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History The Origin of Flaming Hot Rods?

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Jive-Bomber, Oct 22, 2020.

  1. Jive-Bomber
    Joined: Aug 21, 2001
    Posts: 3,332

    Jive-Bomber
    MODERATOR

    Jive-Bomber submitted a new blog post:

    The Origin of Flaming Hot Rods?

    [​IMG]

    Continue reading the Original Blog Post
     
  2. I like to imagine:

    LOOK AT THAT HOT ROD, IT SO FAST IT LOOKS LIKE ITS ON FIRE!

    I have always liked Larry Watson flames, though is known more for his scallops.
    By I am now leaning towards earlier 'rougher' flames like the hood of the Barris woodie, I think I have a photo..
    IMG_5152.jpg
     
  3. I like those flames as well Tony. I think @curbspeed nailed the style the best in the modern era
     
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  4. Yes he nailed it and at Bonneville, everytime I saw him I was too busy either working on the Circus or shooting pictures or selling calendars to stop him and git info and photos.
     
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  5. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,263

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Think I mentioned this before, but:
    I have had flamed cars, done flame jobs for others. The image was powerful in the early to mid '50s, and some 'finished cars' sported flame jobs thru the '60s.
    The style is something you love or hate.
    A young guy in town here was trying to assemble a Chevy A-D cab into a 'R-rod', of sorts.
    I looked it over, made some 'SAFE' suggestions on his otherwise precarious front suspension.:eek::confused:
    He asked about my F100, "What color you gonna paint it?"
    "Black..."
    "What color flames???"
    "No flames. I don't want a fire truck...":D:p
     
  6. The origin of flames is at-speed airplane and car engine fires.
     
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  7. BrerHair
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 4,491

    BrerHair
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Holy shit, that Friday photo is beyond cool! I’m liking that theory Jay.
     
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  8. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 16,866

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    SCAN0017.jpg

    :rolleyes:...1938...kinda early...

    I have seen them on some pretty early racers as you have shared in the Poster...I suspect an Aviation connection as you aluded...however early racers may have been the original source...I look forward to the vintage discussion as they are many times argued as sins on steel...not in my books however...

    Credit to Photographer, Owner
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2020
  9. I love that heart-shaped grille.
     
  10. Fireball Five
    Joined: Oct 5, 2018
    Posts: 58

    Fireball Five
    Member

    I'm sorry for dropping out. I was partway thru a Smokey Y. tale & my
    Smarter than me phone deleted. !
    can't get back where I was, but l'll
    make it sooner than a year this time
    Fireball 5 BBBIL8's Forever
     
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  11. Fireball Five
    Joined: Oct 5, 2018
    Posts: 58

    Fireball Five
    Member

    I don't think many pilots in #2 had or wanted flames on their plane even
    painted ones. They did have a taste
    for pretty ladies tho..Some of the nose art was beautiful.
    My nic. comes from our old Buick decal on it "Fireball 8"
    Fireball 5
     
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  12. Fireball Five
    Joined: Oct 5, 2018
    Posts: 58

    Fireball Five
    Member

     
  13. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 4,073

    Ned Ludd
    Member

    I wonder if the heart-shaped grille might not be the key. That grille is emphatically and unambiguously heart-shaped. It isn't imaginably heart- or shield-shaped like a '33-'34 Ford grille; it is literally shaped like the heart symbol of the card suit.

    I'm not really satisfied with the engine fire theory. It feels like a bad etymology in the way those tend not to reflect the way new usages in language develop. Early flames have a sort of heraldic, emblematic feel to them, which suggests to me that their use is tied to pre-existing symbolisms. There is a complex of symbolisms around the flaming heart, denoting such things as ardour, fervour, courage, and determination. A particularly salient manifestation of that is the Sacratissimum Cor Iesu in Roman Catholicism. We don't know if Petillo was responsible for the flames, but that symbolism would certainly have been familiar to a second-generation Italian immigrant like him, and I can imagine that it might have appealed to his hot-headed, somewhat out-of-control nature. Could the flaming heart have been a personal emblem of sorts?

