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I walked through the Suede Palace at least three times, and I never stopped to look at this car. Gassers have never done it for me, and recently I had a conversation with a friend trying to figure out why... I think the bottom line is stance. I realize it's all about weight distribution for the drag scene, but still... They strike me funny sitting as high as they often do! The only model that I think regularly pulls it off is the c. '41 Willys, which are obviously popular in the style.
1 day ago on Rad Rambler: <br />A 573hp Zombie Wagon From The ’60s
That's a really nice looking VW California Speedster. It's actually a kit car and you can still buy the parts necessary to convert a regular beetle into the CS, though I don't think I've seen one as nicely done as that in any photos or shows. Good stuff. That the Mercs are amazing goes without saying... It's the little guy that caught my eye!
1 week, 3 days ago on Border’s: Surf, Kustom & Soul
A nice bit of reflective and nostalgic writing, Rod! I spent a whole day at this year's GNRS and my uncle's shop (Double ZZ Hot Rods) had some floor space in the main hall. Having grown up around the hot rod and custom scene in California I had a lot to think about while I was there. Most of your observations seem spot on to me, but I'm not so sure that there's need to bring up so much comparison between our era and the bygone days.
Change is the only constant in the world, as the saying goes... And although some people wax poetic about "being born in the wrong era" it is necessarily true that they would even know that they fit in in a particular time and place if they hadn't had the opportunity to reflect on it from an outsider's perspective? When it comes to trends in the automotive scene, and particularly classic car culture, it seems apparent that today with the amount of communication and research tools at our disposal (i.e. the internet) almost anyone with proper amounts of motivation, cash or skills - pick two - can build a car comparable to almost anything that's been on the streets in the last century. That is of course with the exception of ultra-rarities like a vintage Alfa Romeo or Bugatti! It strikes me as being like a blessing in disguise. We can't be in the past, but we can create a present that brings our most vivid notions of the past to life through passionate questing. That goes for anything from tuning an old carburetor while sweating under the sun at the salt flats to cruising down the streets in a chopped '50 Merc with the Beach Boys blasting. Great times, without the future threats of disco or nuclear holocaust!
3 weeks, 3 days ago on Discussion: Searching For The</br> Lost Soul Of The Automobile
@StuKP Having lived in California all my life, I reckon there's no reason to assume that most of these cars won't be enjoyed as drivers at some point in their lives (as you do see them around, fine paint and all)... Though perhaps not while the paint is still brand new or the show circuit still on their owners' minds. However, have you actually driven in a lowrider with hydraulic suspension? It sucks. Several of these cars could properly be considered rolling canvases rather than quality automobiles.
4 weeks ago on Style For Days: <br />Lowriding At The GNRS
I had a great time at the show. My uncle owns Double ZZ Hot Rods and had his red '31 Model A coupe and a customer's newly finished, satin silver '36 Pontiac coupe on display in the main showroom. If you were there on Saturday you may have wandered by while we were all goobing out with the overpriced beers at the shop booth! Awesomely, the Pontiac won first place in the custom coupe category, while the '31 won first place in the altered coupe category back in '07.
4 weeks, 1 day ago on This Is Winter In Los Angeles
I would be really proud to build this car. The power-to weight ratio and the extreme modifications that blend into a relatively subtle whole make it a really outstanding piece of work!
1 month ago on 1,200lbs Of Fun:<br /> A British Backroad Burner
@Mike Garrett @gliebau Mike, Trimmer Springs is a great road! I wind up over in that direction a lot, particularly in the hilly roads between Pine Flat and Squaw Valley. I haven't been up to Lake Millerton or on any roads in that area in a while, though... Oddly enough, I just purchased and started driving one of the slowest vehicles in existence, and it's spurred me to drive up in the hills more than ever before. An '83 Mercedes 240D with a four speed manual... 79hp! Wee... I'm sure your new Mustang will be a blast up in such routes. Do get out more - there really is a lot to offer, especially right now with everything as green as it is. Gotta' enjoy it while we can!
1 month ago on Introducing Project EcoBoost
Mike, I didn't realize you lived in the Central Valley. I'm from Dinuba (just a wee bit north of Visalia). Lately I've been considering what a goldmine we have for driving roads up in the Sierra Nevada hills and I noticed the fourth from last photo in this article. Looks like the sorts of roads east of Madera. Whereabouts do you like driving in this region?
