Do you remember the first cool ride that left an indelible impression on you as a young automotive enthusiast? Maybe they belonged to the older kid up the street or featured on the pages of an old hot rod magazine! Joe Borg does as it branded his mind like a Texan cattle ranch owner brands his cattle! “Starting my working career in the sixties as a young apprentice of sixteen, I had to catch the bus from Doveton to Rowville and across from the bus stop, there was browny black 32 or a 34 highboy hot rod running pressed metal cycle guards in someone’s front yard. I would just stare at it the whole time while waiting for the bus and the image just burned into the memory. To me, that car was hot rodding personified!”
Whilst many of the stories you’ll read throughout the vast library of issues of Cruzin magazine talk of the distances travelled of various American imports or of the far reaching extent owners have gone to purchase parts to finish their rods and customs, this story relates to a 61 year old classic that has spent it’s entire life close to its original birth place!
What’s a car enthusiast to do when he lives in a seaside town with a great golf course in seasonal Victoria and he knows his golf game consists of a lot of walking, broken up by disappointment and bad arithmetic? Rekindle that love affair of tinkering with old school cars and parts out back in the shed! Neil Harbison is one such guy who knew his golf game stunk and his spare time was better spent chasing spare parts for flathead motors than chasing little white balls out of sand bunkers!
“My tortured brain flowed with adrenaline, anticipating the adventure ahead while battling the effects of jetlag after the 13 hour flight across the Pacific as I made my way through the hustle and bustle of LA life. I finally reached my destination, the home of my recently purchased black 1950 Mercury coupe! As I swung open the driver’s side door, I thanked my American friend for all his help with the purchase of my new dream machine and sunk into the freshly upholstered white vinyl bench seat and fired her up. She sounded good! Read More →
Growing up in the home of Australian hot rodding, Castlemaine in central Victoria, Kelvin Waddington’s direction in life was inevitably skewed towards the modified car scene, in particular, the hot rodding scene. “I joined the local hot rod club when I was 12 here in Castlemaine and I’ve been messing around with cars since I was 10 years old. I did my spray painting apprenticeship at a local smash repair shop and then I started my own paint and panel business that I’ve now been involve in for 36 years! My two boys, Marc and Heath run the company now and have expanded into the full workshop and aftermarket parts business you see here” he explains.
Drag racing in the early sixties became so popular in America it caught the attention of the major automotive manufacturers as a way of “racing on Sunday and selling on Monday.” For this reason, NHRA was forced to restructure the rules by introducing a new class in order to differentiate between the mass produced race cars known as Super Stocks and “special equipped” cars where by basically bigger cubic inch engines were shoehorn into the smaller lighter weight bodies of their respective makes in order to go faster and win.
The introduction of the A, B and C/FX classes allowed the automotive manufacturers to experiment with various engine/ body combinations on the drag strip before committing to mass production of the successful combinations for youth orientated factory built muscle cars. FX refers to “factory experimental” while the initial letter classes the cars according to the vehicle’s weight per cubic inch of the engine inserted into its engine bay.
There’s no such thing as a production line hotrod. Every one of these unique machines has been built by someone, be it a solo effort in a garage over many weekends or by a team of professionals in a purpose built premises. But don’t always assume the person behind the wheel is the builder, some rod owners prefer to appreciate the machine that has been built by others. This by no means takes anything away from the rod owner as they themselves still love the hot rodding scene, know their way around these unique cars of craft and simply prefer to spend their time enjoying the hot rodding scene in a machine that just ticked all the right boxes for them. If the glove fits, wear it!
The Lowrider scene, a subculture that emanated from the Mexican- American Barrios of Los Angles, California in the 1940 and 50s has seen its visual styles and culture transverse the Pacific to find a growing popularity on our shores and in amongst our automotive community. From the vibrant custom Kandy paint schemes and air brush illustrations to the ground hugging aesthetics of classic rides covering the chrome bumper era of the automotive industry thanks to extensive suspension modifications rolling on predominantly 13 inch wire wheels, these kings of cool are a visual art form in themselves, capturing the attention and imagination of both the young and old automotive enthusiast.
55 Alive was a road safety campaign designed to help the aging baby boomers in America to stay safe on their roads by helping them better understand the changes in road safety since they first received their ticket to drive back in the fifties and sixties.
For a guy like Rohan who has six 1955 Chevs in his garage, it’s bound to have a completely different meaning. To Rohan, 55 Alive could well be his slogan and the reason he rolls back his garage door every weekend! Rohan has always loved the look of the initial Tri-five Chevs. “I’ve had plenty of sixties Impalas and the odd 57 Chev but I’ve always loved the fifty fives. They just look tough.”
Old drag racers never die, they just reminisce. They don’t just reminisce while rocking back and forwards in a rocking chair on the front porch, they reminisce by recreating the highlights of their drag racing youth generally in the form of a street version of their former glory racers.