    I can imagine that the image of the car might have made a visual impact in the years following the 1935 win, as the toy(?) box art above suggests, even to people who were less directly familiar with the flaming-heart symbolism. In this way the symbolic meaning would have shifted, as they do, to take in new associations with the new application. Thus the symbolism is perpetuated as tied to successful Indy cars, and on to referential instances like @Stogy 's 1938 example. Likely? There was doubtless some convergent evolution with other sources going on at the time.

    Flames would of course subsequently become increasingly mannerist as a hot-rod in-symbol, denoting above all else the embrace of hot-rodding as a movement or social phenomenon. By 1960 the primary meaning of a flame paint job was, "This car is a hot rod."
     
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  14. panhead_pete
    Joined: Feb 22, 2006
    Posts: 2,537

    panhead_pete
    Member

    Any ideas what its from?
     
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  15. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 16,866

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Custom builders/Fabricators were huge in this motorsport arena back in the day...there may very well have been a connection to the heart shaped grille ie loverboy just married, a personal request or even good luck...I have shared a number of Hotrods with heart shapes in the Grille area in the Homogenized Thread...

    It was a very Graphic Time in the evolving Art Deco Period and a lot of these racers had big money with wealthy owners behind the Vehicles...and they may have tailored the cars to their winning Drivers with all their eccentricities...look at the Crowns they wore and the ornate Trophies...

    Just my opinion of course...

    @Ned Ludd brought up some very plausible reasons...it sure as heck had a story behind it...the Hotrod I posted actually has a lot of similarity in flame styling to the racer @Jive-Bomber shared...
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2020
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  16. No. My guess is it was custom-made.
     
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  17. foolthrottle
    Joined: Oct 14, 2005
    Posts: 1,047

    foolthrottle
    Member

    the bars in the grille remind me of 1937 Oldsmobile
     
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  18. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 16,866

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER


    1622261_575973779164603_1452507040_n.jpg

    :rolleyes:...burn baby burn...more Flames from 1935...perhaps even sporting a Heart shaped grille....

    Well known racer in a dangerous but graceful time in the sport of racing...

    Credit to Photographer, Owner
     
  19. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 16,866

    Stogy
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    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
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  20. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 4,073

    Ned Ludd
    Member

    I had suspected that the early flame pattern was precedented in heraldry, and it is indeed a recognized line of partition called rayonny:
    [​IMG]
     
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  21. deucemac
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,072

    deucemac
    Member

    I habits always heard that midget driver Bob Swanson started the flame look on race cars. I have seen a picture of him, I believe at Gilmore, when his car burst into flames. Swanson was wearing a heavy wool sweater which saved his arms and torso from burning as the flames came back from the engine and the open hood sides. Swanson guided the car to where the fire could be put out and he could get away from it. I believe I saw the story and photographs in an issue of Open Wheel Magazine many many years ago. The car wasn't engulfed, but fire streamed back along the cowl and into the cockpit impressive and scary all in one.
     
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  22. Gary Addcox
    Joined: Aug 28, 2009
    Posts: 2,384

    Gary Addcox
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    Not exactly on subject, but I would like to state that the grille on '33-'34 Fords lends undoubtedly to the sweeping fenders and the slightly laid-back windshield that makes those 2 years of the Ford eternally beautiful and arguably the prettiest ride Edsel ever designed. I'm not prejudiced because I drive a Deuce highboy and a '40 2dr sedan.
     
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  23. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,298

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Looks like a modified 1933 DeSoto with different grille bars

    [​IMG]
     
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  24. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,892

    jnaki

    upload_2020-10-31_4-44-17.png
    Hello,

    While sitting around a beach campfire, it brings to mind that the origin of flames on a car came from someone having a backyard fire in their own house or job. Back when it was ok to burn things in cement incinerators that were conveniently placed in backyards of homes built in the 30s-40s, made the burning and flames come to light. Little boys given the job of burning the daily trash in the incinerators all over So Cal made “flames” on the brain, subconsciously.

