Archive for the ‘Real Hot Rods’ Category

In last weeks episode, you’ll remember the ’34 was up on wheels, hood and grill shell aligned, body mounts made, steering box in, and the 283 fired for the first time.  Now, it’s all apart, separated into big automotive chunks, getting all the previously tacked together, mocked up chassis welded up.   

The next time it goes together the chassis will be painted and complete, the 283 will be detailed and wearing two fours, not the single Holley it has now, and the body will be wearing a coat of shiney —— paint.  

It’ll be a busy winter at Cool McCool’s Garage!

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I think I’ll get a chair so I can set out here and soak it all in.  But, where would I put it?

Dear readers,

A longtime follower of “Cool McCool’s Garage” recently posted a comment here, which consisted solely of a link to her Craigslist ad for her vintage trailer.

I am all for entrepreneurship, free enterprise, the American way, and flattered that this person believes our blog is widely read enough to help sell her trailer, but…

My blog is my “Happy Place”, not a place to link ads, post stuff for sale, or try make a buck. If it were, I would be doing it.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled nonsense….

Oh, the humanity. New Years eve, or rather, early New Years morning we were stricken with the dreaded Noro-virus, the 24 hour bug, or in the common vernacular, the pukes. We’ll spare you the details, but the acute misery lasted from about 3 am until 3 in the afternoon. After that, some clear liquids finally stayed put, and late in the evening, a cup of soup tasted pretty good.

Called in to work the next day as well and kept a pretty low profile, and even today, we are not completely “normal”, whatever that is. Once the outside temp got above zero though, a fire was stoked up in the Cool McCool’s Garage shop, and the T’bird got some love. The front bumper is now delightfully devoid of any turn signal/park light holes, and looks great.

Look Ma! No holes!

Look Ma! No holes!

Smooth as a baby's bottom now.

Smooth as a baby’s bottom now.

While the shop was warming up, the old GMC started right up and we got the driveway plowed out. By the time that was finished, it was a balmy 50 degrees inside, MUCH better than the outside temp of 13. Brrrr.

Does that puff of white smoke mean we have a new Pope, or is the shop getting warm?

Does that puff of white smoke mean we have a new Pope, or is the shop getting warm?

Path to the Tini-Home garage.

Path to the Tini-Home garage.

Cool McCool's World Headquarters.

Cool McCool’s World Headquarters.

Down the driveway to Milo Road.

Down the driveway to Milo Road.

The might '76 GMC.  Just rolled over 20K miles.  Nicely broken in.  2wd with chains.  Who needs 4wd?

The might ’76 GMC. Just rolled over 20K miles. Nicely broken in. 2wd with chains. Who needs 4wd?

Tomorrow we’re supposed to get a little break in the weather with a high near 30, then back into the deep freeze next week with single digit temps for highs. We may have to open a southern branch office…

A friend of ours in Las Vegas emailed the other day to ask if I’d seen the ’36 was listed on eBay again.  I didn’t, so I followed the link he sent to the ad.Sg_800

It’s listed by an  exotic car dealership in KY, for the staggering price of $44,900.  I’m not sure if a guy browsing a showroom of Lambo’s is going to be attracted to my chopped down old Ford, but good luck to them.  The car looks the same as it did, with the exception of a cheesy “street-rod-y” Dolphin tach in the dash waterfall (that doesn’t go with any of the rest of the dash) and the addition of LOTS of over-wrought  pinstriping.  I have to say that the wheels do look better, with the center spiders and striping, but the rest of it is a little overdone.  It’s supposed to be simple.

The sparse description, mostly “Runs and Drives GREAT”, while maybe not an outright lie, is wildly optimistic at best.  It DOES look stunning, and it runs like scalded cat, but “…Drives GREAT!”, uh, no.

More apt would be, “This car could KILL you in a heartbeat!”, but, why spoil their fun?

But, it’s not mine any more, so what do I know.

My friend Bill McGuire, who was responsible for it getting published in Hot Rod, offered that the extra embellishments just distract from the car, and that it was “complete”, as I’d built it.

Thanks Bill.

I’d add that while it’d have been nice to have gotten more for when I sold it, my feeling is that whoever buys it, for whatever amount, isn’t going to enjoy it as much as I did.  Either in planning, building, or driving it.  The statement that the car makes, and I humbly submit it’s a car that NO ONE has ever done anything like before, will be an influence in the Hot Rodding scene for years to come.  Buying it isn’t the same as building it.

I had a great time with the car, I tripled my money on it, got a little notoriety with it, and let it move on.  It’s a Win/Win, as far as I can see.

And like my buddy John said,  “Brian, that’s always going to be YOUR car.”

True that, John.

DSC04404 (1024x768)In life, be it in art, work, or leisure, we all have to have a source of inspiration and influence.  We need exposure to someone, or something, that drives us to take the  next step, to better ourselves, to increase our skill, our knowledge, and expand our limits.  I’m fortunate, perhaps even blessed, to have friends who inspire me, who have vision, who have talent, who give me drive to see beyond my own frame of reference, and step out of my comfort zone.

