decal and the number 95 painted on his sides. However, there was another notable car character in the film – a sky blue 1963 Chevy Impala lowrider named Ramone, voiced by Cheech Marin. Ramone runs the body art and paint shop in the town of Radiator Springs and gives Lightning McQueen a fresh coat of paint during the movie. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Ramone, the custom blue lowrider from Cars.
In the world of Cars, Ramone is a 1959 Chevy Impala lowrider with a body style inspired by the 60’s culture. Lowriders were customized cars that were lowered close to the ground and often had hydraulic suspension that allowed them to “hop” or bounce. They emerged from Hispanic communities, particularly in Southern California. Ramone represents this culture in the film with his ‘low and slow’ attitude, vibrant blue paint job, hydraulics, and the music he blasts from his speakers.
Ramone runs the local body art and paint shop in Radiator Springs called Ramone’s House of Body Art. His shop lets characters get paint jobs, detailing, hydraulics, flames, racing stripes, and other aftermarket mods to customize their looks. In the shop, Ramone has posters of pin-up girl cars, reflecting his edgy and flirtatious personality. Outside his shop, he has a large mural of himself in his signature blue paint job.
Ramone’s most iconic feature is his eye-catching light blue metallic paint. It has a sparkling, almost pearlescent quality under the sun. The color is close to a pastel royal blue. It evokes 1960’s custom culture with its vibrancy and flake detailing.
When Lightning McQueen first arrives in Radiator Springs with a dirty, battered look, Ramone gives him a fresh paint job. Ramone opts to paint McQueen the same light blue color as himself, but adds lightning bolt decals that nod to McQueen’s racing number 95 and identity. However, after Lightning McQueen spends time in Radiator Springs and develops as a character, he gets a final paint job at the end of the film back to his original red.
Blue Cars in Culture
The color blue often carries symbolism of trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, and stability. Ramone’s blue paint seems to reflect his cool confidence as a custom car artist in the town. Blue also stands out against the warm red dirt of Radiator Springs, making Ramone a focal point.
In the broader culture, blue cars stand out on the road and represent individuality. Blue is not a common car color – only about 6% of cars on the road are blue compared to more popular options like black, white, silver and gray. That’s why choosing a blue car is a way to be unique. Blue also symbolizes calmness and security for some drivers. Brands like Ford, Honda and Subaru even use different shades of blue in their corporate colors to convey stability.
Famous blue cars in TV and film include the Blues Brothers’ Bluesmobile, the Ford Gran Torino from Starsky and Hutch, James Bond’s Aston Martin, and Bo and Luke Duke’s Dodge Charger General Lee with its distinctive orange 01 and Confederate flag paint job. These cars are now pop culture icons thanks to their memorable blue exteriors.
Lowriders in Culture
As a lowrider, Ramone represents an important yet sometimes overlooked car culture. Lowriders trace their roots to Hispanic communities in southern California in the 1930s-50s when young Mexican Americans would customize older cars by lowering them and adding details like fancier hubcaps or spotlights. They would also install special hydraulic suspension systems that allowed them to raise the car’s height for driving and lower it closer to the ground when parked, creating the signature “low and slow” look.
Lowriding was popular in cities like Los Angeles in the 1960s and 70s among Chicano youth who were proud of their culture and liked adding creative flair to cars through custom paint jobs, pinstriping, murals, and more. Lowriders were a form of self-expression. The culture spread wider in the 1980s and 90s thanks to appearances in movies, magazines, music videos and car shows.
Today, lowriders are appreciated for their intricate artistic modifications that make each one a unique creation. The vehicles and culture are enjoying increased mainstream interest for their place in Chicano history and custom car creativity. By including Ramone in Cars, Pixar helped share the lowrider culture with a wider audience.
Modifying Cars like Ramone
For fans who love the look of Ramone and lowriders, there are ways to make your own car into a custom creation:
Lowering: Lowering kits and air suspensions can drop a car closer to the ground for that lowrider profile. But be mindful of speed bumps!
Paint: A quality custom paint job like Ramone’s adds personality. Pearlescent and metal flake paints sparkle in the sun. Vibrant colors like blue pop compared to common car colors.
Hydraulics: A hydraulic suspension lets you raise and lower the car for a tricked out look. They take expert installation but deliver that bounce.
Wheels: Adding intricate spoke rims or wheel covers provides flair. Spinners and other flashy options are part of the lowrider aesthetic.
Sound system: Upgrade the sound system with subwoofers and amps to blast tunes, an essential lowrider mod.
Accessories: Details like custom steering wheels, shifters, mirrors, lights and antennas amp up the style.
|Lowering||Drop car closer to ground|
|Custom paint||Add unique color and flake|
|Hydraulics||Enable car to bounce and adjust height|
|Wheels||Rims and wheel covers provide flair|
|Sound system||Blast tunes from subwoofers and amps|
|Accessories||Custom parts like steering wheels, lights, etc.|
Cars Toys and Merchandise
Given Ramone’s popularity as a character, the blue custom lowrider has appeared in various Cars merchandise over the years. He was included in many of the diecast toy car collections featuring different characters. These detailed model cars captured Ramone’s chrome detailing, vibrant blue paint, flames and other graphics.
Ramone was also featured in playsets like Flo’s V8 Cafe, Ramone’s Body Shop, and the Radiator Springs streets. The playsets included Ramone figures that kids could use to reimagine scenes from the movies. Puzzles, kids ride-on cars, and other toys also provided opportunities to play with the blue lowrider character.
For adult collectors, more premium diecast models of Ramone were made as well. These intricately painted replicas are valued collectibles. Other collectibles like t-shirts, hats, mugs and posters featuring Ramone and his catchphrases keep his spirit alive for fans. At Disney’s California Adventure, Radiator Springs Racers has a real-life Ramone’s Body Shop where the ride vehicles get a spinning paint job – an immersive tribute to the iconic Cars character.
Ramone in Cars Media
The original Cars movie marked Ramone’s introduction, establishing his cool and laidback personality as the local body art expert. But the lowrider has remained a staple in the Cars universe beyond just the first film.
Ramone appeared in the Cars Toons animated shorts like “Spinning” where he painted rotating Guido in an homage to a famous scene from the film Umbrellas of Cherbourg. In Cars 2, Ramone has a smaller role, but is seen at the Radiator Springs Grand Prix. He also makes an appearance in the animated series Cars Toons: Mater’s Tall Tales.
In Cars 3, Ramone returns to his original film role as the body art custodian helping characters like Lightning McQueen refresh their looks. He provides encouragement to an aging McQueen to show that you can still be cool with a few paint touch ups. Ramone reminds McQueen that he doesn’t have to try so hard to be something he’s not.
Throughout the Cars franchise, Ramone has retained his status as the resident lowrider personality. His relaxed vibe and words of wisdom balance the high energy racing storylines. Ramone’s signature blue paint job ensures he always makes a vibrant splash on screen.
Ramone’s baby blue lowrider body shows that you don’t have to follow the crowd. His vibrant paintjob, bouncy hydraulics, and chill attitude make him one of the most memorable characters from the hit movie Cars. Ramone brought lovable charm and offbeat style to the streets of Radiator Springs. For fans who want to emulate his spirit, customizing a car with lowering, paint, hydraulics, sound systems, and other mods can pay tribute to this cool lowrider. Ramone proves you can always reinvent yourself and maintain your youthful passion if you have the creativity and courage to try something different.