Monday, January 28, 2008

Plymouth Valiant Wagon Rat Rod!!

I'm currently bidding and watching this interesting piece of cool. You don't see Plymouth Valiants much anymore, let alone a wagon! This thing is pretty cool with flat paint, red steelies, wide-whites and a surfboard to boot! I'm not sure I like the red headlight rings, but it will be interesting to see what she brings on eBay!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

More Hot Rod Lingo (Terminology 102)

After working on my last post (See Terminology 101), I realized that there are a lot more terms out there used at car shows, in car magazines, and among car nuts...Here are a few more:

Antique: 25 years old or older, in stock, unmodified, or restored to original condition.
Appletons: Fender-mounted spotlights, named for the manufacturer.
Baby Moons: Small chromed hubcaps that only cover the center of the wheel.
Balanced: Normally used to define balancing the rotating mass (ie: crankshaft), but could also mean matching the weights of the pistons and rods.
Beltline:The line running around a car's body formed by the bottom edges of the side windows. Binders:Brakes.
Blower: A supercharger.
Blown Gasser: A supercharged, gas burning engine.
Blueprinted: Ensuring the dimensions of the parts in the engine are more accurate and, therefore, closer to the original engine blueprint values.
Bullets: Chromed, bullet-shaped extensions used on bumpers, grilles, and wheels.
Business Coupe: A simple two-door coupe, without a rumble seat, built between the mid to late thirties. Also referred to as a Businessman's Coupe.
Channeled: Cutting the floor so the body rests around the frame rails rather than sitting on top of the frame. This gives an overall lowered appearance.
Chopped: A hard-top car that has had its roof lowered.
Classic: A fine or unusual motorcar built between 1925 and 1948. A classic is distinguished by its fine design, high engineering standards, and superior workmanship. Only certain important automotive brands are considered "true" classics.
Convertible: An open-top car with a folding roof and side windows.
Crate Engine: Factory built, ready to run engine.
Custom: A car that is modified in visual appearance through imaginative and technical methods to create a distinctive vehicle.
Dago: A dropped front-end.
Decked: Chrome details and trim removed from the trunk and smoothed over.
Deuce: 1932 Ford.
Dropped: A significantly lowered vehicle.
Dual Quad: Two four barrel carburetors.
Duval Windshield: a split V-shaped raked chrome-plated windshield designed by George DuVall
Dutchman Panel: The metal body piece between the rear window and the trunk.
Exotic: A high-priced, two passenger roadster, coupe, or convertible, usually from Europe. A few exceptions exist such as the Dodge Viper or the original Shelby Cobra.
Fat Fendered: Fords built between 1935 and 1948 that were wide and rounded in appearance. Filled Roof: One that has a welded steel panel instead of the original wood-and-fabric insert.
Flamethrowers: Igniting unburnt exhaust and shooting flames out the tailpipes.
Fordor: A four-door Ford sedan.
Frame-off Restoration: A restoration project in which the entire vehicle is completely disassembled with all parts cleaned or replaced as necessary, so that the restored car meets the original factory specifications as closely as possible.
Frame-Up Restoration: Not as detailed as a frame-off, but involves restoring the paint, chrome, interior, and mechanicals to original specifications without complete disassembly of the car.
Frenched: Recessed head or tail lights that are smoothed into the body panels.
Front Clip: Either the front end sheet metal or the section of frame in front of the firewall.
Glass-packs: Loud, aftermarket mufflers.
Goat: Pontiac GTO.
Hemi: An engine that has hemispherical combustion chambers in its cylinder head. Popularized by Chrysler, starting around 1951.
Hot Rod: Traditionally, an older vehicle with "low-buck" performance modifications.
Kit Car: A reproduction of an existing automotive design, sold in various stages of production to allow for completion and customization by the builder.
Lakepipes: Side-exit exhaust pipes located under the rocker panels.
Land Yacht: Large, luxury car, usually referring to the chromed, finned, oversized vehicles of the late fifties to early sixties.
Lowboy: Customized Model A Ford that has been channeled.
Lowered: A vehicle that sits lower than stock height through suspension or frame modifications.

