The Way It Was

The Way It Was

Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of our partnership with Piero and the Mad Fabricator’s Society and with it comes some more very special footage. I’ll let Piero tell the story:

I met Scot Hamilton last year and we hit it off… Not only due to our mutual obsession of Hot Rods but for the fact that we are both film makers trying to preserve our Hot Rod culture as well. I’ve always been a fan of his “Dreams of Legends and “The Way It Really Was” films and thought some of that footage would go over well here. I sent Scot an email looking for some background and he was quick to reply…

Hey Piero,
I originally was given some footage of Don Tuttles, which was from 3 videos called ‘The way It Was’ and ‘Hot Rodding Potpourri 1 and 2’. His wife gave me the original film after he passed away. I met her in 2003 when I first started the documentary. When I was in film school, I re-edited the footage for personal viewing and reference for a script about hot rodding that i wrote, back in the early 90’s. I just cleaned it up and added a soundtrack of rockabilly and oldies music… Everyone liked it, so it was always in the back of my head… I also had lots of personal footage that I or my dad shot of Al Teague from the 70’s to the 90’s. My dad was the crew chief and tuner for Al and their pursuit of 400mph with a single engine 2-wheel drive car was where ‘Dreams of Legends’ comes from. In fact, in Al’s interview at the end of disc 4, he explains how “dreaming about 400mph, and actually doing it were 2 very different things.” That’s what it takes to be a legend and everyone i interviewed that pursued their own passion with cars, motorcycles, drags, lakes or bonneville had to make huge sacrifices in their lives to get there.

As for the rest of the footage I have, it came from all of the guys in the movie and their friends. There is also some public domain footage of Sid Davis’ movies and other 50’s things. I have tons of footage from the guys I met and it just kept pouring in, and it was great, really cool… But the problem with that, as you know, is that I had to get it all transferred and digitally enhanced – really expensive and timely.

I did allot of the transfers myself at a job a took in Reno working for ‘DVD’s for Less’, a great transfer company, mostly for home movie transfers and little editing jobs. That way I could use their equipment after (and during) work hours. It worked out alright. And yes, I did all of the editing. If you count the “greatest Hits’ DVD, (The Rough Cut) which I put out first, it was 9 1/2 hours of edited footage. What a mess – 14 months of solid editing…

I never intended to make a 7 1/2 hour documentary. You’d have to be crazy to do that, but once I started talking to these guys, meeting other guys with great stories, their families, seeing and finding new and different footage, I had to add them. Next thing you know, it’s 2 movies, then 4. But I got to feeling like these guys stories wouldn’t have been told if not for what I was doing, and that really motivated me to just make the movie longer. Fuck it, you know?

I wrote a book on the main guys like Al Teague, Tony Waters and Nolan White. It will probably never get published. I was, however, able to sell some of the stories to magazines like Traditional Rod & Kulture, Rodders Journal, Hop Up, and Speed & Chrome. It helped. I was broke.

As for the next project, I’ll throw together a part 5 and 6 (motorcycles and boats) and a couple of other guys that didn’t fit on part 4.

Also, i want to shop the script I wrote in college about hot rodding through the eyes of George Bentley, culminating with Al Teagues accomplishment. That has always been the motivation behind all of this, as well as my going to film school and working in this shitty industry. Their story tells a lot about hot rodding and racing, and the great generation that really started it all.

George won the first Daytona Beach trophy in 1950 and was at the first speed week. He drove the Evan’s belly tank to the top time on the beach at Daytona and a lot of other places. I need to get the script to someone like Jon Favreau. I met him when I started this and he was down to help on the documentary. He’s really into hot rodding – Bonneville, the dry lakes too; but his one thing was that it was going to be too long and to make it 90 minutes. I should have listened to him.

Thanks again for doing this Piero. I really appreciate it, and I know that the guys in the movie really appreciate it too.

– Scot

Most of the footage that Scot mentioned can be found on his DVDs at Of course, they all also feature incredible sound tracks from bands like:

– The Chop Tops
– The Paladines
– The Invisible Surfers
– Hellbound Hayride
– Juke Joint Gamblers
– Hot Rod Rebels
– The Sidemen and many more…

In any case, enough of the words. Enjoy the footage.
– Piero

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