Beautiful and Likely Able to Survive a Dinosaur Attack.

They say that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.  I know that this statement is true because this truck’s license plate told me so.  Seriously though, this truck is amazing.  I saw it at a local show and instantly had dreams of driving through the jungle, fighting off a tiger, multiple ligers, maybe giant arachnids, and a dinosaur.  It is an absolute beast of a machine that would probably go around ripping tags off mattresses if you ticked it off.  I’m not sure what its intended use is, but it appears to be limitless in its abilities.  If Jurassic park ever becomes a reality, you better believe I will be the first one making friends with this “beauty”, and guaranteeing my survival of the dinopocolipse.

Bring Back Hood Ornaments

Am I the only one that thoroughly enjoys the gaudy hood ornaments on old cars, and really think we need to bring ’em back?   I do realize that dropping a giant chromed-out pelican on the front of a new Camry wouldn’t really work. However, if done tastefully it maaay actually improve the look of the car like it had in the past.  Sure it will cost extra money and it would be something for punk kids to rip off in mall parking lots, BUT pretend those negative factors don’t exist for now.  Instead, let’s think about how much class it adds to the vehicle, along with a feeling of luxury and honor.  Please raise your hand if you would not want a giant chrome bird, ship, plane, or beautiful winged goddess mounted to your hood.  Nobody? Yeah that’s what I thought. The fact is: these types of figures make you feel like a big shot.  You instantly feel more elegant, smart, and stylish than you really are.  Just go for a ride in any car from the 1940’s if you would like to experience this for yourself.  Even if the car doesn’t have paint, stalls out at stop signs, and generally looks like a beater, the hood ornament announces to the surrounding community that you are in fact, a really big deal.

Dear big 3,
Let’s try and make it classy again. I want sparkling chrome planes, goddesses, ships, and a variety of fowl guiding my vehicle down the roads. If you must, you can make them out of carbon fiber for a modern touch.
Thanks,
-Jeremy

Now who’s with me?…….echo……echo….

The Automotive Future Update: Ben-Dera Ford!

Last week we talked about a spacecraft-looking car that was spotted at a Wendy’s in Ohio recently.  It was mystery with so many twists and turns, that the automotive community was left scrambling.  We needed to know the story behind this vehicle.  Who built it? When? What is it? Why?  Thanks to the super sleuth detective work of “oliver@triplezoom” on vwvortex.com, we now have the answer!  The vehicle from Friday’s 1A Auto Blog is a Ben-Dera Ford built by John Bender over 3 years in the mid 1990’s.

It turns out that in June of 1998, “Car and Driver” actually featured this vehicle and it’s owner / builder.  His name is John Bender and he built this vehicle because well….. he wanted to.  In fact, he built a couple of them!  I would go into details, but honestly, this article sums it up way better than I ever could.

Pictures borrowed from:

http://www.oliverdueck.com/misc/benderaford/

Which were originally in:

Car and Driver Magazine.

So You Want to Build a Luxury Hotrod…

In my never ending search for greatness on the internet, I came across some sad looking cars that gave me a really great idea (for you, not me…).  Ok, are you ready for this?  These four words might change your world forever, so I hope you are sitting down. Seriously.  Ok… here goes….   “Rolls Royce Hot Rod”.  That’s right folks!  Live the life of luxury with hand built quality, the finest metals, and do it on the cheap! “But how!?” Well, with the Nutt’s & Bolts Blog Guide to greatness of course!!

Nutt’s & Bolts Blog complete guide to greatness – Now featuring  more Luxury!

Step 1) Start with a parted out Rolls from eBay for like $700. Doors and trunk lid are recommended but not completely necessary.  (Home made tube doors will work fine in a pinch.)

Step 2) Build a custom boxed steel frame, with a junkyard IFS, and a usable junkyard rear differential (welded of course).

Step 3) Pull that spare 350 out from your shed, and shove a 8-71 blower on it. (Trust me on this, do what I say, and you will be the coolest person in your neighborhood.)

Step 4) Gut the interior of the car of anything that has mass. Throw it all in the trash or sell on eBay for maximum money recoupage.

Step 5) Rig up a manual transmission of your liking with a universal hydraulic master cylinder setup.  Piece of cake.

