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Hot Rods The First Build

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

  1. Pretty proud of the bicycles we built during the mid-sixties of the Sting Ray craze. Have one of my earliest conversions of a sidewalk bike to a Stingray complete with the big and little's - slick at one end little 20x175 up front - I painted in a maroon metal flake with a matching banana....pic some where - but not in color.
    My first Hot Rod was an old 409 4 speed factory tac SS Chevy which by the mid -70's was itching for a newer 396's were cheap and sooo were rock crusher 4 speed's. Everyone wanted a 350 or 454 so the 396 was cheap and everyone was running a Turbo 350/400 auto's so 4 speeds were on the cheap. Have pics somewhere - drove it ALL over Texas - Austin a few times and the nearby states running the Interstate at speed with a trusty CB radio.... have to start a thread on it some day............
  2. Anderson
    Joined: Jan 27, 2003
    Posts: 6,649


    I don’t count my Cutlass as on topic so it’d have to be this thing
  3. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,213

    seb fontana
    from ct

    I don't have pics of my first build as no one in my family had a camera!!
    scotty t likes this.
  4. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,695

    Member Emeritus

    I was 15 years old, and responded to a newspaper ad for a 56 Chevrolet in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. My mother took me to look at the car, I wanted it bad; Model 150, Utility Sedan painted marina blue, and it had the white interior out of a 58 Chevrolet in it (did't fit or look good at all!), with a 235 six cylinder and floor shift 3 speed trans. Had to make arrangements to get the car home as I did't have a drivers license yet. Next day the guy calls and say he's keeping the car. Man I was depressed! Then, a week later he calls again and tells me to come get the car; I found two friends who had drivers licenses to help out; one of them took up all there, the other was to drive the car home for me. On the way home, the engine started to run poorly, was pretty noisy, and oil was leaking out through a small hole in the oil pan. The guy driving was getting ticked off, and just wanted to get it home. Kept adding oil, and eventually we made to my house. My Father was p*ssed off, to say the least, and he called the seller, and chewed him out for selling the car to me. Next day the guy takes a bus to Lynnwood, and gives me half of what I paid for the car back. I pulled the oil pan off, and found what we all expected to see, a thrown rod. Still, I start cleaning the car up, and I'm looking for a new engine, hopefully a V-8. Was't going to happen, and my Father made me sell the car. A guy in my high school bought it to replace his rusted and damaged 55 Chevrolet that had a "301" and 4 speed. Several years later, my buddy starts telling me about this 56 Chevrolet he found behind a barn where his sister boarded her horse. After enough bugging me about having to see the car, we go look at it. We come around the barn, and there sits the 56 Chevrolet I bought in Ballard. It had engine mounts for a Pontiac V-8, but that engine and trans were gone. Through the owner of the property, my buddy managed to locate the "owner" of the car, and bought it. He gets the title, along with the car, and MY name is still listed as the owner; so it had been through at least two more owners since me, and the title was still in my name. Legally, still my car! Gave my friend a hard time about my keeping the car, with him getting ticked off. Told him I was just kidding, the car was his; I'd signed the title years earlier, so all he really needed to do was transfer it into his name. He put a Corvette steering wheel in the car, and then it sat around until his folks told him to get rid of it; I had just bought a new, 1970 340 Dart, and I did't really want the Chevrolet back. So, that car was the first of TEN 56 Chevrolet's that I've now owned over 45 years or so. I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
    belair, dana barlow and guthriesmith like this.
  5. I drug my 55 home when I was 15 back in 1972. I didn’t have any money so this was the best I could do. My older brother was driving a hot rodded 57 Chevy at the time so he was my inspiration. It had no motor or trans, no front seat or back window, hell it didn’t even have a steering wheel. But it was all mine.

    EB0D1146-359C-421B-89E7-09239730EF49.jpeg 7DF579C7-3546-4F67-BB90-1888FAD0CB92.jpeg

    I got It on the road a few years later. I learned a lot fooling with my OL 55. The mechanicals were sound but my body work and paint was pretty terrible. I was going for Honduras maroon.

    0F580291-0EEE-4C51-80D6-D92FCCBF0D2E.jpeg 15F116EF-0E82-4AB2-9D43-16B7C1E6081A.jpeg 42F854DF-DB8E-4823-B9F5-829C6C161692.jpeg

    I’ve still got it. I’ve handed it over to my oldest son. Hopefully he’ll get it going again before I’m dead!

  6. 08racer
    Joined: Jun 13, 2005
    Posts: 839

    from Gilbert AZ

    Honestly I didn’t know shit about hot rods when I found this site. (I should have listened to my grandfather more)

    I just want to go faster than the next guy.
    Built a few 5.0 mustangs and drag raced them. Thought I was cool.

