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Hot Rods Does it have to be perfect? After all it's a Hot Rod

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by ct1932ford, May 17, 2019.

  1. redoxide
    Joined: Jul 7, 2002
    Posts: 403

    from Scotland

    I'm a Virgo too and shackled by the burden of perfectionism. In my case its self flagellation and to date after 40 years of trying i've never achieved it. I'm not talking about show quality cars, to me they are not the perfect hot rod but a bent toward one upmanship. I havent got a competitive bone in my body, the only competition is with myself to do better next time :) its a lonely hobby these days, we toil away in sheds accompanied by our projects and imagination.
    The perfect hot rod is a misnomer, there isn't such a thing, if there were they would all be the same kinda like a BMW or AUDI .. and really,who wants either of those pieces of mass produced crap.. Perfection is like Beauty. Its in the eye of the beholder .
    A pitted frame, a blister of rust, a dent or scratch, they all add to the soul of the car to perfectly age it If perfect means flawless then its impossible to achieve since it would have to appeal to everyone .. That's not reality thankfully. At 55 im just looking toward getting another hot rod on the road My perfection has saly eluded me so far. for 40 years I have wanted a flthead powered totally vintage parts inventory hot rod, no fancy pants parts, a manky old flathead a pitted 32 frame , a beat up original 30 coupe body with a reasonable chop, minimal interior, 16 inch steels and X plys. That would be my perfection,. I have all the bits , but the frame isnt as pitted as I would expect lol.. so I guess i will miss the boat again.. BUT lets face it, the climate phoneys are brainwashing people quicker than we can educate them to the truth that the climate is sound its the raping of the planet that's the big problem and unfortunately its all going to see an eventual end to our lifestyle .. SO in the tie I have left Im going to make sure I give it my best shot to ride in "MY" PERFECT hot rod . :) enjoy our PERFECT hobby while you still can and stop bitching :) Carry on men ..
  2. stpaulsdealmaker
    Joined: Sep 29, 2009
    Posts: 171


    I will have to admit I really like the old school not perfect paint get in and go cars, I say it because I am a lot older and my likes and dislikes have changed but in my heart I know I am older and just to doggone lazy to keep up a high end car, but J F K I really do like your Willys !
    Hombre and TrailerTrashToo like this.
  3. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 3,386



    When we were getting ready to buy and build our next project, we looked for a car that did not require much in the way of body work or rust repair. We found a Model A that was very old and dusty, sitting outside for months and bought it. We were getting the motor running, so we could actually take it out and sell it with the label, “running/working motor and transmission.” But, after getting it running, a new project popped up and took over. My brother had his eyes on a new 1958 348 Impala for the drags and cruising. (but, we did… “get the motor running…”)

    After a year or so of drag racing the 58 Impala, my brother’s thoughts went to building a gas coupe for the next project. This time, he said there would be no turning around and selling the project. So, we found a 1940 Willys under a tarp with weeds growing all around. It was in really good shape with little to no rust. If there was some rust, a buffing compound and elbow grease took care of that.

    My brother had ideas of which motor he wanted. His friend had a 3 speed, LaSalle transmission in his 1934 Ford 5 window coupe, so that is what we purchased. An SBC long block was found in a local speed shop, as well as a 56 Chevy 4:11 positraction rear axle set up, in a local scrap yard. So, now, we had the underpinnings and power for the Willys coupe. What about prepping the body and interior? My brother had always liked completely finished hot rods, paint, wheels, and powerful motors, etc. But, for this project, he wanted to build the Willys to run well first, then take it apart to do the detail finish work.
    The Willys needed little to the body, other than sanding, prior to the spraying primer paint. Once that was applied, then the whole car looked unfinished, but was ready to go with the motor and drive train installed.


