I started reading the little pages of R&C when I was in my early teens. It's always been a great mag. I really like the Readers' Rods section. We get to see what fellow readers are doing or have done with their cars. The Readers' Rods section in the August 2009 issue shows some really cool cars. Jay Wilson of Lake Park, Minnesota, has built my dream rod. Ever since I learned to drive in a Model A, I have wanted to build just such a car. One cool rod, Jay! Also, how about a feature article about Paul Dorey's fabulous '53 Buick hardtop? It appears he has done some very interesting modifications to this car.
We enjoy this section as well and for the same reasons. We can't get out everywhere to shoot our features so it's great when we get good photography on top-notch builds. Unfortunately getting good shots isn't always as easy as it sounds.
Building A Better Community
How do readers of your mag contact an owner such as Ralph Turnberg who built the '40 Ford "Forty Be Low" from the August, 2009 issue? I had some questions concerning the methods that were used to build the car. I'd like to build working windshield wipers for my '39 Pontiac, similar to his car. It would be helpful if there was some way to email owners about specifics on their cars which are shown but not described in your magazine.
Royal Oak, MI
Starting about a year ago we started putting just this info in our features when available and when the owners agreed. It wasn't that I was tired of getting the emails and questions that I couldn't answer but I thought it might help build a better rodding community and allow the owners to enjoy some of the comments people had about their cars. In the spec box at the end of the features (where we list the owner's name and the basics of the build) look for the "Owners contact info" generally to the right of their name. So far we have been able to supply this info with about half of the features and as time goes on hopefully more will agree. In some cases such as Ralph's, the owners don't have email.
I have just finished reading your Up Front column on "Suede Versus Gloss." I really was insulted with your assumption that the primer-type paint jobs are taking the easy way out, or as you put it, "the easier solution." I've been hot rodding for 49 years and I think maybe you have not. The reason a lot of us are kickin' it old school is because that's how hot rods looked back in the day. It was all about the stance and the look, period. It wasn't about taking the easy way out. Your mag should be called Street Rod $ Custom. That's what you think hot rodding is. But, it's not. It's a HOBBY!
We get it Craig, which is why when you got past the Up Front column you should have found features on a primered Model A pickup and a suede Nash roadster. As far as the easier solution, are you really saying that stopping at the primer coat isn't easier than moving onto paint? I understand there's a whole lot of reasons not to go shiny and I myself have no real desire to build something with a high-gloss finish that I have to worry about when I'm driving.
Still Wowing The Girls
Here is a story that helps me understand why I spend my life dreaming about, and my spare time skinning my knuckles on, hot rods.
One afternoon a couple weeks ago a classmate from kindergarten was dropping me off at Pinkee's Rod Shop to pick up my '36 roadster. Patty had never seen the car and said she wanted to check it out. She had been a schoolteacher for decades and was really good at heaping praise on me or anybody, so I was a little suspicious that she might be feigning interest in this old car that her gray-haired friend had put so much time into.
Sure enough, as soon as we got inside Pinkee's, she started, "Oh, it's beautiful. You must have worked so hard on it. Everything is just perfect!"
I nodded and smiled while I wallowed in the praise. I find praise enjoyable even if I suspect that it isn't totally sincere.
Soon Patty ran out of superlatives, so we said goodbye. I jumped into the '36 and she strolled toward her Acura. When I twisted the key, the old 427 side-oiler fired and rocked the '36 as it coughed out its rowdy ill-mannered little tune. Patty stopped. Turned back towards me and gave me a look I hadn't seen since '66. Then she came over to the car, opened the door, hopped in next to me, and said, "Let's go for a ride."
She could walk away from my shiny old car but when I fired it, the stumbling idle and rattling mechanical lifters promised a heart-in-the-throat thrill that was more than she could resist.
These days, modern fuel-injected engines all sound like sewing machines. Even the souped-up ones purr like napping kittens, only louder. But it wasn't always that way. Forty years ago, the formula for turning up the fun factor was adding some slobbering carbs and stuffing in a fat cam. Even the girls like Patty with a modest interest in cars knew what fun sounded like, and it wasn't a sewing machine.
We went for a ride. Patty screamed like a schoolgirl when I got a little sideways in Second.
Thanks for sharing the story, Royce. The Pinkee's crew can certainly build some mean and nasty, yet beautiful, rods. If anyone wants to refresh their memory on how nice Royce's '36 is, they can check out our October 2008 issue or search for it on our website (www.rodandcustommagazine.com).