    Met a guy at work that was into the 50’s and had an old Packard. Told me about the H.A.M.B.

    Two cars inspired my current madness. @metalshapes and @Nimrod ‘s roadsters.

    So after seeing both those cars on here I was hooked.

    But at this point mind you I don’t know shit about traditional hot rods or hot rods for that matter. I could not even tell the difference between a A or a T and worse a 28-29, 30-31 or a 32. ( I built and raced drag cars and oval track cars so I thought I was cool)

    My first attempt ( I wanted a roadster)



    After spending time here and meeting Alex @metalshapes I realized what I really wanted. So I bought this

    And made this


    And now I also have this to drive everyday instead of a boring Prius or some other lame pile. (No offense to anyone that drives a Prius or a lame pile daily)


    So maybe a little off topic for a first build, but without this site I would not be where I am today.

    Thank you Ryan!!


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  7. RJP
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,047

    from PNW

    Might not be HAMB friendly, but my first full build was a Winged Sprint car at 18 years old. I lived and breathed dirt racing, and coming from a single mom household where money was tight, I knew nothing was going to be handed to me. Sold my 55, bought a junk pickup and worked two full time foundry jobs to support it. My welding mentor let me use a corner of his shop, his tools and his contacts to build it. The feeling I got when I put my foot in it at the track for the first time has stayed with me to this day..
    raven, enloe and Just Gary like this.
  8. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 6,709


    The Chevy in '86 or so. Moroso gold valve covers. Oh, the humanity..
    dana barlow, OL 55, Baumi and 4 others like this.
  9. wvenfield
    Joined: Nov 23, 2006
    Posts: 5,403


    I don't really consider anything I did in the far past as a build. I bought cars that weren't running (because that was all I could afford) and got them running and cleaned up but that really isn't a build. Bought wheels and exhaust and what have you for cars, but again, not really a build.

    I did buy my 56 Pontiac wrecked. I did put it back together so that was a start. LOL. I started down the custom build on it but there has always been an article I read that has stuck with me. I used to love reading Peter Egan. Now he didn't write about HAMB cars but I always enjoyed his writing. Pizza and Beer still is something I abide by even though I am not "poor" any longer. I still look at things as how I could buy that new car or buy the slightly used one and have lots left over for plenty of pizza and beer.

    He had an column about how so many complain that they can not afford to go racing........his article explained how that was just an excuse as there are many affordable ways to go racing. I decided screw it, that is right. It's been a long process but I'm finally getting the Pontiac close to track ready. It's not going to be the all out build that many post here and I enjoy following but it will get me on the track. If I only get a few passes on a weekend, whatever, I will be happy. It was still built on the cheap for the most part. I'm pretty happy with it so far.

    As an aside, a local dirt track started an enduro series. Basically running actual stock cars for 150 laps. Remove the glass and put in a screen and run. My son and I did "build" one of those and raced it when we could but then the track closed down....... (a completely off topic car). But the total investment there was less than $500.

  10. My first build started way back with this "C" Cab in 1971 and was finished 1974,
    This was the start of my hot rod addiction :D

  11. The Vicky was my first on-topic build but there were muscle cars, mini trucks, VWs, and 4x4s before it, so I guess I had some practice.

    Last edited: Oct 31, 2019
    OL 55, 66gmc, Just Gary and 3 others like this.
  12. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,420


    My first real build was with my brother. We started with a stock 1940 Willys Coupe. It was in fairly good shape with no rust or damages anywhere. It was the first build because we took it apart to do modifications for making it into a street legal hot rod and competitive drag racer in the gas coupe and sedan class. It was our first efforts in a real modification.
    The Willys story has been on the HAMB threads, so here is something from a different perspective. As long as I have been doing maintenance/pit crew mechanic work on my brother’s 51 Olds Sedan and his 58 Impala, it was a new beginning for me. As little kids, we did a ton of kid modifications to all things that moved mechanically. This new adventure was scary as it was a real car.

    My brother and I were 16 and 14 with some mechanical skills. This was going to be complicated. We started in November of 1959 and completed the first build around February 1960. It was the 6 Stromberg SBC motor and LaSalle transmission/Chevy rear end combo. I learned to sand correctly, line up fenders, doors, hood and trunk. I always thought they just bolted on and opened/shut each time. My brother taught me to weld a nice row of beads.

    But, for places that showed, recessed firewall, he did his magical row of beads. I was able to get better in welding and welded brackets/mounts where necessary. Later on, during the 2nd rebuild, I was given the job of cutting, aligning, and welding the steel plates in the trunk floor.