Lowrider: A vehicle that has been lowered by a hydraulic suspension system that can bring the ride height up in order to drive it.
Louvers: Vents or slots punched in body panels. The most commonly louvered body panel is the hood, done to increase ventilation.
Matching Numbers: A restored or original vehicle in which all serial numbers (VIN, engine, body, transmission, rear end) can be researched and identified as being 100% correct for that specific vehicle.
Molded: Body seams that have been filled in or otherwise smoothed out.
Moons: Full wheel covers that are chrome and convex-shaped.
Muscle Car: A North American intermediate or mid-sized car produced between 1964 and 1972 (with a few exceptions) with a large displacement V8 engine.
Nerf Bar: Tubular bumper.

NOS: New Old Stock. Parts purchased from the manufacturer that were made at the time of the original vehicle but never sold. Also an abbreviation for Nitrous Oxide System.
Nosed: Chrome details and trim removed from the hood and smoothed over.
Original: Contains only parts originally installed on the car or NOS parts from the manufacturer with no substitute or after-market parts.
Pancaked: Hood modified to a lower profile.
Peaked: A molded accent seam on a hood.
Pinched: To narrow the front frame to match the grill shell.
Pink Slip: Before the days of automobile titles, the portion of a California car registration that conveyed ownership was colored pink. Hence the brag in the Beach Boys' "Little Deuce Coupe" about "I got the pink slip, daddy!"
Piped: Narrow, padded pleats used to trim the interior.
Post: The pillar located between the front and rear doors of a four-door sedan.
Pro-Street: A vehicle features large rear wheels and tires tucked deeply into the rear fender area.
Project Car: One that is in restorable condition.
Replicar: A completed reproduction of an existing automotive design, usually sold only as a turn-key, or 100% complete, car.
Resto Rod: An original looking car with a modified chassis or powerplant.
Roadster: A convertible without side windows.
Roll Pan: Smoothed out panel that replaces the bumper and rolls back under the vehicle.
Rolled: Bumper or gas tank removed and replaced with custom panel that "rolls" under.
Rolled & Pleated: Deluxe interior sewn with padded pleats.
Rumble Seat: An open, fold up rear seat located where the trunk would be.
Running Board: The metal strip running between the fenders and below the doors of early autos and trucks used as a step or to wipe one's feet before entering the vehicle.

Sectioned: Removing a horizontal section of bodywork to lower the overall height of the body.
Sedan Delivery: A two-door station wagon with solid body panels instead of windows on the sides at the back of the car.
Shaved: Door handles and body trim that have been removed and smoothed over.
Sidemount: A spare tire, recessed into the front fender.
Six-Pack: Three two-barrel carburetors.
Slammed: A significantly lowered vehicle - dropped as low as possible and still driveable.
Sleeper: A vehicle that doesn't look as fast as it is.
Split Window: Usually referring to the rear window - one that has two planes of glass with bodywork in between. Example: the 1963 Corvette.
Street Machine: A street-legal highly modified car or truck built in 1949 or later.
Street Rod: A street-legal highly modified car or truck built in 1948 or earlier.
Suicide Door: A door that hinges at the rear.
Supercharger: A crank driven air-to-fuel mixture compressor which increases atmospheric pressure on the engine, resulting in added horsepower.
T-Bucket: Fenderless, topless, highly-modified, Ford Model T. Most T-Buckets on the road today are kit cars or replicars.
Trailer Queen: Derogatory term referring to a car that is shown frequently yet rarely driven.
Tri-Power: An engine with three two barrel carburetors.
Tubbed: Having the rear frame and body modified to allow for extra-wide wheels and tires that do not protrude past the fenders.
Tudor: A two-door Ford sedan.
Tunneled: See "Frenched" - only deeper.
VIN: Vehicle Identification Number. The vehicle serial number that is stamped onto the vehicle, usually under the windshield post, the driver's door post, or on the firewall.
Vintage: A vehicle built between 1915 and 1942 in stock or unmodified condition.
Wheelie Bars: Rods that extend from the back of a car and are connected to wheels that help keep the car from flipping backwards during sudden acceleration.
Woody: A vehicle that incorporates natural finished wood for structure of exposed body panels.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hot Rod, Custom and Dry Lakes Racing Terminology 101

