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Hot Rodding is Dead, again, but not really?

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  • Hot Rodding is Dead, again, but not really?

    McGann commented about Lucky's C10 pickup in his editorial this month, then went on to explain how he loves his truck and it's 568 ci BBC that is getting 14 mpg (I'll believe 4). Lucky's truck started as a box of parts, now has a GM crate motor/trans; QA1 suspension; Wilwood brakes; Vintage A/C box. McGann's truck is someone else's motor, someone else's suspension, but it does have old rusty parts on the outside.

    It brings up the question - is hot rodding dead? to me hot rodding is taking dissimilar stuff and putting it on another vehicle for better performance, attitude, or looks. The question these days (after his extensive list of the bolt ons he and Lucky used) is why bother? If you're inept, you spend 92k to buy a 800 hp widget. If you want people to think you're cool, you bolt on those same things on some old wreck and proclaim your skillz (yes, with a z).

    Is that hot rodding? I'd say yes, but listening to the same magazines bemoan that there are no trade schools, that shop isn't taught in high school, and that electric is coming.... seems a bit hypocritical. Who is preaching "built not bought" anymore? certainly not the publications. Most certainly not SEMA - if my numbers are correct, there was one car there that was done in a home garage (a very cool VW Bug with a Buick motor), everything else was done by shops who are doing great things at improving custom cars but squeezing out the very kids they want to pick up the trade.

    I admire the Kindig stuff, but anyone watching the show has to think "well, why would I spend a couple years building something when whatever I build will not compete with their plasma cut, metal formed, 3d printed creations?"

    Even innovation, I guarantee that whatever you blog as a great idea will be a Chinese knockoff before you ever finish with your first prototype. While this is a great time if you want a fast, unique car - the dark side is it will be the last because why bother? Where's the point to coming up with a new idea or new way of doing things if there is no, real payoff?

    Magazines, in their defense, print what sells - and what sells is a custom-shop build.... I love building stuff for the building of stuff, but despite a well-equipped shop there is no hope my cars will ever 'grace' the pages of a magazine because honestly I can't compete. Despite the common sentiment, I do have a day job that comes first.

    So the question to answer - do I print out the numbers of the frame I constructed for my Corvette? I've even had the dubious honor of a shop telling me they will scan it for me - with the condition that they can use those dimensions in their own builds....
    Markmx6 and Monk like this.
    Doing it all wrong since 1966

  • #2

    Re: Hot Rodding is Dead, again, but not really?

    The everyday hot rodder is still out there, working on cool rides ... but they don't compare to the big shops, so they don't get the attention.

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    • #3

      Re: Hot Rodding is Dead, again, but not really?

      it will return SBG.

      I had been waiting for some home welding revolution, and boys and girls growing unafraid of the color of iron.

      I see it more than ever. I expected to see a trend in the truck realm first, and I have.
      Cars will be toys again soon. It is the mindset of the builder...with self education.

      I like to hang out in smaller groups that simply keep building. Never perfect is the perfection.
      Previously boxer3main
      the death rate and fairy tales cannot kill the nature left behind.

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      • #4

        Re: Hot Rodding is Dead, again, but not really?

        I think you're just looking in the wrong places. Both a lot of magazines (Car Craft, what happened?) and SEMA tend to focus on "the best of the best", the most expensive and eye-popping of the builds. There's a lot of creative home builds if you look online, or at local races, or even at some lower-key trade shows like PRI. Even some events put on by big name magazines (Drag Week comes to mind) have a lot of low-buck backyard projects show up.
        Last edited by Matt Cramer; March 15th, 2019, 12:00 PM.
        AndyB and Gateclyve Photographic like this.

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        • #5

          Re: Hot Rodding is Dead, again, but not really?

          Hype sells. Perception sells. BS sells. Etc, etc.

          Its all marketing. HotRod uses data of some sort to give them demographic info, then - feeling like they have to COMPETE with the internet instead of standing apart from it - tries to outdo the internet.

          The result is all high glitz, mega-dollar builds that they THINK appeal to their audience. They won't be the first business to make a huge blunder based on bad information.

          I find those builds predictable and quickly forgetable. The cars make the big show appearances for a few months then are harvested for parts for the next round of show stoppers.

          The carcasses end up as fodder for real rodders or left for dead, forgotten in some warehouse.

          Of all the paths you take in life - make sure a few of them are dirt.

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          • #6

            Re: Hot Rodding is Dead, again, but not really?

            As long as there's a swap meet with a HAMB-Approved $3,000 vintage manifold for sale there will be "hot rodding" . . . .



            Seriously, though, how the May 2019 issue of Hot Rod magazine may or may not have jumped the shark is a broader topic for another thread. . . . ..

            (I'm mildly surprised that SBG still reads that Dodge house organ . . . . )


            To hot take on the OP questions :

            It's tough to JY hot rod a late model, but it's still possible (especially if you include trucks, Jeeps, and FWD in your definition of a "rod" (didn't we just have a thread on that hair-splitting?))

            Catalog cars? They can be hot rods, albeit not in the "traditional" vein of the pre-catalog car make-it-yourself era.

            Thousands of privateers are still building hot stuff for themselves (even though excessive regulation is skewing things toward antiques these days in a lot of states)

            Checkbook "rodding" isn't going away. As we collectively become less skilled, more urban, and more over-regulated, it is likely to increase (baring the plague of autonomous trans-bots taking over the streets)

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            • #7

              Re: Hot Rodding is Dead, again, but not really?


              So the question to answer - do I print out the numbers of the frame I constructed for my Corvette? I've even had the dubious honor of a shop telling me they will scan it for me - with the condition that they can use those dimensions in their own builds....
              Oops, I forgot this question . . . Maybe because I didn't really understand.

