Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Austin show to feature custom cars, hot rods

Austin show to feature custom cars, hot rods: "The 33rd annual Austin Custom Car and Hot Rod Show continues through Sunday at Austin at Palmer Events Center.
The show will feature the General Lee from 'The Dukes of Hazzard' movie and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle assault vehicle. In addition, the latest custom cars and hot rods, including mini-trucks, pro street machines, antiques, restored cars and classics, will be on display. " - AP Article Page - AP Article Page: "Bruce Suggs preaches the gospel while he burns rubber.
Suggs is the pastor of Crystal Springs Chapel and the owner of Suggs Auto Sales, a body shop that restores classic cars and modifies them into hot rods.
'We can fix anything but a broken heart, and we can take you to the church that can take care of that,' Suggs said.
Most people will know Suggs' company as Christ First Customs, the name he uses when he competes in shows. Suggs' show truck is a 1940 Ford F100 painted red with yellow flames.
On the back of the truck are three crosses with the words 'Covered by the blood of Jesus.' Near the exhaust, 'Make a joyful noise for the Lord' is written on the truck. People shoot more pictures of the words than the truck, Suggs said.
'It really opens up an avenue like never before.'
After spectators approach the truck, Suggs hands them placards with photos of the truck. On the back is a testimony that uses auto restoration as a metaphor for Jesus.
'Some people think you can't be a Christian and enjoy things like this. But you can,' Suggs said. 'Everything we do belongs to the Lord.'
Making hot rods complements his responsibilities as a pastor, Suggs said. When a church member needs help, Suggs can drop what he's doing. Suggs owns the company and he doesn't need permission from the boss to leave work.
But otherwise, Suggs is working side by side with his employees. His sons-in-law Jonathan Barefoot and Mike Francis work at the shop. Another employee, Cliff Boahn, is a church member who works part time."

Roadster show is a celebration of 1932 Ford hot rods

Roadster show is a celebration of 1932 Ford hot rods: "Don’t think that Henry Ford and his son, Edsel, didn’t have big things in mind when they combined the mechanical ingenuity of the first mass-produced, affordable V-8 with a stylish and aerodynamic body to produce a family of Fords in 1932. They could never have imagined how big it would become.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the 1932 Ford, the iconic symbol of American hot rods. Ford Motor Company is launching the anniversary festivities in a huge way, with a display of the 75 most significant ’32 Ford hot rods of all time. The display will be part of the 58th annual Grand National Roadster Show, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious hot rod and custom car show, held in Pomona, Calif., January 26-28.
The 75 most significant ’32 Ford hot rods were selected by a committee of automotive and hot rod experts who selected the 75 from a list of 474 nominees.
The Deuce 75th Anniversary exhibit will be staged in its own 42,000-square-foot building on the grounds of the Los Angeles Fairplex. At least 60 of the 75 ’32 Fords will be on display in person. Eight from the list have not survived. The exhibit has been specially designed to allow show goers an unobstructed view of each of the display vehicles and all 75 cars will be honored with large-format placards featuring essays written by well-known authors and historians Pat Ganahl and Greg Sharp along with many rare photographs.
A special multi-media program featuring rare historic images and film will play on a large-format screen in the center of the building." ... The Internet Source for Motorsports News and Information ... The Internet Source for Motorsports News and Information: "CLARENCE, N.Y. -- The Pro Modified Racing Association is pleased to announce its return to Western New York’s Lancaster Raceway Park Sunday, July 29, as part of the 2007 PMRA tour.

Lancaster Raceway Park, situated in Clarence, New York, is a one-eighth mile drag strip operating under International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) sanctioning. Many of the New York-based PMRA competitors consider Lancaster their home track, and have raced at this Niagara Frontier facility many times.

'This will be a great event for our fans,' said Lancaster Raceway Park's Jim Reid. 'We are always trying to bring in the best of shows, and believe the PMRA will offer top-notch racing. The PMRA Pro Modifieds give our fans a chance to see local home track stars. We expect to see fans at Lancaster that we haven't seen there for years.'