    But, those incidents, plus the actual beach campfire flames were really scallops as we knew them in a bunch with pointed ends. The burning flames all over the area fire pits and barbecue grilling areas gave birth to the creative minds like Larry Watson and gobs of early painters. Early flame drawings actually looked like scallops, with wavy lines. At the time, there were no crab claws as we only saw the scallop style flames when burning trash or at the beach campfires.
    upload_2020-10-31_4-44-48.png
    As the creative minds started their early journeys, the flames took on a character of their own. A swish of the art pen here and there and now curvy skinny flame points went in all directions. An old hot rod/custom guy told us that his scallops were straight, but freehand made them wavy, then curvy, and now he had a new angle to draw the designs. Where did the crab claws come from? Maybe a wild night on the beach staring into the mesmerizing flames from the burning logs, and being bitten by those little crabs on the beach or jetties. Ha! Inspiration comes from all sources.
    upload_2020-10-31_4-45-17.png

    From drags to dry lakes, the early hot rodders had minds of their own…

    Jnaki

    upload_2020-10-31_4-45-57.png
    Something as simple as an outline on a roadster creates a overgrown pinstriping scallop.
    upload_2020-10-31_4-46-26.png
    Then as the creative minds start getting into their ideas, a combination starts to creep into the custom flame/scallop jobs.

    P.S.

    When we were on our early surf journeys, my brother bought the neatest surf vehicle. It could go anywhere at any time. So, we started taking it to the beaches in So Cal. We found out that going anywhere, anytime meant, “not so fast, brother.” The Jeep truck/camper was the slowest vehicle on the coastal roads. Need to get home quickly from a long road trip and late afternoon glass off surf session? Don’t hold your breath. It was like racing a turtle and being three cars behind.

    But, in order to make it seem like it can go faster, we talked about painting some fast-looking scallops on the sides. At least it would look fast, despite the lack or real power or speed. We all laughed at the idea. We even got kicked off of the 101 Freeway Conejo Pass climb before it got too steep. The local CHP gave us a warning that there is a minimum speed as well as a maximum speed. Minimum being not causing traffic to back up in the slow lane. Well, it was 10-15 mph at the least steep grade and in first gear. So, the coastal flat highway was our only means of travel.
    upload_2020-10-31_4-47-17.png
    Flames come from all different kinds of sources… some even starting from scallops...










     
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  25. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 4,654

    stanlow69
    Member
    from red oak

    A little earlier. From 1932. Wilbur Shaw. I`ll see if I can find some more examples in my magazine collection. IMG_20201101_0001.jpg
     
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  26. flyin-t
    Joined: Dec 29, 2004
    Posts: 1,311

    flyin-t
    Member

    My old friend Gabby Garrison hung out at Ascot and said he saw flames on a race car. Liked them so much he painted some on the hood top of his Ford in '33, Long Beach, Ca. He claimed he was the first guy to run them on the street.
    03-19-2005080500AM.jpg gabbysupe.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2020
  27. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 4,654

    stanlow69
    Member
    from red oak

    A better pic. IMG_20201104_0001.jpg
     
  28. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 16,866

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    :rolleyes:...what a cool Thread...I actually never noticed the Tail Fin which is just barely noticable in the pic I shared...wasn't there a Gilmore racer with this tail fin...perhaps this is that racer secured and repurposed aka Flamed Hotrod...

    Thanks for these additional historical references to such a Hot Topic @stanlow69
     
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  29. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 4,654

    stanlow69
    Member
    from red oak

    From Speedage. Pic`s were from 1936. IMG_20201104_0002.jpg IMG_20201104_0003.jpg
     
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  30. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 4,654

    stanlow69
    Member
    from red oak

    The tag line said it was called Skip - It IMG_20201104_0005.jpg
     
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