              Why does the custom frame need to be "scanned?" Why does it need to be "printed out?"

              If you don't have a profit motive, then do like Bowling and Grippo ( http://www.bgsoflex.com/auto.html) . . . put it into the public domain and let 'er rip, tater chip . . . .



              If you want to license the design, then draw up the papers and start hawking.

              If you want to dump that pesky law thing and go all Art Morrison on the world . . . take a pill and nap . . . and lay off the Taco Time fish tacos.

              TacoTime is an upscale quick service restaurant chain that specializes in freshly prepared, home-style Mexican food.

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              • #8

                Re: Hot Rodding is Dead, again, but not really?

                [


                (I'm mildly surprised that SBG still reads that Dodge house organ . . . . )

                )
                Free magazine with t-shirt purchase, I needed a $5.00 shirt to wipe crap up.
                tedly and Gateclyve Photographic like this.
                Doing it all wrong since 1966

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                • #9

                  Re: Hot Rodding is Dead, again, but not really?


                  Oops, I forgot this question . . . Maybe because I didn't really understand.

                  Why does the custom frame need to be "scanned?" Why does it need to be "printed out?"

                  If you want to license the design, then draw up the papers and start hawking.

                  If you want to dump that pesky law thing and go all Art Morrison on the world . . . take a pill and nap . . . and lay off the Taco Time fish tacos.
                  laser scan. allows you to replicate parts without actually getting a tape measure out... it's pretty cool, very 21st century.

                  I didn't realize Taco Time had tuna tacos, granted, I've seen some things there - but not that, yet. If that doesn't put you off your lunch, the Uber driver that was moon lighting with her moons might.... *shiver*
                  Last edited by SuperBuickGuy; March 15th, 2019, 01:39 PM.
                  tedly and Gateclyve Photographic like this.
                  Doing it all wrong since 1966

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                  • #10

                    Re: Hot Rodding is Dead, again, but not really?

                    Hot rodding is in the eye of the beholder. From fancy under-lighting and color-coordinated everything under the hood to full-themed- fire-breathing rat rods, there is still lots of it going on. I would say hot rodding is alive and kicking.
                    Monk, and like this.
                    Ed, Mary, & 'Earl'
                    HRPT LongHaulers, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18.


                    Inside every old person is a young person wondering, "what the hell happened?"

                    The man at the top of the mountain didn't fall there. -Vince Lombardi

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                    • #11

                      Re: Hot Rodding is Dead, again, but not really?

                      I know nothing I make will end up in a magazine. Don't really care either. I do my thing for me, not for anyone else. Unless they're paying me for it. If someone else thinks my stuff is cool, sweet! If not, it's not going to hurt my feelings one iota. Hot rodding's not dead, you just got a lot more options and there a LOT more opportunities for someone with talent. There's dozens of tiny shops that spring up around here all the time. Some stay and grow, others fade. There's lots of kids working on their cars and modifying them themselves, they're just not cars most of us pay attention to. Most of these kids are self taught under the guidance of Youtube and forums like this, they research and dive in over their heads and figure it out. I've probably got a dozen of them that are regulars at my job. The amount of shadetree/semi-pro mechanics is eye opening. I have gotten people new tires mounted and balanced and them pulled out of the ditch in the middle of nowhere at 9:30 on a Sunday night. I can have 3 different competent, capable guys show up at my store any time we're open to help someone stranded.

                      Hot rodding's not dead, it's just evolving.

                      If you want to have them scan your chassis, makes sure they give you a little something for it. A scan does nothing for you and everything for them.
                      Last edited by tedly; March 15th, 2019, 05:17 PM.
                      I'm probably wrong

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                      • #12

                        Re: Hot Rodding is Dead, again, but not really?

                        What is a hot rod had definitely changed over the years. Fifty years ago I would define a hot rod as a '32 Ford with no fenders and a V8 engine. Remember many years ago when you saw pictures of Hot Rod Power Tour of a pre-WWII roadster with the top down in the rain? Well, not so much anymore. Last year on Power Tour the definition of a "hot rod" certainly changed. Pony cars of the not too long ago, pick up trucks, Corvettes and even the odd ball '65 Studebaker four door that some old guy drove () seemed to all meet somebody's definition of a hot rod. And that's okay.
                        Last edited by JRoberts; March 15th, 2019, 09:34 PM.

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                        • #13

                          Re: Hot Rodding is Dead, again, but not really?

                          Hot rodding is whatever you like.... we live in a free country, and if you do not mind me saying, every project I've had the pleasure of reading about you doing, qualifies without exception!
                          Patrick & Tammy
                          - Long Haulin' 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014...Addicting isn't it...??

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                          • #14

                            Re: Hot Rodding is Dead, again, but not really?

                            It sure ain't like it used to be. But you can still do things the way we've always done them, if you want.

                            My fabulous web page

                            "If it don't go, chrome it!" --Stroker McGurk

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                            • #15

                              Re: Hot Rodding is Dead, again, but not really?

                              My opinion as long as there is a small body and there is someone that wants to put a bigger engine in it , there will be hot rodding . My favorite used to be the V8 Vega/ monza but then I moved on to V8 S10s .Which these kits eventually made me see people chopping down S10 frames and putting them under Cavelier bodies , which made me think about cutting one down for a rabbit convert . Now I have been thinking of doing this for over 10 years and some kid built a tube frame one and went to sema with it . Hot rodding isn't dead . Maybe the percentages are different but I think there are actually more now than ever .
                              Previously HoosierL98GTA

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