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Hot Rods How many started your hot rod jurney after 30-35 years old?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 50dodge4x4, Jan 7, 2016.

  1. 50dodge4x4
    Joined: Aug 7, 2004
    Posts: 3,535


    With all the talk about the future of hot rodding and under 25 doing it, I have to believe there are many right here on the HAMB that never built, or started a HAMB related car or truck (or any, for that matter) until they were in their 30s. How many had the desire, but had circumstances that stood between the desire and the ability to get started?

    At what age did you enter the old car hobby? If you care to share, what got in the way of starting younger, and how did you get the ball rolling when you were finally able to? Lets hear about the ones that got started late, and are trying make up for lost time. Gene
  2. Dickadams234
    Joined: Jan 5, 2015
    Posts: 13

    from Santa Rosa

    I'm 34, and have no real automotive experience. Had a '65 Malibu SS that I had as a daily driver for many years and just did basic stuff like replacing the intake and carb and some suspension and interior work. Got real bored of it after a while and then about a year and a half ago I found the HAMB, started reading and trolling the build threads and got to thinking...... Next thing I know the SS is sold and I'm buying a '30 sports coupe with aspirations of learning the skills to build a half way decent beater hot rod. I know it's not rocket science but I'm putting together the best work space I can, trying to learn to weld and getting ready to get at it. I got some friends giving me advice and a heck of a lot of help. Just never really had someone to show me the way when I was younger but saw the cars and thought they were bad ass. There's something about building a custom piece yourself and seeing it through from start to finish and learning something in the process. I wish I had that guidance when I was younger but when you're in your 30s nobody is really gonna hold your hand and show you. Sure I got some friends with experience but it just comes down to what you wanna do. I just decided I was gonna grab life by the balls and squeeze hard. So we will see how my build goes. I'm constantly trolling the HAMB for info. Glad it's here and glad people are so forthcoming with great information.

    Attached Files:

  3. weps
    Joined: Aug 1, 2008
    Posts: 531

    from auburn,IN

    All Muscle cars for me first off. No real "Hot Rods" in my area when just starting into "Fumes". Just a few overchromed/tilt wheel 4 door sedans (street rods) BARF!
    As I got older, I started to see, and enjoy exactly what the HAMB type of car is about (period correctness) not just chrome plated everything and $$ thrown into a car. It has also brought my Dad and I closer as I can ask him what the 50's were REALLY like as we both work on my projects.
  4. Tomincanada
    Joined: Jun 18, 2013
    Posts: 58

    from b.c.

    Hey guys. I would always rubber neck when something cool drove by. Even as a kid. It wasnt until i was in my mid thirties that i got into fixing one of my own. Its nice to have good people around who i can lean on for advice, and look at the things theyve accomplished and try to learn a thing or two from as well. So thanks hambers. You guys rock.

  5. cometman98006
    Joined: Sep 4, 2011
    Posts: 221


    How's this. When I was 16 I got a '40 Plymouth coupe that I put dual exhaust on and milled the head and was a great car until the wreck but I was hooked on cars. Bought a '34 ford 5 window and built it into a real late 50's hot rod the turned it into a B altered drag car. Then blew the clutch and had to sell it as college got in the way.

    Wanted to get another car but family and circumstances got in the way. When money wasn't a problem, a place to build a car was, then my son moved his '47 chev fleetline to Charleston for his job at Boeing. It was in a neighbors garage and I told the owner don't rent it I'm going to find something to put into it. Since I was over 70 at the time and didn't have any of the tools I needed I wanted an old truck fairly finish that I could play with. With the help sammamishsam here on the HAMB I found the chevy in my avatar that was perfect. It drove fine, looked fine but needed a lot of things to be fixed . So I've done a lot of things to it, spent a lot of money, won a few local trophies and had a lot of fun. I guess that's getting into the hobby after 35.
  6. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,771

    from Tampa, FL

    I did. Being in the service, there isn't much of an opportunity to build cars / move a lot of non-running stuff around when you are overseas / deployed. No worries, I'm catching up with you youngsters. Gary
  7. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 8,179


    I was 40 when I started my 1st rod despite having the bug for years and not owning one previously. I owned, converted and restored other cars before that and helped plenty of others with their cars. Onto my 2nd rod build now.
  8. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 10,542

    from Zoar, Ohio

    I fall into that category. I don't consider owning a muscle car during the 70's-80's as ( starting a Hotrod journey). Saving and sending 3 kids to college during that time was my priority. My first build was in 1985. I was 32.
  9. wsdad
    Joined: Dec 31, 2005
    Posts: 1,253


    I've always liked cars and the idea of putting a big engine in a small car. In my '20's (back in the '80's), I got a few car magazine subscriptions - Hot Rod, Car Craft, Street Rodder, Low Rider, Popular Hot Rodding, and some others.

