Friday, January 19, 2007

Hot Rods, Part 3

Once customizing post-war cars caught on, some of the practices were extended to pre-war cars, which would have been called hot rods that kept their fenders but had more body work done on them. An alternate rule for disambiguation developed that hot rods had the engine behind the front suspension, while custom cars had the engine over the front suspension. The clearest example of this is that Fords prior to 1949 had Henry Ford's old transverse front suspension, while the 1949 model had a more modern suspension with the engine moved forward.

With the coming of the muscle car, and beyond that to the high-performance luxury car, customization declined. One place where it persisted was the US Southwest, where lowriders were built similar in concept to the earlier customs, but of post-1950s cars.

Recently, as the supply of usable antique steel bodies has given out, a new trend to fabricate new steel bodies, closely based on the styling of the pre-war cars. Bodies of this type can cost over $100,000 before the "running gear" is added. A consequence is that these new "scratch built" vehicles cannot be licensed for street use, as they do not meet the myriad of regulations that apply to new cars, and are not exempt as they were if rebuilt from original components fabricated before new regs came into effect.[citation needed]

Starting in the 1950's, it became a popular custom among custom car owners to display their vehicles at drive-in restaurants. Among the largest and longest lasting was Johnie's Broiler in Downey, California. The custom continues today, especially in Southern California.

No comments:

Popular Posts