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Hot Rods The First Build

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ryan, Oct 28, 2019.

  1. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 19,800

    Staff Member

    Ryan submitted a new blog post:

    The First Build


    Continue reading the Original Blog Post
    Sancho, enloe, loudbang and 9 others like this.
  2. Ironically I just posted it last night, at the time I built the truck in the early 70's and I thought it was pretty cool but it sure wouldn't pass muster on the hamb today, we all had that first hot rod and they all were not show winners. HRP

    My first build

    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
  3. wheeldog57
    Joined: Dec 6, 2013
    Posts: 2,060


    Very cool first " build" sir.
    Mine is my avatar. I learned how to mig weld on the 57 so it was pretty ugly underneath the skin coat of filler. Both quarters (used from N. Dakota) 3 floor pans, almost all body supports, inner and outer rockers, you get the picture.
    The good thing is I built it once the way I wanted and I'm still enjoying it 10 years after its completion. 20190803_183221.jpg
    dana barlow, enloe, 4dsrus and 6 others like this.
  4. Most (all) of my first build would not pass scrutiny of the gang here, I am a terrible welder, I measure twice and cut three times. My first build I still have, I owned as a stocker for years then stupidly tore it down to make a street rod, but later saw the light a third of the way through after the flathead and drive train were tossed. I got serious when I got sick and wanted to drive it before I died. I got it to run and drive with a 327 tri-power, 9 inch, torsion bar front (street rod), the alignment shop was just able to get alignment so it would drive. I got better and drove it all over for 30,000 miles right into the ground. I did more have-assed work on that 40 pickup, but it is my pickup and even turned down stupid money for it because that truck was me.... it saved my life.
    raven, dana barlow, 4dsrus and 9 others like this.

  5. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 7,840


    Everyone starts somewhere. I have wrote about this car on here, My first build was finished by my 16th birthday, 1964, looked like wheeldog57 only my 210 was that pale blue color, I sprayed canned the top and between side trim white where the BelAir trim fit. I bought the car without engine and trans, V8 stick car. Went to boneyard, purchased a 348 complete w/tricarbs, tranny. With help from friends installed engine/tranny, Hurst floor shift kit, glass packs, 3 gage panel under dash, baby moons, made 15" reverse wheels in machine shop/high school, bought recap street slicks, pop riveted in stop sign floor patches and many other "kid things" patched a few rust holes improperly for the proper primer spots all Wisconsin Kid's cars had. I had a ton of fun with this car, fastest car at my HS, street racing, cruising, put me on the map in my neighborhood as a car guy. It was a great learning experience for me in many ways. I have tons of good memories/stories from my youth and my entire life from car related fun, I still do and will till my expiration date.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2019
    dana barlow, catdad49 and UNSHINED 2 like this.
  6. My first build was more like an "un-build"
    At 16 I dragged home a 48 Chevy coupe and a "parts" car. the car was "complete" except for engine, transmission, dash, lights, bumpers, half the trim, and wiring harness
    At some point the car had been painted white with blue flames. The PO got sick of people stopping to look and ask questions about it so he spread a layer of red oil based house paint on it with a broom.
    Anyway, the windshield channels were rusted pretty bad on the lower side so they guy had bought a another one that had 3/4 of the A pillars and half of the roof removed.
    I figured, how hard could it be to graft the firewall and A pillars from the parts car to the other one. My grand dad had a pretty cool stick welder and some grinders and saws and such, and I had a pretty complete set of wrenches and sockets...
    I figured the first order of business was to get the car taken apart and stripped of all that paint. after a bunch of hours with the portable sand blaster making very little progress I decide to regroup and went and bought some paint then promptly gave my self a few chemical burns...
    At this point i started looking for reasons to stop with the paint removal and decided that if it didn't roll and stop it wouldn't matter what kind of paint it had. So I totally dissembled the front end. (All this happened in the early 80's before you could just jump on the internet and order what you needed.) 16yo me decides; I'll leave this for now and just put a nova or Camaro front clip in it later, but before I can do that I need to get this firewall swap done... I still don't know how I figured I would do any of this on my paper route and lawn mowing salary...
    I should also note at this point that my dad and grand dad were of the "he'll figure it out" mind set when it came to teachable moments and life
    So now I have everything that can be unbolted and removed or taken apart laying about the garage (nothing marked, boxed or bagged, its all just leaned against the wall or in 5gal buckets) the car is blocked up over a mess of sand and paint stripper, the car is half painted and half stripped.
    So I drag the grinder out to the donor can and start hacking away at the firewall... ease of access took priority over proper cut placement.
    Thankfully, I cut more than would be needed.
    Then came a real job offer nights and weekends. The car work slowed waaaay down...
    My grand dad started asking me how long it was going to be in his garage...
    Then one day, a couple of years after this debacle started, My grand dad hands me the same amount of money I had paid for the car and tells me "some guy" was driving buy and saw it in the garage and stopped and asked if it was for sale.. a deal was made and he came back with a trailer and picked it all up...
    To this day I am not sure weather he just saved me from myself and scrapped it or if someone really bought it...
    my second build was way more successful but not HAMB friendly...
  7. My first car was not Hamb friendly.
    80 camaro
    Rotted floors patched with sheet metal rivets and tar inside and out
    Bondo over the rusty bits
    Silicone instead of gaskets for oil pan and valve covers along with quite a bit more
    Cereal box gaskets
    The little bits of repair exhaust to make my duel exhaust.
    Lots of scrap yard parts including brakes etc.
    But it drove and drove well
    ( at least to 16 year old me)
    Yeah my quality of work improved by atleast 10 since then
  8. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,758