    For a while, I would have been happy with a 350 Vega. I bought a stock '72 and drove it as a daily driver for a long time. When the engine finally needed to be rebuilt, I started looking for an aluminum block 215 because it was about the same weight as the four cylinder. I thought, since it was a notch-back, with a trunk instead of the more common hatch-back, a balanced, road-hugging convertible would be fun and cool to drive. I found a decent, drivable convertible 62 Tempest LeMans with one in it. But I liked it better than the Vega so I drove it instead.

    Personally, I consider cars built in the fifties style and older as hot rods. I thought of the '62 Tempest as a muscle car. 'Even had visions of putting a 389 or better in it. I drove it until it wore out - which wasn't long. I did manage to take it on my honeymoon, which was 22 years ago. 'Couldn't find parts for it so I eventually sold it.

    'Noticed that I seemed to like the style of the older cars with fenders better than the muscle cars. When a magazine would arrive, I found myself flipping through it to read the thirties car articles first. Then, while looking around on the internet, I found the HAMB. That solidified things for me.

    Decent, running Thirties cars are not to be found on every corner, which is also a small part of their appeal, I guess. Ones in any kind of shape go for big bucks, at least it seemed for my income level.

    Spare parts and abandoned projects, however, could be found fairly reasonably. I didn't want to spend all the family's resources on a car, so I'd buy a front axel here and a model T frame there. A spare $50 or $300 would become available every six months or so. Just often enough to keep me enthused in the possibility.

    The years went by and I raised two daughters (who had no interest in my growing pile of rusty car parts). My twenties, thirties and forties slipped by. I've flipped a couple houses, chased a career fixing medical equipment, built an appliance repair business with my wife and brother, but I never got around to building that car.

    So, at 49 years old, and with a pile of parts accumulated for 20 years, I figure I'd better get to it while I'm still young enough to fully enjoy the build and the drive.

    Also, last weekend, the last peice of the puzzle came home. I found a '71 Cadillac with 55,000 miles and a 472 in it. I think it may provide nearly adequate acceleration for a nice little model T roadster.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2016
    bct likes this.
  10. Franx50
    Joined: Nov 8, 2015
    Posts: 4


    Bought my 50 Ford at age 38. All I had before was 80s era "musclecars". This 50 is a bit a dream Ive had since I was little.
  11. scrap metal 48
    Joined: Sep 6, 2009
    Posts: 6,057

    scrap metal 48

    I bought our second house with the intent of putting up a second garage as a workshop to start and work on cars.. That 20x22 garage cost $1790.. First car in that garage was a 1958 Thunderbird convertible.. I was in my early 30s'...
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  12. Started off by buying a non-HAMB friendly Vette at the age of 36......Hangin' out with the wrong crowd lead to my first hot rod truck at the age of 46.....then onto the start of building my coupe at age 49....I'm 50 now.
  13. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,840


    Grew up on Hot Wheels, Johnny Lightning, Aurora AFX, Revell, and Monogram. Got my license in '79, just in time for gas rationing and the final death blow to performance cars. First car was a '68 Impala, second was a '65 Chevy van, third was a Toyota. Three decades later after a dozen cars, a couple of houses and a couple of kids, I found the money and time to indulge my fantasy.
  14. I had been in & around many different types of car projects since my early teens. Usually other peoples cars ,but had never built myself one from scratch...So , on my 62nd birthday , I launched this project....Finished it on my 70th birthday in '11... HAMB avatar.JPG
    b-bop, H380 and scrap metal 48 like this.
  15. phat rat
    Joined: Mar 18, 2001
    Posts: 4,380

    phat rat

    I monkeyed with cars, mild customizing, in high school bought a 40 Ford cpe the year after graduating high school. Drag raced until my oldest was born in 66 then got away from cars although I held on to that 40 for 10 years. I finally sold it when I was buying a farm as I had so many irons in the fire. I ran coon and bear hounds and later raised, showed and bred Appaloosa horses. After a divorce I bought a Vette 88, then in 90 a 54 Vicky hardtop, in 92 I decided that just wasn't what I wanted and bought the 41. The 41 was finished in 97 and I was 53. I've bought and sold many projects since then. Besides the cpe I now have a 17 T roadster w/Hemi
  16. jeepers00creepers
    Joined: Jun 1, 2011
    Posts: 139


