Games Learning Resources Visit the Museum
America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Dave's Dream as displayed in the museum’s former Road Transportation hall, with photomural of the Santuario de Chimayo, and an assembly of trophies won by this lowrider automobile.

Enlarge Image
Dave's Dream as displayed in the museum’s former Road Transportation hall, with photomural of the Santuario de Chimayo, and an assembly of trophies won by this lowrider automobile.
Smithsononian Institution, Photo by Jeff Tinsley, Negative #: 95-3340


This object appears in the following sections:

Arts and Leisure
Exhibiting Transportation at the Smithsonian — Exhibiting Transportation History, 1950-1999

Smithsonian Automobile Collection — Car collection, 1950–1969

Lowrider “Dave’s Dream”
Catalog #: 1990.0567.01, Accession #: 1990.0567
In collection
From the Smithsonian Collection

In 1978, David Jaramillo of Chimayo, New Mexico, bought a 1969 Ford LTD from an uncle and began converting it into Dave’s Dream—a lowrider that he hoped would win the top prize at a major auto show. Later that year, Jaramillo died in a highway accident in another car. His wife, Irene, and members of his family decided to continue work on “Dave’s Dream” as a memorial. From 1979 to 1982, the family entered the car in many shows, taking “Best Lowrider” award at regional and national events in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Espanola, Grants, and Chimayo. Jaramillo had installed a new and larger V8 engine, added the sunroof, and began the body work. After his death, family members finished some of the remaining modifications that Jaramillo had planned, and, following lowriding tradition, they added further improvements each year that the car was shown. Then the car was stored, cared for by Irene Jaramillo and her son, David, Jr., until 1990, when it was acquired by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Physical Description

Members of the Jaramillo family agreed to send Dave’s Dream to the Smithsonian, provided the original plan of modifications would be completed in New Mexico. Artisans and technicians from Chimayo, Espanola, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque participated in 1990–92. The iridescent paint involves multiple players of acrylic lacquer. The added decorations and Jaramillo family portraits are airbrushed, and the red velour upholstery is stitched in the “diamond tuck-and-roll” fashion. The car’s suspension is equipped with a special hydraulic system, powered by electric pumps in the trunk; this system allows the car to “dance” and “hop” in characteristic lowrider style.

Date Made:
Dates Used:
1978 - 1992
New Mexico

Dave’s Dream is one of the legendary lowriders of the late 1970s and early 1980s in the Santa Fe, New Mexico, area. It invariably took “first” or “best in show” when exhibited. In contrast to the hot rod—an individualistic expression of white-male aspirations of power—the Latino lowrider activity is fundamentally a community expression. Both Anglos and Latinos love to see and be seen in their respective automotive creations, but for Latinos, the lowrider and its creation and display deeply involve the nuclear family, the extended family, and the Latino community as a whole. The family is involved in financing the work, supporting the owner, and exhibiting and displaying the car. At organized car shows, the whole family participates, helps show the car, and helps accept any trophies. This idea is further extended by the lowrider clubs. They are run by the men but involve the families, and the clubs often “adopt” selected members’ cars for special support. The clubs serve as exchanges of information on technology and artistic technique, and they sponsor shows, often in cooperation with other clubs. The lowrider clubs and their involved families are expressions of Latino values of family and community.

Related People, Places, and Events
Ford Motor Company

National Museum of American History About This Site | Sponsors | Buy the Book | E-mail Signup | Credits