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Customs Change for the sake of change?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by John Denich, Sep 19, 2009.

  1. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 6,768


    I agree. Just look at some of the 50's "little books" and you will find some really ugly customs.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2009
  2. Gator
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,016


    I for one agree, over chopped, out of proportion clown cars abound anymore. Make sure and throw in a few skulls and spider webs for good measure.

    BUT a lot of the cars in the 'little books' didn't stand the test of time very well either.

    The guy who's bought a couple of my previous projects has kind of a formula he follows - regardless of the car / truck he's working on it gets a set of 4" wide whites, cruiser skirts, a huge visor and fake patina.

    Like somebody here said, you can't explain good taste to someone who doesn't have any.
  3. Retro Jim
    Joined: May 27, 2007
    Posts: 3,860

    Retro Jim

    Isn't that the damn truth !
    Some of these people now days seem to have been in the wrong line when common sense was handed out for free !
    I just don't understand it !

  4. Jack Luther
    Joined: Oct 24, 2005
    Posts: 531

    Jack Luther

    BigVinDaddyMac says it all in the first sentence of his post (above). Remove the reference the "car" and insert "music" or just about any art form (or anything else) and the statement holds up. Good taste is good taste, and good taste stands the test of time.
  5. this seems like a good time for my new favorite quote

  6. str8 6 str8 edge
    Joined: Sep 7, 2006
    Posts: 231

    str8 6 str8 edge
    from Tampa

    It's difficult to debate taste. Values are subjective. To tell someone their taste is wrong is ridiculous. That being said, we all end up with the car for us. If an over chopped car with spider web exhaust stacks is what someone wants to be seen in, than that's what they deserve to be seen in. That person would probably not appreciate a well proportioned Hot Rod.

    As for modifying a car just to be different, there is definitely a natural tendency to personalize our cars. They are extensions of us. I absolutely want to make my car mine. If there was a correct way to customize a car, we would all end up with the same car. Not very custom.

    For my taste I think over chopped cars, fake patina, stretched out lowered model As ect. , look wacky, zany or cartoonish. I have a hard time not taking cars serious and this style doesn't work for me. It looks like it degrades the vehicle. Like the owner doesn't respect the car. I think for car guys this is where we take things personal. We see the car as a victim.

    As far as air bags go, I've always gotten the impression from old photos that the builders were trying to go as low as possible. Seeing later photos of Watson's Grapevine, driveways would have been a hazard to navigate. As low as some of the old customs are, it's hard not to think they could be made more drivable and safer with air bags. I have a hard time thinking that the builders in the 50's would reject this option.To discount something because the technology is from the minitruck craze seems a little irresponsible. I have only owned vintage American cars since the 80's. I've never been into imports, tuners, minitrucks or the like. I'm not part of a craze. I've owned my current car for seven years and it's been bagged for two. I drive my car a lot and now that it's bagged it feels safer, and is a bunch more fun to drive.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2009
  7. It isn't just the "young guys" that get their taste from the mags, I know many people my age that haven't got a clue. When they decide they want a custom they go to the builder with a check list, super chop top, shave handles and everything else, bag it, chrome everything that unbolts or unscrews, mega watt stereo, automatic opening and remote operated everything
    My thought is not every mod or change works on every car. Some cars look better with door handles, some with little or no chop, even some OE trim looks good. Some cars just need wheels and a little lowering and you’re done, others need a bit more work.
    I am no big fan of restored cars, I love well done customs, but to modify a car with no clear picture of what it needs is just ridicules. I see it now with the whole “gasser” trend.
    I think Sam Barris set the mark with the Hirohata Merc. And one car that comes to mind today is Kim Mejia’s Lincoln both are subtle and tastefully done. And I don’t even like pink cars..
    Joined: Nov 18, 2003
    Posts: 906

    from CA

    when i first got my 51 chevy i told everyone i was going to chop it. well that didnt happen. i talked to an older custom car guy and he put right to the point with me. he said" first thing you want to start at the bottom of your car and work your way up." i was like " what do you mean?" he replied" get he stance first. then just start at the bottom. fix any body work that need to be fix or replaced.then start the customizing. shave, dechrome,do any body mods and changes. then if you really want it chopped and it will FLOW smothly then chop it. look at the car as if you can brake it up in 1/3s. the body should be 2/3 and the roof should be 1/3." by the way he isnt much older than me,but just was doing it longer than me. this was all said to me by =MIKE= .

    i cant stand to see some of the cars being chopped just so someone can say " LOOK AT ME! I HAVE A CHOPPED CAR!!" especially when there are big dents and rust hole in the body.
    Joined: Nov 18, 2003
    Posts: 906

    from CA

    well ive talked with a few guys who had customs by the BARRIS's back in the late 40s and early 50s. one guy had a 40 chevy and he got it in the mags. we looked at the pics and it looked bad ass. the stance was killer and low. he told me that GEORGE BARRIS would have like 10 guys in the cars or some kind of weights to make it as low as possible for the photo. also he said that when they would go to car show that some of them would drive on the bump stops. just to make it look good for the shows. it was a good laugh to learn how they looked so low back then.
  10. checkoutmyink
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 101


