Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Printed Matter.....

When you want to learn about the past, the best way to do so is to go to the past. This is easier then it may seem. A few options are available to you. You can talk to those who were there. Either taking their memory as fact or sometimes with a grain of salt. Another option is to look around for the information printed or photos taken in the time period. This information has not had the oppertunity to be influenced by more recent events. While still not being able to take whats written as 100% truth. This at times is our best option. Sometimes though, you have to skip the words and use the pictures. Creating your own 1000 words to go along with them.

Finding an original copy of Hot Rod, Hop-Up, or the illusive Throttle. When you open up these old books... the smells of time escape and entrap you. Your more or less in a time machine. You are staring at exactly what those before you stared at. Your picking up the same clues and "new" ideas as they did. If only you could erase all modern influence and jump into this information with with the brain of an 18 year old in 1941. Even though mistakes were printed, the past was built on those mistakes of the time before.

Unfortunately, its not 1941-1948-1951-1953-etc..... Your here in 2009, the information superhighway is speeding by. In seconds you can hop on the HAMB, click onto Hop-Up's website, check out many of the other websites out there. New books are being printed, new photos found that have been stashed away or never developed.

I am infinitely thankful to those who are making an effort to keep the past alive. Don Montgomery, Albert Drake, and the many many others who are putting "old" information out there in the world.

Recently the Rodders Journal has put out 2 books that fall right into the rhelm of my interest. They announced a bound version of all issues of Throttle magazine from 1941. Of course I was on the pre-order list as fast as possible. I received a signed and numbered (0072) copy, and I couldn't be more pleased. I have had copies of all the issues for a few years now, but the quality of this book at the price of around $40, just couldn't be beat! I recommend everyone go find yourself a copy and set that time machine back 68 years.....

The 2nd book that became available is titled "Hot Rods & Custom Cars". It features rare photos by Strother MacMinn. This book was raved about as being a rare limited edition and inturn the price reflected the hype. $125 was a steep sum, but when you can't go without "more info" you just open your wallett and fork over the cash.

I recieved this book a few weeks ago and have been leary to write anything about it. I can't say enough about how grateful I am to the Rodders Journal for making these photos available. The unfortunate thing that I see though is the obvious mistakes in the text which accompanies these great photos. Also from what I understand, there were alot more photos available, and I feel that for the price I would have been happier with a complete photo album, leaving me on my own to come up with captions. The fact is those willing to spend $125 on a book of this sort most likely have the ability to do so.

Support those making this information available to us as much as you can.

Friday, September 11, 2009

If you build it - he will come....

I'm sitting here tonight....its raining out. Haven't felt too ambitious to work on anything the past few days. Flipping through the channels I came across a movie I haven't seen in a while. Feild of Dreams......
Now I'm not too much of a baseball fan.... I appreciate the history behind it, what it meant to people, etc...
But this movie, its not really about baseball. Atleast not for me... not tonight.....

Its about the vision, the voice in your head, whatever it is....

I wonder if this is the voice that we hear when we get inspired to build old cars. A voice that just whispers, but we can hear it loud and clear. A voice thats making us stick so strictly to the past.

If you build it, he will come.....

Think about it..... when that car's all done. You didn't do it for "you".

I keep telling myself lately that I'm tired of all the showiness of these things.... I'm building for me and me alone... But I'm lying to myself. Not one of these cars is built for me. They're not mine. Even a car built from scratch, sheet metal and tubing. Its built with a soul driven by that little voice.
These cars belong to the ghosts of the past. Thats why they're built, thats who they're built for and those are the guys coming back the first time that motor fires.

The next time you spin the starter and that motor roars to life with a Winfield grind on the cam... That goosebump feeling that you get (yeah I know you get it!). Thats not just excitement due to motorvation... Thats old Ed standing there beside you.....

Stick to your guns, listen to the voices... keep up the good work...

Just like a baseball field in Iowa, these cars......well...... These ghosts are smiling too!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Simple life...

I've been thinking a lot lately about the simplicity of things. Not specifically one aspect of simplicity. But finding it in all the different branches of life. As you live and grow you gain more responsibilities and more weight on your shoulders. Be it all self inflicted or just the facts of life that burden most everyone. Everyone seems to deal with it all just fine. Taking things as they come, day in and day out.