Thought some of you might appreciate a terminology lesson. Thanks to for terms and definitions and most of the pictures in this post.

A-pillar: The sheet metal section located on each side of the windshield between the roof and the main body that has to be cut when chopping the top.

alky: alcohol fuel for racing. aka; methyl alcohol or methanol, a very high-octane fuel.

Ardun heads: Created by Zora Arkus-Duntov (circa 1947), the Ardun Manufacturing company fabricated overhead valve cylinder heads with hemispherical combustion chambers that could be bolted to the Ford V-8 60 (flathead) block. Precursor to the Chrysler "hemi," Ardun heads delivered serious horsepower gains for hot rodders and racers privileged enough to afford them.

belly pan: a custom fabricated underbody piece used to aid airflow under the car's body – often made of sheet aluminum or steel.

Cal-Neva: California-Nevada Timing Association.

cammer: Any engine with an overhead camshaft.

Carson top: Removable hardtops made famous by the Carson Co. as early as the 30's, these tops were a hot trend in the early 50's for custom rodders. George and Sam Barris in Southern California were especially impressed with Carson Tops and applied several to their creations.

channeled: both a hot rod and custom term pertaining to dropping the car body over the frame to reduce the profile or overall height of the car. The process requires sectioning the firewall, cutting the perimeter of the floor pan, and then welding back to desired height. For early hot rods and dry lakes cars, this was done to reduce wind resistance and lower the center of gravity for stability at high speeds. For custom rodders, it was often done for more aesthetic/artistic purposes. (aka: Channel Job)

chopped: similar to channeled, this hot rod and custom term pertains only to the top or roof of the car. By horizontally cutting sections of metal from the a-pillars, door pillars and rear quarter panels one could lower the roof line which often resulted in a more sinister appearance.

cogs: hot rod term for gears.

continental kit: a popular bolt-on "customization kit" for the rear end of 50's cars. With varying degrees of quality, most kits usually consisted of: an external tire carrier with stainless steel tire ring, indented faceplate, drop center gravel guard, bumper extensions, and a license light.

crank: common abbreviation for crankshaft.

D.O.: an early years term for an engine equipped with dual overhead camshafts.

dual set-up: early hot rod term for an engine using a dual intake manifold equipped with two carburetors.

fadeaways: Custom rodder term where the extruded front fender section gradually flows into the rear extruded fender section while flowing with the cars body lines.

fender skirts: Panels covering the rear wheel well leaving only the bottom part of the rear wheels exposed.

filled axle: a dropped axle that has both sides of the "I" beam section filled with metal at the bend to provide added strength.

flathead: An engine with its valves located in the cylinder block rather than in the head. The head itself is a plain, flat casting. The term is used most to indicate a Ford V-8 engine built between 1932 and 1955. It could also indicate a Ford four-cylinder Model A, B, or C four-cylinder engine.

gow job: An obscure pre-WWII term for a car with a modified engine, apparently derived from gow out, below. No longer used.

gow out: Early term meaning to accelerate rapidly. One theory has it that the "gow" is simply a mispronunciation of "go." No longer used.

guide lights: Externally mounted headlights (found on late 1930's cars) that had a small light attached to the top of the headlight housing.

headers: Individual exhaust pipes, usually welded steel tubing but sometimes cast iron, in various shapes and diameters to reduce exhaust back pressure.

hides: Tires. (Ex: "Boil the hides" or to spin the rear tires)

high boy: Stock-body roadster with the stock fenders and bumpers removed – usually, but not limited to, a 1932 Ford.

hop up, hot iron: Pre-WWII terms for a car with a modified engine.

hot rod: Post-WWII (after 1945) term for a car with a modified engine.

jiggler: An early hot rodders term for a rocker arm.

jug: An early hot rodders term for a carburetor.

juice brakes: Hydraulic brakes as opposed to mechanical brakes. Same as squirt brakes.