@LavarBowers @daileycon Hey, but one of Robert Downey Jr's stunt doubles touched it through a faux metallic Iron Man suit... It must have some significance!
1 month, 1 week ago on Arizona Auction Week Is Happening Now!
@Mike Garrett @TheDude69 Indeed Mike! As I said, we just have a ton of steel to play around with in these parts. I think that this is a fact that goes hand in hand with the nostalgic nature of many Japanese builds.Here in the states we see new street rods and customs keeping pace with the more expensive, modern builds when it comes to selection of wheels, engines (Chevy LS blocks are very popular in street rods right now), interior creature comforts, sound systems, LED lighting, etc... This is all available to the Japanese, but the precious cars and the sentimentality which vintage-style builds possess seems to lead many Japanese builders down a conservative path that is almost lost in stateside except among folks that would prefer to be called "restorers" rather than "hot rodders."
Some examples from recent Speedhunters articles, so that folks can access them easily... I contend that some of the most outrageous and inspiring Japanese builds I've seen lately are more like blasts from the past than in keeping with current trends. Take the '62 "Impala Ichiban" featured last November... It could nearly be a lowrider right out of the '70s, down to the details. The more extreme "Kudzzilla" Toyota Crown build that you covered in October. Even though you said it went "far beyond" the 1960s style builds that are popular in Japan, it still screams of nostalgia on the American scene... The impressive body modifications are reminiscent of Rick Dore's totally customized 1960s cars built in the '90s and early '2000s, and the retention of classic interior design and use of many stock parts from other classic vehicles being stuck onto the exterior, as it were, is one of the most classic queues for custom cars. Finally, the Galaxian: no need to go into details on that build. It is one of the most awesome modern hot rods I've seen, yet it is absolutely inspired by the wild hot rods shown off on the floors of prestigious events like the Oakland Roadster Show and the Grand National Roadster Show throughout the mid-late 1960s.Less extreme but equally "classic" hot rods and customs reside all over the floors of Japanese events like the Mooneyes indoor shows, and at most Japanese drive-in events publicized here or in magazines that I've seen over the past decade... A great majority, from simple Model A roadster builds to the likes of those mentioned above, all scream "conservative" to me when compared side by side with current American build mentality (and I've taken note of lot of hot rods here in California and in American publications). I think it's a good thing that the Japanese have going, and I'm fascinated by it... Which is why I don't mind spending some time writing about it. :)
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Lost In Japan, Lost In The ’50s
@TheDude69 The Japanese can look at Americana with an impartial eye, and without having to consider current stateside trends. It's like being into Rock 'n Roll - nowadays you can like anything from the '50s-'80s and be a "rock 'n roller", but if you were in 1983, then you'd be a has-been for listening to Elvis if all your pals were listening to Black Sabbath.
Even though we're working with vintage steel in the rod and custom hobby/industry, we have so much steel still laying around to play with in the United States that trends are still developing quickly. It's perfectly aligned with everything else in the entertainment and consumer industries to want whatever is hip for the day... And here we have the opportunity to do that a lot.
In the case of Japanese rod and custom folk, I would argue that they are in fact conservative in their approach, and therefore reflect the bygone "golden age" (c. 1950s-1960s) in much that they accomplish. A lot of it comes off as being old news in the US, but in fact the Japanese are well aware of all of the current trends and have established a strange foothold based on their own cultural influences and preferences (strongly bent towards nostalgia in oh, so many ways), and for those willing to look... They put a fresh spin on an aging scene.
@LavarBowers It's called a "mild custom" and is a fairly common sort of build. Keep it simple, smooth and refined without going overboard on any particular details. Also, the fact that Shinobu began with a '55 Bel Air and wound up with this... Rather than some sort of hopped-up dragster (which are a dime a dozen with this model), is the real treat in my mind.
1 month, 3 weeks ago on Lost In Japan, Lost In The ’50s
Definitely a great way to bring in the new year! Thanks for sharing. Having paid quite a bit of attention to the development of the hot rod scene in Japan over the last decade (via many articles, rather than actual experience) I'm surprised to see that the Yokohama club that showed up had cars that would essentially all be classified as "street rods." Were there any of the raw & retro-style hot rods, apparently so common in Japan, on the lot that morning?