    from Nebraska

    My first 'build' was my first car and it was short-lived, unfortunately.

    For my 16th birthday, my dad bought me a '58 Ford Custom 300. It was a 6 cyl., 3-spd+OD car. $300 (in 1995). I learned how to weld on it and we patched the floors, replaced the rockers and sub-bracing. Dad also made me put lap belts in it. That part likely saved my life.

    I was finally able to start driving it to school in September, 1995. My junior year of high school. On a Saturday morning, on my way home from basketball practice, I was in a bad head-on accident. Guy came around a blind corner on the wrong side of the road. Smashed the front end of the car and I ended up with a badly broken nose and 16 stitches to put it back together.

    Still have the car, sitting on my uncle's farm.

    Scan of a bad Polaroid photo:

    (Set a different front clip on it for eventual resurrection)
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  9. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 21,640

    Staff Member

    E1E17692-A8BE-4979-A5DF-46D2156EA426.jpeg 3BE42A94-31BE-4D7B-B2C1-CE28DF8A2C2E.jpeg I posted my 52 Chev on HRP’s thread this morning, technically not my very first build but it is the first car that I did all the mechanical work and body work and paint on. This would have been 1981 and I was 21 years old and nobody in the area was building a nostalgia car but me.....235 6cylinder. 2 carbs Fenton’s and lowered by stepped a arms and lowering blocks. Busted my ass R and R ing transmissions ( second job) to pay for parts as I was married and had a kid. Really fun car. Had 1200 bucks and a lot of sweat in it. And it would be totally on topic here today... sold in my divorce sale in ‘91.....
  10. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 15,194

    from oregon

    Not sure you would call this a "build" but this high school kid always had his nose in a car magazine so I knew all the cool bolt-ons available, problem was I had little money so I had to be creative.
    The car was so Plain Jane looking in its beige paint and black wheels that I didn't even feel comfortable around the "cool guys" so spent my time making it presentable.
    The first thing was wheels, my friend knew the local funny car ace who had Cragar as one of his sponsors so I asked if he could hook me up with a discount on four wheels.
    A week later he calls and says they are on Kenneys front porch, 75 bucks, just pay as I can.
    Lawnmower work had that covered in short time, next, that beige paint HAD TO GO.
    Another local racer did paint work on the side and said he would paint it if I helped out around the shop, hard to pass up that offer, free paint job and get to work on his hemi powered Super Stock Belvedere.
    Had to suffer through the Fenton shifted three speed while saving up for the T-10 and Hurst shifter, next (1970/71), bought a fiberglass Grump Lump hood scoop and got help popping off a copy by carefully taping it off, then returned it for refund and ordered headers, summer lawn mowing was tiring but it payed the bills.
    Wanted a set of Lakewood traction bars but again no money, a friend had some rect. tubing, I prepped everything and he welded them up, even glued Lakewood logos on them that came from magazine advertisements, fooled a lot of people.
    Then the trail of broken axles and spider gears started and with college looming I sold the 57 for a dependable driver, man, that was a fun car.

