The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by kustombuilder, Apr 4, 2005.
Well good for you...
Yes I have to mostly agree with this.
To me.. but this might be a personal opinion.
A taildragger is a car built from 1935 till 1948. With a few exceptions.
Cars with distinctive and full "separate" front and rear fenders of the "Fat" kind.
So in my book even the 33-34 Fords do not fit the "taildragger" description.
And they must have a speed boat stance which is with a lower rear end of the car hence the name tail dragger.
And even thought I really love Jeff's 1950 Mercury, in my book this is not a taildragger.
I know mine is technically a little new yearwise to be considered a true taildragger due to the bodystyle.I was really wanting to show more of the stance and how it was done to resemble Jerrys Merc,which was done to the late 40s -early 50s style.
Whoa. Not to be argumentative, but the down-in-the-back fashion for customs continued well into the '50s. By whose definition does the term "taildragger" end with the fat fendered cars?
I agree with 50 Fraud.
I agree somewhat........I think taildraggers were around till around 53 or so.
This is along the lines I have always thought.
Certainly nothing wrong with customs built from later cars - especially those with a great stance like Jeff's, but in my mind 'taildragger' is a term for a particular style of early customs built from fat-fender cars.
'Leadsled' or just plain old 'custom' or 'kustom' fits better for the post fat-fender era.
Doesn't make me right, but that's how I see it.
And just to really stir it up, any car manufactured after the early sixties, no matter how much it is customized, is no longer truly capable of being termed a 'custom'
Although the majority of the world now uses the term freely for any car modified to an owner's personal taste - Custom is ideally a term that (should be) reserved for a specific era in styling that was already heavily tortured and all but dead by the mid-60s.
i.e. a Mustang with a tube grill and fender flares might be customized, but it's never going to be a custom.
Well said, Cleatus.
I'll stand with you on that thought...
I know this bodystyle isnt technically thought of as a taildragger but my point was... NOBODY can argue with the fact that the taildragger style ran into the early 50s on some customs.I mean Jerry was grabbing the hottest newest bodystyle available and doing the stance and the look of what he was used to seeing and what he knew which was the customs of the 40s.It was just being done on the new Mercury bodystyle.So with that being said I dont argue if someone calls this car or others with this look... a taildragger.
Yes I know a 49/51 merc is not considered a taildragger by most car people and I do agree with that.That title is usually reserved for earlier customs.
Cleatus ...Nice post earlier,very well said and thanks for the compliment on stance.
I agree with Jeff, the taildragger stance extended beyond 48 well in to the fifties. I think the taildraggers were still customs and customs were taildraggers
Hombres..... your second sentence of this last post ^^^ sounds like something Jimmy Conway would of said,that is classic.
Totally agree. Its not like a line in the sand where all of a sudden the stance changed when the newer body styles started getting the custom treatment.
I think the low-in-back stance was pretty much crucial to any good custom from both eras.
I also agree that the early 1950's Custom cars with the speed boat stance have the Taildragger feel to it. But to me a taildragger is more than just the stance. Its the combination between the stance and the separate fenders. The fenders almost looking like legs of an animal and the much more defined trunk as the back end with the bumpers - usually more separated from the body than in the 1950's) as the tail.
Another nice aspect for me about defining the taildragger style to 1935-1948 or call it the fat fender era is that it can be captured in time. There is a clear beginning and a clear end to this style. And if the cars from the early 1950's like mentioned in the last could of post are to be included in this. Then where to stop. There are also late 1950's Customized cars that have this very distinctive rear end lowered style, should they be called taildragger customs as well?
The glory days of customs do all blend together, but like Rik mentioned, it also has distinct breaks: 1) Early custom (fat fender tail draggers) 2) Golden age (The simpler shape of '49-up cars lent them to even cleaner styling) 3) Show custom (When 'less-is-more' was tossed out the window and styling got crazy).
Of course there are exceptions to every rule, and a lot of crossover, but still there are noticeable changes in the primary style, just as there were noticeable breaks/changes in style in the art world, such as when art changed from realism, to impressionism, to modernism. The simple beauty of Impressionism became so hard to top, that the result was a revolt against it and art then became abstract.
I believe something similar happened when the ultra-restrained beauty of the 'less-is-more styling of the Golden Age of customs became so hard to out-do the previous guy (how do you out do restrained?), that it brought on the extremism of the radical show custom.
And once the two extremes were thoroughly explored, people lost interest and it fizzled.
