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History Feeling Nostalgic about Nostalgia or remembering the Traditional hot rod boom of the 90's

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Robert J. Palmer, Feb 7, 2019.

  1. As I approach forty I find myself looking at old photos of cars and events I have attended over the last twenty years.
    I find myself thinking how much more fun they were then today's traditional events and that the car seem more pure and raw.
    The hot rods of the mid 90's to early 2000's seemed to be more in line with what the original of hots of the 40's or 50's. I will admit there was more primer and Mexican blankets (more plamade too I out grew the Rockabilly thing), but the cars were built by hand with what ever part you could beg, trade, or get for cheep they had the low budget look of the period cars.
    I know all things change but at some point things got strange some started building "art cars" which I will not get into.
    Some others building "Traditional" but wanted disc brakes, A/C tilt columns ect... If that is the type of car you what/like O.K. its your car, but I do not understand how a car with parts not available at the time is traditional.
    The cars started get over restored shiny people began arguing about small things "Well I found N.O.S. 7/16 hardware so my car is more traditional then your car."
    People starting barging about how much it coast to build the car, not how much power the made or where they found the super rare intake.
    It started to remind me of the A.A.C.A., GoodGuys, or the oval track racing world (which I came from) were it was all about how much money you could spend.

    As for the events it seemed they were low key fun, free of the fairgrounds "Power Parking".
    Most of the people attending these event were in there late teens to early thirty or old timers who were there and did it.

    Thank You
    Robert J. Palmer
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
    Eisenmann, deadbeat, Spooky and 5 others like this.
  2. The streetrodders that ruined hot rodding in the first place, caught on and ruined the revival too.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  3. I agree. I am 37 and can remember getting off work from my after school job and hitting the local grocery store. There I saw Hot Rod Deluxe issue #1 with the Choppers on it. I was hooked. I bought my first early ford a year or so later. A 1934 Ford truck cab that I chopped and channeled over a model A frame. I remember if I had 100.00 to spend on it, I would streeeeeech it as much as I could. I bartered a lot (still do) to get what I needed. I remember BS'ing with my friends, telling them my dreams and what cars I wanted to have by the time I'm 30 lol. It was more about the cars and friends back then, not the hot rod heros and corporate greed of today. The events were more fun. And smaller. This "culture" is still packed full of fun and great people, but it almost feels like a watered down version of what it was. It's funny ya'know, back then I dreamed of tomorrow, and what cars I wanted and what places I wanted to take them. And today I find myself reminiscing about the good ol days. Back when I had nothing. It was almost more fun back then
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
    LSGUN, deadbeat, Spooky and 9 others like this.
  4. It’s funny, I agree. I like to say I based my coupe on late 90/early 2000s trad/rat rods. Less rules, less stifling, more homebuilt about having fun and making stuff. My favourite era.

    I get the progression, it’s all about separating yourself, that’s how it always goes. People demand more from themselves as builders, customers demand more, something cooler, better, etc.
    Things naturally get more evolved, and end up being about showing off your money and one upping the next guy. It’s the same in any custom car form, be it mini trucks, race cars, street rods, etc. Eventually it’s not about having fun anymore.

    It’s funny how it’s full circle though. I’m betting it all goes back to street rods here very shortly. With all the emphasis on pro touring, super machined, tig welded, 3D printed, turbo ls’d everything nowadays, I’m sure we will be seeing model a coupes with 14” wide tires all the way around, ifs, turbos, high tech, etc in the very near future. Just like how street rodding began.
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  5. Never2old
    Joined: Oct 14, 2010
    Posts: 505

    from so cal

    I have no regrets for choosing my non-traditional engine.
    raven, Spooky, MMM1693 and 1 other person like this.
  6. I think the entrance of "professional" builders is what contaminated the hot rod boom. Those perfect cars with undetectable welds and perfect paint jobs that were flawless even inside the frame rails was kind of intimidating to your back yard builder. Guys that could afford it paid someone else with great skills to do the work for them. Beaters or just 'old cars' are more fun than something that costs more than a lot of people make in a year. I find the fun in the building more so than the driving and socializing. I will never have a perfect car or one with all the modern conveniences, but I don't want one.. I like "old cars".
    48fordnut, mad mikey, jvo and 3 others like this.
  7. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 12,032

