What's the Real Cost?I picked up the January issue because it stated that it had a feature on a modified that was built for $5,000. Although I liked Jim Crews' '27, I doubt it was built for so little money. I wish you guys would start using more realistic prices.Vic DickersonVia E-mail
(Editor's note: I will defer to Tim Bernsau for the answer to this so he can relate his own personal experience.)
I read in Sports Illustrated that some Brazilian guy ran the New York City Marathon in two hours and 10 minutes. It sounded like BS to me. Nobody can run a marathon in two hours and 10 minutes. To prove it, I put down my beer, my cigarette, and my box of Hostess Ding Dongs, laced up my sneakers, and started running. Two hours and 10 minutes later, I had gone 3 1/2 miles, which proves that the SI article was bogus. When I re-read the story, I realized this guy from Brazil wasn't even a big fat slob like me. He was, get this, an athlete! And he had run marathons before!! AND ... he had actually trained for the race!!! The point is, the magazine story was completely dishonest and I will never buy another issue of that lying rag again.
It Can Be DoneJust wanted to thank you for the feature and cover of my '27 modified. Like most car guys, I always hoped I might get a picture of my car in a magazine someday, but I never expected the kind of attention that this little car has received. It was never intended to be anything more than a low-buck car that was fun to drive.
It took me eight years to build my first car-a '36 Ford coupe-and just over six years to collect the pieces and accumulate the time to build the T (all while raising a family and building a new business). During the interview, Tim asked me if I had any advice to give. A few thoughts have come to mind since then:
1. Have a good plan on what you want going into the project.
2. Plan the order in which things need to get done.
3. Focus on each individual part of the project so there is a feeling of accomplish-ment along the way.
4. Don't get disappointed in your progress. All good things come with time.
There are countless hurdles in the process of building a car, whether you are a novice or a professional builder. Embrace those hurdles as a tool to expand your knowledge. Don't be afraid to ask for help. There is no limit of ways to build a car.Jim CrewsOak Grove, MN
Information HighwayI was checking out one of the Web sites I frequent and found this video called "Hot Rodding is Dead" (www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXU3N9wT3u0). It really summed up the message you guys are putting out. I hope you enjoy it; I sure did.Fred WycheVia E-mail
Thanks for the link. There's a lot of stuff on the Web that is a real time-waster, but that was not one of them. Eric Darby did a great job giving traditional hot rods a voice.
Just Do ItLike many of your readers, I've dreamed, planned, saved, and built a street rod over the past several years with help from rodding magazines and advertisers like yours. I ended up with a nice car. I've done all the work myself by buying tools and improving my skills along the way.
It's a '47 Chevy two-door sedan bought new by my great-grandmother. She drove it 29,000 miles and parked it in 1969. I dug it out of a garage on the family farm and went the resto-rod route. It was complete and the body wasn't a basket case, so that helped in my first effort. I have a good wife who did not understand the build, but she understood that it made me happy and that was good enough. She even rode with me for 1,200 miles wearing earplugs (no interior) so I could show it to my 90-year-old grandmother and take her for a ride. It was her mother's car and that was a happy day for us all.
I am 39 years old-still pretty young-and I've noticed this hobby is big business because the boomers have money to spend. People seem to build or buy something of history because they always wanted one and can now swing it. I've seen the trailer queens, the rat rods, and everything in between. I applaud the wealthy and their big-dollar builds because they are raising the bar for the rest of us. How do we know what is possible without the resources to find out?
As for the builders, don't all of us want to find the rich dude who lets us do what we love and use his money? These high-end innovations often carry into the aftermarket for the rest of us to enjoy. I also love the low-buck cars and their "make-it-work" engineering. In my opinion, it's OK for a 60-year-old car to leak some oil and have a little rust; it has earned the right.
The point I'm making is that we're all building and buying cars we enjoy and can afford. Most owners are proud of their rides and take good care of them, hopefully for future generations. Most cars have something that draws you in-oddball engine, paint, stance, the trunk that's nicer than my living room ... it can be anything that makes that particular car great. Sadly, I think the hobby is about to or has peaked. I don't think my generation will have the money or make the sacrifices to keep the momentum now enjoyed. So, let's quit complaining about low-buck versus high-buck, drivers versus non-drivers, or builders versus buyers. We are all in this together and should use our energy to best enjoy the good times while they last.Joe UngerKansas City, MO
These debates have been going on since hot rodding started and will continue to go on, just as the notion that we've hit our peak will. Not too many years ago, people were saying we were running out of vintage tin and would have never imagined that a company would be reproducing a new steel '32. Although not necessarily street rod-related, I can remember reading an editorial that was written in the '60s about the death of the car hobby because these "new" cars are too complicated to ever be restored. Take a look around any musclecar show and you'll know how that turned out. Hot rodding will always be around, whether we're running on corn or cow pies-someone will figure out a way to have fun with an old car.