Cleatus, I think that's an excellent overview about how customs have fared over time. To me, it's a pity that the small community of custom fans that exists today is just as likely to model their stuff on your phase 3, with trinkets like side pipes and continental kits, as they are to do something based on phases 1 or 2.
So true - You can lead a horse to water....
But really, I am overwhelmed by the number of people who HAVE rediscovered the beauty of less-is-more and custom cars in general in just the last decade or so.
It gives hope, AND it also made it possible for a large number of the great early customs to be dug out of the woodwork and restored to their formerly glory before it was too late and they disappeared forever unknown.
Great descriptions Rik and Cleatus and I agree that it seems as though building subtle customs seems to becoming more prominent again.
I think as with anything once a build style becomes popular people start trying to do something different to stand out and lately that has been leading to a more subtle build style. I am sure things will swing the other way again as guys try to stand out from the traditional crowd and more start building wilder stuff once again.
I think the decline of the clean ,tasteful customs in the late 1950s can also be attributed to the Car Show mentality of the era.In the early 50s ,guys that had show quality cars were really into competing for trophies.They would compete in many shows and when the new year came around , they would update their car to more a radical version , to compete for bigger awards. At some point modifications were just for the sake of change. Also, the magazines followed the shows and featured the cars, influencing the public. At some point, certain shows required a certain amount of changes to continue competing.
A lot of cars were changed many times , but usually their first or second version were the most tasteful. I love that we have a place like the HAMB to study the early style , because it has really stood the test of time!
I'm sooo glad to see the custom pendulum has swung to the "less-is-more" side...I hope it's not just a flash in the pan and hangs to this side for quite a while before swinging back to the wild side.
It just seems that the styles flip-flop so quickly these days.
As they say "good taste never goes out of style" .
Junior say's he's never owned a car that was lower in the front.
As a kid [Class of '63], there weren't many 'taildraggers' still out draggin' the local gut [we had several other disparaging words for them at the time as I recollect], & the one or two I remember seeing always seemed to be driven by some 'old guy'. I mean sheeez, he was probably all of 29-30, ...like way 'over the hill', you know [mind you, this is a 66yr old talkin' here]! But I think it's very cool that they're having such a prolific revival now! I'm still, for the most part, a slammed nose down guy, ...but there-in lies one of the +s of bags [yeah, yeah, ...I know], if you're sly about the styling you choose, you can come up with a ride that looks good either way.
During the build on Jr's car I actually was given permission to put bags on his car by several respected members of the peer group. They talked about how to disguise the setup. I really did appreciate that input but, I couldn't do it on Jr's car. It has become more of a practical option to consider as I try to cope with a statically lowered authentic 50's custom. It WOULD be one of the things that would make it more practical which translates into more places to go and things to do. The trailer does make a great storage facility but, damn.
Of course these things are considerations for the next (non historical) project.
JJ, I really think you've addressed the issue of "how to disguise the set up" if you consider the "practical" aspect of bags as the PRIMARY aspect of them. If used practically, for instance when needed for road conditions or curb cuts, steep transitions, and the like; rather than rolling around "playing with your Ding-a-Ling" all the time, ...who's to know for the most part?!
...Although, I'd agree that in the specific instance of Jr's car [ie; building a replica of a particular historically prominent car], there's more to the issue. On the average Down the Blvd Trad Custom however, using bags as a tool rather than a toy ought to cover it. ...all of the above being just my 2bits, of course.
One of the things that threads like this reveal is the power that all this has on the "faithfull" (hapless?). So much so that some are being "pulled in" and must recreate those lost icons (cleatus post #588). I know that my experiance was intially fueled (in the 80's) by my desire to deal with this "thing" that had consumed my life up to that point. It was thought that doing Jr's car would cure the ailment "once and for all". I couldn't have been more wrong. Almost from the beginning I was transported back into the time of my youth and had that old "feeling" back. Now, more powerful than ever.
Fixed?, hardly, watch out for this stuff, it will GITCHA'.
My 47 chevy
Fender skirts really help define the syle for me. I dig it the whole vibe when applied to right 50's model cars too. As long as the flow of the car and the stance is correct Im in ! Not every model is suitable either, just cause it drags its ass in the dirt doesnt mean its gonna fit the bill, Its gotta have that front to back smooth flow IMO... I pesonally think they look best in the late 40's early 50's clean classy styling.
Nice 47, Mandrew
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