    20160627_105056.jpg 20160322_174901.jpg
  11. 66gmc
    Joined: Dec 4, 2005
    Posts: 580


    My first ground up. I started buying parts when I was 14, started building when I was 19 and drove it for the first time when i was 23. Continued to make refinements until it got parked a couple years ago. Got bored and cut it up and parted it out last year, still have the body. Cosmetically it was a piece of shit, but I had a lot of fun with it and learned a lot. 20170701_142638.jpeg
  12. Mark Hinds
    Joined: Feb 20, 2009
    Posts: 601

    Mark Hinds
    from pomona ca

    My brother and I got this 36 five window from my grandpa in Sept.63. It was a solid car, but did have some road rash from climbing the hills around grandpa's mine in Arizona. Found taking a car apart was easier than putting it together again. But for a 14 year old, I was in heaven. Loved thinking about what could be done. My dad kinda put us into the thought of restoration, which is what we ended up doing. Took the old 36 down to the body on the frame with fenders and hood and everything else scattered on the garage floor. Had dads tools, which was limited but amazing what can be done with a set of wrenches, sockets and a drill motor. Sent the fenders out for a little TLC, because I hadn't clue what to do. Dads friend John Hoffman painted the car in the garage. Brother Doug and I hand sanded and hand rubbed all 15 coats of Washington Blue lacquer . That was the most time consuming part of this project. All said and done, not bad for my first project. Since this start, have seen many off topic project to fruitions..... Marks 36.jpg Mark and Spartan Chariot.jpg
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  13. I paid $500 for my '53 Chevy Bel Air hardtop in ’78 when I was 16. It was lowered a bit, nosed & decked, had four extra grille teeth and was otherwise stock.:cool:

    I paid for it (as well as new tires, brakes, paint, chrome & upholstery) by driving a tractor at a plant nursery ($2.15/hr) and pumping diesel fuel after school at a truck stop($2.35/hr). I helped a bodyman with his house addition in return for spraying the paint.
    It was "HAMB appropriate" only because I couldn't afford to turn it into a Pro Streeter.:eek:

    A friend and I drove it from NE Ohio to the 1980 Street Machine Nats in Indianapolis. I enlisted in the Navy a month later, put it in storage, and sold it two years later to help pay for college.:rolleyes:
    53 chevy.jpg
  14. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,461


    I had a long series of fixer uppers before my first true build in about '84?
    Always had some old junker that needed work when bought, fixed them up and drove them until something else came along.
    My first build started with a clapped out shell and butchered frame that some previous owner had started to make a race car out of, straight axle, hydraulic rams for tilt body, chevy rear and all.
    I chopped, channeled and sectioned the body, fabricated a frame, put a 394 Olds, Muncie and 9" in it,
    blew up the Olds and put a BBC and TH400 in it and drove it like that before selling it here on the HAMB.

    hot rod history 001.jpg hot rod history.jpg hot rod history 003.jpg hot rod history 004.jpg hot rod history 007.jpg hot rod history 010.jpg rear 001.jpg 454 001.jpg
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  15. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 19,800

    Staff Member

    Man... none of these are all that embarrassing at all.
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  16. 2935ford
    Joined: Jan 6, 2006
    Posts: 3,647


    My first build was a '57 Nomad I had found at the side of a gas station in barely running condition for $700 in 1974.
    57 Nomad 12.jpg 57 Nomad.jpg
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  17. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 6,017

