The Panty Dropper
In the 1920’s, Rudolph Valentino could pull wool better than just about anyone. One square look from the “latin lover” is all it took to get most women to drop their drawers lickedly split. It was a blessing and a curse. A blessing because… Well, what red blooded man wouldn’t want such a super power? And a curse because, no one that cool ever lives past the age of 35 or so. It just doesn’t happen.
Rudolph’s work on the silent silver screens of the 1920’s got him his fame, his fame and his looks got him his women, and his piss poor pleura brought him his early death at the age of 31 in 1926.
Of course when you are that cool and you die that young, the public develops a kind of twisted admiration for you and your short life. They talk about what you could have been as if that’s what you were. They forget about that time you knocked up a hooker in Bangkok and instead focus on that little girl you saved from the runaway train on the big screen. They also name their kids after you.
Enter the Rudolph Valentino of 1958 Trend Book fame. At the time his Corvette was featured with two small images in the Custom Cars Annual, he was in his early 20’s. You do the math… I’d be willing to bet that Rudolph was named after the panty dropper from Italy that died young. Not that it matters – it just makes a damned fine opening for this article.
That’s not to say that Rudolph’s Corvette couldn’t carry an article on it’s own. It probably could if I could find more images of it. But all I have is these two small shots and a brief description. The images included give you a run down on the styling changes Rudolph made – tasteful and mostly European inspired. But he wasn’t purely a style man… Nope. This little ’54 also featured a bored and stroked 235-inch blueflame equipped with an Iskenderian cam, Jahns pistons, and three Carter sidedraft carbs. And to top it off, Rudolph’s vette also featured “exotic suspension modifications” and Maserati brakes.
Rudolph called it the “Golden Boy.” I call it the Panty Dropper.