PumpedI just received my January '07 issue and really enjoyed it. What really got me going was the picture on page 8 of the old gas station. Today, all people see are the generic gas stations with electronic pumps and corporate logo signs. I can remember when the logo signs actually had artwork designs to them. As a kid, I could ride my bike up to the Philipps 66, Conoco, Pure Oil, Standard, Cities, Texaco, Skelly, Holiday, or Clark service stations.
I'd ride my bike up to the station and get a 10-cent glass bottle of pop and maybe a candy bar out of the other machine for 5 cents. I would hang out and listen to the signal bell go ding ding when a car drove up to the pumps. The gas pumps were mechanical so they made a neat soft clinking sound as the inner workings pumped out gas at around 25 cents a gallon. The attendant would clean the windshield and offer to check the oil. The service garage part was neat and always seemed to have air guns going. They could take care of just about any car with what they had in stock. There was that certain smell of gas, oil, and whatever else it was that just seemed to always be in the air.
Speaking of air, they had an air hose that coiled up over an old wheel mounted on the side of the building. Every kid knew where that was because that was where we got free air for our bikes. Yes, I'm glad you took that picture. I'm sure it may bring back a flood of memories for others who grew up with real gas stations as well.Gary EricksonBenson, Arizona
He Got ItI read with great interest your article "Missing the Point" in the November '06 issue. I agree 100 percent with you-cars are meant to be driven, and having fun with one is the ultimate experience of ownership. I just started my first hot rod, a '22 Dodge coupe. My favorite ride in my garage, though, is a stock '12 Franklin roadster (restored from a touring) that we drive as much as we can, whenever and wherever-even on dirt roads and in the rain. It's got a 200ci four-cylinder with about 28 hp, wood spoke wheels, no starter (crank it yourself), gas lights, and lots of brass. As for brakes, you'll have plenty of time to say a prayer if you gotta stop fast because you won't.
It has done 50 mph (downhill and not by me); 45 mph was fast enough for this guy. I'd love a chance to drive it coast to coast. I've got a whole bunch of trophies collecting dust that are just souvenirs of an enjoyable day, but if some Boy Scout wants them to re-label for pinewood derby events, fine-off they go. I don't understand someone canceling the chance to go to a great event just because they won't get a trophy.
Our local club puts on at least a half-dozen tours a year where we all drive these pre-1915 motorcars. Fun? You bet. Crazy? Maybe, but who cares!KeithVia E-mail
He Didn't Get ItI have been a pretty loyal reader for quite some time, and have enjoyed Rod & Custom, until recently, mainly due to your picks for Custom of the Year and Rod of the Year. I'm not a custom or hot rod expert, but last I checked a Corvette is neither. A cookie-cutter '32 doesn't exactly stand out as far as originality or creativity goes, and should not be awarded "rod" of the year.
Don't get me wrong; I'm not attacking the owners of the cars, or the shops who built them. The cars look well built and I'm sure they are appealing to many. What I'm saying is, a '60 Corvette is a sports car! Now, granted it was heavily modified or "customized," but it's still a sports car. There are dozens of cars I have seen this year alone that would fall better under the custom category!
Now, the '32 is by all definitions a hot rod. However, almost every part on the car can be ordered and a lot of them probably were. It's not even an original body for crying out loud! Small-block Chevy motor ... boring. Reproduction '32 body ... yawn. Sittin' on '32 'rails ... zzz! Jeez, guys! How hard is it to find a Dodge, Chevy, Stude, Caddy, etc., body with some other mill than the dreaded SBC?! Not very, and to me it seems kinda lazy, and down right pathetic! I know "American Graffiti" is very vital to hot rodding, but to pick a yellow '32? Come on! Think outside the box!
I'm being a little ridiculous with my references, I know, but if you can't see what I'm saying here, then I think you would be better off closing up the magazine known as Rod & Custom, looking for jobs elsewhere, and staying the hell outta hot rods and customs because you guys obviously don't know crap about it!
Sincerely, someone considering a new magazine to read,SteveVia E-mail
Well, Steve, I have to question how loyal of a reader you are because you must not have read that issue or the preceding ones too closely. If you had, you would have realized that we didn't just pick any car we saw at any show over the year. The cars that wanted to win these titles had to be at the Americruise and sign up to participate in the judging and the performance testing. The fact that we were going to push these cars and actually have them do some performance testing kept most people from competing.
There were lots of other cars at the event that may have fit your definition of custom and rod that we would have liked to have had in the running, but the owners didn't want to enter their cars and that is their decision. Would I have liked to have had a custom Merc compete? Of course, but none showed up.
Jim Karls and Gary Kuck were willing to push their cars hard and it showed in the results of the performance testing. If you want to bring out something, or talk your friends into doing the same, we'll be doing it again next year, June 29 to July 1.
If you would rather read about awards for cars based on looks alone, then we will give out Top Tin awards at seven Goodguys events in 2007. I hope you now have a better understanding of those awards.