    Excellent thread!!!!
  11. resqd37Zep
    Joined: Aug 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,217

    from Nor Cal

    I think we forget Kustoms have always had two catagories. There is the Mild Kustom with a minor shave and a dropped stance and the full blown Radical Kustom. I remember going to indoor shows in the 70's and radical Kustom was no longer about good taste, it was how many points could your score for over modifying your ride. As much as you 'd like to blame this new trend on the young mini truckin/now hot roddin car guys this shit has been going on for a long time.
    I have a local Hall of Fame builder and I love the guy to death but I look at some of his show cars from back in the days and my gag reflex's kick in.
  12. merc-o-madness
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,544


    yup this is what i believe its 100% true. lotta people making extreme stuff without looking at it closely. doing stuff to be different but not makeing much sense in styling. way too much extreme slope chops out there, and slammed cars laying frame.i like realistic nicely styled kustoms and well done radical kustoms not trend mobiles
  13. dante81_98
    Joined: Sep 26, 2005
    Posts: 504

    1. A-D Truckers

    So where did you get your start? So what if some of us got our start in mini trucks and "tuner" cars. That sure as hell doesn't mean that we are just going to "fuck up" whatever we build. I would bet that most of the minitruckers that get into early model customs end up building some killer rides. Look at Ernie's (editor of MiniTruckin Magazine) 53 Chevy and numerous Cadillacs or Tito's (founder and still member of MINITRUCK club Negative Camber) trucks. Both are hardcore minitruckers and members of this site that have started dipping into early model iron with results that the guys on this board sure seem to love. I hope some day to be able to put my name next to theirs in the list of minitruckers that build some killer customs.

    I am sorry that I couldn't afford to get/build an early model truck, or car, that I could daily drive reliably while going to college, but we have to start somewhere. Maybe you should embrace the fact that they think enough of the old iron to start saving them instead of just building minitruck after minitruck. Embrace it and teach us something instead of looking down your nose at us and talking shit.

    My .02 cents.

    //NC\\ AZ
  14. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,719

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    I've got to get on this thread, just on principle!
    Hey, John...I was at that of the last that Bradley actually went to, to pick out his choice for an award. I probably had my Lavender Pearl 54 Chevy mild custom there.
    I totally agree with Bradley. I was lucky enough to have been taught by an old timer from the 50's who helped instill this ethic in me, thoug I like to think I started out with "some" taste! We would spend a LOT of time discussing changes, mocking parts up, looking at cars from far away and different angles to see if our mods were really working.
    sometimes you have to roll that car out of the shop and look at it from 15-20 feet away to really SEE the car!
    I wish more folks would abide by his suggestions, but I don't think that will ever happen. Too many "fad followers", attention getters, and "more is better" builders out there. But that's OK, too...just makes the tasteful carss look even better!!!!!!!
    Joined: Nov 18, 2003
    Posts: 906

    from CA

    so true. i walk right by a lot of these over done cars. i get sad when i see a car chopped way to much. i just think the car is ruined now, but its not my car. i do stop and look at car that are pretty close to period correct. like johns chevy. i looked at his car like 3 or 4 times at primer nats. it is just beautiful and classy.

    all the fads come and go. i do think that the chit mag of olskool rods really fucked things up. lots of pics and articles of rides that look like crap. well thanks to hop up for showing what customs should be.
  16. poboyross
    Joined: Apr 29, 2009
    Posts: 2,139


    Please tell me that's actually one of those perspective chalk drawings that this guy does on the ground...

    like this:

  17. banjorear
    Joined: Jul 30, 2004
    Posts: 3,779


    I've come to appreciate mods that are done like that. I guess it helps if you know what the original started liked to see the differences with all the mods.

    I was able to appreciate this when at a show there was a custom Merc. and stock one side by side. When you looked at the custom by itself, it was just a good looking car.

    When viewed sitting next to the stocker, the difference was drastic.
  18. i agree completely... if you can't stand back and appreciate the whole car... what's the point?

    as much as Floyd Cotterpin was lauded here on the HAMB while he was alive i feel Cadzilla was his and his employee's best work... that car still speaks to me all these years later.