    Next week I turn the " BIG FOUR 'O'"! Sitting in one side of my basement 2 car garage is a mostly complete, original, and excellent shape 31 Tudor to be built. As a kid I spent most of my days playing with Hotwheels and converting show boxes into " Brian's Bodyshop". Got married young and started a family. Built some jeeps and did some off-road racing. Got the "traditional " big just a year or two before the wife decided she didn't want to be a wife or mother anymore. I had already started collecting parts for a future build without the actual car when I ran into my now best friend Raymond. He has a fleet of them I help him with and he has been ever so kind to allow me to enjoy his cars like they were my own!!! What a blessing he has been to me and my kids. He has given me the inspiration I need to continue to follow my dreams! At age 72 he's as much a kid as me and his enthusiasm for "hot rod Saturday's" is contagious!
  17. Buddy Palumbo
    Joined: Mar 30, 2008
    Posts: 3,859

    Buddy Palumbo

    I've always had "interesting" cars , ever since my first car (vintage British and Swedish, muscle cars, limited production OT cars , etc.) but no real hot rod/custom . When I was around 40-ish, I decided to change it up and look for a model A pickup or sedan to throw a hot flattie into. Meanwhile, I was helping my friend build his Shoebox sedan, and got interested in then instead , figuring it'd be better for the family. When my 49 showed up for sale in my own town, I looked at it and bought it (probably should've looked closer at it, but it's water under the bridge ;) ). Seriously, it's been an interesting and enjoyable experience so far , and I hope it continues to be.
  18. Born in the 50's (go-carts, minibikes, ponies, BB guns)
    Grew up in the 60's (always around hot cars and bikes)
    Married in the 70's (went drag racing bikes)
    Kids in the 80's (called to the ministry)
    Traveled as a missionary to America in the 90's
    Got my first Hot Rod in mid 2000's, long story short - it's a gift from God (avatar)
    Kids married off in the 10's (grandkids now)
    Wondering what to do in our golden years.
  19. I did the muscle car thing from age 18 to 25 then got hooked on stock cars for another 5 after that. Ran a '68 Chevy on the street until 1990. Bought a house, got a couple of college degrees at night, throw a couple of kids into the mix and I had no time to myself and limited fund$.

    At age 59 I found my '59 Ford and am having a lot of fun with it. I have the money to do things right this time, no short cuts. Over the years I've gained some machinery, more tools and have a good space to work in. It takes up a lot of my time, but that's okay.. loving it. I have probably taken off 6 weeks total in the last 15 months of working on it.
  20. Deuce Daddy Don
    Joined: Apr 27, 2008
    Posts: 4,958

    Deuce Daddy Don

    After my 4 yr. cruise with Uncle Sam's canoe club (USN) from 1951-1955, (Korean War), then raising a family, my eyes were always on some day building a 1932 roadster, which I finally purchased in pieces in 1962 when I was 30 yrs old.
    Between girl scouts,brownies,& little league baseball, I found a little extra time to putter around with ideas on just what I wanted to do with the roadster upon completion in the future.
    In 1962, You could not build a car from parts in the major car magazines like in today's many publications.
    So, being a welder by trade, I fabricated many items during the process of making my project of 6 yrs. to finally start driving in 1968.
    Now at 83 yrs old, & have 300,000 happy DRIVEN miles, it has been a great adventure for so many years.
    Don 2009_07121962-----19680001.JPG 2009_07121962-----19680010.JPG 2009_07121962-----19680031.JPG
    Budget36 and Hitchhiker like this.
  21. Dennis D
    Joined: May 2, 2009
    Posts: 633

    Dennis D

    Started on my first HAMB car at 58. D
  22. k32t
    Joined: Jan 2, 2011
    Posts: 292

    from Hog town

    In my 30's Had no money no place to work on anything.
  23. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 7,514