Step6) Add drag radials to the back & tub floor pan as necessary. Any wheels that bolt onto the front will be fine. Black steelies maybe?

Step 7) Be sure to paint it flat black, and get the car as low to the ground as possible.  It’s the only way to succeed.

Step 8 ) Burnouts, donuts, and jealous friends and neighbors will soon follow.  Be ready for high 5’s, gift baskets, and invites to pool parties. So much win, for so little investment.

mean rolls royce

Pictures borrowed from:

Ebay item number 190433491734

Ebay item number 190433491718

http://autoclerks.com/

Who and what is Hot Rodding?

In the early days of hot rodding, there were guys putting big engines from big cars into vehicles that they had no business powering.  Flathead V8’s, Zephyr transmissions, multiple carb’s (sometimes even hooked up!), and quick change rear ends were all the rage.  Each hot rod builder wanted to be faster, lower, smoother, and more custom than the next guy.  Car customizing was pushing the limits of what could safely be driven on the street.  As cars evolved so did the hot rodding scene.  Muscle cars came and went and so did the days of factory emissions parts stealing your horsepower.  After writing yesterday’s blog about what to do with my 1960 Pontiac project car,  I began to wonder who really is driving this hot rod scene forward in 2010?  What is a hot rod? Who is still customizing cars and is it the same style as it was several decades ago?  Has everything been done?!  Is hot rodding only hot rodding if it is an old car? American? Foreign?  Gosh, so many tough questions.

In high school, my friends and I were minitruckers (don’t hate!), so we were all about laying our trucks as low to the ground as possible and tucking lug nuts in the fenders.  If some part of the truck prevented us from being low, it would simply be removed.  One cool fall day I was building a boxed steel frame, triangulated 4-link suspension, and air ride setup for a friends Toyota truck, and my dad walked outside and watched me work for a few minutes.  He then said “This is just like what we used to do when I was a kid.  This is hot rodding.”  For whatever reason those words stuck with me, and in my mind it holds true.  I feel like if you are modifying your car in a way that other people aren’t doing, don’t like, or don’t understand, you are probably hot rodding.

What’s your definition of Hotrodding? Who is doing it?


Picture borrowed from:

Speedhunters.com


When Doesn’t it Make Sense to Restore a Car?

Once in a while I get a call from a friend that says to me “I have XXX wrong with my car, should I fix it or cut my losses and just get something else?”  This can be a really easy question or a really tough question depending on the car and the problem that is ailing it.  When doing all of your own work, it is much easier to justify fixing a car because you don’t have to pay the labor.  The downfall to this is that it also means you can justify fixing cars that normally should be junked.  Well folks, now I have found myself in this position, and I’m asking the Nutts & Bolts Auto Blog readers for opinions.

I got a 1960 Pontiac Ventura in trade for some work on a 1964 GTO a couple years ago.  It was a complete car when I got it, and I even got it running again, but it is in rough shape.  It hasn’t been registered since the mid 1980’s, and it has been outside the entire time since, so finding solid portions of the body is not easy.  That being said, I am more ambitious than most, so I pulled the body from the frame, rebuilt the frame and suspension, and set the body back on it temporarily.

Recently, I had a friend (homesteadblast.com) soda blast the entire body of the car for me.  Ugh.  What we found was disheartening.  At the bare minimum, it needs all new floors and floor supports from front to rear, quarter panels, inner and outer rocker panels, a tailpan, lower fenders & doors.  Yeap, basically a new body minus the roof.  All of the glass is broken as well, which is a real financial drag.  To restore this back to original, the replacement sheetmetal alone would be in the multiple thousands of dollars.  Never mind the wiring, plumbing, trim, interior, and little odds and ends.  By the time the car is nice, I bet I would have well over $7500 in materials and several hundred (thousand?) hours of my own labor.  It’s value when done? Probably slightly less than what I have invested.

The 2nd option is throw originality to the wind, and basically “hot rod” the heck out of the car to suite my own bizarre tastes.  This option would be cheaper and faster because I could make my own floor braces out of boxed steel, do some simple bead-rolled floor pans, a basic DIY-style wiring kit, and use junkyard parts for the rest…

The 3rd and final option is to find a more suitable home for the car and just buy something fully drivable instead.

Ugh. I don’t know what to do. Help!