Hellyeah to the band, and Hell No to Bodywork

I met Vinnie Paul once.  He’s the drummer for the metal band Hellyeah, but most know him as the drummer for Pantera.  He’s a big, hairy redneck, a total Southern party animal.  I asked him who owned the ‘Cuda in the Cowboy Way video, to which he replied “Huh?  The old car?  I don’t know, man.  Now that I can afford ’em, I drive new cars, I don’t mess with old cars”.  Chad Gray, the lead singer, later told me it was owned by a friend of his.  Vinnie Paul had a point though.  If you’ve got the money, and the scene isn’t your thing, why drive an old car?  They make some pretty bad ass new ones nowadays.

I’ve been covered in non-branded gold body filler dust for weeks now.  The shop is gross, my clothes are impregnated with filth, and my snot may never come out the proper color again.  The firewall, roof skin, trunk lid, and one quarter panel are done, but there’s still a lot to go.  The other quarter is just a repeat, the taillights and rear pan are a pain in the ass, and door jambs are just a nightmare.  Both door skins are actually pretty good, and both fenders are decent as well.  The hood is a disaster, but I get it, as so was the windshield.  Pavement was a long ways away in 1955.  I wonder how people convinced themselves to buy a new car back then when they didn’t have a road worthy of putting it on?

What drives a guy to finish a project like this?  It’s simple, really.  I bought shiny parts right at the start, and had an engine built about a year ago.  When there’s so many of the finishing touches laying around, how can a guy not want to see it all come together?  That Chevy small block on the stand with the fenderwell headers hanging off of it?  Who wouldn’t want to hear that cam lump away?  Finally, there’s the paint.  It’s going to be a dark green, and I kind of want to see how good or bad I’ve gotten at bodywork.

Part 3: The Light at the End of the Tunnel

This is it, I swear.  I also said I’d finish it up last week, so who am I to think anyone is going to believe me?  I’m just a guy building a gasser with control arms, power disc brakes, radial tires, overdrive, and a full interior ranting on the internet about other people’s shit.  It’s cool though, unlike Instagram, my content doesn’t get pulled at random here, so hooray for me.

Ed Roth.  He built cars out of wads of newspaper, plaster, and fibreglass.  Stuff that nobody had ever seen before.  Two engines? Sure!  Bubble top?  You bet!  Mis-matched headlights and other asymmetrical touches?  Of course!  That was just one car.  He didn’t raise the bar, because I don’t think he wanted to.  Rather, he built his own bar somewhere else, and set it wherever he wanted.  The Orbitron had three different colored headlights to create (allegedly) a truly white light.  The Surfite was built around a surf board.  My favourite has always been the Beatnik Bandit…  I think it’s the paint job that does it.

Why bring up Ed Roth today?  Because he was an innovator.  I don’t think he gave a damn what the current trends were.  He painted monsters on t-shirts, built crazy cars out of mostly junk, and wore a hillbilly hat and paint-covered pants.  He didn’t have the popular hot rodder image, what he had was fun.  The model kits alone must have been a blast for him, and I know I’m not alone in saying that they made my childhood better.

What am I getting at with this?  It’s simple:  If you want era correct, that’s cool, but it’s not my thing, and it’s certainly not necessary, despite the current trend.  Maybe you want disc brakes?  Build a car so radical, so different, that people don’t notice the brakes until the third or fourth time they see it.  The same goes for wheels, tires, carburetors, valve covers, and gauges.  If you can incorporate it into a unique car that flows well, no one credible is going to criticize it.  Don’t be scared of critics, they’re everywhere, and they rarely carry solutions.  I’d be much more concerned hating a car that I built from someone else’s ideas than I would be concerned with building something I love that not everyone else does.  Don’t like what others are building?  Build yours better.  Inspire, don’t criticize.  Also, get inspired, a copycat is just a fresh version of someone else’s creativity.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go stare at a pile of parts and convince myself I want to put them back together again.