Some of you are really getting into the spirit of YYG. Randy Keenan of Colfax, California, sent us a whole envelope full of photos from the late '50s and early '60s, when he was driving hot rods around his hometown of San Francisco. Randy says he started reading Rod & Custom back in 1957. Two years later, he paid $50 for his first car, a '40 Olds coupe (the owner gave him back $20 to paint a couple rooms in her house). It stayed stock except for the "Blue Beard" painted on the fenders. Later, with some help from his friend, Garry Kingma, he built this chopped and channeled '30-31 Model A five-window coupe, running an Oldsmobile mill. From there he picked up several other cars, including a few '50s Oldsmobiles, a '59 Plymouth Sport Fury, a '23 T-bucket, and a 409-powered '56 Corvette. The lower photo is Randy in 1969. The '23 T-bucket, with severly sprung posture, American mag five-spokes, raised white-letter slicks, and Nailhead with a T10 trans screams late-'60s, doesn't it?
The rods and customs came and went over the years. Randy has been retired from law enforcement for approximately five years, but still looks for new automotive projects to work on, still reads R&C, and wishes he had kept some of the cool cars he drove as a young gun, especially the Corvette, which he traded in on a brand-new '70 Dodge Challenger.
Mail your vintage photos of you and your hot rod, along with a brief story, to Tim Bernsau, Rod & Custom, 774 S. Placentia Ave., Placentia, CA 92870, or e-mail them (3x5 inches at 300 dpi) to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are unable to return any submitted material.
Cant' Catch This BogReader Art Ogg, from Marietta, Georgia, sent us this item that's too cool not to show you. We especially love the air scoop poking through the windshield.
"This long-forgotten race car (except by those who built it) was campaigned by four diehard drag racers (brothers Joe and Hank Kodrick, Jim Coonan, and Gordon 'TV' Pittsenbarger) from Joliet, Illinois, from 1963 until 1968 and was primarily driven by my brother-in-law, Joe Kodrick. The Black Pup (as it was nicknamed), was billed as 'The World's Fastest Volkswagen', and originally ran a Hilborn-injected 327 Chevy backed up with a four-speed Muncie in the B/A class. After a couple of years, they installed a GMC 6-71 blower with a two-port Hilborn fuel-injection unit and raced in BB/A class against the likes of the famous Lil Screamer.
"Back then, sponsors with deep pockets were unheard of, so everything had to be homebuilt in their own shop and paid for with their own money. It cost $7,000 to build this race car. It ran in the low 10s and high 9s at almost 150 mph, which was very respectable for the mid-'60s. This photo was taken in 1968 in Rockford, Illinois, with Joe at the wheel."
Watch This: R&C Movie Review"Tales of the Rat Fink"We got a phone call from Moldy Marvin in late March. He's the guy behind the annual Rat Fink Party we told you about last month, as well as the one who told us about the new Ed Roth movie, "Tales of the Rat Fink," which we announced in the June issue.
He had arranged for us to attend the L.A. pre-release screening of director Ron Mann's documentary tribute to Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. The promotional material they handed us at the screening describes Roth as a "Renaissance man ... who engineered a shift in mid-20th century culture." Even to those of us who love Big Daddy's cars and creatures, that sounded like a little bit of an overstatement-until we let the movie make its case. Now we can't help but wonder what the world would look like without Roth's influence-not just on cars, but on TV, music, fashion, and all other elements of pop culture.
The movie starts and ends with Roth's last appearance at a Rat Fink Reunion event, and then traces his life from his high school days, through his years as a T-shirt painter, his influential show cars, the models, and his cartoons, including, of course, his alter ego, Rat Fink.
Although it focuses on Roth, "Tales of the Rat Fink" is also about the history of hot rodding, put in the context of American culture during his heyday. Ron Mann packs in all kinds of vintage footage, including film from El Mirage in 1946, the Santa Ana drags in 1952, clips from old hot rod movies, TV commercials, and newsreel-style film of teenage hot rodders on the street.
When we reported that "Tales of the Rat Fink" features the voices of Alex Xydias, Robert Williams, Ann-Margaret, and others, we weren't quite sure how that was going to work. Turns out, it works fine. The celebrities portray various cars, such as Roth's customs, traditional hot rods, and other vehicles (a few examples: Billy Gibbons is the voice of the Beatnik Bandit, Brian Wilson is Roth's Surfite, and the Smothers Brothers are the NHRA Safety Safari wagon and trailer). The cars do the talking, explaining or describing some aspect of Roth or hot rod history. Most of the narration is from Roth's point of view. Since Big Daddy passed away early in the making of the movie, John Goodman provides the voice-over, and is eerily convincing as Roth.
"Tales of the Rat Fink" makes the case that Roth's influence was not only in his cars and artwork, but also in his character. During his most influential period, he was the crazy pied piper of nonconformity in a world that mostly didn't get it. But for lots of kids growing up in that world, Roth was a hero. At one point in the movie, Roth/Goodman reads a fan letter from one of those kids that says it all: "Thanks, Big Daddy. You made being a weirdo cool."
We don't know where "Tales of the Rat Fink" will be playing in theaters or when it will come out on video, but if you're any kind of Roth fan, hot rodder, or weirdo, you'll want to find it and see it.