Most of us have heard the saying "A street rodder carries polish and a cell phone, while a hot rodder carries tools." I'm not sure that's entirely accurate, as not only do I carry two cell phones at all times (don't ask...) but I've even been known to carry a bottle of Mother's Instant Detailer in my one painted car. However, I never go anywhere, and especially on a road trip, without my trusty tool bag.
I've swapped out steering linkages in a parking lot in the middle of New Mexico, taken a hacksaw to bracketry on the Flathead in my A roadster to fit a different alternator after mine took a dump in France, helped with major wheel bearing surgery on a friend's '32 somewhere in Belgium, and replaced a brake caliper, water pumps, rearend seals, and even repaired (or more specifically, made to work long enough to get home or out of trouble) starter motors and fuel pumps at the side of the road. None of which would have been possible without my tool bag.
There are one or two Snap-On tools in there that I refuse to buy twice but take with me on road trips, though the majority are cheap duplicates of what I already have in the roll cab in my shop—wrenches, sockets and ratchets, Allen wrenches, screwdrivers, and channel-lock pliers. The bottom of the bag and side pockets are littered with electrical connectors, self-drilling screws, a wide assortment of nuts and bolts, electrical tape, lengths of wire, cable ties, and so on. I've even recently taken to carrying a battery drill too. But it's the odd stuff in there that has got me out of trouble and home safely on more than one occasion. A 4-inch C-clamp, for example. Or a scissor jack used in a decidedly unorthodox way. A small ratchet strap. Bungee cords. A hefty hammer and ball joint splitter.
Yep, that's me, broken down and lost in France some 20 years ago!
On long road trips I'll take a spare alternator, water pump, and whatever else I might have because whatever you don't have will be what you need. I'll throw in a small aluminum floor jack on those trips too, and there's a space saver spare wheel behind the bench seat in the '46. In fact you could do a lot worse than grab one of these in a bolt pattern to suit your ride. They're cheap at junkyards, and you'll be glad to have it should you get a flat. Maybe grab two if you have large-diameter rear tires, and the space to carry 'em, so you can fit a pair on the same axle.
My point is, if you've got tools, and some spare parts and hardware, you can usually get out of trouble. How few, or how many, tools and parts do you guys carry when on the road? I can't be the only madman heading out on trips with half a trunk or pickup bed full of spare parts and tools, can I?
Rod & Custom/Coker Tire Fab 5 Returns for 2014
We're pleased to announce that the Coker Tire–sponsored Rod & Custom Fab 5 program is back for 2014. Once again we'll be attending five shows throughout the year and selecting five winners at each event. This means there will be 25 winners of the Fab 5 awards throughout the year, and at the end of the program the Rod & Custom staff and a representative from Coker Tire will choose the 2014 Car of the Year Winner. The Rod & Custom Fab 5 2014 Car of the Year Winner will receive a set of tires from Coker Tire as a grand prize.
The events we'll be attending are as follows:
- Lonestar Round Up, Austin, TX: April 4-5
- NSRA Street Rod Nationals South Plus, Knoxville, TN: May 2-4
- L.A. Roadsters Show, Pomona, CA: June 14-15
- NSRA Street Rod Nationals Plus, Louisville, KY: July 31-Aug 3
- Rodder's Journal Revival, Baltimore, MD: September 27-28