This PMRA tour stop will be the third annual visit at Lancaster.

Lancaster has a long tradition in motorsports. With both a drag strip and a paved oval track, Lancaster has presented the best in racing to fans of Western New York and Southern Ontario.

Joining the PMRA Pro Modifieds at Lancaster Raceway Park will be the Can-Am Stock/Super Stock Series. This popular grass roots drag series, which features competitors from Ontario and New York, was formed in 1996, and continues to grow each season. The participants, known for their awesome wheelies, are fan favorites wherever they appear."

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Kevin & Karen Alstott's '35 Ford wins America's Most Beautiful Roadster award - Autoblog

Kevin & Karen Alstott's '35 Ford wins America's Most Beautiful Roadster award - Autoblog: "Last year's winner of the prestigious Ridler Award at the Detroit Autorama has added another big trophy to its collection. Kevin and Karen Alstott's 1935 Ford convertible captured top honors at the 58th Grand National Roadster show on Sunday night when it was named America's Most Beautiful Roadster.

This was the 58th edition of the Grand National Roadster Show, which was known as the Oakland Roadster Show before moving to the more spacious Los Angeles County Fairgrounds. The honor has been won by some of the industry's most notable hot rodders, including Blackie Gejeian, George Barris, Tex Smith, Ermie Immerso, Boyd Coddington and Chuck Lombardo.

The Alstott's '35, nicknamed the Iowa Radster, was built by Roger Burman at Lakeside Rods & Rides. Marcel DeLay hand-formed the body and the Recovery Room finished the interior. Power comes from a 408-cubic-inch all-aluminum small-block engine."

'Deuce' celebrates 75th anniversary in spectacular display at Grand National Roadster Show - Autoblog

'Deuce' celebrates 75th anniversary in spectacular display at Grand National Roadster Show - Autoblog: "The iconic symbol of hot rodding is unquestionably the 1932 Ford. Designed with aerodynamic poise by Edsel Ford, the '32 also showcased Henry Ford's engineering genius with the introduction of an affordable V8 engine. Luckily, Ford didn't make the flathead motor as powerful as possible. Thousands of speed-loving, mechanically inclined owners handled the rest. History has been very kind to the '32. Almost anything is cool, from primered rat rods to billet masterpieces.

Last year, a panel of hot rod experts selected the 75 most significant 32 Ford hot rods out of 474 nominees. At this year's 58th annual Grand National Roadster Show held over the weekend at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds, about 60 of those 75 were gathered for a historic display in a 44,000-square-foot building. Eight of the 75 did not survive. Each of the vehicles on display had placards with essays and rare photos to document their selection.

Other '32 events are planned for the year, including 'Deuce Week' at the Petersen Automotive Museum in February, and the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance will honor the class of '32." Southern California's news leader - Raodster Show Celebrates Hot Rods Southern California's news leader - Raodster Show Celebrates Hot Rods: "January 26, 2007 - The Grand National Roadster Show celebrates the American hot rod, cars that clever young men began creating right after World War II.
The definitive hot rod is widely thought to be the '32 Ford. When the Beach Boys sang about their 'Little Deuce Coupe,' they were referring to a '32.
Some of the most significant '32s in the world have been gathered for the show and each one has a story. Some were built for speed contests on California's dry lakes, while others were created for show.
Ford has also commissioned hand-built pedal cars from some of the top rod builders, they'll be auctioned off later this year for charity.
Even if you were too young to be there when hot rodding began, you might know the cars from pop culture. 'American Graffiti' showcased a mean '32 on the big screen, while the made-for-TV Monkees drove around in a wild, hot-rodded custom Pontiac that's just undergone a complete restoration.
In today's world, the rods that win trophies can cost hundreds of thousands to build or buy.
But for only a few dollars, you can admire the cars of others at the show. " ... The Internet Source for Motorsports News and Information ... The Internet Source for Motorsports News and Information: "CAMBRIDGE, Ontario -- Lowdown Hot Rods will be posting awards at each Pro Modified Racing Association race for 2007.

