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Hot Rods Did You grow Up In The HAMB Era?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by CAHotRodBoy, Mar 3, 2021.

  1. CAHotRodBoy
    Joined: Apr 22, 2005
    Posts: 404


    If not, how did you become a traditional hot rod fan?

    I was born in 1956 and like a lot of us here, became a car nut at an early age. The moment is well defined in my memory. In 1960 my dad bought a little run about boat as we lived near a lake. The dealer delivered it to our house and his tow vehicle was a bright red 1959 Impala convertible with white interior and top. My dad was upset with me because I was more interested in the car than the boat.

    We lived in a very rural area in northern New England so there wasn't any hot rods around. I got all my knowledge and dreams from magazines. So it was the tail end of the HAMB era. Coming of age in the early 70's (graduated high school in '74) my preferences are for that era but there were still a lot of HAMB era cars running around then. I think a lot of those cars got "updated" in the 70's and the 80's peanut M&M style cars really killed them off.

    We moved to upstate New York (Albany area) when I was an early teen and I still remember seeing my first "real" hot rod. It was a bright yellow Model A or Deuce highboy coupe (which, I don't remember) and it was very much a Milner car but this was a few years before the movie came out. It was definitely a SBC with a tunnel ram and 4 speed with black diamond tuck interior. I think it had slotted aluminums but it could have been chrome steelies like Milner's car. We used to hang out at the Pizza Hut and this car was parked in the parking lot. I remember just staring at it for hours and looking over every detail. It had roaster style headers and I remember looking at both sides of the car and wondering why the rear pipe on one side had a bigger gap between it and the firewall than the other side. Now by this time I knew what the internals of an engine looked like but it took me a minute to realize that because the connecting rods have one in front of the other that the exhaust ports would be configured the same making one side farther forward than the other.
    I studied the clutch linkage and figured out how the bell crank worked. Followed the fuel line to the mechanical pump and then up to the carbs. The intricacies of a mechanical throttle linkage for both carbs. It had velocity stacks with those chromes screens on top.
    Anyway, it was a typical late 60's style car and it had a ton of influence on me. As you can see by my avatar car, it still does. While that is my personal preference in style, I still like HAMB era cars too because those cars still showed up in magazines of the times.

    I think most of us gravitate towards cars from our youth, especial those that were around when we came of age. I'm curious how some of our younger members came to appreciate the HAMB era cars. Why do you like cars from a time that was probably before you were born?
  2. samurai mike
    Joined: Feb 24, 2009
    Posts: 506

    samurai mike

    grow up? what's that?
  3. oldiron 440
    Joined: Dec 12, 2018
    Posts: 2,407

    oldiron 440

    Exactly, must be something for a bucket list.
  4. 0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Joined: Nov 12, 2010
    Posts: 1,482

    0NE BAD 51 MERC

    When I was 6 {1961} my Moms parents next door neighbors son had an old green car. but for a while I did not see it. Then one day my grandfather and my dad and I where siting on the front porch and Veto the neighbors son pulls up in this really low black car with a loud exhaust, but not a broken muffler loud but a really cool loud. My grandfather and my dad get up and walk down to the side walk and my grand father says "well I see you got it done." and they all started talking . Mean while my little ass is walking and staring at the coolest thing I think I had ever seen! "A few years later I swear I had the same feeling when the girls I thought had cuddies suddenly looked great in short skirts and V neck sweaters! lol " But as I looked at this cool black evil looking car I realized the grill was the same as his old green car . And as I heard them talk I heard things like chopped and shaved and decked. Did not have a clue what they where talking about untill a few years later when my older cousin gave me some Rod and custom magazines and I realized that old green car was a 49 Mercury! In 1963 I met my moms brother, my uncle Bill's 57 Pan head and in 1968 I got a ride in my dads brother in law my uncle Doug's 55 chevy with a 327 ,4 speed , fiberglass tilt front end and raider mags. Got my license in 71 and its been custom rodded machines and Harleys ever since. Some where muscle cars, some where vans and since I rediscovered Rod and Custom magazine in 89 a lot of pre 64 models including my 51 Merc "24 years and counting , my 55 Chevy {although semi pro streeted and 427 powered ,it is my version of uncle Dougs car an my 64 Merc Marauder which I am redoing into a mid 60.s super stock. I love everything custom , hot rodded and harley. and it all started with a 6 year old kid realizeing that you could take an old green car and make it a cool black one!!
    chryslerfan55, wicarnut and Budget36 like this.