  19. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,450


    Just like drinking, it's important to know when to say when. I've been fortunate enough to have my kustom car education from a knowledgeable group of guys like Chopolds, and even before that from guys who were raised around true old school kustoms. It's hard to fault the kids learning nowadays, they pick up a copy of OSR and think that's the way it really is.
  20. roddinron
    Joined: May 24, 2006
    Posts: 2,677


    When I saw the title, I thought it was going to be about Obama, but of course, the same principle does apply.
    Anyway, I totally agree, and have been preaching it for years. Recently, there was a tread where someone proudly showed their over chopped (imo) Chevy. One guy said this- "Anything under 6" isn't chopping, its' a trim-'just a little off the top, if you please"
    And another this- "Chop it till you hit your head on the roof....then chop it some more. Hey cat whatever floats your boat is cool by me."
    It just amazes me that someone can make a blanket statement like that. I like a well chopped car, if it enhances it, but imo a lot of nice cars are being ruined today by hacks. Each car should be studied from every angle for long hours before any cutting begins. I wish a lot of these guys would just lower them and drive them till the fad fades, then move on and let someone with good taste buy the car.
  21. banjorear
    Joined: Jul 30, 2004
    Posts: 3,779


    Word. That car is one of finest examples of a custom car.
  22. arkiehotrods
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 5,821


  23. retromotors
    Joined: Dec 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,045


    Hey Chad,
    I spent the day driving (family trip ... boring). While droning down the highway I spent some time thinkin' about what you said, and I have to admit you have a point.

    I guess it's pretty easy to make generalized statements and tar everyone with the same brush when you're just casting out shit on the internet, and Lord knows HAMBers aren't known for pulling any punches!
    But you're right, everyone has to start somewhere, and I suppose where you start is defined by what's going on when you're at that "certain age" where the gods (or demons?) of internal combustion start whisperin' to ya.

    I won't offer a blanket apology for my statement or the somewhat tongue-in-cheek "lemmings" cartoon, but I will admit they probably don't apply to everyone.
    I guess it's not where you started out, but what you bring with you that's really important.

    A well written response ... my compliments!
  24. str8 6 str8 edge
    Joined: Sep 7, 2006
    Posts: 231

    str8 6 str8 edge
    from Tampa

    Wow! That was a cool exchange. Nice job, both of you. The HAMB makes me laugh constantly, but it's cool to see some serious talk ounce in a while.
  25. merc-o-madness
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,544


    yeah not to stereotype all mini trucker guys but alot seem to go for the frame on the ground look, (which is not a period correct way to lower a car) don't get me wrong i like a low car but that look really doesn't do it for me. im not knocking anything about quality of the ride just that the fact the car is laying frame. If you ever look some at some of the old little books like the Custom Cars Magazine, Car Craft, Customs Illustrated, etc... you wont find a car that low.
    But build what YOU like you have every right to, just if you have it slammed like that, know that its stance is not period correct by a long shot. wheels and stance plays a big roll of what syle your car is gunna look like.
  26. retromotors
    Joined: Dec 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,045


    Yeah, I guess if I had to pick out one single aspect of a lot of current builds that I dislike/don't understand, the "lay frame" concept would be it.

    And I'm not even too hung up on "tradition".
    I mean I'm not one of those:
    "This is gonna be a mid-June 1958 build. I really love those (insert brand) widgets, but they came out on Thursday of that week and I'm shootin' for Tuesday. Damn .... can't run em!"

    My problem with it is (in my not-so-humble opinion) it looks like crap!

    Really .... what looks good about a car that's sittin' on the ground?

    Nothing "flows" anymore, the wheel well openings aren't anywhere near the wheels. The vehicle just looks broken!

    A recent thread featured someone's early '50s coupe. (Brand deleted so I don't have to offer any more apologies!):rolleyes:
    Anyway, the car was gorgeous! The color choice, paint job, wheels, everything was spot on. Well, almost everything!
    The whole purpose of the thread was to talk about his recent mods (probably about a gazillion dollars worth) so he could "set 'er on the ground".
    Again ..... WTF ....????

    But hey, it's his car and he obviously likes it.
    So I'd better get my vintage ass off the thread before I go off on another "codger" tirade.:D
  27. Shifty Shifterton
    Joined: Oct 1, 2006
    Posts: 4,965

    Shifty Shifterton

    To me the highest compliment you can give a customizer is you can't tell it was done. It means the modification follows the car designer's intent and enhance the whole.

    The best kustoms probably look an awful lot like the designer's original concept sketch before consumer realities fucked it all up.
  28. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,776

    from Texas

    That rule applies to all hot rods as well! That's why mockup is so essential to getting a car right.
  29. SinisterCustom
    Joined: Feb 18, 2004
    Posts: 8,266


    For the most part....yes.
    But not so much "here" Hambland, alot of the custom guys have a good handle on RESTRAINT.
    I think many of the cars at shows simply aren't finished, so passing judgement on 'em isn't totally fair....unless it's way overchopped or some other over the top mod that can't be overcome with finishing...did that make sense? Haha.
  30. Mucha Muchacha
    Joined: Jan 26, 2009
    Posts: 35

    Mucha Muchacha

    Whoa...Thats a very amazing compliment there Rustygem. Thank You:D:D

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