“We are very excited to be involved with the PMRA series,” said Tom VanDerGeld, owner of Lowdown Hot Rods. “We will present a special low qualifier award at each of the PMRA events this year and reward the teams that outperform their competitors.”

Whether you're into hot rods, racecars, street machines or trucks, Lowdown Hot Rods has you covered. They’re hot rodders and racers ourselves, and can talk your language and convert your ideas into reality.

“Tom VanDerGeld has many years of experience within the hot rod and racing industry,” stated Bruce F. Mehlenbacher, Director of Operations of the PMRA. “He has the experience, equipment and knowledge to deliver quality work consistently. It is great that they appreciate the value in endorsing their products with our teams and the PMRA series.” "

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Dodge Viper, Part 5

Viper Competition Coupe
As of 2003, a special, non-street legal Viper SRT-10 Competition Coupe is available from Dodge for race car drivers, picking up where the GTS-R racing variant left off. The power and torque ratings have been improved, but the vehicle has been stripped of anything not essential for racing, such as the interior body panels, instrumentation, air conditioning, and stereo system which lightened the car by 380 lb (170 kg). The "CompCoupe" comes equipped with a full roll cage, a racing fuel cell, and other racing-related equipment. It is not sold through dealers and is purchased from Dodge directly as, essentially, a very expensive race car component. Pricing is approximately US$139,000. The Viper Competition Coupe sees action in the highly competitive SCCA Speed GT World Challenge.

In 2004 Samuel Hubinette used a Competition Coupe with a modified rear axle for the Formula D, in which he won the title before the car was barred by the end of the season (due to the fact FD would adopt D1 Grand Prix regulations from the following year which had already prohibited the car from competing) and was replaced by an SRT-10 the following season.

After a few one-off entries in the Spa 24 Hours, from 2006, the Viper Competition Coupe will race in Europe fulltime for the first time, joining the new FIA GT3 Cup with the Italian team Racing Box.

The Dodge Viper, Part 4

Viper GTS-R
Using such production engine components as the block, cylinder heads, and crankshaft, Team Viper engineers were able to extract up to 750 hp from the normally 450 hp second generation 8.0 L V10 engine. The chassis was re-engineered from the ground up by British sports manufacturer Reynard Motorsport's Special Projects Division under chief engineer Paul Brown, losing much of the Roadcar's heavy tubular steel and fibreglass structure in favour of lightweight carbon fibre components.

The car made its competition debut in the 24 Hours of Daytona with Canaska Racing in 1996, then the 24 Hours of Le Mans, when a GTS-R finished tenth overall in its very first run for glory. The next year, Team Viper (who now switched services to Oreca) switched to the GT2 class and proceeded to dominate, winning five titles in the FIA GT Championship between 1997 and 2002. Oreca switched to the prototype class in 2000, but customer Vipers continued to be the most competitive in the series.

In 1998, Team Viper returned to Le Mans to set new track records in practice. When the checkered flag dropped on the 24th hour of the longest day in racing, Viper GTS–R racers finished first and second in their class to become the first American car to win at Le Mans in three decades, and the first–ever production–based American car to grace the winner's circle.

In addition to the race cars, Chrysler built 100 street-legal 1998 GT2 Championship Edition Vipers, which were rated at 460 hp (343 kW) and 500 ft·lbf (67 N·m) of torque. Named after the GT2 categories it competed in, it was aesthetically similar to the GTS-R with its paint job, aerodynamics package, and visual options in order to publicize the Viper's achievement in the FIA and Le Mans. Also in 2005 LeMans Series season two Viper GTS-R cars were entered by the privateer team Paul Belmondo Racing.