  5. stuart in mn
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 1,998

    stuart in mn

    I'm the same age as you. I like the HAMB era cars for the simplicity and purity of their aesthetic - let's face it, the style of hot rods in 1974 was pretty questionable. :)
    mgtstumpy likes this.
  6. bobkatrods
    Joined: Sep 22, 2008
    Posts: 693

    from aledo tx

    I may have no choice in growing Old,,But I choose not to grow up,that's for boring people
  7. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 6,174


    Born in 1946, took apart my toys when I was young and tried to put them back together. Guess nothing's changed.
  8. G V Gordon
    Joined: Oct 29, 2002
    Posts: 5,705

    G V Gordon
    from Enid OK

  9. I started out as a kid in 1953 and has been that way ever since. I began to be called Mikey when that stupid LIFE cereal TV commercial came out and I am still called Mikey and Mikey likes it.. I have been told by many; "Mikey, don't ever stop being a kid".

    My first model kit was an AMT '32 coupe. I think it cost around $.89 at Uncle Bill's Discount Storein 1960 or 61. I built the channeled version in the upper right corner.

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
  10. hotrodjack33
    Joined: Aug 19, 2019
    Posts: 2,791


    Yep, I'm too old for this poll to.:(
    I was joking with the neighbor's kid, who built & drives a nice "tuner", that I'm SO old...that my first drill press was coal powered. I had him thinking for a minute:p
  11. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 5,097

    from Berry, AL

    I guess, since I was born in 1959, I grew up in the final years of the HAMB era. My influence was more late 60’s and 70’s cars, but ever since I started having an interest in cars I’ve always loved both pre war and post war stuff. Build style wasn’t as big a deal as what it was, 2 doors were cool, 4 doors were family cars.
    chryslerfan55, wicarnut and Budget36 like this.
  12. trevorsworth
    Joined: Aug 3, 2020
    Posts: 891


    I'm 25... I couldn't tell you where it came from - maybe I spent too long staring at the wrong parts of ZZ Top's music videos?
  13. Well yeah, growing up in the rural South we didn't have much but my mom insisted that I read and we made regular visits to the library and that's where I checked out a book by Henry Gregor Felsen.

    The book was HOT ROD and reading that book ignited the spark, over the next few weeks I read every Felsen book the library had, then one Saturday morning I went with my mom to Bryant's corner drug store. the type that had a soda fountain and they also had a magazine rack so while mom was shopping I sat down in the floor and started looking a magazines.

    As I was looking through the magazines I spied a single issue of HOT ROD magazine and I grabbed it and just stared at the cover, my mother bought me that magazine and I couldn't put it down until I read it cover to cover, including all the ad's, that image on the cover of hot rod magazine made a huge impression on me and from that very day I knew I would own a hot rod some day.

    I was 12 years old at that time and that magazine was dated January 1962 and the cover featured a beautiful red Model A roadster pickup, what is ironic about this story is that truck was owned by a Hamb member Dean Lowe.

    Later that year I bought a 1932 Ford 5 window coupe, that's another story and the car was short lived, years later I ended up building a Model A pickup.

    68 years later I still like the old style hot rods,always will. HRP
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
  14. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,221


    Born in the late 40's, grew up in the 50's. New cars were flashy and the dealers went through a big deal when the new models came out. They were covered until the unveiling date. My Uncle used to like to go and look at all the new models when they came out. I got to go along, what fun!. I think the only time I got chased out of a new car was when I spent too much time in a new 57 or 58 Corvette.

    When I was 12 or 13, I started hanging out with my cousin at a corner gas station. The attendant bought a 39 Ford coupe with a hot flathead. Unfortunately the block was cracked and leaking water into the oil. He managed to buy a 49 Ford which he turned into a stock car, but it only lasted a week or two until he wrecked it. I helped take the 49 engine and put it in the 39 swapping all the speed parts onto the 49 engine. After that I was hooked on hot rods.
  15. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,783

    from Colorado

    Turned 80 years old today. San Diego had the Prowler’s and the Bean Bandits along with about two dozen other car clubs. Crower Cams, Schaeffer Flywheel and Autopower were just a few of the companies started there. Every high school had an annual car show. Got lucky and started writing for Petersen magazines in 1962 and made a fine living in the hot rod industry for 40 years. I still maintain that traditional hot rodding is thinking outside the box and it’s not a paint by numbers project.
  16. Dave G in Gansevoort
    Joined: Mar 28, 2019
    Posts: 796

    Dave G in Gansevoort
    from Upstate NY

    Born in 54, started going to the "Valley" in 60. They were flathead powered cars back then by rules. My brother had a lot car when he was about 14 (I was 10). Then Dad bought an old aircraft Tug, intending to get gang mowers for it as he had 2 boys who could mow lots of lawn. It was ourjobto get it running again. My brother pulled the plugs (it was a flathead 6 Dodge engine) and filled each cylinder with Marvel Mystery oil. Our friend Sam who's father had a Shell station at the foot of the hill helped get it to turn over.

