The Kenny Smith Roadster & Film

The Kenny Smith Roadster & Film

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve always felt that the January, 1951 edition of Hot Rod Magazine features the best cover photo of all time and on any magazine. Essentially, it’s a photo of Kenny Smith’s roadster bathed in the harsh glare of KTLA’s camera coverage of the Motorama in the heart of LA.

What emerges from this collision of metal and celluloid is a visage both smokey and mysterious, a snapshot of pure adrenaline wrapped in chrome. Behold, dear reader, the sinister allure of an early hot rod captured in its prime:

But wait… the saga of Kenny’s roadster doesn’t end there; it’s merely the beginning of a cinematic odyssey. Fast forward to the pages of the “Best Hot Rods” annual, where the editors, intoxicated by the siren call of Hot Rods and Hollywood, lay bare the essence of American ingenuity. And who steals the spotlight? None other than Kenny’s roadster, ensconced in the embrace of a leggy model, armed with wrenches, goggles, and high heels – a tableau of mechanical prowess and feminine mystique.

At first glance, perhaps, these images may seem merely pedestrian, lost amidst the cacophony of a busy layout. But, if you dare to peel back the layers, to focus on each frame individually, a revelation awaits. Can you feel it? Can you see it? Has there ever existed a hot rod as inherently photogenic as the enigmatic Kenny Smith roadster?

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