Since starting my project, I have had a steady stream of visitors flowing through the shop. Some are fellow gearheads, hoping to lend a hand or, more likely, sit on a crate and "stupidvise." Others are old-time hot rodders from the neighborhood hoping to catch a glimpse of what the "kid" is up to. Then, of course, there are the total outsiders, and every one of you knows who I'm talking about. These are the neighbors and friends who don't know anything about cars and don't want to. To them we are an oddity, something interesting and perhaps useful, but an oddity nonetheless. Of all these different types of visitors to the shop, none of them can truly understand what the final goal of the project will be. They can't envision the car rolling down the street on fat bias-plies or whitewalls with super smooth lines. They cannot hear the crackling of the open pipes or feel the soft rolls and pleats. What outsiders see is just another old car, while we see a canvas, a statement, or a possibility.
What's so cool about our hobby/lifestyle is that we all experience different types of visions. Ten guys from ten different neighborhoods will all see the same car and come up with different conclusions about how to make it cool. When I first started drawing pictures of Model A roadsters and lakes modifieds, I had a picture in my mind of an early-'50s-styled car with gold or tangerine paint, cream scallops and wheels, tuck 'n' roll upholstery, and lots of traditional pinstriping. As the car has come together over the past few months, most of my visitors have been puzzled by some of my choices. However, I am confident that the finished product will be bitchin', because it will look just the way I wanted it and I built it with my own two hands. I'm eagerly awaiting the first time I fire the motor, and soon after I plan to be roaring down the street scaring the holy hell out of my SUV-driving neighbors.
My point in all of this is that we could follow the beaten path, buy a fuel-efficient little jellybean car, and blend in with the rest of the crowd, but we don't. It takes a lot of guts for a young person to become involved with this hobby. Lots of time, work, commitment, cash, and ingenuity, too, but the payoff is huge. The payoff is the glory of wearing an ear-to-ear grin as you pound the pavement in a rolling homage to the rod gods that you built with your very own hands.
Blood, guts, and glory (and lots of sweat, too) is what this club and this magazine are all about. Take a minute and pat yourself on the back for being one of a select few. You're a Young Gun. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm heading off to bed. -Dan Dan.Kahn@primedia.com