    I got my Model A in 2003 when I was 54. Prior to that, I had school, work, family, mortgage, college expenses, retirement savings,etc. Mortgage is paid, kids are through college (with no student loans!) working part time, retirement is approaching. Always loved cars, now have the opportunity.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2016
  24. patmanta
    Joined: May 10, 2011
    Posts: 3,559

    from Woburn, MA

    I just got into the situation in life where I could start a couple years ago, at 35. I've been bumbling along ever since.
  25. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 3,907


    Built muscle cars, 5.0L mustangs, and built engines to sell locally, did a lot of drag racing growing up. Didn't get interested in traditional or hot rods until mid 30's, I'll be 40 this year.
    But hot rods were billet Boyd mobiles when I was growing up, I guess it just took me a while to find out about traditional cars and builds, they were there the whole time, I just didn't know it.
  26. Zykotec
    Joined: May 30, 2011
    Posts: 151


    Just turned 37, and still wating to get the time and money to start my 'journey' Building a garage is still at least two years away from now...
    But, all three kids (4, 6 and 16 years old) are doing OK, and the house is increasing in value for every hour spent on it, and occassionally I paint flames on some cheap 20 year old winter beater to keep my demons at bay XD
  27. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,793


    I grew up around muscle cars, but hot rods began to get my attention after I saw AG. I read every magazine I could and T Buckets became a fascination. But real life and a stretch in the Navy, kept me from doing anything about it. In the fall of 2006, my brother told me to stop spending money on the magazines and just build one. So, I did.

    I recently sold it and I'm getting ready to start another one.
  28. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 7,514


    So, when did Candy Barr first get your attention? :)
  29. 50dodge4x4
    Joined: Aug 7, 2004
    Posts: 3,535


    Wow! Great stories, keep them coming! As we hang around this great website, we tend to think everyone started doing this stuff before high school. Its pretty obvious a lot of us got started much later then that. We may have been bitten by the bug in high school, but it looks like a bunch of us grew into the traditional rods from other beginnings.

    My story started when I was about 10. We had a dirt track in our town, and back then, they were racing the coupes. My family attended races every week. The image of those coupes coming off the 4th corner and flying down the front straight and into the 1st corner was forever burned into my mind. At the track, the coupes gave way to the "late models", 1950 and newer. By the time I was in my mid teens, the performance era cars were what was on the race track, and the old coupes faded into my memory.

    As a teenager I was aggressive in seeking information about those performance era cars. I did the models, the slot cars, the magazines, the car related TV shows, and of course, the race track. I was privileged enough to have several local racers that endured my presence.
    Just out of high school, at age 19, I married the love of my life (still married to her). Some high school buddies and I thought it would be a great idea to build a race car. The concept that none of us had a garage, or many tools, or money, or could weld, didn't faze us. That started a 15 year run at the race track, in the hobby class (had no money, come to think about it, still don't!) I was at least working at a service station doing auto repair, so I had some automotive knowledge.
    Though being an owner of a race car is trying enough, I decided I also needed a hot street car (yea, I was that kind of guy). As this was progressing, we also had 2 kids, and we were buying a house. I had left the automotive work, and was employed as a factory maintenance guy doing the heavy machine repair. It paid a lot better then automotive work. Wife, kids, house, race car, and hot street car, besides the maintenance job, I worked on other peoples cars as a side job. I was a busy man, wish I could say I did all that stuff well, but that would not be true.
    Employment alternated between automotive work and factory maintenance. The race car went away, and the hot street cars became a lot less hot. We had moved to the country and I had a little ground and a 26' x 36' garage you could barley get a car in! I collected a lot of performance era Mopars, bought cars, sold parts, fixed up cars for me and others, in addition to a real job.
    After the race car went away, I got an itch to build a street rod. I met a guy that sold me a 35 Dodge 2 door trunkless sedan with a good title for $75. Actually I bought a title for $75 and he through in a pile of junk he called the car. I had all this automotive experience, even that rough car shouldn't be a problem, right? Remember that first race car? Apparently I didn't. My wife, however did! I discovered again how little I actually knew about building cars, even after building several dirt track race cars.
    I stuck it out. That first car stalled almost 3 years before I learned enough to progress on building my first frame. The whole build really took off when I opened my welding shop in July, 1994, (I was 38 at the time) as a part time adventure, working nights, after working all day at a real job. I worked on the 35 between jobs at my shop. The car turned into a family adventure. My son (about 13) and my wife both got involved (my daughter was doing the teenage girl thing at the time). I wanted to build a nice street rod, but lacked the funds at the time to do it. The car got driven as soon as it was road worthy, and improvements happened every week. We go hooked up with an awesome car club, and put a lot of miles on the 35 in short order. (66,000 in 7 tears). It was through that car club that I found the HAMB. There have been many cars and trucks built since then, for me, and helping my son. My builds are still on the edges of being HAMB friendly, but its what I can do.