    I wanted to finish the car with full interior/trunk upholstery, paint, and wheels. But, I could see where the money was going and it was going out, fast. So, yes, I joined the bandwagon to get the Willys coupe running well first, then do the detail finishing, later. As we got the SBC/6 Stromberg, 40 Willys coupe finished and running well, our thoughts were to finish the car, now.
    But, being a little disappointed in the dragstrip results made us take a different track. More power was necessary. So the rebuild began, again. This time, using a 671 blower, new heads, blower cam/kit, pistons, magneto, crank,etc. The finish detailing being shoved to the back burner in order to get this version running well.

    So, for us, it was get the power and running gear situated, get the car ready, then work on building the motor for easy drop in and bolt up. Leave the finishing to the end. I could never understand why the so called hot rod builders paint first, then gingerly, put other things in place.

    But, as teenagers on a limited budget, priorities had to be put in place until the bank account grew again. It was not a $50,000 wad of cash for the build. (even if there was $50k around, the step by step would still be the same, parts, body, chassis, motor, install in that order. Then finish detailing comes last.)

    Our Willys was supposed to be a street driven hot rod, built to race in the B/Gas and C/Gas class at Lions Dragstrip. It was never finished to the final product. When we got it running and competing at the drags, we had other thoughts. At first it was street only, but with a feeling driving the car, it needed something else. We couldn’t afford extra parts without some help. So, sponsorships were the current trend that was just starting to show up on the coupes and sedans.

    A sticker here, name there, major sponsorships started to show up weekly. So, we had plans. In looking at our friend’s finished 1940 Willys Coupe a few years later, that was a show car that ran fast in B/Gas. It had sponsorships on the side panel and that helped, but it was no longer a street driven coupe. Does it have to be perfect? Well, it was a perfect car. What couldn’t be bought, it was machined and installed. If it was going to be a perfect street driven Willys coupe, the names and sponsorships would have to come off. For racing, anything goes!
    upload_2019-7-28_4-3-53.png Thanks...EG
    redoxide, louisb and charleyw like this.
  4. I don't care that much about looks. Reliability and performance instead of paint and frills.
  5. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 5,482


    I try and do something right or don't do it at all.

  6. My Father was a carpenter and was too much of a prefectionist. He wanted everything to be straight level and square. Spent a lot of wasted time trying to make the fields on his rocky hill farm level and a square or rectangle. Once He laid out a fence on the exact border of a 40 acre boundry. It was a 1/4 mile stretch on one side. He had set the end post and braces and stretched a strand of barb wire about 6 inches from the ground. Spent a couple days getting it just so so. He worked away and left it to my older brother and I to jab holes in the ground with a sharpened steel bar. Soak them with water and drive the sharpened cedar post. My brother was a Bossy Bully and I don't like picky any how. So I moved the barb wire and snagged it on some small stumps so it wasn't straight. I would hold the jab bar with a pair of tongs and my brother pounded it into the ground with a sledge hammer to make the pilot hole that we filled with water to soften the ground so we could drive the wood post. So I on purpose held that bar at different angles. And then My brother drove the post.
    and we strung the remaining strands of wire. That fence looked like something from a Snuffy Smith cartoon. Crooked the post leaning every which way. I was tickled. My brother was proud that he built the fence wanted all the credit and I was willing to let him have it. My dad returned and was very upset. Dad really gave my brother a tounge lashing because he was in charge. I smarted off and stated that the cows don't care what the fence looks like. I thought dad was gonna explode LOL. For twenty years my dad was irritated with that fence. One day He took the tractor and hooked a chain to the corner post and pulled it all down. I learned when I was very young its better to get even than to get mad. and lifes to short to waste time being a picky perfectionist.
    redoxide and Finn Jensen like this.
  7. Prank backfired.
  8. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 25,579


    Cars or wire fences, if it isn't turning out to be perfect I quit and start something else. Never start projects I'm clueless about.