    from oregon

    Unlike many here (this) "geezer" freely admits to being a participant of those "street rod" years, in my opinion if you didn't participate or at least witness the Pleasanton GoodGuys events of the 80's/90's you missed the pinnacle of hot rod events, and I use that term as universally today as I did then.
    My North Star has always been horsepower based so I'll be good either way as long as that hot rod standard is maintained.
    I wouldn't necessarily view its return as a bad thing, like todays' traditional trend there were different layers to it, not every car was adorned with billet aluminum, pastel paint and tweed interiors but.............I could have lived without all of those.
  8. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 3,224

    from Berry, AL

    Well, my car is a bit of it all I guess. It’s got a 90’s roller 302, but no billet, and right now, no chrome. Outside it looks factory except for the wheels and tires and painted chrome that I didn’t paint, but will change the color from black to metallic silver. Inside, other than the GM tilt column, Chevelle wheel, and old dash mounted tach, it also looks pretty much factory. It has power widows, but are now electric instead of hydraulic like factory, and eventually will have AC. So, if you had to label it, I guess it’s a restomod. It’s not stock, but you have to look to see most of the changes. Whatever you want to call it, I just call it a fun old car to own and more so to drive! It suits me fine, anybody that doesn’t like it can keep on walking by. I’m not trying to impress anyone but myself.
  9. mnjeff
    Joined: Oct 17, 2006
    Posts: 73


    I remember a time when you would be embarrassed to say someone else built your car....
  10. I agree with the above statement to a point. Very few people can build 100% of a car some needs to be farmed out, for me body work and paint.
    I find the build as much or more fun then the driving. Feeling the pride of building something yourself.

    Same goes for hunting parts.
    I have very little idea what I have in my model A build, but I can tell you were every part came from.
    Weather it is the trip with my dad to the old saw mill to pull the 261 Chevy of an old bunk truck, watching him come shooting out from under it when the snake crawled out of the bell housing was the hardest I ever laughed. To parts runs to North East Oval Track racing royalty.

    You just don't here those stories with the current period correct crowd.
  11. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 43,177


    New things are only new for a little while....
    Thor1, 31hotrodguy, MMM1693 and 10 others like this.
    Joined: Jan 24, 2010
    Posts: 1,155

    from IDAHO

    If We Had To Endure The Pastel Colors To End Up With Disc Brakes Then Some Good Came Of The Era..
    1956 F100, chevyfordman and Clay Belt like this.
  13. 40FORDPU
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 2,500

    from Yelm, Wa
    1. Northwest HAMBers

    Never intimidated by other builders/cars..why?
    Always answer to yourself with your own skills, taste, budget, and dreams.
    My cars are built by me, for me, and therefore satisfy me.
    I'm not the guy bringing home yet another trophy from some event, I'm the guy driving home satisfied that my creation got me there, and back home again, and will be ready for the next time (and usually a few people even liked them).
    We all have seen the high dollar builds at these events, most with the work, or a good portion of it done by someone other than the owner of the car.
    This hobby caters to all personality types, people with great skills, some without any skills and many in between, related to the building of a Hotrod, but undoubtedly skills in other areas that allowed them the means to pay someone else to build their dream car. Absolutely nothing wrong with that.
    Life is about choices, I choose to build my cars for a hobby I'm passionate about.
  14. wheeltramp brian
    Joined: Jun 11, 2010
    Posts: 763

    wheeltramp brian

    The 90's 2000's car shows got me hooked.went to Paso with a friend that said there's a cool car show up was on every corner,cruising the streets,and the a&w burger stand.we slept on the blacktop in an open parking was the best.just one of my experiences....
    Spooky and Robert J. Palmer like this.
  15. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,701