1 month, 3 weeks ago on Welcoming In 2015, Daikoku PA Style
@Jonathan Moore I understand perfectly what he meant in the scheme of things, Jonathan. It's just that he very literally said he's always had the expectation that he must ask people's permission to get into their cars and sit in the driver's seat, which is a given... It made me laugh from that point of view.
And yes, it's a glorious little car and the write up does it a good deal of justice. Cheers!
2 months, 2 weeks ago on The Thunder & The Lightening
Sorry, before I even got past the first few sentences I had to post.
"I always felt like I should ask permission before getting inside."No way! Ask permission? Ha! ... Joking, right? Of course you have to ask permission before getting into anyone else's car, no matter what seat you're diving into! That doesn't make a lick of sense. You had to ask or were at least given permission to drive this car too, right? Sorry, morning coffee's in hand and that gave me a non-sense laugh, t'was all...
@MikeYee @gliebau @AmirIzham I agree that the Camry's definitely got the stock stance going on the Alfa, but being lowered doesn't mean being fast. Most of the cars that are slammed and rolling around urban America these days are actually staggeringly slow, little pieces of junk from the '80s and '90s that young kids put on the ground to look cool. I don't expect a slammed car that comes up next to me of any make or or model to be faster than stock.
Now, if the Camry can hit 215 miles per hour and corner like an F1 car with that stock stance, I'll give it that... Otherwise, the Alfa's performance justifies being lowered, even as a sleeper.
3 months, 2 weeks ago on The Greatest Sleeper Of All Time?
@AmirIzham It's *alright* as a sleeper, and I say that simply because there's very little ingenious about it - it's built with a basic racing chassis that's got with some sleek independent suspension and running gear, and has a stock body to cover it all up... All while utilizing a platform that dates to 1950s drag racing. I expect much more from a major corporation when they wish to dabble in the custom scene... In any case, it's already been done:http://jonsibal.com/blog/2008/03/ultimate-sleeper-car/
Not to knock a good thing, which this is... But it's not that incredible. When you say it's "a lot like a funny car," you're spot on, because it is. A multi-billion dollar corporation shows up with a funny car that has less awesome oozing from it than a lot of small time shop owners can muster from their own stock, and it's called a revelation and the "greatest" anything? Strikes me odd.
Every time I see an article or video about the Morgan factory I read the entire thing. It is one of my must-see destinations in England! Thanks for another lovely write-up. Cheers!
4 months, 1 week ago on Making A Morgan: <br/>If You Could, You Wood Too
I lived in San Francisco for almost three years, and there's good
reason the Bay Area isn't known for its car culture. There are
definitely cool cars to be found, but even this article highlights one
of the main concerns I always had with the local scene. A lot of the
neat cars are very understated, and on the highway it'd be hard to
appreciate that one's looking at anything very out of the ordinary. For
example, I just drove down to Beverly Hills on Sunday, and I'm pretty
sure I got excited about more cars that I saw there in half a day than I
would in the Bay Area over the course of half a year.
7 months, 1 week ago on Bay Area Style: The Car Meet Evolved
@Chris Nuggets @gliebau Certainly, and the point of the comments section is to be able to voice opinions about various aspects of each article. I happen to find this one's written content lame and off track with automotive journalism, and am perfectly within my rights for saying so. Good day!
7 months, 1 week ago on Lizard Hunting In The Big Apple
@Chris Nuggets @gliebau You're welcome to kindly disagree... But I personally don't come to Speedhunters expecting a majority of the text of an article to be dedicated to discussions about NYC, photography and daydreaming. This story is absolutely about those things, as you "see it," but that's exactly why I think it's silly.
It would have been cool to hear a bit about the guys that own these cars and their dreams about the scene, rather than just about cameras, lighting and self-indulging fantasies.