    Marty Strode

    My Brother Tom, gave me an early T body when I was 14, with the promise I would build it. I started out by buying a Model A frame at a local wrecking yard for 10 bucks. A friend bought a 40 sedan delivery, to part out, that we promptly rolled on it's side and cut out the complete front suspension for my project. Since I had plans of being a Drag Racer, the natural thing to do, would be building a D/A, with a Flathead. I chose a 50 Olds rear end, mounted solid on top of the frame, since we had one, not in use. It took plenty of swapping parts and making deals, but used Flathead speed equipment was available and cheap. I had ten dollars tied up in the Edelbrock SU-459 manifold. I worked in an old barn with plank floors, and the sliding door had rotted off the hinges and wouldn't close, and it got plenty cold at times. My Brother Jerry, taught me to gas weld and me loaned his acetylene torch. I have always been lucky to have friends with Fathers who have trusted me, and loaned me tools and equipment, one furnished a stick welder and disc grinder. My Stepdad Jack gave me a running '53 Cadillac. When it came time to mount the engine and trans, I wasn't sure I could make the clutch linkage work with the Flathead, so I opted to use the 331 Cad and Hydro. When the day came to mount the engine, Brother Jerry showed up, and we mounted the engine and trans, using channel iron and other scraps. He combined the Olds and Cad drive shafts, and using a 1 gallon Pennzoil for a fuel tank, we wired the body on and he took if for a ride down the highway, he used the same baling wire for a hand throttle. It had no brakes (not even a master cyl), our friend Wayne rode along holding the fuel hose in the can, and handling the shifting duties at the arm on the side of the Hydro. To say Jerry has always been a wild man is putting it mildly. With some refinements, I made it what it was in the last picture, all and all, it was pretty much junk by today's standards, but it fueled my passion to be a car builder and racer for life !
    2012-08-09 221821.jpg 2012-07-19 105309.jpg 2012-08-31 114836.jpg
  18. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,543


    It wasn't that bad....I had almost no money, so it all went into go faster stuff. And then gas. I still have the truck, too. (1979 photos by my dad)


  19. Not done yet but this is my first build. Part of the reason it has taken me a hundred years to build it is because I didn't know what I was doing and didn't want to leave stuff that I wasn't happy with as my skills and knowledge improved.

  20. jimgoetz
    Joined: Sep 6, 2013
    Posts: 416


    My first. I bought it with money from my paper route for $35 because it had a rod knock. I did all the body work outside in my parents yard. It was nosed and decked, shortened side trim frenched headlights, 55 ford grill and of course the rolled pan. I learned how to braze, gas weld, use a spray gun and clean it and a lot of other things with it. It was a 20/20 car maybe a 30/30 but boy I sure wish I had more pictures of it. 46077528_2039478409405956_2626282315780718592_n.jpg
  21. Baumi
    Joined: Jan 28, 2003
    Posts: 2,770


    My first try on an old American car was in about ´96 on my Impala. I got it as a less than 16k miles original car and my best friend kept me from ruining it. I would have put hydraulics on it... my old NWA tapes arl in the glove box, hahahaha I´m still glad he guided me, after all.
    My second try was my 56 BelAir. I hated the color and I hated the stance, it had western wheels with 255s all around, the 327 ran like a raped ape and it had balljoint spacers up front. My first change on the56 were also Centerlines, dropped spindles and disc brakes, because I had no idea how to make drum brakes do their job.
    This 56 and you guys on the HAMB taught me a lot of things. Today I´m frequently catching myself thinking about getting rid of the bags and putting a 4 speed in it...hahahaha

    Ca. 2001 the first changes
    56Bel Airfrontkomp.jpeg 56BelAirrear.jpeg
    First drive with the centerlines
  22. My first build was this '40 Ford opera coupe. I built it in my Dad's driveway for pretty much peanuts money. I got it when I was 14 in 1959 for $ was half buried under a sand pile the guy used to build his garage. It ran, but burned more oil than gas. All original.....the glass was fogged up/ glass at the local junk yard for $1 each piece.....cut and replaced all.

    I spent the next 2 years getting it ready for paint. I put 8 coats of '56 Dodge Royal Blue lacquer on it (about $6/gallon) then rubbed it out a bit. The body was very solid, except for the typical lower pan under the trunk lid.....repaired that. I purchased Naugahyde "left-overs" at the factory in Somerville (Mass.)....about $20 total....... and stitched up R&P for the interior on my Mom's sewing machine......used the standard GM-type perforated stuff for the headliner.

    I built a 296 inch flathead motor, light weight flywheel, big clutch, '39 trans, put on a set of used headers....straight pipes the rest of the way back. It ran real good, but got about 4 MPG!! Not so good.......

    By today's standards it was not a quality build, but for a high school ride it was pretty cool......sold it when I went away to college.....

    I met up with one of my neighbors a couple of years ago....he had a "Motorama" trophy winning custom '55 Ford with a 283 SBC, lots of bling......he asked me: "What ever happened to that S@#T box Ford you put together?". That kind of sums it up!!