    Just remember, the billet, pastel, tweed, and rat rod cars saved a lot of cars that may have been crushed and lost for ever. You can always re paint and re do a car. They also got more people interested in old cars, and helped keep the hobby going. Trends change, and the cars can too.
    clem, 1956 F100, jvo and 2 others like this.
  16. ramblin dan
    Joined: Apr 16, 2018
    Posts: 1,556

    ramblin dan

    I've thought of this subject many times as I look through my pictures of cars I took during this 90s period not to mention in my magazine collection of the same era. It was just another fad of hot rodding history that will most likely not be renewed again. Those pastel colors and brushed aluminum street rods in some ways took hot rodding out of the price range of the average guy I knew at the time. I don't doubt this was what gave way to the appearance of rat rods. It seems hard to believe that the first appearance of the so called old school hot rod magazines that first appeared is now almost 2 decades old now. Every now and then one of these 90s decorated cars will show up for sale in the local adds and I have to smile. I certainly don't see any at local car shows any more. I don't know how many you remember the old model A tub That appeared in the 90s that Jim Jakobs built. Brush painted red and cobbled together with discarded parts from other projects and swapmeets that was featured in many of the car publications of the day. I recall there was much debate as to whether this car would of ever been in any of these books had the car not belonged to Jim Jakobs but I seem to recall it was topic of discussion for some time in that era and gave food for thought where the hobby was going.
    chevyfordman, brad2v and VANDENPLAS like this.
  17. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 12,032

    from oregon

    I'll be happy if the V6 era doesn't return!
    Please, no cards and letters on the virtues of a V6 or how they can be improved to make gobs of hp or how to dress them up, yuck!
  18. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 23,033

    Jalopy Joker

    thought people were old at 30, now with people like Gene Winfield, The Rolling Stones, etc 40 sounds too young to be looking back - the 90's were such fun with my gray primered Model A had pink pin stripes, and even rearend was painted hot pink - yikes!! have to search my flip cell phone for pics - oops!
    mad mikey and ramblin dan like this.
  19. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,269

    from Colorado

    I'll be 78 next month and started working in the hot rod industry in 1961. While the HAMB is dedicated to traditional cars of the late forties, fifties and early sixties, the reality is that the automotive aftermarket is extremely fluid. This thread is nothing more than electronic navel gazing!
    raven, Spooky, TWKundrat and 3 others like this.
  20. What the heck is an electronic navel????
  21. Jim Jacobs showed up with his Model A tub showed up this year at the roadster show. It was a statement then, and still is today.
  22. Yes, I still have it read it cover to cover it study hall my Senior year of High School two years before that I saw my first real traditional hot rod Doug Anderson's Boggie Woogie. Those two things pulled me away from the oval track life to the hot rod world. upload_2019-2-8_16-11-21.png

    Me July 2000 at the Rockabilly Rumble

    This is what I am talking about, if you showed up with a 34 on a model A frame today you would be told you were wrong things like that didn't happen.
    Back 20 years ago you might get some good natured ribbing but the other guys understood you built what you had or could afford like the guys in the 40's-60's did.

    Every traditional car had it's own style and stood out just like the period cars. Today so many of these style cars blend together.
    I think this come from the car of the late 90's being built by an individual or a small group of people and there for took on the flavor taste and soul of the build.

    Were today's traditional cars are assembled.
    Example- More people were building there own engine mounts and brackets. If you needed a part you got a piece of steel fired up the torch and made it. Little things like that make a car stand out. That also fuel ideas "Hey, if I change that bracket a little it will work great for me!"

    Many today are using more commercially brackets, mounts ect... Yes it easier to weld a mount that is all ready built but there are hundreds of cars with the same mount. Causing things to become stale and bland.
    mad mikey likes this.
  23. Pete
    Joined: Mar 8, 2001
    Posts: 4,456


    I remember great shows such as viva Las Vegas when the shifters hosted the car show, myself and friends would go often, I think I went 4 or 5 years in a row. The cars were spectacular as was the atmosphere. Raw hot rods are still in motion but certainly not as strong. The over restored survivor cars are a near miss for me, preservation is important.