Just dealing with it doesn't seem to be enough for me. Many people, it seems, don't take the time to find enjoyment in the simple things in life. Obviously we all need to stop and smell the roses (which I did yesterday, literally). There's the simple pleasure of things such as riding a bicycle, flying a kite, etc.

But what I think is lacking in most is the pleasure of simplicity in the things we create. Maybe the better mouse trap has LESS parts. Maybe when writing, its best to chose a shorter simpler word to portray a thought. Most things that come along in the world lately, have more gadgets, more moving parts, more attention grabbers. Seems that we need to be entertained and amazed while doing mundane things. Why do your toothbrush and razor each need a different electrical outlet?

Just the fact of creating things is a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. A great sense of pride that you have thought up and made something that serves its intended purpose. But why not go one step farther and see if you can create something to serve the same purpose with less parts. It may take more thought and more time, but in the end....... I think its worth it.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - Leonardo DaVinci
Never be afraid to sit awhile and think - Lorraine Hansberry

Friday, August 28, 2009

August 2009

New page....
I copied the old posts over from the blog page.

I hope this is easier to navigate and easier for me to post on.


July 2009

July is a month of "I don't know". Alot has been happening in my world and alot is leaving me confused and frustrated. Alot of things I'll leave unsaid as they are far off the topic of old cars....
I don't want to seem down in the dumps about it all. I just feel theres been alot of inactivity on my part. I have been working on an English wheel. Building it from scratch as theres none available with a design suitable for what I need in making track noses. Plus even if one were available the price for some of the larger ones is just astronomical.
Working on something outside of the normal rhelm of cars is drawing my focus from the cars in general. I have been getting bored reading other message boards, seeing the same things over and over and over. Almost looking at it all from an outside perspective it seems??
I've gotten so deep into this world that deals just keep falling in my lap. When I first started out I was excited to see a roadster at a car show. Excited to find ANY multi-carb intake for a flathead. I remember how terribly thrilled I was to buy my first model-B motor. My first model-A was a sport coupe... and I was still just tickled pink to have it sitting at MY house!
It seems now that I'm immune to it all.
Talking to a friend of mine the other day, we were saying about it being kinda boring around home lately. Then it sort of hit me what we were saying.
There we were, standing in my driveway SURROUNDED by the coolest stuff anyone could imagine. From old jalopy coupe race cars, to dry lakes roadsters, to 40's Ford tractors. Its all there, to touch feel, drive, work on, etc. I've built a world around myself that I couldn't even have imagined 5 years ago.
I've filled every nook and crannie of my basement, yard, and shed with these cool old things. I've gone so far as to where I have a car stored at someone else's house too.(thanks Andy)
The good stuff has taken over by leaps and bounds from the "junk" I initially brought home. Now we're tripping over highrise Weiand intakes, 21 stud flatheads, & Winfield heads. But I'm growing immune. Its very cool, I love having all this stuff, but for what?
I've always wanted more more more, more cars, more parts, more...............
Now, looking at it all in a new light.
I think "the list" is getting shorter......
Maybe its not all about the iron?
The blue sky, green grass, open road and the friends you meet......
Jer(thomasS&C) and I went to a little car show. The first one, within walking distance of my house. Only about a dozen cars showed up. None fitting the bill of what I'd like to drive home aside from our 2 roadsters. We got alot of questions about "kit cars" and other odd inquireys from those not immersed in the world of old hot rods. I joked around with some old friends who heckle me to put a small block chevy in my roadster. Talked with people about Jeeps, tractors, and even listened while one old guy tried to talk another into getting a model-T. Lots of joking around and having fun without concern of who has the correct Stewart Warner gauges or the correct fittings on the fuel line. Just a bunch of old farts having fun.
We left the show and decided to take a lap around the block. Our block isn't really a block, you see we live out in the country so its more or less a couple mile loop around a few roads. Some wide open straights mixed in with some tight twisty turns.
Our 2 roadsters screaming along, back and forth between 2nd and 3rd gear. Tires howling as the back end just starts to break loose on most corners. We took a little detour and went behind a highschool and raced slolom through the different patches of parking lot. Left our trail of curved black marks and then went home.
2 old worn out flatheads in a pair of jalopy roadsters racing around the back roads and parking lots on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.......
Thats what its all about..............................

