The car culture had taken off while we'd been gone. The low rider was all the rage, and a low rider vintage car painted candy-apple red was about the coolest car a person could ride.
I had a couple of friends from school who had such a cool car. It was a 1949 Mercury, which was painted candy-apple red and had been made into a low rider. The stereotypical dice hung from the rear view mirror. The guy who was the owner of the car had re-done it himself. He and two other buddies could be seen around town most of the time. One of the buddies was disabled, a polio survivor. They liked me because I was accepting of his disability, I liked them because they were cool. Whenever they saw me walking down the street they would pull over and give me a ride.
Cruising was becoming very popular too. Kids would pile into a cool car and drive down the highway as slow as possible, in order to be seen. There would be lots of yelling and waving as one drove down the street. Kids would fight to get more attention than the other kids.
The newest thing in cars, at least for me, was the new cars with fins. I loved the big two tone cars with fins. My aunt Avis had a 1958 Plymouth, purple and white, with the huge fins. I thought it was one of the coolest cars I'd ever seen.
In the meantime, the rails from the famous Red Cars in Los Angeles County were slowly being removed. The car culture was taking there place.