Part 2: Still Lost and Disillusioned

In light of what is going on in the U.S. right now, and what sore losers Democrats are, it’s time for part two of part one from last week.  This year, I’d like to do a lot more blog entries, but we’ll see.  I vent, it’s what I do.  I don’t bottle stuff up.  If you’ve met me, you know, and if not, I’m loud and offensive.  I’m also self-destructive and mildly entertaining.  Husband material, right?  Not so much.

Cars.  This is about cars, and the people that build them.  I’ve gotta focus.  Remember what I said about progress?  I still see it, faintly.  Tons of shops are out there tucking bumpers, chopping tops, and altering things so flawlessly, that you can’t tell how it’s been altered.  There’s also tons of shops out there that are placing orders with Summit, Speedway, and even other shops, then assembling the car like a model kit, with little to no original touches or any fabrication.  There’s nothing wrong with doing this if you’re an enthusiast with limited tools or talent, but a shop?  Shops should use more than a Craftsman socket set.  The part that gets me, is that people now accept this as the norm, and are starting to reject innovation.

Disclaimer:  I use new parts that look like old parts, almost everyone does now, as old parts are ridiculously expensive.  You know what else is getting ridiculously expensive?  New parts that look like old parts.  A three deuce setup can go for almost as much as a complete supercharger kit…  Crazy!  And it doesn’t look “right”.  There’s always something that just doesn’t fit, either a single part, or a few parts that are machined instead of cast, or cast noticeably different.  It never really used to bother me, but now that I’m seeing it more and more, it’s starting to…  A lot of money is changing hands to make new look old, but unfortunately, it just looks like “knock-off old”.

Now, I don’t want to be one of those guys who picks out flaws from across the fairgounds, as that’s what muscle car guys normally do, but it’s in the hot rod world, too.  I’m seeing a sway in the scene, where the hot rod shops are trying to keep ultra-nostalgic, while the muscle car shops are boldly moving forward with modern technology, new ideas, and radical modifications.  No longer is it only the muscle car crowd picking out the wrong grille or emblem location, but now, the hot rod crowd are pointing out pieces from the wrong period, or parts that have been refinished incorrectly.  Is it good for the scene?  Short answer, no.  Not maybe.  Not perhaps.  Not conditionally.  No.

The first car I ever built was a Corvette.  They have instruction manuals, literally.  Very few makes and models are documented as well as the Chevrolet Corvette.  There is a way to build them, and the books are available everywhere. It’s simple, like Tee-ball, tracing, or connect-the-dots.  Hot rods are different, or at least they were when I first became interested in them.  They were a form of self-expression.  Sure, some self-expression is tasteless, but they always carried with them all the ideas of the creator.  Nowadays, I’m seeing the same paint colors, the same wheel and tire combos, very few flames, and almost no angel hair or flake.  What the heck?  The Chevy small block is getting shamed as “overdone” or “not traditional”, even though the first one was made available in 1955… If you are brave enough to use one, be sure it has the “right” valve covers,  and the “correct” intake and carburetor on it.  Modern roller cam?  Forget that! Only a Duntov will do, so be ready to adjust your rockers.  Where am I going with this?  On a rant, apparently.  Find out later this week where I think it should go.  For now, where I need to go is bed…


Is it an Illusion, or am I Disillusioned?

I’m writing this on the internet.  You’re reading this on the internet.  That right there is kind of a problem.  I did a ton of writing in school, nothing more than I had to, of course, but I always opted for the written word over a sketch if the choice was presented.  After that, I’d do the odd article on Facebook (back when I had an active account).  The Facebook stuff got my name out there, and I ended up getting a weekly column in the local newspaper.  After a few years of that, I started this blog.  Progress, right?  The problem is, I like hard copies.  There’s just something about the newsstand, pages filled with advertisements,  and the credibility and confidence it takes to actually invest in print.  Any asshole can write a blog for cheap/free, and I’m a perfect example of that.

Why don’t I like the internet that much?  There’s just too much information.  There’s so much, in fact, that most of it doesn’t have to be real.  I don’t want to sound like some sort of “End of Days” lunatic, but it’s starting to ruin society.  The world is full of anonymous critics, long-distance hostility, and people who are now too scared to try anything new for fear of a lack of acceptance.  Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous?

First thing’s first: I’ve never built a pre-war car.  I’ve owned four different Ford bodies, but have never done much anything with them (I actually sold 3/4 of them).  It’s not for a lack of knowledge on how to build them, as I’ve got books from the likes of Tex Smith, and friends who’ve been doing this for over fifty years.  It’s also not for a lack of funds, as right now I’m building a tri-five Chevy, and I can assure you that it will break me way before a little Model T Ford ever will.  I think it’s a lack of direction.  Hot rodding was founded on the idea of speed.  Take something small and lightweight, and do whatever it takes to make it fast.  Can you imagine going for your first ride in a Model T, only ever knowing the ways of a horse-drawn wagon?  How about when the first flathead V8 was available to the common man?  Shortly after that, the flathead V8 would’ve been readily available to install in a tired Model T Ford.  That’s progress.  That’s bad ass.  Progress is bad ass.

Nowadays, we’re both spoiled and sheltered.  There’s 1000 horsepower street cars with power steering and air conditioning.  There’s critics who will say no “real” hot rod has parts on it that were invented outside of the 1940’s.  Then there’s those of us who are in the middle with an open mind, trying to make something work.  Will these gauges match those wheels?  Is this paint color too modern?  I know it won’t be reliable, but will it at least be able to get itself on and off the trailer?  I know it’s wrong, but it’s okay if the hood hides it, right?  So many questions, so many answers, and so many opinions.  Remember what I said about progress in the last paragraph?  It’s starting to crumble a little, and I’ll cover that in part two of this in the next couple days.