Old Rods, Hot Rods, Street Rods, and Rat Rods

     I had the pleasure of viewing a magnificent array of hot rods this evening. I will not tell you where this event was because I want you to guess. Today, there were a large number of 1932-39 vintage hot rods. The best sleeper in the event was a 1961 VW. Having owned a 1959 VW with 39 horsepower, I struck up a conversation with the owner. I was curious as to how much power VW added between the years 1959 to 1961. I never found out. This car owner told me his bug had 220 HP. What?  He built the engine from standard catalog parts, and it develops 220 HP. I asked him what his time was in the quarter mile. His reply was 12.6 seconds, not bad for a Bug. I did not ask any more questions.

     Here are my photographs of what I think are the best looking cars at the event. Remember, you have to tell me where they are.

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I Prefer Hot Rods with Fenders

1932 Ford DueceThe yellow thirty-two duece hot rod in American Graffiti is the icon of hot rodders across the states. It is mine too. I love hotrods, especially street rods.  The car that drives me wild is a thirty-four Ford three window coupe that has been channeled, chopped and modernized with a hot fuel injected engine, power disk brakes, and air.  I prefer my hot rods with fenders. 

Every summer the Frankfort Car Club sponsors “Cruise Night,” in the historic area. Cars come from all around the south suburubs and fill the streets. Owners sit by their vehicle and answer questions. The evening brings out the locals to gawk. Most of the hotrods elicit  memories of our father’s car, or the first car we owned.

 I grew up watching a kid who was just a few years older than me build a hot rod. It was my habit, to ride my bike to the alley where he rented a garage. Dick lived in the house next to the alley. He could see the garage from the kitchen window of the second floor apartment where he and his mother rented. I watched the garage door, if  it was open,  Dick was working.  The thirty-four coupe he built was his second hot rod, and it is the one I fell in love with. Someday, if I win the lotto, I’ll buy a thirty-four Ford.

Each time I visit cruise night, I find another car to love. I can’t make up my mind as to what I really want anymore. Is it the thirty-four, or should it be a thirty-nine roadster, or a fifty Mercury? Confusion, confusion, confusion. I”ll have to win a big lotto, so I can buy one of each, and afford a place to keep them.

The beauty of a street rod lies in the builder’s vision to take an antique car, and re-style it into a sleek modern vehicle. They have all the features of a two thousand nine Chevy.  Each is a unique work of art designed by the builder who  is  usually the owner too. They are craftsmen with a pocket book, often spending over fifty thousand dollars to complete a project. Many owners limit the use of the car by driving them only to cruise nights or to other shows.

There is nothing quiet about a street rod. Not the rumble coming from the powerful engine, or it’s squeeling tires, or from it’s paint. Some of the most eye appealing colors are applied on hot rods. Some have very ornate flames and pinstripping. Other’s have multi-colors with silver and gold sprinkled in.

1934 Ford Sedan Street Rod1959 Mercury Sedan1950 Mercury Coupe with Sculpted Hood and Fenders1934 Chevy Three Window Coupe1937 Ford Coupe1934 Ford Tudor Sedan

The New GM Dealership

The government doesn’t belong in the car business, but it now owns two major companies. I would much rather we gave Chrysler to Hyundai than to the Italians.  General Motors will be a handful for POTUS to manage, but he will have big time help from the UAW. They know how to manage well. After seventy four years of striking, they finally achieved their goal to put the company out of business rather than give in to management demands. 

Here is the future at a vehicle dealership:

Government Motors Dealership

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