    My current 48 Plymouth is an attempt to go back to what got me into this hobby in the first place, but some day I intend to build one more like the cars that ran on our local track just before the late models took over. Gene

    Attached Files:

  30. David Gersic
    Joined: Feb 15, 2015
    Posts: 2,202

    David Gersic
    from DeKalb, IL

    I'm 48 and just starting. Like many others, I had the itch from childhood, but life got in the way. College, job, family, bills, saving for the future, house, and other hobbies took all the time and money. Unlike many of you, I've owned only a few cars, all OT daily drivers, but spent money on tools and parts to repair them and keep them running, so have rarely had a car payment.

    The house is paid for, the kid is almost done with college, the savings plan is doing well, and the family is healthy. I'm approaching retirement age, and started thinking about what I haven't yet done in my life, and what I want to do with the rest of it. The one thing that stood out was wanting a hot rod. Well, several,of them, really, but start with one. I want to do a full, ground up build, but I recognize that I don't yet have the tools, skills, time, or knowledge to do that. So, I decided that it was time to start learning.

    I have a pretty broad definition of "hot rod", ranging from HAMB friendly traditional through the muscle car era, and in to the early "street rod" years ("street rod" then meant "hot rod you drove on the street"). I like shoeboxes, and customs, and can even dig a modern muscle car or a r*t rod, if the builder does something cool with it. Some of the billet era street rod stuff looks silly now, but I admire and aspire to the ideal of building something and driving it. The only thing that turns me off is trailers. If you can't or won't drive it, it's really just an art project, not a hot rod. I'm not in to car shaped art projects.

    Last year, via a bank mistake, I suddenly found myself with an unexpected small pile of money. I had started discussing what I wanted to do (build something) with my wife. I had also started planning and researching what I wanted to build (34 Coupe). And, through a Facebook coincidence, I reconnected with a high school friend that was in to cars.

    I'm naturally pretty conservative when it comes to managing money. I had planned to spend 5+ years saving money before starting to build. My old friend invited us to a reliability run / car cruise / bbq he and another guy were hosting for a bunch of guys with hobby cars. Anything and everything welcome. There were about 20 cars that showed up, from HAMB friendly to definitely not. My wife and I did it in my rusty Dakota. On the up side, I was the only one that had jumper cables with me, which turned out to be important when one of the cool cars wouldn't start after the first stop, with a dead battery.

    She enjoyed the social aspect of the run, liked some of the cars too, but isn't really in to cars all that much. During the run, though, we decided that I needed a cool car. Given the series of coincidences, I decided I could afford it now, and that starting with something running now was better than starting a ground up build in the future. So I went shopping.

    I looked on the HAMB classifieds, Craigslist, and some other on line sales things. Found a lot of stuff I wasn't interested in, and a few that I was. Decided on what I could afford, and narrowed it down to a couple, then to one. Contacted the seller, and enlisted the aid of my friend to check it out. Bought a not yet HAMB friendly 37 Chevy Master Deluxe two door sedan that was built in the 90s. Mostly professional shops did the work, so while it has the obligatory MII front clip and SBC, the welding was done correctly. The body and paint show their age, and 60K miles, but were well done and have held up well.

    So, this winter, the car is in the garage, and I'm acquiring parts, ideas, and planning for spring when I can start working on it. It'll probably never be totally HAMB friendly, I'm not a strict traditionalist like some of the guys here. Most of the 90s era street rod billet stuff will come off, some new wheels will go on, and I'll lower the front end a bit to get some rake to it. The 90s tweed interior will get a tuck and roll replacement. But the A/C stays, because I intend to drive this thing.

    That's where I'm at now. We'll see where it goes from here.
    i.rant likes this.

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