The Dodge Viper, Part 3

The Dodge Viper underwent a major redesign in 2003, courtesy of DaimlerChrysler's Street and Racing Technology (SRT) group. The new Viper SRT-10 was heavily restyled with sharp, angled bodywork. The engine was enlarged to 8.3 L which, with other upgrades, combined to increased output to 505 hp (375 kW) and 525 ft·lbf (711 N·m) of torque. The chassis was also improved. It became more rigid and weighed approximately 80 lbs less than the previous model. The cornering was exceptional, rivaling or surpassing many other supercars from Ferrari and Porsche. An even better chassis and engine were planned for the car, but Chrysler feared that the Viper's price would reach $100,000. Even if that were the case, the Viper's price would still undercut its rivals significantly. The initial model was a convertible. In 2004, Dodge introduced a limited edition Mamba package. Mamba edition cars featured black interiors, with red stitching and trim and saw their MSRP price rise by roughly $3000. 200 Mambas were produced.

The new Viper SRT-10 Coupe (no longer called the GTS) was introduced in 2005 at the Detroit Auto Show as a 2006 model. It shares many of its body panels with the convertible but takes its side and rear styling cues from the Competition Coupe (see below). The new coupe looks much like the previous Viper GTS and retains the "double-bubble" roof shape of the original, along with the original GTS's taillights as well offering the original Viper Blue paint scheme with white stripes (referred to as GTS Blue) for an added homage to the original Viper coupe. The engine was also certified by the SAE to produce 510 hp and 535 lb/ft of torque. It is important to note that the engine makes the same power as before, only the numerical value of the power was changed. Unlike the original coupe, the chassis was not modified. This made the new coupe heavier than the convertible, and thus slightly slower in low speed acceleration. Handling and high speed performance were improved by the coupe's stiffer frame, reduced drag, and increased downforce.

It has been confirmed officially that the 2008 Viper will get a 90hp bump up to 600hp and a 25lbft torque bump up to 560lb-ft from a displacement increased up to 8.4 liters (510ci/8354cc), better flowing heads with larger valves and dual throttle bodies. The development of the engine was done with help from McLaren Cars and Ricardo. Changes outside of the powerplant are minimal, but still influential. The T56 transmission has been replaced with the new Tremec TR6060, and a revised shifter has been paired with the new gearbox. Shifts are claimed to be 18% quicker (faster than the Corvette Z06). The Dana M44-4 rear axle from the 2003 model now has a GKNVisco differential that greatly help the tires in getting grip under acceleration. One last performance upgrade was the removal of run-flat tires; the new tires remove most of the minor flaws of the early gen III models and should give the Viper nearly unmatched handling on any circuit. Another notable change is the reworking of the exhaust system, previous third generation Vipers had their exhaust crossover under the seats which resulted in a large amount of heat going into the cockpit, this was done initially to help improve the cars exhaust note, since the first 2 generations of Viper, which had no crossover, were criticised for their lackluster exhaust notes. For 2008, the Viper exhaust will utilize a new exhaust system with no crossover, reducing the heat that enters the cockpit, but still produces an exotic sound.

The third generation Viper has been sold in Europe since 2004, the first model to be sold as a Dodge, as part of Chrysler's new sales strategy for the European market. It's however sold as the "Dodge SRT-10", as the Viper name is a registered trademark in the UK.



0-60: 3.8 sec.

0-100: 8.36 sec.

quarter mile: 11.7 sec. @ 123 mph

top speed: 196 mph

slalom: 72.4 mph

skidpad average g: 1.05

The Dodge Viper, Part 2

Second generation models increased engine power, improved suspension, and reduced braking distances; the 1996 to 2002 Viper GTS had a 450 bhp (336 kW) engine, which could complete the quarter mile 0.7 seconds faster and increased top speed by 35 km/h (22 mph) or so. A number of third party firms have modified the car to boost performance.

A coupe model, called the GTS, was also introduced in 1996. An interesting feature of the coupe was the "double bubble" roof contours; two small humps to accommodate drivers wearing helmets. Indeed, the Viper's performance has made the vehicle popular for both amateur and professional racers. Vipers can be seen participating often in drag racing, road racing and drifting. The GTS, like its predecessor, was chosen as the pace car for the 1996 Indianapolis 500.

Dodge contracted French racing team Oreca to build a racing version of the Viper known as the GTS-R in the FIA GT Championship's GT2 category, where they won the series in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2002 (the last two with Larbre Competition). The car also won its class in the Le Mans 24 Hours from 1998 to 2000 and took overall win at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Dodge would celebrate by releasing a special edition model with the winning car's livery.