Lakester: Class designation (after 1950) of cars with custom-made bodywork that was streamlined but had exposed wheels.

leadsled: Slang for a custom car derived from the use of lead as filler for smoothing custom body effects.

lid: An early hot rodders term for cylinder head.

locked rear end: an early term for a straight-through drive system with the left and right rear axle shafts fused together at the ring gear. Commonly referred to today as "posi-traction."

mill: any engine.

Modified: A dry lakes class designation for a car which didn't fit in the roadster class, usually with a single-seat sprint-car-type body but cut off behind the driver. Regulations required that a Modified have a flat area of no less than 400in-sq behind the cockpit.

MRA: Muroc Racing AssociationMTA: Mojave Timing Association

over-bore: An engine with the cylinders enlarged in diameter (bored) to accomodate larger pistons thus increasing cubic inch displacement.

overhead: Term applied to engines with overhead valves, but used most often to describe early Ford flatheads (Model A, B, C, or V-8) with overhead valve conversions.

pot: early term for carburetor. (See also Jug).

Quick Change: Immortalized by Ted Halibrand, the quick change was a specially-made center section for an early Ford differential banjo housing which provided two changeable gears behind the ring and pinion assembly. By changing theses gears, the overall drive ratio could be selected for a particular situation.

rake: refers to the forward or rearward leaning stance of a vehicle when viewed from the side.

relieving: removal of the ridge in the top of the block resulting from counterboring during manufacture for the valve seat.reversed eyes: The ends of a standard Ford transverse-leaf spring curled down and around the shackle pin. When these "eyes" were reshaped to curl upward, the car was lowered about 1.5 inches, without destroying the spring's effectiveness. In front, though, the clearance in the center between the spring and axle was reduced.

Ripple discs: The smooth lines of these chrome plated hub caps were the "hot item" for custom rodders in the early 50's.

RTA: Russetta Timing Association. "Russetta" is Greek for "winged chariot."

salt flats: Large expanse of caked salt at the west edge of the Great Salt Lake Desert in Utah about ten miles east of Wendover.

tail job: Early Streamliner, usually using a sprint car body with a pointed tail.

tank: Short for "belly tank" or "drop tank."

three-on-the-tree: Column-shift mechanism for a three speed transmission (the hot rodders answer to the sporty car set's four-on-the-floor).

time: Hot rodders sometimes say "time" when they mean "speed," because the speed of a race car is calculated from the time it takes to cover a measured distance. So when a redder says, "My time was 200mph, " he means his time over the distance was equivalent to a speed of 200mph. Through the quarter-mile traps at the dry lakes, his actual time would have been 4.5sec..

two-port job: a Model A or B block with a two-intake-port head (usually applies to a Riley head).

Unlimited: Pre-WWII class for cars with large engines, such as Marmon or Cadillac V-16s, or cars with supercharged engines.

V-butting: Hot rod and Custom technique of mating two flat windshield sections together at the center after the center post has been removed.

Z'd frame: An effect used to lower a car without effecting suspension geometry. The effect consisted of cutting part of the chassis, raising it and re-welding it to form a "Z" shape when viewed from the side. This allowed for more clearance for the rear differential or front axle to ride higher in the chassis thus decreasing the car's overall ground clearance.

