On the Wagon
Chuck Williams' 1953 Dodge wagon in your April issue really jogged my memory and says something about how long I've been interested in cars. The April 1956 issue of Rod & Custom's companion magazine Car Craft was devoted to restyled wagons.
Page 16 and 17 featured a '53 Dodge wagon owned by George Cavanah. I still have that Car Craft because of that Dodge wagon. The magazine issue was published over a year before I got my driver's license, but I knew it was a keeper.
Cavanah worked for a newspaper and I was a paper route carrier. I had been saving my money for my first car, and when I turned 16 my dad brought home a '53 Dodge wagon. Imagine my excitement and then letdown when I learned that the wagon was for my mother...and I was to get her '51 Chevrolet...in exchange for my savings account balance of $600.
I got to drive her car frequently, as my car was constantly down for modifications. But I never got to lower the wagon, or radius the rear wheelwells, or add wire wheels, or pinstripe it, or...
The articles about the Piero DeLuca coupe and Ed Roth's Orbitron in the March issue were both informative and enjoyable. When featuring the resurrection/restoration of vintage rods and customs it would be nice to have some photos of the cars "as found," before work began, to put the project in perspective.
I find those shots interesting as well and we try to include them when we can if we remember to get our hands on the photos.
Chop and a Dig
Kev Elliott's "Drop That Top" was one of the best articles I've seen. This is the first time we've seen a fastback chopped intelligently, resulting in an improved roofline. The only suggestion I'd make is to lay back the windshield posts to attain an even better profile, something that's almost never done by top choppers. I'm looking forward to seeing the more-door Chevy when it's finished. In Rappin', Steve Wyatt was absolutely right about those awful '60s show cars, and the ugly, misguided Orbitron illustrates the point exactly!
Getting Outside the Envelope
I have just read Steve Wyatt's rant on bubbletops and rods from the '60s. Whilst I agree that some of the cars lacked, shall we say, restraint (oh, alright, taste), these would appear to have been the regular guys' interpretations of what the "big guys" were building. Personally, I love the wild and wonderful creations and would welcome a full magazine special or book devoted to them.
It's only through the wildest imaginations does anything ever change and/or improve. Where would we all be without so many electronics in our modern cars? Where also would we be without advances such as better braking and improved road holding, let alone without things like custom paints and the copious amount of billet products (for better or worse, depending on your outlook!)?
No doubt, early rodders and customizers received just as much negative response when they started out altering their cars, and thus it will always be. Just to throw my own dislikes in, to maintain the balance, I HATE brown paint and velour interiors!
Now let's have some mail on this! Keep up the excellent mag-bubbletops included.
There are a few other people in our building who have voiced their opinion to me about two-tone brown resto-rods and velour interiors, so you're not alone.
I loved your editorial asking if you can ever have too many finished cars, as I have thought the same. My parents always tell me that I can't do it all. I'm 25 years old and have been building rods since I was 17 (started a bit late). I have a house with a two-car garage and I have three vehicles. My '54 takes up both bays, so my Silverado is in storage. Unfortunately I have to pay this winter, but my plans are to build a giant garage. Vehicles are my life, and therefore you can't have too much of life! Just take time and do one thing at a time. It'll all work out. However, if you're going to get rid of your rides, what do you have and how much?
Water 2 Wine Custom Rides
Sounds like you have the right attitude, Ryan. I haven't decided which ones I'm getting rid of yet but am hoping to get one of them on the road this summer. I'll worry about storing it when that time comes.