    Using the garage pickup it was towed to the end of our driveway, and with my brother on it, we got it rolling down the hill. It was in 3rd gear, and the hood was off. When it got up to maybe 15-20 mph my brother dumped the clutch, shocking the rings loose. Remember I mentioned itwas a flathead 6, and the hood was off, and it was full of Marvel Mystery oil? Well to Sam and mefollowing behind in the pickup, it looked like a motorboat roostertail. Yep got it turning over...

    We've both been car guys ever since. He goes for restorations, me, to quote Tim Allen "More Power! R R R".
  17. Exactly what is HAMB era? Tell me that, then I'll let you know.
    deucemac, jimmy six, wicarnut and 7 others like this.
  18. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,551


    I was born in 56. My parents were into stock car racing, and my earliest memories were from the local dirt track, they ran the 30s & 40s coupes there until just past 66 when they switched over to the "late models". The late models were OK, but I loved the shape of those coupes. I also loved dirt track racing, so after the coupes were gone, I turned my attention to the late models. During that time I started getting into model cars. Most that were available were like the late models at the track, but whenever I could find an old coupe model, I had to get it and build it like the old race cars.
    I didn't have much of an idea of what was running around on the street other then the new cars of the time. From time to time you might see an old car, but few were fixed up, that I knew of, until I started working at the gas station.
    That was when I discovered there were really nice old cars that were fixed up. Occasionally a 30s coupe would show up at the gas station, man was that cool!

    On the gas station paycheck, I soon discovered that fixing up 30s cars was way out of my price range, but I could buy old performance cars pretty cheap. I did my time with dirt track car, and old performance cars for a lot of years.
    About the time the reality of how expensive dirt track racing was, I started looking for other ways to get the fix of my hot rod habit.
    I was working in the shop at a J.C. Penney's auto center at the time. One evening I was talking with the salesman that was out front, and the I said something about wishing I could find an old coupe I could afford. He just happened to have an old project he had given up on that he would sell to me for $75, and it had a title! I should have known better, but I bought the pile of cut up, rotted away, car body with a butchered frame, and a good title, and drug it home.

    It didn't take very long before I understood I really didn't have the ability to build that car at the time. The car sat just off my driveway for a number of years, but I had a vision and a dream. I acquired tools, equipment, and knowledge over that time. I finally had a chance to build a frame for the car and get the body mounted on the frame before the project stalled again. It took about 3 years before I was able to get back on it, but then I finished it in about 9 months. The car wasn't really HAMB traditional (of course I had no idea the HAMB even existed then, and maybe it didn't, it would have been about 1995), and it wasn't exactly how I wanted to build it, but it drove great. We lived a mile on a gravel road with two sets of sharp "S" curves, so I had to compromise and put fenders on it.

    It was sometime during the 7 years we drove that 35 Dodge 2 door sedan that someone told me about the HAMB. I had joined then as 50dodge4x4. I was here before the great reset of 2003. I changed my handle in 2016 after a computer crash and I couldn't remember my old password. By that time the 50 Dodge 4x4 had been dead for 5 years, so it was time for a name change as well. Gene
    wicarnut, dana barlow and Budget36 like this.
  19. Rockysfirstcar.jpg I was playing at recess when I saw this brand new blue and white 55 Chevy come down the hill, stop at the sign and continue on, I was mesmerized! That was in 2nd grade.
    When I was 8, I was playing in our front yard when I heard a deafening was 2 teenage brothers racing a pair of old primered fords. Never saw anything like that before. Don't know what years they were but my dad said they were old Fords. Then came plastic model cars, sneaking out my bedroom window to walk downtown and watch the hotrods and customs "dragging the gut".....even got to know the local high school dropout hoodlum and rode with him on a few midnight runs in his red 40 Merc convertible with a white Carson-style top...had a 50 Nash grille! I was in Jr High.
    My fascination with hot rods and customs seemed to accelerate to the point I'm at today.
    The pedal car? My Dad told his dad I was a car fanatic at 4 years old so Grampa bought me a brand new car!.....check the look on my face...I was sumthin.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
    OzMerc39, wicarnut, Lil32 and 6 others like this.
  20. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,037


    Card carrying born in 1946 Boomer.
    First real memory of being around anything done on cars was when I was with my dad down at a gas station in town when I was probably four and he and a buddy were painting his 41 Buick Fast back. I don't know what color or any more about it I just know I was there when it was painted.
    A year or so later he took me with him when he picked up a new 51 Ford two door at the local Ford Dealer and years later he told me about something I said about it as we drove away from the dealer. We did the new car trip to see relatives in that one that summer driving all the way to San Diego to see my aunt and uncle and the later to be the Tall Stahl boys from Chula Vista (My cousins if you grew up in Chula Vista in the 60's and 70's.
    I could id just about every make of car from that time frame when I was little and was always a car nut it seems.
  21. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 7,230


    Great reads. I was born in 61 so grew up through the muscle car era. Rarely saw Hotrod As, etc, until I was going to runs with a truck club I was in.
    I see more “traditional “ rods now than I did 40+ years ago on the streets. Heck, maybe I just notice them now and not then?
    wicarnut and dana barlow like this.
  22. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 4,274

    Ned Ludd

    Born right at the end of the HAMB era, in '63. For me it's not so much about nostalgia as a difference in technological paradigm between then and now, and a sense of potential lost.
  23. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 21,972


    I’m a 1968 model. Dad was a drag racer. He ran up until 1976. We also ran drag boats in my early days.