Car Tunes

Two of my favorite things in life are hot rods and good music. If you've followed this blog over the past few years, that fact should be evident. Periodically, I will review a new CD I've purchased or include some car related lyrics in the format of this site.

Well...if you enjoy car related music too...I've found the site for you. I stumbled across this site this morning and immediately marked it as one of my favorites. This site contains vitally every song about cars that has been recorded from the 1900's to the present. The SWEETEST thing can click on the icon beside a given song and ACTUALLY HEAR THE COMPLETE MP3! Many of the songs also have a link to lyrics and other interesting information about the song.

This site is VERY cool and I will make many return visits. I've tried in vain this afternoon to figure out a way that I could link the music to this site so that it would play in the background as you viewed my pages. Unfortunately, I'm no techno-guru!

On thing I did learn about this site. If you are listening to one song, you need to click again to stop it before you click to listen to another song. If you don't both songs will play through your speakers at the same time. At any rate, I've attached the link below. I've been enjoying listening to many familiar tunes as well as discovering many that are new to me. Hope you enjoy listening to the music on this link as much as I have!

Why Not Go Unique

Have you ever been to a car show and gotten a bit tired of seeing the "standard" many '32 Fords and '57 Chevys can a guy take? Sometimes its nice seeing something that is unique. Even though the '32 Fords and '57 Chevys will draw attention at any show, the unique rides seem to draw the same, if not more, attention. Case in point...a few years ago, I saw an awesome DeSoto with a Viper engine at a cruise-in in Greenville, Ohio. Since then, it has been featured in Street Rodder, and I've seen it at several other shows. The car is very unique, and always draws a lot of attention.

So when looking for a cruiser that you plan to take to shows, why not go unique? This morning, while surfing eBay, I ran across this 1953 JAGUAR MK VII CUSTOM 5 PASSENGER HOT ROD! This thing has a Chevrolet 350, a chevy rear end, and Mustang II IFS. How much attention do you think this thing would draw at the local cruise-in. Heck...even the wife might enjoy cruising around in a vintage luxury vehicle. The car currently hasn't met it's reserve (current bid is $5100.00). Check it out, I think the winner will definitely get one cool ride.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

James Dean/Ducktail Run and Larry Grobes

I think I've already spoke of this in a posting last fall. My father, son and I go to a lot of car shows and cruise-ins in the Indiana/Ohio area. However my hands-down favorite weekend of the year is the weekend of the James Dean Festival in Fairmount, IN and the Ducktail Run in Gas City, IN. We've attending these shows pretty religiously since my days in college at Taylor University in nearby Upland, IN.

Tonight I was surfing the net and I happened to Google Ducktail Run. Quite a few hits came up...but one that interested me was the Larry Grobes Kustoms site. (I've provided the link below). The site contains several pictures of the custom cars that Larry has brought over the years...and the crazy thing is....I remember each one and have some pictures of my own!

What I could not believe is the "evolution" of Larry's 52 Olds over the years. I can remember seeing the cars in the photos, but NEVER dreamed it was the SAME car! In it's last was the most extremely wicked rat/flamethrower at the event.

At the other extreme, was this years 46 Ford "Voodoo Idol". I believe I've posted a few pictures of it in previous posts. This car is absolutely off-the-hook beautiful! The car has the lines and curves of a beautiful women, and absolutely flawless paint. The detail in the customizing is outstanding!

I plan to revisit this site again and again when I have more time. There are pages of pictures taken at both the James Dean Festival and the Ducktail run from 2001 to the present. I am curious to see if the lens happen to catch my father, my son, or myself enjoying the best weekend of the year!

Hey daddio....check out this link!

Hittin' the Cruise-Ins

I've been going to cruise-ins and car shows with my father for as long as I can remember. That tradition has continued through my college years and now it includes my oldest son. He has been going to shows since he was in a stroller. Here are a few pictures I recently found on an old computer hard drive of my father and son enjoying a few shows about 7 or 8 years ago.

