In case you haven't figured it out by now, here at R&C we dig traditional customs. Sure, those whiz-bang, super-smooth-rolling tributes to fiberglass and billet aluminum are cool, but in our book (or magazine, as the case may be) nothing beats a cool custom cruiser with all the right styling cues. In most cases that means a shaved body, frenched headlights, lowered suspension, a chopped top, and of course, a peaked hood. Over the course of the past year we've covered how to chop your own top, the right way to drop suspension, and even how to make your headlights frenchier than the crispiest fry, so we thought it was about time to tackle one of the more difficult tasks in the customizing realm, adding a nice body line peak to a perfectly good (and flat) hood. As luck would have it, Troy Ladd and Ryan Rivers of Hollywood Hot Rods in Burbank, California, were performing just such an operation. While both men are talented fabricators with loads of bodywork experience, neither had actually peaked a hood before, which added an interesting wrinkle to the tale.

Our victim was a relatively stock early-'50s Chevrolet, which any Bow Tie aficionado will tell you has a hood flatter than a Waffle House flapjack. Early customizers added a raised line running down the length of the hood that matches the break in the windshield and the body line in the roof for extra eye candy, a trick they borrowed from the more premium automakers like Cadillac. Of course, you can't simply pound the line into the middle of the hood, as that would deform the entire unit, so a different tactic has to be taken. Unlike most car magazine "how to" stories, which edit out the learning curve and dish up the streamlined finished product in a few easy-to-follow steps that usually aren't all that easy to replicate, we decided to include a few of the "learning experiences" we went through on the way to a perfectly finished piece of masterful metalwork. We'll show you our first (and relatively successful, but not perfect) attempt, then move on to a more refined way to accomplish the task.

This job requires moderate skill to accomplish, as you need a few metalworking tools, as well as patience and the ability to weld thin sheetmetal. Read the entire article before running out to the garage with a Sawzall in hand, and spend as much time measuring and planning as possible before attempting to cut your hood in half. With that disclaimer out of the way, let's get to the nitty gritty stuff.