In the first six years of production almost 10,000 Vipers were sold. The second generation Vipers were exported to Europe, where they were sold as Chryslers.

The 1999 model was the last Viper that had forged pistons. Subsequent years had lighter-weight, hypereutectic pistons similar to other sports cars, as well as improved exhaust systems. 1999 saw the introduction of the Cognac Connolly package, which saw cars with distinctive Cognac colored interior, special leather and interior trim. Also in 1999, the American Club Racing (ACR) model was introduced. This model featured suspension and engine enhancements focused on maximizing performance in road racing and autocross environments. Horsepower was bumped to 460 bhp in these models. Continuing chassis refinements, ABS braking was introduced in 2001. In 2002, the end of second generation production was celebrated with the release of 360 commemorative "Final Edition" models. These models were painted red with white stripes, paying tribute to the famous race-winning Oreca cars.

Performance (GTS):

0-60: 4.0 sec.

0-100: 8.6 sec.

quarter mile: 12.2 sec @ 118 mph / 2000 RT/10 ran 11.98 in magazine test)

top speed: 190+ mph

slalom: 71.3 mph

skidpad average g: .98

The Dodge Viper, Part 1

The Dodge Viper is the most powerful production car made by Dodge. Production of the two seat sports car, the Dodge Viper, began at New Mack Assembly in 1992 and moved to its current home at Conner Avenue Assembly in October 1995.

The Viper was conceived as a modern take on the classic American muscle car. While there are some who insist that the iconic AC Cobra was a source of inspiration, the final version of the Viper was far too large and heavy to seriously claim any direct lineage with the compact and lightweight vehicle. Most saw claims to kinship with the Cobra as a marketing exercise, although Carroll Shelby was involved in the initial design of the Viper.

The Viper was initially conceived in late 1987 at Chrysler's Advanced Design Studios. The following February, Chrysler president Bob Lutz suggested to Tom Gale at Chrysler Design that the company should consider producing a modern Cobra, and a clay model was presented to Lutz a few months later. The car appeared as a concept at the North American International Auto Show in 1989, and public reaction was so enthusiastic, that chief engineer Roy Sjeoberg was directed to develop it as a production car.

Sjoberg selected 85 engineers to be "Team Viper", with development beginning in March 1989. The team asked then-Chrysler subsidiary Lamborghini to cast some prototype aluminum blocks based on their V10 truck engine for sports car use in May. The production body was completed in the fall, with a chassis prototype running in December. Though a V8 was first used in the test mule, the V10 which the production car was meant to use was ready in February 1990.

Official approval from Chrysler chairman, Lee Iacocca, came in May 1990. One year later, Carroll Shelby piloted a preproduction car as the Indianapolis 500 pace car. In November 1991, the car was released to reviewers with first shipments beginning in January 1992.

The first prototype was tested in December 1989. It first debuted in 1991 with three pre-production models as the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 when Dodge was forced to substitute it in place of the Stealth, and went on sale in January 1992 as the soft roofed RT/10 Roadster.

The centerpiece of the car was its engine, with the car claimed as being built around it instead of the driver, boasting very few comforts, which did not even include door handles. Originally designed as a truck engine and based on the Chrysler LA engine, then a division of the Chrysler Corporation, revamped Dodge's cast-iron block V10 for the Viper by recasting the block and head in aluminum alloy, and giving the engine a significant power boost. Some within Lamborghini felt the pushrod two-valve design, while adequate for the truck application for which the engine was originally created, was unsuitable for a performance car and suggested a more comprehensive redesign which would have included four valves per cylinder. However, Chrysler was uncertain about the Viper's production costs and sales potential and so declined to provide the budget for the modification.

