As it turns out, the builder is an old hat in the hot rod game, having been involved with "the scene" since it got started half a century ago. This gentleman is a metalworker by trade, and he had apparently dedicated the last decade or so to constructing an absolutely dead-on, all-aluminum, 7/8-scale Model T track roadster, built perfectly to spec, right down to the shape of the windshield and the curve of the rear deck. The body was handmade, and every single piece on the chassis was constructed in this guy's garage. Needless to say, I agreed to shoot the car (look for a feature in an upcoming issue), which is when I learned that my hero, legendary sandal-wearing Hot Rod Magazine staffer Gray Baskerville, had agreed to shoot the car upon its completion. Unfortunately Gray didn't live long enough to fulfill his promise. That led to conversations about Gray, Hot Rod Magazine, and the hobby in general. As this gentleman and I bantered back and forth about the state of rodding, I found myself constantly interjecting my opinion, whether it was warranted or not. After all, I am a magazine editor and member of the Young Guns, am I not? After a few minutes the guy got flustered, and he looked about ready to tell me to "Shut The Hell Up."
About this time I realized something. As is the habit with people afflicted with the enthusiasm and impatience of youth, I walked into the conversation assuming I knew every bit as much as this "old timer," and I hardly let the guy get a word in edgewise. Suddenly, I realized that this gentleman has probably forgotten more things about hot rods in the past few years then I will ever know in my entire life. He has built several totally custom cars out of scraps of angle iron and sheetmetal, for cryin' out loud! About then I tucked my tail between my legs and humbly started asking questions, like how he fabricated a panel or why he used a particular part...hoping to glean as much information as possible. We were soon talking shop like a couple of old chums, and he even agreed to help me shape a track nose for my roadster. I'm looking forward to the experience, not so much because I want a new nose for my car, but because I'm hoping to learn as much as possible about an art form not many people know how to do anymore.
The point of my little story is pretty simple, but one that I forget every once in a while: Young people in the rod and custom hobby are still in the minority, and we can sometimes develop an attitude or a chip on the shoulder when older folks try to tell us how to do something or tell stories about "the good old days." The funny thing is, though, that these cars we all love so much were first built back in those "good old days," and everything that can be done probably already has, so we might as well stop and listen to the folks who have already made all the mistakes. Who knows, we might even learn something...
Young Guns UpdateNow that I've got my little rant out of the way, how about some news about the club? As I write this, the first Young Guns issue of R&C has been on the stands for about three weeks, and the membership forms are flying in. A lot of you have sent in some absolutely beautiful pictures of your cars, and we're already working on a way to share those pics with the world, either through a special section in the magazine or on the Web site. The membership kits have been finalized and are even cooler than I once imagined. You not only get a cool water transfer decal with the date you joined the club and "charter member" emblazoned across the bottom, but members also receive Young Guns Bucks good for discounts and free stuff from our advertisers. How about a free T-shirt from Moon, or a subscription to ROD & CUSTOM for just a few clams? If you haven't joined yet, fill out the application in this magazine or find one on the Web at www.rodandcustommagazine.com/youngguns.