7 months, 2 weeks ago on Lizard Hunting In The Big Apple
I've been waiting to see the current version of the Galaxian covered here - as, I believe, an earlier article promised. Being a native Californian and a major hot rod fan, this car blows me away. Browsing Google Images it's possible to see the car in multiple incarnations, and it just keeps on getting better! 'Rodriguez' was a car I first spotted in Rod & Custom Magazine in a piece on a large Mooneyes event, methinks, and Junichi's work on that car stunned me. It was definitely my first impression of Japanese hot rod culture, and I remain a fan! I dowish a larger variety of Junichi's past creations were posted online... Is there a website for his shop?
It's also super refreshing to see the old big block used in the Galaxian with a manual transmission. The combination definitely fits the bill! Thanks for taking the time to share this awesome piece of work, Mike.
7 months, 2 weeks ago on Galaxian: Japan Reinvents The Hot Rod
Good times! Your fourth "bonus image" of the Cobra is already on the second page. :)
7 months, 2 weeks ago on Le Mans Multiplied:<br/> Time Travel At The Classic
@Speedhunters_Bryn Hey Bryn, I'm also a fan of the idea. Obviously the truck I linked and the build in this article are stunning examples that took a lot of time and money to make, as any proper street rod build does. I wish I had photos of the Pontiac I mentioned, though... The fellow that built it is a rat rodder from Vegas who's into the Rockabilly scene, and he kept the body and interior of the original Pontiac in very rough condition, but set the whole deal on top of a clean Cadillac chassis. He cut out the original Pontiac dash and made it an insert that fit over the complete, untouched Cadillac dash board, so that all of the modern controls were available but hidden beneath panels of the '50s dash board. Mexican blankets over the original Pontiac bench seats, which were just welded to the Cadillac floorboards. It was really trick, and cost him much less than $10,000 to build.
7 months, 2 weeks ago on Hybrid Technology? Meet The Coroner
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Chevrolet-Other-Pickups-Incredible-one-of-a-kind-show-truck-1955-Chevy-Mercedes-3100-One-of-a-Kind-/141338491669?forcerrptr=true&hash=item20e86e3b15&item=141338491669&pt=US_Cars_TrucksSame gig, but an early 2000's Mercedes SUV under a '55 Chevy pickup. I've got an acquaintance who slammed an early '50s Pontiac body over a mid-'90s Cadillac, very sweet ride. I really like the idea of doing things this way.
7 months, 3 weeks ago on Hybrid Technology? Meet The Coroner
I'm gonna' go out on a limb here and say that's a cool car.
7 months, 3 weeks ago on The Wagon Warrior:</br> An Audi RS2… Evolved
@Brian Mikami @gliebau Very nifty! It's always neat to find folks who hold on to original parts in unused condition. I'm mainly used to seeing it in the bicycle scene, but every now and again I'll see someone pulling something out of a box at a local hot rod shop or the like and think "wow, that's never been touched!" Cool stuff. Obviously I wouldn't trust NOS hoses, belts and the like, so you seem to be working with intelligent people for choosing new on those options. ^.^
7 months, 3 weeks ago on Perseverance First: The Daruma Celica
I got sidetracked earlier when I first looked at the article, and had to go find more photos of Hetfield's Jag. Brilliant design by Dore, undoubtedly one of the kings of custom!
7 months, 3 weeks ago on Selecting The World’s Greatest Sports Coupe
Bitchin' ride. Being as it's 7am and I've just started drinking my coffee, I have an axe to grind that I cannot be hush about: "Brand new NOS parts" doesn't make sense. "New old stock" says what it means, and it doesn't mean brand new. NOS means unused, original parts - "brand new" means newly crafted parts. :)So, my question would be, did these guys source a bunch of NOS parts to trick out the drive train, or are there some companies making excellent quality reproduction parts, brand new?
7 months, 4 weeks ago on Perseverance First: The Daruma Celica
The last time a nearly stock looking, early '70s Mercedes came up on SH, the same sorts of comments that have already begun here (e.g. "So much effort for an almost stock build, SH!") came up a lot. I think this build is pretty cool, not only because I love Mercedes of this era, but because it shows some style and road-ability without having to break a budget, seek out brilliant craftsmen, or even care if the car's been washed before going out for a Sunday jaunt. Cool!
8 months, 1 week ago on What Were You Thinking? <br />A Vintage Benz Adventure
In the first photo the reflection of that BMW's rear driver's side window looks like a huge dent in the side of the car next to it. Ha.