  9. oldtom69
    Joined: Dec 6, 2009
    Posts: 378

    from grandin nd

    I at least remember what the actual hot rods of the late 50's and 60's were like-not perfect,not high dollar and truth be told not safe.There was a 32 Ford roadster we all lusted after when we rode our bikes around town,blue,fenderless,white interior-we thought it was perfect!Saw the car many years later parked behind a house-stopped and couldn't believe what my 12year old eyes had missed!Holes drilled with a torch,parts that should have been bolted on welded on,parts that should have been welded on were bolted,etc.Since then I've seen many "survivor" cars and the workmanship is what you expect from broke teen agers
    Old wolf and The37Kid like this.
  10. I drove a 53 Ford convertible. the Y block bolted to the 53 three speed trans. I used blocks of wood for engine mounts. Two chains attached to the heads ,one on each side with a long stove bolt in the center . tighten the nut to hold the engine down. Two slots in the floor. and the shift levers turned up and cal pump pipe for shift levers. One front wheel cyl leaked. So It was plugged with a nail. I could hit the brakes and lock up the pass front wheel and slide sideways. Barn tin screwed to the Freddy Flintstone floor pans. flexi pipe for exhaust. but I had chrome reverse rims on front and reversed stock rims on back. Paid for it by picking up pop bottles along the road. got 2 cents per bottle. Never put the top up. and had both doors wired shut. No hood. Lots of fun for a thirteen year old kid. I was the only one my age who owned a car.
    redoxide likes this.
  11. topher5150
    Joined: Feb 10, 2017
    Posts: 1,460


    I have had some sketchy rides in my time, but I think that one takes the cake.
  12. I bought a 49 Ford 2 dr with a 289 SB Ford and automatic in it for really cheap $400, I drove it about 5 miles to a friends house and while driving it up there it felt kind of loose and rubbery and smoked like hell. I jacked it up to see whu, the rear cross member was a wood 2 x 4. drove it right back and got my money. Wood's no good in a chassis.
  13. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,743


    I'm building a 30 Coupe and it's come a loooong way from sitting in an Oklahoma field. Even with all the metalwork, the body still needs quite a bit of attention. When I brought it to the body shop to get some sealer applied, the owner was talking about what it's going to take to make it "perfect" (show quality).

    It was apparent, immediately, our visions were different. I want a "thrasher" with decent enough body work for shiny paint, similar to cars you can see at the track. He sees the potential for a show car. Over our ten minutes discussion I painted him the picture of my vision and he got, it, I think... if this car was taken to that level of body, the old Halibrands (although they're really decent) wouldn't fit in, same with the other original parts.

    I love seeing 30/40/50/60's cars built to a level that there aren't odd gaps, dings, imperfections... but I have to be real with myself. If I was going to bring my car to that level... for one, I chose the wrong body to start. Two, it would take a lot longer and way more money. And, finally, three, I don't see it being as fun/cool in my eyes - for what I'm after.

    All that said, I do find myself wanting to improve the car from where it is but I know that I'll need to refrain myself as the project continues because if I don't it will never be done and it's likely to pass the hot rod/vision that I actually want to own.
    31 firewall in my coupe.JPG 31.jpg 20190716_153821.jpg 20190716_154023.jpg 20190717_114447.jpg
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
    Chili Phil likes this.
  14. And back then Arkansas had a inspection. the windshield wasn't cracked. the wipers horn and all the lights and turn signals worked and it had a full brake pedal so it passed inspection. I had license plates but no drivers license or permit. And back then nobody really cared. Believe it or not it had a crossover pipe single exhaust. and a single flexi pipe all the way to the rear bumper. and it wasn't as loud as dual glass packs? Thinking back I shouldn't have junked it. There was a good merc flathead setting in the barn. even had a good radiator with it. However back then no one wanted ragtops. That's why I was able to buy it for $15. The kid I bought it from was touting how he was putting a 390 & three speed in it. He really thought the Y block was a 390. I think I still have the engine. Im pretty sure its a 254 truck engine.

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