June 2009

It seem winter really drags on here in PA, but the month's sure fly by when its nice out...
I haven't done alot in the last month. A bunch of friends stopped by before the Jalopy Showdown to hang around at my house. Met a few more people I had only conversated with online. So that was pretty nice.
I seem to be having problems with the engines in both of my "finished(??)" roadsters. So I haven't driven them too much. I've been doing alot of collecting towards starting on my '35 coupe. I'm attempting to spare no expense in getting exactly the parts I want for it. No compromizes!
Next year will be the 75th anniversary of the 1935 Ford. Hopefully I can stay motivated and finish the car for the occasion.
Not too much else to write about for now...

May 2009

I haven't done a whole lot thats been car related this past month. Collected a few more parts for my '35. Studied and thought about things. Worked on our new race car (post 1955). In general its been a relaxing month.
Something that has sparked my interest(again) is the work of M.C. Escher. I had always seen his prints and admired them for their face value. Never taking the time to really learn about them, study them, or try to replicate them.
The past few weeks I have done alot of this. I bought a few books, a DVD and read alot online. Something about the mathematical thought process combined with the artistic, just has me fascinated. Im surely on the bottom end of the learning curve, but feeling rather positive with some of the simplified results that I have acheived.
I'd like to continue to work further with this and eventually be able to step outside the lines of "copying" and begin to do things more automotive related. I may lose interest with the nice weather, but eventually I'd hope to pick back up and continue to work forwards with it.
I wasn't intending to write about this subject on here. Then, just this morning I came across a quote of Eschers. Which ties this all back to cars, atleast in my mind.
This quote really summed up my thoughts on the old cars that I love so much. With building to a period, your more of less just trying to emulate the thought processes of the past. Not improve upon it with a modern day mind. Not change things for the sake of standing out from the crowd. But down right copying what was done in the past to acheive the "perfect" car.
No fear of braging your own ideas, no fear of bending the truth of the past. Just honest to goodness perfection in your narrowed field of vision.

April 2009

Another Month passed by without alot of real interesting things going on. The weather is finally starting to come around. I've been driving my roadster a bit. Car shows are starting to spring up here and there also.
I'm usually stuck in a mode of thought that doesn't pertain to what I'm actually working on. One or more projects ahead. So as usual I spend alot of time pondering things I may not work on for a while. Drawing pictures, researching, studying, thinking....
My current brain wave is aimed towards customs. I have this '35 Ford 5 window coupe that I'm anxious to work on. I've never really "customized" a car before. So I'm really trying to think this one out beforehand. I go back and forth with thoughts of a clean smoothed out late 40's "taildragger". That seems to be a bit overdone in the world and not really an era that interests me. My main focus on history seems to lie between the early 30's and the end of WWII. A time when a car was your daily car and it was either to burn rubber or impress the ladies. A '35 Ford isnt exactly the best suited for racing when compared to a roadster of a few years older. So I'm going after the classy night on the town look.
I've begun to dig into EVERY '35 picture I can find. Every advertizement, drawing, etc. It seems then, as it does now. The designers drew a cool car. But the people in charge, on the outgoing end, screwed with it a little. The roofs a tad taller, the ground clearance made suitable for rock climbing, etc.
They left mostly well enough, alone though. The lines of this art deco period design still stand strong. The steep agressive grill with waterfall teeth. The swoopy fenders blending into the running boards. Just enough chrome on the hood sides to draw your attention forward on the car while the back end blends away to the road. The perfect body lines rounding up the back end. This car is just a masterpiece of great ideas.
To me the 1935 Ford was one of, if not THE ultimate car that Ford ever built. I know most people may tend to disagree. To most, the '36 model was a more pleasing design. But if you really get down to it and study the lines, not as a car but as art. You can see where alot of the details of the 36 look like an afterthought. The convex fenders just don't quite have the same "flow" as their older brother. The grill, while very pleasing on its own, seems as though a bridge in deisgn, leaning more towards the split windsheild of 1937.
So anyways, what I am getting at with this rambling... I think for my old '35, I'd like to build what the designers saw in their head. A little bit lower roof, a little bit lower suspension, lower headlights, a little more raked out spare, maybe a few parts stolen from a more valuable car, some of the aftermarket accessories of the time period. Just enough to accent the car, nothing added, nothing taken away. The perfect 1935 Ford coupe.
I'd like to build this car as though it would have been built in 1935. Although being influenced by later cars and trends. I'm sure I will use some parts from newer Fords, Lincolns, etc. The reliable, economical flathead V8 will be modified slightly. A Winfield camshaft, dual carburetors on a tall Weiand intake. Just some simple hop-up items to leave the world behind at a slightly faster rate.
Automotive euphoria in 1945, atleast in my eyes...