    The road agents, Alter boys and the Rumblers to name a few...were benchmark moments in tradition hot rodding. These were shows that actually frowned on rat rods and mixed era builds. I loved local cruise nights, unfortunately they too have dwindled and most have simply disappeared.

    As time goes on things change, nothing you can do about it.
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  24. After reading this thread I am thinking that my signature line fits in really well in this discussion. “It’s not what you can buy it’s what you can build”
    ramblin dan and WB69 like this.
  25. patmanta
    Joined: May 10, 2011
    Posts: 3,383

    from Woburn, MA

    Here's how I'm looking at it now, on the other side of 40, and after some life changing stuff.

    Life is VERY short. Build cool shit as much as you can, however you can. Drive it. Drive it to shows to look at other people's cool shit even if it's not to your taste. If you don't like something, move on to something that rings your buzzer. Make friends and hang out with them. If they invite you to a cookout after, go to it.

    Build the car you want. Take pride in it and let it #sparkjoy ;)

    They're ALL Cooler than a Camry, the period correct ones are just something special that stands out and above to us.
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 1,835


    I posted this before and I’ll say it again.
    Late 90’s early ‘00’s there was s big shift in hot rodding.
    From the overbuilt “ boydsters” and streetrods where everyone needed to outspend the last big build.
    Back to hot roddings beginnings where it was build it and have fun! If it was rough or primered it did not matter.
    Then this morphed into ( gasp!) ratrods, where the “ goal “was to build a shittier and shittier car then the last, tractor parts, rebar , booger welds and then thst morphed into spider webs and barn wire. Essentially.... if you can call them that “ art cars ?”

    So it spun back around to traditional builds and of course .... more and more traditional , rare parts, rare cars. Exact period builds with era correct hardware and hose clamps etc.

    I love it all except rat rods, I love budget builds and they are particularly my favourite but intentionally building shit hurts my brain.

    Have fun with it build what you want how you want it, that’s what this hobby is all about.

    From big buck 200,000 builds to home brewed budget beaters and everything in between there’s a car for everyone.

    mad mikey and TrailerTrashToo like this.
  27. chevyfordman
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 770


    This is a very interesting thread with a lot of cool views, I must say. I built one car, a 33 Chevy coupe, I never want to do it again. My love is for the 30's and 40's cars in their original look, maybe a newer 100hp flathead or small block of some kind. But I have found that these cars are at the top of the price list, so to buy one, I had to buy one of those street rod types which don't bring as much money now. Sure, I don't like a tweed interior but someone put a lot of money into that interior and its still in beautiful shape. I don't like the colors either but I really enjoy driving my dream cars even if they aren't quite the way I want them. I spent a lot in my opinion to buy them and I don't want to buy them again by completely changing everything. There's nothing wrong with the high dollar cars and people, I just like hanging out with the people who have the level of cars that I like, I guess you would call them restro-rods. I think most are right, do what you like and have the most fun doing it.
    raven likes this.
  28. Going back a little farther, I can remember hitting lots of rod runs in the mid '70's. Even then, there were pro built rods showing up (remember Magoo?) more and more frequently. I drove my backyard built '32 pickup to the '75 Un-Nationals in L.A. and felt a little embarrassed parking it near the "nicer" stuff. I quit going in the early '80's so have no idea what the '90's scene was. I think the original traditional rodding died in the '60's.
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  29. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 5,538


    Worst thing from the 90's was the pastel paints were still around as was tweed upholstery and those hideous graphics.
  30. I was at those shows also. I dont really remember tweed and pastel because I walked right past those cars to cars I liked. I tend to gravitate toward hot street cars and race cars. If my car doesn't make me almost piss right down my leg everytime the gas is smashed it's no fun. But hey that's just me. As far as perfect cars regardless of who built them I do like to see fine examples of craftsmanship. I get inspired to do higher quality work on my own stuff and get ideas. It's a big hobby with room for everyone. Dont get me started on the so called traditional crowd.

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