The engine produced 400 hp (298 kW) at 4600 rpm and 450 ft·lbf (610 N·m) of torque at 3600 rpm, and thanks to the long-gearing allowed by the torquey engine, provided surprising fuel economy at a claimed 21 mpg US (11.2 L/100 km) if driven sedately. The body was a tubular steel frame with resin transfer molding (RTM) fiberglass panels. Typical of American performance car design, it had a front-mounted engine driving the rear wheels; it was also heavy with a curb weight of 3,280 lb (1,488 kg) and lacked many modern driver aids such as traction control or anti-lock brakes. Car and Driver magazine referred to this generation as "the world's biggest Fat Boy Harley", and likened driving it to "playing ping pong with a Louisville Slugger baseball bat." Despite this, in straight line performance, it completed a quarter mile in 12.9 seconds and had a maximum speed of 164 mph (264 km/h).

Suspension on the first-gen Viper was equally frugal, with many front-end pieces coming directly from the Dakota pickup truck.


0-60: 4.6 sec.

0-100: 9.2 sec.

quarter mile: 12.5 sec. @ 112 mph

top speed: 180+ (confirmed by Road and Track magazine / 1992)

700 ft slalom: over 65 mph

skidpad average g: .96

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sleeper Cars

A sleeper (US English) or Q-car (British English) is a car that has high performance and an innocent looking exterior. Sleeper cars are termed such because their exterior looks little or no different from a regular version of the car, but internally they are modified to perform at higher levels, thus they can catch the unaware "sleeping".

Some cars come like this from the factory ready for those who want performance without drama, whether understatedness suits their chosen image or lifestyle, or because they do not wish to attract undue attention of the police. For instance, many high-performance sedans look hardly different from the lower-powered models in the range; for example, the Audi RS4, Acura TL Type-S, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution RS, Subaru Impreza WRX STI, Cadillac CTS-V, Volvo S60R, Chrysler 300C SRT8, Mercury Marauder, Volkswagen Passat W8, 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, Nissan Skyline GT-R, and the Dodge Charger SRT8, among others. Cars with external badging, or other visual elements that give the impression of high performance, are not true sleeper cars.

Other vehicle owners create sleepers by swapping more powerful engines, or other performance modifications like turbochargers, and leave the external appearance exactly the way it came from the factory. Sometimes hints of the car's true nature show if one looks and listens carefully: wider tires, a lower stance, or a different engine tone or exhaust note. Gauges and instrumentation are often kept to a minimum. Some owners go as far as to use weight reduction techniques employed by other performance enthusiasts, such as removing items not fundamental to street racing, such as rear seats, interior trim, spare tire, or even the heater.

In some countries, customized sleeper vehicles (as with other heavily modified street cars) may be considered illegal for road use, because the car's level of performance is higher than intended by the vehicle manufacturer; if the owner has focused only on straight-line performance, the existing braking, steering, tires, and suspension systems may have been rendered inadequate. The emissions control system (such as intake and exhaust restrictions, or the EGR system) is often bypassed or removed entirely in customized sleeper vehicles.

Owners sometimes reduce the evidence that their high-performance car is such by removing characteristic badging and trimmings. Sleeper cars often contain stock body work and wheels found on their less-capable brethren to better blend with other traffic and appear unassuming. Some owners simply like having performance without show, but a more predatory use of the sleeper is in street racing, where it is used to fool an opponent into underestimating a car's performance for the purposes of "hustling". Some have even gone so far as to leave their cars' exteriors banged up and rusting, and sometimes even causing additional rusting with the use of battery acid.

Sometimes sleepers will be cheaper to insure when compared to an equally fast sports car, but some insurance companies may refuse insurance to owners of heavily modified vehicles.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Hot Rods, Part 4

A custom car is a phrase that became prominent in American pop culture in the 1950s, and has enjoyed special interest popularity since that time. It relates to a passenger vehicle that has been modified to improve its performance by altering or replacing the engine and transmission and to make it look "unique", unlike any car that might have been factory finished,always a personal "styling" statement by the re-styler/re-builder.

