Some of you may have read the February '03 issue's Dream Car of the Month (you did look at it, didn't you?!), in which I drew up a Model A sedan come pickup. In the accompanying story I rattled on about actually finishing that so-called rat rod in your driveway, and here I am about to go off on the joys of "real" hot rods, some painted and some not. What gives? Long story short, there are no steadfast rules in this hot rod and custom way of life; do what suits ya! So there!

Remember the fallout over the old Eastwood/Barakat red-oxide sedan? ("Why not finish the car and paint it?" / Why?" / "Why not!") Today, more than ever, primer and patina are not only accepted, but en vogue. Here is the "short list" of my all-time favorite hot rods (note that most were built in the '70s and '80s. What the hell?)...

1. Pete's, pre-movie, California Kid2. Jake's truck-nosed yellow highboy3. Cal Tanaka's flamed, fendered, low ridin' '334. Bill Vinther's orange '34 three-window5. Jim Ewing's Super Bell coupe6. The infamous Cop Shop Coupe7. Any of Larry Braga's Model As8. Pat Barnharts decrepit, crusty, mangy '47 Ford9. One of my all-time heroes, Thom Taylor's R&C '36 sedan10. Last but certainly not least, the E/B primered sedan

There are so many more, but hey, people seem to like Top Ten lists. All of the cars on my list are drivers first and foremost. Some are relatively high dollar, some are moderate, and a couple were insanely cheap (read: inspirational) to build. Low-maintenance, park-anywhere rods rule!

That brings us to this heavily hammered '32 three-window replete with fenders, hinges, handles, rubber on the running boards, etc...Maybe you also noticed the primer spots indicating constant, ongoing "improvements"? The late '50s, early '60s fascinate me the most when it comes to music, movies, furniture, architecture, and yes, cars. Yet, is it not ironic that my favorite cars were built a bit later? Maybe it stems from the fact that every one of those cars has hardcore styling cues from my favorite era yet were built in my early years. Who knows, but this '32 represents a car that has a full-on Pete & Jake's-equipped chassis, four-bars up front and ladder bars out back. Since the car here has that early-'70s vibe, how about some E-T mags out back (narrowed to 8 inches) and five-spoke spindle-mount affairs up front equipped with disc brakes for that Funny Car image. Whack the top HARD, bob the rails in the back, ditch the diaper pan, and let the rear end hang out for all to see! A big-block and four-speed funneled through to a quickie out back gives the "fix" for speed and sound. Of course, we are emulating a time gone by, but that is no reason not to run some aftermarket A/C and a decent CD player (if that's your thing) while sitting in those leather-trimmed 914 buckets grabbing gears and steering the Bell-style wheel. It's going to be so bitchin' profiling this hot rod you may never get around to "finishing" it!

Be real and have a blast! -Jimmy