You see them at events everywhere; beautiful examples of automotive excellence that are never started unless they are rolling on or off the trailer. Their appearance on the boulevard is seen as rarely as Haley’s Comet. Is this really hot rodding? Of course it is! There’s a huge segment of our culture that lives and breathes for the visual appreciation of automotive art. But for most of us, it is only part of the equation. For many, a car not only has to look good standing still but also has to move under its own power and turn just as many heads as it travels smoothly down the road. Here are four people and their rods that we met out at Hot August Nights 2012 who perfectly fit that description.
Tom Thompson of Eugene, Oregon can be engaged in a conversation about his roadster without much effort. His friendly demeanor and quick humor make him the kind of person that you can converse with for hours on end, especially about cars. But it doesn’t take long to understand that Tom likes his cars shiny, classy and above all – functional.
The first thing that draws you to Tom’s 1929 Ford Roadster is its “ticket me” red paint and the hi-boy stance. The spectacular Flathead V8 shines like a diamond while the suspension shows its functionality at nearly every angle. You can spend just as much time taking in all of the subtle details about Thompson’s Roadster as you could talking with him about each and every one of them.
However the detail that tells the deeper story is the use marks that can be seen on the upholstery. Nothing unsightly but there is definitely evidence that someone has occupies the seats over the years! Tom says that the roadster is as dependable as any modern grocery-getter out there. He drives the rod to any destination within a 100-mile radius or more (weather depending) without care and has never found himself stranded.
Tom drives his car as often as he can considering his Oregon zip code and the precipitation that accompanies it. When your favorite mode of transportation has no top, fenders or windshield wipers, rain can be a spoiler for even the most anticipated cruise.
Happiness is a Green Thunderbird
We came across Vicky Warren in the early morning as she lovingly prepared her 1957 Thunderbird convertible for display. The smile on her face told us that she could not have been happier doing anything else in the world. A resident of Gardenerville, Nevada, Vicky’s not one to just polish and admire her favorite toy. She drove her magnificent green machine to the Virginia Street festivities.
Her T-bird is impeccably maintained and has been kept very close to how it came from the factory. Braking, electrical and even sound systems retain their original configurations. A stock 312 ci Y-block and vintage Ford-o-matic trans provide the giddyup for the bird and it rolls on wide whitewall tires for that extra touch of authenticity.
Warren maintains that, “Driving them is half the fun” and told us that she gets behind the wheel of her gorgeous ’57 every chance she gets. This is exactly why we enjoy getting out and meeting so many or our great readers first-hand, because seeing and hearing IS believing and Vicky was a perfect example of an enthusiast who loves and drives her classic!
This Custom Coupe is Not Just Another Pretty Face
Zach Brombacker’s 1950 Ford Coupe custom makes the trip to Reno every year from its Ashland, Oregon home. When you first observe the car’s spectacular finish and detail you may assume that it is a trailer queen having come from two states away. However, that assumption would be wrong! It has been driven to all events each of the three years since it was completed.
Christened the “Brombacker Bomber,” this amazing custom cruiser is a feast for the eyes. It’s yellow pearl paint scheme ranges in intensity from a light lemon creme to a dazzling sunburst intensity over the contours of the shapely mid-century modern body styling. Painted surfaces in the interior continue this exercise in yellow fade which complements the rich tan leather upholstery and carpeting that adorns all unpainted interior surfaces. Turquoise and brown accents and pin stripping add the final elegant touches both inside and out.
Zach’s intention from the beginning was to have a car that was a dependable performer as well as a visual knock-out. The driving experience gets its motivation from a 430 ci mouse that has all the go-fast goodies one might expect in a build such as this. A turbo 350 trans was built to handle the output of the motor along with the proper upgrades in braking, suspension, sound system and creature comforts that make the “Brombacker Bomber” not just a looker, but also a reliable beast on the road to shows both near and far.
Candy Coated Road Warrior
David Gates of Lodi, California proudly informed us that his 1961 Chevy Impala SS is built for the purpose of driving and enjoying. He has driven his baby to three events in Nevada this year alone and has no intention of changing his routine anytime soon. However, that does not mean that Mr. Gates’ gorgeous and extremely well maintained 1961 Chevy Impala SS is somehow second rate…far from it! In fact, this Chev is so sweet that it could be called candy on wheels.
Starting with the body style itself, the ‘61 Chevy is one of the manufacturer’s most desirable design years. Shapes and trends that began in this model year influenced Chevrolet’s body stylings well into the next decade.
The confectioner’s touch on this long, low and wide chariot starts with a Brandywine Candy that glistens and glows in the light. Beneath the hard candy shell is an interior that can well be described as rich, creamy nugget filling. The luxurious upholstery is stitched from soft hides and plush materials of buttercream colored hues that caress the driver and passengers on those road trips to shows. Additional comfort conveniences like air conditioning, power seats, power windows, digital electronics and other tasty accoutrements make spending time in the cabin such a rich experience that could be hazardous to diabetics.
At this point, one might expect that this sweet Impala could be a cream puff in the performance department. That would be a huge mistake as Gates takes his performance seriously. Beneath the hood lurks a monster 572 big block that David just loves to introduce to the unsuspecting, would-be street bully. Like his attitude toward road dings, David isn’t afraid of the odd speeding ticket either.
These enthusiasts represent just one aspect of how you can participate in the classic and custom culture. Cruising around any given hot rod show across the country, we bet that it’s fairly easy to find more than a handful or gorgeous cars that aren’t afraid to see some road miles. Part of the fun and adventure of our sport is exploring the various ways available to us to enjoy it. How you choose to get involved depends entirely on what makes you smile! So get out there and do what YOU love, no matter if it’s driving, building, showing, trailering, or just spectating – as long as your doing what you love and participating in a positive manner – there is plenty of room for all of us.