A development of hot rodding, the change in name corresponded to the change in the design of the cars that were being modified. The first hot rods were made from pre-WWII cars that had running boards and simple fenders that bent over the wheels. These were modified by removing the running boards and either removing the fenders entirely or replacing them with very light "cycle fenders". The purpose was to put the most powerful engine in the lightest possible frame and body combination. The suspension was usually altered to make the car lower; the front was often made much lower than the rear. Much later some hot rods and custom cars swapped the old solid rear axle for an independent rear axle, often from Jaguar. Only rarely was the grille of one make of car replaced by another; one exception was that the 1937 Buick grille was often put on a Ford. The original hot rods were plainly painted like the Model A Fords from which they had been built up, and only slowly begun to take on colors, and eventually fancy orange-yellow flamed hoods or "candy-like" deep arcylic finishes in the various colors.

With the change in automobile design to encase the wheels in fenders and to extend the hood to the full width of the car, the former practices were no longer possible. In addition, there was tremendous automotive advertising and subsequent public interest in the new models in the 1950s. Hence custom cars came into existence, swapping headlight rings, grilles, bumpers, chrome side strips, and tail lights. The bodies of the cars were changed by cutting through the sheet metal, removing bits to make the car lower, welding it back together, and adding a lot of lead to make the resulting form smooth. By this means, "chopping" made the roof lower; "sectioning" made the body thinner from top to bottom. "Channeling" was cutting notches in the floorpan where the body touches the frame to lower the whole body. Fins were often added from other cars, or made up from sheet steel. But in the custom car culture, if you were someone who merely changed the appearance without improving the performance substantially, you were looked down on.

Paint was an important concern. Once bodywork was done, the cars were painted unusual colors. Transparent but wildly-colored candy-apple paint, which was applied atop a metallic undercoat, and metalflake paint, which adds aluminum glitter within candy-apple paint, appeared in the 1960s. These took many coats to produce a brilliant effect -- which in hot climates had a tendency to flake off. Custom cars also continued the habit of adding decorative paint after the main coat was finished, of flames extending rearward from the front wheels, and of scallops and hand-painted pinstripes of a different color than the rest of the car. The latter, most often being of a single coat, would be expected to be of a simpler paint.

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.

Hot Rods, Part 2

Hot Rods

The "classic era" of hot rod construction ended around 1965, partly because the supply of vintage tin had diminished, but mostly because new cars were equipped for greater speed and power from the factory with little or no modification required.

Today, there are still a large number of hot rodders and street rodders. The Street Rod Nationals serves as a showplace for the majority of the hot rodding and street rodding world to display their cars and to find nearly any part needed to complete them.

There is still a vibrant Hot Rod culture worldwide, especially in the United States and Sweden. The hot rod community has now been subdivided into two main groups: hot rodders and street rodders. Hot rodders build their cars using a lot of original, old parts, and follow the styles that were popular from the 1940s through the 1960s. Street rodders build cars (or have them built for them) using, primarily, new parts.

Hot rod builders such as Jesse James, who is also famous for his motorcycle modifications (choppers), have profited through their exposure on sensationalized TV shows. Boyd Coddington, famed hot rod designer currently stars in American Hot Rod, a documentary series on Discovery channel. One of his cars appeared in the music video of Gimme All Your Lovin’ by the rock band ZZ Top. The Discovery Channel airs several shows dealing with modern interpretations of kustom kulture such as Monster Garage, American Hot Rod, and Overhaulin'.

Juxtapoz Magazine, founded by the artist Robert Williams, has thrived as a recent extrapolation of kustom kulture art. It has also begun to garner respect as an exhibitor of contemporary artistic talent that transcends kustom kulture's bounds.

There is a contemporary movement of traditional hot rod builders, car clubs and artists who have returned to the roots of hot rodding as a lifestyle. This current traditional hot rod culture is exemplified in a whole new breed of traditional hot rod builders, artists and styles, as well as classic style car clubs like the Deacons, the Shifters, and the Dragoons. Events like Viva Las Vegas, and GreaseOrama showcase this return to traditional hot rods and the greaser lifestyle. Underground magazines like Garage, Rolls & Pleats, and BurnOut showcase this return to traditional hot rods by covering events and people around the world. There are number of independently released DVDs featuring this traditional hot rod revival with names such as Mad Fabricators, Hot Rod Surf ‘All Steel All Real’, and Hot Rod Havoc.