    Everything I learned from the time of towing the 40 Willys Coupe home from that neighbor’s backyard, to the semi finished coupe, despite the outcome, I learned from my brother. (On that final night time race, we all had never seen my brother come off of the starting line so quickly. His goal was to get out in front and the 671 SBC Willys build would do the rest.) I still apply his way of thinking things through, planning before the finish, and making sure things look as good as they are safe. Thanks, James…


    Being mechanical and thinking are two traits I still use today, on almost everyday obstacles. It still works ever since 1958-59. Planning, executing and logic is a lesson well learned.

    Last edited: Oct 31, 2019
    elgringo71, Parts48, OL 55 and 4 others like this.
  13. From:
    Sent: 8/23/2014 9:02:42 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time
    Subj: Re: My 34 roadster from the 60's built flathead, crazy front fenders John W.

    You keep pulling out these pearls; what a journey.

    On Sat, Aug 23, 2014 at 8:45 AM, <> wrote:

    Subj: My 34 roadster from the 60's built flathead, crazy front fenders and A Kellison on the side. John W.

    1Attached Images
  14. hiboy32
    Joined: Nov 7, 2001
    Posts: 2,781

    from Omaha, NE

    first hotrod . First hotrod build. Got it on the road in 05 and have been refining it since

    Attached Files:

    66gmc, raven and guthriesmith like this.
  15. Dads Pics 057.JPG
    My '29 cost $450 and a whole lot more that first year to get it to running and reliable. I bought it in August and tore down the motor in September. By November I had the engine mains re-babbited, a crack in the block repaired, fresh re-babbited rods and adjustable tappets from J.C. Whitney, new brake shoes, new kingpins, new tires, wiring, glass, a new top and a new passenger door, thanks to a tudor body I bought for $50 and re-sold for $100. It was back on the road by late February, and from then on, I was mobile! I never did get that driver's side running board replaced, nor the spare wheel repainted. Sold it for $600 a couple of years later.
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,302


    My 1st "build" was taking two wrecked O/T cars and making 1 out of em. Bad? I'm not shy, it came out pretty damned nice, and it was embelished with a really shiny engine and core support, a nice mux of chrome hardware, and the fit and finsih was superior to the OEM. I didn't have any $$$ for speed/hot rod parts so I figured to dazzle with finish. My 1st on-topic was this:
    It wasn't a solo effort, I was more than just my dear departed Dad's assistant though. I was about 15-16, I obsessed over it. It was powered by a 65 Cadillac 429 and we even used the power steering and brakes, all under the hood. Made the tilt n tele wheel and column work in there too. The rear axle came out of the Caddy, and for front brakes Dad stick welded the Caddy spindles to the Dodge stuff keeping the OEM axle in play but with the big Caddy drum brakes. That was quite a feat and after tens of thousands of miles there was never a wimper or worry. The interior was a combination of red/yellow/black Scotch plaid and black vinyl with the simulated chrome welt cord. The body mods are easy to see. We took a trophy at a local indoor show that had about 250 cars. Maybe my stubborn and quality driven outlook has been there since the start. Now as my dear friend and fellow HAMBer @safari-wagon can testify, not everything I did back in the day was show quality. Gotta make some $$$$$ sometimes and give em what they want, but I've had my moments in the sun a time or 10 for a long time.
  17. TexasSpeed
    Joined: Nov 2, 2009
    Posts: 4,622


    My first full-on build which is technically still on-going. 9.5 years later.

    I keep finding and losing motivation on it. Maybe one of these days..

    pecker head, Shadow Creek and Paul like this.
  18. raven
    Joined: Aug 19, 2002
    Posts: 4,638


    This is my first ‘ground up/from nothing ‘ build. [​IMG][​IMG]

    I built other cars/trucks but I started from something that was either mostly complete or was a running vehicle before.

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
  19. 20151226_152118.jpg 20151226_152143.jpg My 58 Fairlane. Built in the early 90s'. VERY low budget. We bought it running and driving with a leaky fuel tank for $300. Someone had riveted flat sheet down over the floor rot and put adhesive backed aluminum hvac duct tape over the rotten rocker panels and painted it. Put a fresh 390/c4 combo in it, rebuilt all the suspension and brakes, took it down to bare metal and then painted it with krylon (yes that's still what's on it), had the seats done in plain white vinyl with dark blue piping. The carpet was done with those cheap rolls that you used to be able to buy at Walmart and pretty much any auto parts store. I ran it with the chrome bumpers and grille for awhile but they needed to be redone and at the time I was broke, but I had more krylon, so that was that. It had flame throwers on it and blue mood lighting under the dash. I stripped it once to build a 57 2dr and then ended up putting it back together and selling the 57 and eventually sold the 58 only to get it back and resell it again. I had it in my possession again a couple of years ago and actually started working on it but my heart just wasn't in it and so I sold it back to the guy that had it. It was a super fun car.

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