Way (Way) Over the Top

Way (Way) Over the Top

I like all vintage machines. Cars, trucks, bikes, tractors, trains, planes, you name it. If it has an engine I’m on board, and if it has wheels, well, all the better. Whether it’s from the early 1900s or the mid-’60s, it’s not hard to find something to love. Every one of the aforementioned modes of transportation have a whole lot in common, and some are certainly more interesting than others. But for today’s post, let’s focus on rods and customs.

Isn’t it strange how a set of fully polished magnesium five-spokes can look so right on one car and so wrong on another? Or how about that blown early Hemi will fit the bill here but not there? Some cars need fender skirts, while others should just be left alone. It’s all about context.

Ever notice how some paint schemes work perfectly on WWII airplanes but don’t quite work on some cars? Or how certain colors look great on farm implements but not mild customs? This week I was thinking about exhaust pipes—and how the car below raises some questions.

Here’s a photo of the car, not cropped as much.

What do we have here? A chopped and channeled Deuce Fordor built for show. Judging by the narrow whitewalls and flower-power display, I would argue that this snapshot came from the mid-’60s. Lots to see here, from the horizontal grille insert to the little foot nerf bars (a la Revell “Miss Deal” Studebaker, anyone?) Extra points for the neat pinstriping and the gauges in the firewall.

Then there’s those pipes. They’re over the top. (No, really, they are taller than the roof). Long, chromed and trumpet-tipped, they would be right at home on an early dragster, drag boat or chopper. But on a full-fendered Fordor? I’m not so sure. Without them, the car combines elements of the “Orange Crate” and the “Lil’ Coffin.” With them, it’s clearly going its own direction.

The owner dared to be different, and I like that. He put on those pipes to piss people off—to freak out the squares, if you will. It’s easy to say that they’re dumb, and that’s okay, because he didn’t want you to like them. It’s like the Japanese Bosozoku style for traditional hot rods. The exhaust is attention-grabbing. And for that reason, I’m writing about this car nearly 60 years after the photo was taken. What if it had ram’s horns? Or lakes pipes? I think it would be a different discussion—or no discussion at all.

Joey Ukrop

 End Note: (After the show, I would bolt on a set of standard, VHT white headers and drive home). Wouldn’t you?

 Photo found on the H.A.M.B.

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