    1940 coupe - 1961.jpg 1940 coupe engine - 1961.jpg
  23. Kevin Lee
    Joined: Nov 12, 2001
    Posts: 7,440

    Kevin Lee
    Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Random shot of my first. It’s still out there somewhere.

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  24. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 21,822


    Mine was my 36. Dad bought it for my second birthday. My mom was pissed.

    I drove it through high school. I blew it apart back a few years ago for a third iteration and man, poor people have poor ways. I used an arc welder and a gas welder.

    The suspension didn't work like it should. Everything was in a bind. I had a 327, a 283 and eventually a 355 that would puke driveshafts like they were going out of style. This first pic was out of the school paper in 1984ish.

    Oddly enough, I don't have many pics of it.

    13" slots on the front and 15" Mickey Thompson mags on the rear. Hijacker air shocks gave me plenty of clearance for tire hop.


    I still have it and plan one more round. This next one is the last one. Getting too old for this crap.
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  25. I wish I had pictures of my "first build" but alas I didn't get the photo bug till later in my sophomore year. I did however purchase a 1960 F-100 on my 16th birthday when coming home from the DMV with my new license in hand and $500 burning a hole in my pocket. 223 with three on the tree. My buddy and I work every night to stitch together a new seat cover with my mom's sewing machine and some brown vinyl purchased from Surplus City. Then it was some horrid body work covered up with several cans of grey primer and out to Mooney Blvd. to go cruising. Had a great time in that truck but my folks figured I was having too good a time in it. When I was taken to the office under "citizen's arrest" by the dean of boys on the last day of school for chasing a guy across the basket ball courts (he threw a water balloon through my side window that exploded on the back window) my mom came down to get me, took my license away and made me sell my truck. I got $700 for the truck three months after purchasing it for five so I was money ahead, right? After a month of driving me to and from mom and dad got tired, gave me my license and the $700 and told me to go get a car so I would leave them alone. Always missed that truck so when I was a little older I finally got another "Fridge", a 58 this time, still drive it.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2019
  26. Davkin
    Joined: Apr 5, 2008
    Posts: 366

    from SLC, Utah

    I've only had one build but done three times, all of them poorly, the first iteration;





    Well, the last is basically the second but painted over with John Deere paint to hide the deteriorating blue/green pearl and my crappy body work.
  27. guthriesmith
    Joined: Aug 17, 2006
    Posts: 5,487

    1. H.A.M.B. Chapel

    My first two builds weren’t quite HAMB friendly, since I started in muscle cars at age 12. But, by the time I was 16, I decided I needed an old pu. So, I bought a 63 Chevy custom cab SWB for $200 from just a few miles from my house that was advertised in the “Bargain Post” if I remember right. I remember my folks thinking I was crazy to drag that thing into their nice neighborhood. Pretty sure they made me store it somewhere else until I could make room for it in the garage. Anyway, I tore it completely apart and made it too nice really. Since it was the late 80’s at the time, it had lots of things I would do different now, but overall I wouldn’t mind having it today. Since it was my 3rd build and I had also painted several cars for other people, the quality of build wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I put a small block 400 in it and swapped out all the suspension with a 71 to get the disk brakes and 5-lug. Anyway, if I had it now, it wouldn’t be red first of all, would be much lower, and sure wouldn’t have the ugly wheels. Ironically enough, my oldest boy now has a 63 Chevy SWB project going that will be his first driver.

    My $200 pu

    Finished in 80’s styling...

    My kids project that will have much better style when done... 687D4C55-156A-4AF7-9B09-FFF729B8FC59.jpeg
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2019
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  28. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 21,822


    Nothing wrong with that...
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  29. I just remember galvanized sheet metal, pop rivets, a 307 losing its two barrel and gaining a Quadra jet with no kick down cable.........
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  30. Chaz
    Joined: Feb 24, 2004
    Posts: 5,016

    Member Emeritus

    56 Dodge.jpg

    This pic is from 1966. My first car. Radiused rear fenders, tunneled antenna, hood scoop. I worked on this Sooooooo hard. Traded it for a hippie econoline a year later........
    Old-Soul, dana barlow, enloe and 3 others like this.

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