Here at Cool McCool’s Garage, our panel of automotive styling experts and Hot Rod Historians sometimes don’t always agree on what’s “Hot”, and what’s “Not”. This year, our executive committee traveled over 10 miles to attend the NSRA “Nats North”, right here in sunny Kalamazoo, MI. We didn’t all agree on the cars, but we did agree it was a great weekend, that we got to hang out with some great friends, and that we managed to not spend all our project money on, well, another project. (Thanks John Hall for letting the CEO off the hook on the Riv’s when the CFO put the brakes on the Riviera project). Anyway, without further ado, our panel of experts now present, in maybe no particular order, what’s “Hot”, and what’s “Not” in Hot Rodding, 2012…
Hot, hot, hot. Pagan Gold ’40 Ford Coupe. And, yes, it’s got a Hemi in it. From the white firewall, white walls, and just enough “bling” to be period correct, but still a “real” car, this was a standout.
Remember the ’80′s? Of course you do, how could you forget when you’re reminded of it every time you look at your ’40 Ford Coupe and realize you now can’t afford to paint over that God-awful pastel pink paint job you thought was so cool? Even if you still sort of liked the grey tweed interior, you know it’ll cost 20 large to undo what you did back then. Of course, those Jordasche jeans don’t look any better on you now either…
There were, of course, even worse examples of this sad, but popular trend, but, this particular car represented the best, and the worst, of hot rodding. Like a “Project Runway” winner, and loser, all in one.
Smok’n hot. Traditional, tasteful mild customs, these happen to both be Fords, but they could have as easily been GM or Chrysler examples, we just didn’t see any of them in the hotel parking lot. The fact that the shoebox belongs to drag legend Dick Lahay makes the one on the right even better.
Elvis and Jerry Lee were right. Cadillacs are IT. These two represent two completely different custom themes, but both got our blood boiling. Although we have to say to the owner of the stunning red ‘vert, “Close the bloody hood.” It’s impossible to get the full impact of the car with the hood up. Of course, we did get to see it with the hood down at the awards ceremony, where it, very deservedly, got a pro’s pick. They’re both HOT.
A Cord 810 Cabriolet and a Packard “Speedster”. Tell me, at what other show, anywhere, will you see two cars like this parked beside chopped up old Fords? This is HOT, and it speaks to the creative genius, and diverse interest of car guys, and Hot Rodders, in general. Steaming, scorching hot, and classy too.
This is the exact opposite of either of the above photos. From the sublime to the cheesiest of the cheesy. This is great example of taking the easy way out, at the last possible second. The car is actually OK, if you discount the (miles) of wavy, delaminating, stick on wheel lip molding plastered all over the car. Really? You couldn’t lay the stuff on straighter than that? Seriously, didn’t the builder know you can get polished stainless quarter round trim right inside the exhibitors building? Somebody needs to tell the owner of this (otherwise pretty cool) boat-tail ’36 to stay out of the accessory isle at AutoZone. Dreadful, and even less hot than frozen dog turds in the back yard in Feb.
We’re not saying 4 door sedans aren’t “Hot”. What we’re saying is that if you have no taste, and either not enough money to build a nice car, or too much money to throw at a car, the results can be equally, staggeringly awful. Where to begin? Square headlights in round fenders, or a chop that leaves the center of the top lower than either end. 20″ wheels and a paint job that says “If a little is good, too much is not enough.” Not hot. Either one may have been built as a joke, but we didn’t get it.
At least the “Street Beast” Vicky didn’t have fake bullet holes. Although we’ve seen plenty that do. Actually, even though it’s not “hot”, we have to give the builder of the (ahem) ’34 kudos for actually being able to put one of these things together. The Boyds wheels look strangely “right” on it too. In a really wrong kind of way…
Yeah, one’s a VW, and the other is a late ’70′s wagon. These both show that NSRA is “Hot”, and that the leadership of the group has the stones to include stuff that will hopefully keep the organization going. Of course, both of these cars are probably owned by guys with equally smok’n hot ’32 Highboys home in the garage, but they sure look good!
Flames. Some hot, and some, not. Which is which? You decide. We won’t tell you, but two of them will still look good in 20 years, and one will leave people scratching their heads wondering why those colors were chosen.
So, there you have it. One fabulous weekend of rods, customs, total messes and some mind-blowing success’. Was it fun? You bet! Did we eat fair food and get heartburn from the Italian sausage sandwich? You bet? Will we do it again? You bet, and we’ll complain, and compliment in equal parts, knowing that our car(s) will be examined in exactly the same way.
Please remember that the opinions expressed on this blog DO NOT neccesarily represent the opinions of the management of Cool McCool’s Garage, particularly if your car was singled out for ridicule. Also, remember that we here have made some dreadful mistakes of our own, and have, from time to time, committed sins against style on hapless old cars in an attempt to emulate popular, but misguided, trends just becaue we could.
More news and illustration of questionable taste and judgement will follow in our next episode, where we’ll show you where the money from the ’36 Special is going.