Terry Cook and Chip Foose have come up with a hybrid that I think most car enthusiasts will appreciate. It isn’t the kind of hybrid that has a floor pan full of giant batteries, or any electric motor powered wheels. Instead, it is the culmination of awesome automotive components and beautiful design work. It has the boat tail and sweeping fenders that all car enthusiasts dream about, and a GM LS1 engine hiding under its bonnet. (Hey, it seems like the appropriate word in this case!) It is asymmetrical because Terry loved both designs, and since you can only see one side of the car at once anyway, he decided to have both! I think the dashboard and steering wheel could be slightly fancier, but other than that, I’m a giant fan of the car. Terry and Chip both get the thumbs up from me.
Rat Rods are cool, and I am here to tell you my top 10 reasons why:
1) They are cheap to build – You don’t need rust free metal, so you are often able to put cars back on the road that never would have been restored otherwise.
2) You can build it yourself – It gives you an amazing sense of pride to drive something that you built, and even more when you get a “thumbs up” from a fellow gearhead.
3) Lowered cars and trucks are cooler – That’s just a fact.
4) Raw metal – Unpainted metal is a great way to show off your fabricating skills.
5) Simplicity – These cars work off the bare essentials. Windows, heat, seats and suspension are optional.
6) No Fear – You don’t have to worry about parking your clean car in a grocery store parking lot. If somebody swings their caravan door into it, it doesn’t even matter!
7) Wiring – All you need is power for the ignition coil, alternator, lights, and a horn. That is like 8 wires. Anybody could handle that.
8 ) Typically a two seater – This means you don’t have to cart your friends around all over town. “Can you give us a ride to blah blah somewhere place?…….” “nope sorry, I only have two seats….”
9) Exposed engine – Watching mechanical things move is awesome on every level. There is no denying it.
10) Part availability – All parts that you will ever need can be found in a junk yard, swap meet, home depot, or convenience store.
Picture borrowed from eBay Item number: 18049680146
I pulled into the grocery store parking lot the other day and as I parked, I unwillingly came nose to nose with something quite questionable. Initially I thought that somebody had parked a chromed-out version of the Merrill-Lynch bull in the parking lot. However, upon further inspection I realized it was just a new Acura with it’s giant bumper and chrome grille. I thought about moving my truck because I didn’t want to leave it to stare into the Acura’s bulbous nose, but I didn’t want my truck to develop an ego either. Maybe I am being too harsh on the Acura. Should I embrace these futuristic beasts for being outside the box, or hate it for being 90% grille & bumper and 10% “rest of the car”?
Do You Love it or Hate it?
Over the weekend I came across a vehicle that was clearly built for ultimate world domination. It is so tough and burly looking that it would likely make Chuck Norris nervous. I would imagine it was built for delivering mail or something very mundane, but I guarantee that somewhere in it’s exhausted memory, it has some great stories to tell. It would be impossible to own a vehicle like this and not test its limits (of which there likely aren’t any).
If I were to buy this as an early birthday present to myself, and it wasn’t irreplaceable, I would take it through mud, lots of it. Not shallow mud, the really nasty deep stuff, at high speeds. When I am done driving the beast, I would want to have a mud line near my elbows at a minimum. I want to get home, and have somebody think that the skunk ape just broke into the house. If I can’t find any mud, I would want to cruise up to a drive-up window with a top hat on like everything is 100% ordinary, and order a delicious iced coffee. Then cruise away leaving the drive-up window people wondering if they just had a really messed up dream.
What would YOU do with it?
Over the weekend I went to one of my favorite junkyards. It’s smaller than some of the others around but I feel like the guys that work there are friendlier than average, and 99% of the time, I can find what I need. So it is definitely my number 1 pick for yards…. This time around, I stumbled onto a late 70’s / early 80’s Corvette that had clearly reached the end of the road. It was rotted, crashed, crushed, parted out, beaten, and then disrespectfully smashed. Cars like that are sad to see because you know at some point, a person brought it home from the dealer and loved every single inch of it. They cruised the streets and showed it off to their friends , and now, all that’s left is rust and memories. You had a good run at it Blue Corvette, a real good run…
There are so many cars out there with a cult following these days, that I often find myself wondering if all the weird cars in the automotive world have a place to “belong”. Do people really like these oddball cars? Or do they get stuck with them and learn to love them? I have very strong affection for a many of the ugliest, most backwards, slowest, and terribly designed cars in existence. I bet I’m not alone.
For today we have a 1983 Cadillac Seville. These had amazing oil leaks V8 engines that sat way too far forward in the engine compartment because they were front wheel drive. The weight distribution felt like it was 98% on the front wheels and 2% over the rears. Luckily the power steering pumps could power a small city so turning those overloaded front wheels was easily done with your finger tip. The interior was chock full of switches, hundreds of them. Switches in the dash for everything imaginable, switches on the sides of the seats, the doors, the roof, the glove box, and if I recall correctly, the sun visors had switches as well. Nobody knows what all those switches did, but if you wanted to turn anything from off to on, you could do it successfully in this car. Cigarette lighters? Yeap, there were enough of them for you and 80 of your closest friends to have a smoke. As a kid, I enjoyed putting dimes in the lighter holes, sadly, the US didn’t mint enough dimes to stuff into every lighter hole in these cars. The trunk; “Hey GM designers, what the heck went on there?”
My opinion: If it were rear wheel drive, I would love it because of its weird looks, and gangster soul. However, being front wheel drive with the worst weight distribution in history, I am leaning on the hate meter for this one.
What’s your opinion?
Image from http://www.carversation.com
When building or restoring a car, you absolutely HAVE to take pictures.
Here are my top 7 reasons why:
1) Without pictures, nobody will ever believe that you did any of the work (unless it’s terrible, then they will believe you 100%).
2) You will never remember how things originally went together. That extra bag of bolts needs a home!
3) You can hold the photo up against your car and say “look guys, before and after”.
4) It can remind you where you came from, and how you got to where you are.
5) You can look back and laugh at the horrific work you did toward the beginning of the project. Remember when you couldn’t weld?
6) You can post them on the internet and show off all of your work to the world.
7) You don’t realize it at the time of the photograph, but there is always weird stuff going on in the background. It is fun to look for!
If you are saying to yourself “This guy is right, I don’t have any pictures of my cars…”, grab a handful of camera right now and go take some pictures. I promise you that you will appreciate it down the road. Just imagine how cool it would be to see all the cars that your parents had throughout the years.
Got before and after pictures? I want to see them! Post them up or Send them to me: firstname.lastname@example.org