Filed under: Art & Inspiration
I’m in middle of reading a few great books about WWII right now, including “Forever Flying” by WWII ace pilot and POW R.A. “Bob” Hoover, who I met at the Reno Air Races a few years ago. There are many compelling reasons why the pilots and planes of the Second World War are so intriguing and captivating over 70 years later, but I’d like to take a minute to note the influence they had on hot rods as we know and love them. Please understand this is not to diminish in any way the great loss of life and extreme sacrifice that so many made during that dark time, but rather to focus on some things small, yet great, that came out of those flyers and the influence of the aircraft technology during that time: The wider use of a supercharger on gasoline engines, the P-38 fighter plane drop tank (aka the Birth of the Belly Tanker!), brake scoops for cooling, the plastic bubble canopy (Roth and Starbird’s signature), multiple, individual dash gauges, hydraulics for suspension, tube shock absorbers, bomber nose art, and the list goes on… Just look at any Dry Lakes hot rod of 1939 and compare it to the average Highboy roadster racing in 1949. I know I’ve left plenty of things off, so please add your own.
We have so much to thank our WWII veterans for, and the old cars we most love are just one more reason!