8 months, 1 week ago on The Best Cars & Coffee Ever?
Having never been to Malaysia, or Japan, but being a long-time Speedhunter reader, I could have been fooled into thinking this was a Japanese car show if you'd said it were. However, there would have been something off - a particular rawness/quirkiness in some of the builds that would make me say "wow, I've never seen them feature a car just like that from Japan." Interesting stuff!
8 months, 3 weeks ago on Malaysia: A Modifying Melting Pot
When I was younger (not terribly long ago) I bought Rod & Custom, Custom Rodder, and Street Rodder religiously. I have drawers full of at least several years worth of each. It was sad to see Custom Rodder go after such a short spurt, but I'd reckoned never to see the day when a title like Rod & Custom became history. Last one I bought was two months ago - guess I should have read the editorials more, perhaps I would have caught whiff... Rest In Pages!
8 months, 3 weeks ago on Saying Goodbye To Old Friends
@Iamthetrollhunter That phrase really did bother me, too. "more sweet," or "sweeter." Take a pick!
9 months, 1 week ago on Porsche Hunting In A Honda
This stuff is rockin', but being a Californian and an ardent reader here, it is a pity to see my home "so what'd?" in this article title.
1 year ago on SoCal? So What? Yokohama Cruising, Speedhunters Style!
I'm being a bit facetious, but not completely... It has to be a well liked model of car and also a well-taken care of example of said model to be a classic, and must be older than the youngest people able to legally drive in one's part of the world.
1 year, 4 months ago on Discussion: What Makes a Classic Car?
@N1SMO If you read the article, you'd notice that the owner took a donor car (a 1970, while this is a 1975) and swapped a plethora of parts that he liked and fitted them perfectly to his car. It's also got a rather nice air ride suspension setup.
So, no, they didn't "just feature a stock 70's Merc with wheels."
This is an article. Read it.
1 year, 5 months ago on Original Gangster: A Dmpd W115 Benz
People need to read the Mercury article - the dude did it all by himself! Just for that he deserves it.... Not even to mention that he created an amazing custom.
1 year, 5 months ago on Poll: The Cars Of August
1 year, 5 months ago on Through My Eyes: Edition 38 Show
@gliebau @japanophile25 Touché. I suppose it's the relatively small and jagged shape of this particular grille coupled with the 'lipstick' that bothers me. I've seen it on plenty of Aston racers and it has always been an afterthought until I saw this car.
1 year, 6 months ago on Wild Child: Race-ready V8 Vantage Zagato
@japanophile25 I share your sentiment. The red around the grille is an extremely jarring feature on an otherwise fabulously done up automobile. A shame, methinks!
I was so prepared to go and then I got a new weekend job in the bay area vending at farmer's markets... Started on the very weekend of the event. What a shame! Next year will have to be my first, for sure. Thanks for sharing the lovely insight and photos!
1 year, 6 months ago on The Pebble Beach Experience
I've never seen a more well-conceived '50 Merc fordor. Bravo.
1 year, 6 months ago on Bonneville: The Movement Of Light
I wouldn't call either of those Fords jalopies in the third to last pic. Both are apparently very true to form speedster conversions; the one in the foreground is a T and behind it is an A. Thanks for the coverage... I also imagine that not much more time can pass before I absolutely must get out there!
1 year, 6 months ago on Temple Of Speed: The Bonneville Salt Flats
It's still Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
1 year, 6 months ago on Poll: The Best Car Movie Ever
@AlejandroRamirez @Larry Chen Of course mechanical engineering is going to be a big one to get one into the automotive industry, but if you're purely interested in writing then it may as well be that you have a background in journalism. Often, in this new world of social media and whatnot, it comes down to sheer talent rather than diplomas to land vacant spots in magazine crews, etc... Good luck, Alejandro!
1 year, 6 months ago on I Woke Up In The Land Of The Rising Sun
@AlejandroRamirez Seriously. I just got out of college a couple years ago and already have a bit of professional writing experience behind me, albeit in the history scene. After I put a couple magazine rag articles together and possibly do some volunteer contributing on blogs, I'd like to see my life go down a similar direction for a while. Oh, and I have to pay off my student loans... Yay!
Such stories make my life feel very inadequate.