Happy Hot Rodding everyone!

The sun is out today, I'm going Roadsterin'.....

February 2009

I'm just sitting here, across the room the clock is ticking away.(they still tick dont they?) Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock. Seconds, Minutes, Hours, Days, Years, Decades........................
People are born, people die, things are built, destroyed, rebuilt, reconditioned and remodeled. All in the name of progress. Some things in the world today are definitely an improvement. But alot seems to just be change for the sake of change.

I've been working on my time machine. I hooked a Model-T coil to a microwave. Used a Ford 30th Anniversary coin as a resistor. I poured some of that good smelling grease/oil in a Ford script hubcap, set it inside on the turntable. Punched in 1933, pressed the button and let the sparks fly.

This is farther back then I've gone before. I've had problems getting past 1940.
The old Tin Lizzie parts must be doing the trick. A whole other world?! Maybe not much different then today? Depression, stocks dropping, people losing jobs, natural disasters, and Hopped-up Fords!

Model-T's are worthy too!

January 2009

My focus on the entirety of hot rodding in general has changed lately......maybe its with the new year...maybe its just me getting older?The way I felt before(like 6 months ago maybe) was....I wanted to inform people, I wanted the world to see the great joys in the simple things of life. I wanted to be involved in people learning real history compared to the falsafied crap thats shoved down your throat in the world. Hot Rodding didnt start after WWII, the movie "The Wild One" wasn't really what happened at Hollister, etc. But see....... I feel kinda differently now... Im not sure how to explain it or really what caused me to change I dont wana be the lead man to show the way anymore.... Im taking joy in figuring out the past, knowing it.... having it in my heart, my soul......I am burnt out on the general population of america, I try my best to stay out of crowded places, I try not to drive on conjested roads..... I've begun to take so much more joy in the fact that the grass is green, the sky is blue, it always has been and most likely always will be.
My world is surrounded by everything "new", new cars, new gadgets, computers, cell phones. You can't live in a world of the past anymore, you can't go all day every day without seeing something new passing by. The world evolves around you and you have to evolve with it to survive.
Mark Morton writes alot about the "unwashed" I think he's refering to the general public, and how they dont get it because they dont want to get it(our world, hot rodding). They dont care, they dont want to care, they want to be entertained and they want to drive their SUV with DVD's, go home watch TV in their BVD's, sleep, work, repeat.... They're content so let them be.
Me, I take joy in driving my cars....not to car shows, not to anywhere where anyone sees me, but just driving them... fast, slow, just going.... maybe for a 5 minute trip, maybe for an hour To me that is what its all about, the smells of the old car in the open air....its my time machine...anytime I want, day or night...I can go back in time, I just close my eyes and imagine pointing that old jalopy down the dusty back road and holding the pedal to the floor. That thought, that vision, that feeling in my gut, thats IT.... the holy grail of all thats right in the world. I wasnt there in the 30's-40's-50's etc.... I wasnt even born till 1982.... But I'll be damned if I'm missing out on it because im 60 years too late. I'm not reminissing....I'm doing it!
Theres places for reenactors to go because they want to relive the past,say their era of focus is WWII, they want to feel what it felt like during the war... they can't just go out in their back yard and be in that scinerio... they can't be surrounded by old airplanes, jeeps, motorcycles, other people but see.... I can....I can go out, hop in my roadster.... and go....go back in time.....I put a damn lot of effort and time into being able to do that and understanding whats going on when im doing it. I think it makes it that much more worth while to me.
I love being able to have these websites and message boards and being able to help people who are seriously interested and more often then not learn from those with more knowledge then me. But theres a reason I try not to brag about this Flyers Board, or even talk about it really.... Its kinda like the 19 people who read hop-up... if it matters to you, you found it and your already reading it.
Have fun for the sake of having fun.... for YOU
Smell the roses and burn some rubber.....
Happy Hot Rodding everyone....