The culture is vibrant in Sweden where there are many automobile enthusiasts, also known as raggare. Meetings like Power Big Meet and clubs such as Wheels and Wings in Varberg, Sweden have established themselves in Swedish Hot Rod culture. Since there is very little "vintage tin" the hot rods in Sweden are generally made with a home made chassis (usually a Ford model T or A replica), with a Jaguar (or Volvo 240) rear axle, a small block V8 and fiberglass tub, but some have been built using for instance a Volvo Duett chassis. Because the Swedish regulations required a crash test even for custom-built passenger cars between 1969 and 1982 the Duett option was often used since it was considered a rebodied Duett rather than a new vehicle.

Many 50's and 60's cars are also hot rodded, like Morris Minor, Ford Anglia, Volvo Amazon, Ford Cortina, '57 Chevy, to name but a few.

Hot Rods, Part 1

Traditional hot rods are Ford model T and model A style automobiles (as they are the first American cars that are made with vanadium steel) that have been modified to enhance performance and speed.

Hot rods are custom-built cars. Originally the term was used to the practice of taking an old car, usually a Ford, and improving its performance by reducing weight (usually by removing roof, hood, bumpers, windshield and fenders), lower it, change or tune the engine to give more power, add fat wheels for traction and apply a distinctive paint job. The term may have originated from "hot roadster;" it was used in the 1950s and 1960s as a derogatory term for any car that did not fit into the mainstream. Other sources indicate that the term was derived from replacement of connecting rods in engines to allow higher RPMs to be reached without failure. When hot rodding became commercialized in the 1970s, magazines and associations catering to "street rodders" were started.

Ford Model T Hot Rod

Hot rodders including Wally Parks created the National Hot Rod Association NHRA to bring racing off the streets and onto the tracks. The annual California Hot Rod Reunion and National Hot Rod Reunion are held to honor pioneers in the sport. The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum houses the roots of hot rodding. Nowadays people who own hot rods keep them clean and try to make them noticeable. Those who work according to the original idea of cheap, fast and no frills are often called rat rods. There are many magazines that feature real hot rods, including The Rodders Journal. Commercial magazines include Hot Rod Magazine, Street Rodder, and Popular Hot Rodding. There are also television shows such as My Classic Car, and Horsepower TV. Hot rods are part of American culture, although there is growing controversy within the automotive hobby over an increasing trend towards the acquisition and irreversible modification of surviving historic - some even very rare - vehicles rather than the traditional hot rodding concept of the salvage and remanufacture of reusable junked parts.

Author Tom Wolfe was one of the first to recognize the importance of hot rodding in popular culture and brought it to mainstream attention in his book The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby.

The Hot Rod era extended from 1945 to the beginning of the muscle car era (about 1965), reaching its height in about 1955. During this time, there was an adequate supply of what hot rodders called "vintage tin": junk cars manufactured prior to 1942 that could be had cheaply. Many of these had sound bodies and frames and had been junked for mechanical reasons, since the running gear of early cars was not durable. The typical hot rod was heavily modified, particularly by replacing the engine and transmission, and possibly other components, including brakes and steering. Certain engines, such as the flathead Ford V8, and the small block Chevrolet V8 were particularly popular as replacements because of their compact size, availability, and power. The early Hemi was popular in applications that required more power, such as drag racing.

Construction of a hot rod requires skills in mechanics, welding, and automotive paint and body work.

Hot Rod

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Blogger seems to have wiped out all my old blogs.
Yep, everyone of them.
So I have recreated them here in the new Blogger2 neighborhood.
I e-mailed Blogger about this and am waiting to see if they can replace my archives.
But until that time, we will move onward and upward and just act like none of this ugliness ever happened.
I thank everyone for stopping by, and I ask everyone for their patience till I can get some good content back up for you.
I'll get everyones backlinks back up ASAP. I owe a LOT to those out there that have been kind enough to link to me in the past, and I will have everything up and running again PDQ.

Thanks again,

~~ Sabre ~~

Monday, January 1, 2007


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