Dad and my son at the 2000 James Dean Festival

I believe this was taken in 98 or 99 at the Ducktail Run in Gas City, Indiana

Here is another picture taken at the James Dean Festival. Pictured are my son (in the wagon), dad and my wife's cousin with his Ford Panel Truck.

Monday, January 21, 2008

You're tearing me apart!

Cool Rides!

Well, I'm not sure where I found these pictures originally, but they were on a Zip Disk I had stored in the back of my desk drawer.

I find it humorous that long before I started "Suede and Chrome", I had found these pictures on the Internet and thought that they were pretty cool.

I guess it just goes to show that my taste in hot rods hasn't changed much over the years. What I do find interesting though is that these vehicles represent the edge of time when the rat rod craze started. If you notice, these vehicles are all nice examples of traditional rods. Only one of the four even has a 'suede' paint job. I think I like the finished look of these cars better than some of the stuff that has been showing up at shows and cruise-ins recently. Some of the stuff is a bit too far gone for even my tastes.

I would take ANY of the cars pictured in these photos over some of the junk I've seen guys trying to pass off as "cool".

Crashed Hard Drives and Lost Photographs

The past two months have been a terrible time for computers in my house. In December, a neighbor girl came over to watch our house while we were gone. She asked if it was alright if she used the computer (home schooler) to work on something. When I got home, my hard drive was FRIED! I had to spend a couple hundred bucks getting a new one and was not able to save any of the data...that meant lost pictures, lost documents, etc.

After Christmas, I went out and bought an external hard drive that I was going to use to back up everything on my Dell. I was in the process of doing so, but unfortunately had some things I was working on for work on the external hard drive that wasn't on my Dell. Well...Murphy's Law happened! The new external drive is FRIED! And I lost everything on it! Most importantly, the stuff for work which is due at the end of March. I will have to start all over.

The good news in this, I went out to the garage and pulled down my old Compaq out of the rafters. Since I've had the day off today (MLK) I decided to set it up in my office with my other computer. The cool thing is it has an iomega Zip drive and I've found a BUNCH of old photographs I thought I had lost! Hopefully, with the ZIP drive and a couple of jumpdrives, I can periodically run some backups to insure 2008 is a better year for data in my house!

The photo I've attached is a collage I put together for my father. The photographs were taken at the Hot Rod Nationals in Indianapolis in 1999. My oldest son, who will be 17 this summer is pictured enjoying the show.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hey....that's my idea!

Several months ago, I posted a collection of photographs to this blog I had taken over the years. One day I was playing around with a photo editting program and decided to try something new. I took a few pictures of traditional hot rods I'd taken and converted them to black and white. It gave the pictures a nostalgic, retro look.

Tonight, while surfing the net, I found a site that contains MANY photographs taken in a similar way. The site is called atomic pinup and it contains photographs of hotrods and vintage pinup girl photographs.

There are multiple pages of traditional hot rod and rat rod photographs taken in black and white, I've picked out a few of my favorites that I thought were "Suede and Chrome worthy". The pictures can be found at:

The site also contains a page that reviews music and a page where you can buy some atomic pinup tee-shirts.

1946 Chevrolet Pickup Truck

A friend of my father's has an old '46 Chevrolet Pickup that he would sell me. It is basically the cab, doghouse, grille, and bed on an S-10 frame. I saw it several months ago, and I think he said he would sell it for somewhere between $1500.00 and $1800.00 dollars. Early to mid-40's Chevy trucks have a real unique look, with a huge chrome grille and interesting lines.

Restored to original condition or mildly hot-rodded (see above) this trucks are pretty cool and would make an awesome cruiser. However, I've seen a few at shows that have been customized beyond recognition. Basically, the builder has taken the cab and created a radical hot rod/rat rod looking truck. I found a few pictures of a '46 built and sold in California today on the web. These photos got me thinking about the possiblities of my dad's friends truck...Now where is that phone number?!