I’m also fortunate that those people are willing to lend me their time, and their tools, to bail me out of jams when I box myself into a corner! 

One of those people is my good friend, Kirk Brown, of  “Crafty B Nostalgic Speed”.  Kirk’s shop is just a half an hour from me, and every Friday he has an open house, where hot rodders, car guys, and the occasional curious by-passer can stop, check out the latest project, have coffee and cookies, and draw inspiration from each other, and what Kirk is doing.

This past Friday, I went up with 16 lug nuts for my Diamond T project, that I hoped Kirk could help me re-drill and re-tap to fit the wheel studs on the Dana axle.  I could have taken the axle out, gotten new studs, but I had the correct (for the Dodge wheels I’m using) lug nuts, and it looked to me like I could make it work with the right drill and a 5/8×18 tap. 

We made magic, and metal shavings happen, and I got to use a REAL drill press, wear a machinists apron, and for a few minutes, feel like I knew what I was doing.

Best of all, I got to check out the progress on Kirk’s latest project, a ’32 Ford Roadster, a former 60’s drag strip veteran he salvaged, and added his own “Crafty B” touch to. 

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A cast aluminum grill shell, tilting side hood louvers, cowl steering, cast dash, licence plate holder, exhaust port, shifter, headlights, tailights, shocks, radius bar mounts, trademark gas filler and more, all from Kirk’s catalogue of hand crafted, sand casted, parts.

Add other innovative features like raised wheel openings, a totally re-worked deck lid, smoothed cowl, and one-off, Hallock style windshield, and you’ve got a ’32 Ford that’ll be like no other one out there.   

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In this day and age, it’s REALLY hard to come up with something that’s different, that’s already been thousands of times before.  This build should stand out from a sea of ’32 Ford Hot Rods as something just different enough to get noticed, but not stray off into “cartoon” category. 

Amazing.

And, if that, or the ’32 3 window also under construction, or the ’57 Stude wagon getting four-wheel disc brakes, and bagged, wasn’t enough to get imaginations going, how about a ’51 Ford F-6 heavy-duty truck?

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Trucks aren’t Hot Rods, you say?  How about if they’re chopped, bagged,  fitted with a monster big block Ford engine, and all riding on a cantilevered suspension that’s also Kirk’s design? 

This thing is innovative, provocative, and will surely assault the sense and sensibilities of Hot Rodders wherever it’s seen.  And it will be seen, as it’s planned use is as a tow vehicle for its owners trailer.  It’ll be bed-less, fitted with a 5th wheel to show off the deeply dropped frame and suspension arms. 

So, it’s back to reality, and my own dingy, cramped, clutter shop to get my own stuff done.  I do that though with the knowledge that I CAN do whatever I can imagine, with a little help, inspiration, and support from my friends!

DSC04161 (1024x768)Continuing our trend of visiting friends shops rather than getting anything done in our own,  we start the new year by visiting “Crafty B Nostalgic Speed” near Caledonia, MI. 

Kirk Brown, aka “Crafty B”, is shown here holding his latest creation, a cast aluminum ’32 Ford grill, and it’s screen inserts, up to his ’32 roadster project.  The car, a long forgotten X-drag strip warrior from the ’60’s, is being brought back to life in Kirk’s shop.  The grill shell is the latest in his line of  cool cast aluminium goodies that he markets.  This car will also sport his own Hallock style windshield, although we didn’t get to see it.  The parts are being cast a local foundry Kirk uses.

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Above left, Kirk examines the rear of the much abused ’32’s body, which he relieved of a set of bobbed fenders that had been welded to the quarters.  While it’s fairly rust free, it suffered from a casual approach to metalwork in the past.  In addition to the welded on and mudded in fenders, the car had been channeled by hacking the floor and subrails out with a torch, and rear quarters pushed outward by about 4 inches, again by  just torching away the factory bracing and pushing the sides out with a jack.  Never fear, Kirk and his friends are getting the body squared up, braced up, and getting it ready for street by spring.

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Shown above is his ’32 three window, again saved from a former life of drag strip abuse, having more or less been wadded up into a ball and left for dead.  It too will sport LOTS of one-off aluminum goodies from Kirk’s inventive parts inventory, including the replica E&J headlights, matching tailights, an absolutely beautiful tilt steering set up.  In addition to those bits, the car will sport a 6.71 blown Buick nailhead engine and a 5 speed.   Like the trunk-lid?  Kirk also punches louvers on a (naturally), home-grown louver press. 

DSC04159 (1024x768)It’s always fun to visit Kirk’s shop, whether it’s during his every-Friday morning  “Geezer Coffee” and shop open-house, or any weekday when he and his friends are working on the latest projects.  There’s always guys dropping in to help out, get work done on their own, or his projects.  That’s what Hot Rodding really is, good friends getting together to turn neglected junk, and bits of metal into works of art.

Thanks for the welcom, and the  inspiration Kirk!