    I read stacks of 1950’s through 1970’s magazines in the garage. Didn’t realize it was forming my opinions on what a hot rod should look like.

    For my second birthday, I got my first car. A 1936 Ford pickup. I built it starting at the age of 12. Finished it when I was 16, drove it all through high school. Did some street racing and cruising.
    Still have it

    Now I am stuck in 1962.
  24. hotrodjack33
    Joined: Aug 19, 2019
    Posts: 2,791


    Yeah, I was a little confused by the term "HAMB era" myself.
    Does it mean growing up in the '40s-'60s when traditional Hot Rodding happened...OR...does "HAMB era" mean growing up with the internet and having the HAMB forums available?
    chryslerfan55, wicarnut, Tman and 2 others like this.
  25. 57Custom300
    Joined: Aug 21, 2009
    Posts: 1,371

    from Arizona

    49er here. Caught the hot rod/rock & roll bug early. Grew up in Detroit and spent many summer nights watching the local hot rods cruising the main drags. Seems like when I returned for the service in 71 the world had changed. Mostly stick to the old ways unless I have to update myself out of necessity or convienince.
  26. topher5150
    Joined: Feb 10, 2017
    Posts: 2,519


    I "grew up" in the billet, tweed interior, and pastel colors era.
  27. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 11,073

    from Zoar, Ohio

    68 now.
    Didn’t take long to join the anti-gold chain and anti-billet crowd during the 90’s.
    A lot of it was voiced and began with the original young punks on this website. Hearing about their distaste for bathtub sano beauties and how they were close to kit cars in the 1-800 era was refreshing to me.
    I’ve always been a muscle car fan.
    That had a lot to do with my first experiences in real life cars in the 60’s.
    wicarnut and hotrodjack33 like this.
    Joined: Jan 24, 2010
    Posts: 2,206

    from IDAHO

    Born In 1948 And Started Hot Rodding In 1964...Still There... 607.png
    OzMerc39, quick85, wicarnut and 5 others like this.
  29. klawockvet
    Joined: May 1, 2012
    Posts: 426


    Born in 42. Dad was killed at Guadalcanal when I was 2 months old so all of the influences in life came from other relatives or neighbors. When I look back in time I realize that cars were still a relatively new invention for much of America, especially the rural parts. Coming from a ranching background it was expected that men and boys would have some mechanical ability. Everyone I knew worked on their own cars. It was something expected of men and boys. Modifications and "personal touches" were the norm. When I think back in time, cars had only been available to the average person for a little more than 50 years by the time the HAMB cut off of 1964 ended. I went to school in Fort Collins Colorado in 1969 and the neighboring rancher was still driving a horse and wagon to Laporte for supplies. In 1964 the new cars were vastly different than the ones from 1954 and those were vastly different than 42 and so on. In 1964 there were still people using Model A's for transportation and you could see an occasional nice prewar car in a used car lot. I bought my second 40 sedan in 63 from a lot in Alhambra, CA. In 1962 I bought a 28 roadster from a neighbor who was a fireman and he drove it every day to work. As I think back now the high tech cookie cutter POS cars from 10 years ago are about the same as the new ones. I cant even tell the difference between them. No wonder no one gets excited about seeing a new Honda, they are now just transportation. In the era of HAMB friendly cars the good ones had a soul and we had a real connection to them. I never lost that connection. Now I'm sad and need to go for a ride in a real car.
    deucemac, wicarnut, Lil32 and 5 others like this.
  30. I was born in 1948 in Southern California and like "HOTRODPRIMER" I discovered Felsen's work at the library sometime around 1958, the title was "30 minutes to Trenton" later to be changed to "Hot Rod", I couldn't put it down. The first model that I built was a AMT 1958 Pontiac that I sold to a kid down the street a month or two later ( nothing has changed there, build 'em, sell 'em and then regret it!). At some point around 10 or 11, I belonged to the General Motors Young Craftsmans Guild. My first magazine subscription was "Hot Rod" in January 1960. At the age of 13, I learned to drive in my brothers '53 Pontiac. Straight 8 and 3 on the tree. I took my drivers test in my mother's 1956 Chevy Belair. I don't know, does that make me H.a.m.b. era?
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
    wicarnut, Lil32, Budget36 and 4 others like this.

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