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History What's More Important? The Car, The Building Of The Car!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jonathan W, Apr 2, 2020.

  1. Jonathan W
    Joined: Apr 1, 2020
    Posts: 14

    Jonathan W

    OK, so I have a lot of antique machines in my shop dating back to 1870. I also enjoy, but don't follow to a tee, the building of traditional hot rods. I am not trying to start an argument, but do have some opinion questions. I understand the fact that billet parts are looked down on because they were not used in the time period that the celebrated traditional rods were built. My opinion question is, why is it okay to build parts using a CNC plasma cutter? Is it only the appearance of the car that folks care about? and not the process?
  2. hemihotrod66
    Joined: May 5, 2019
    Posts: 95


    I kinda think you use what you have and what works......
  3. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 15,151


    My parts are old, but my tools are new. Not saying I have a lot of modern equipment, but I do use a TIG and have a few sheetmetal shaping tools the backyard guy in 1955 probably didn't have access to.
  4. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 45,227


    "is it okay" questions like this never end well....

    Some guys like using modern technology as much as they can, others like using old technology as much as they can. Most guys don't really care too much about it, and do whatever it takes to get the parts they need.

    I suggest you don't worry too much about what others are using to build their cars. But if you have old equipment, and build hot rod parts with it, please show us how you did it! We love tech stories like this.
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  5. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 2,047


    I built my 31 pickup in the 80’s using nothing but hand tools, along with a borrowed arc welder. Through the years I’ve collected many more tools, basically to save time, effort involved and nicer resulting parts. Cutting stuff with a hacksaw in a vise gets old really quick.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  6. Jonathan W
    Joined: Apr 1, 2020
    Posts: 14

    Jonathan W

    Kinda funny things matter until funds become an issue or lack of talent becomes an issue, then we adjust the rules of the game. They were capable to build billet parts in the 50's, but not cnc plasma cut parts. Trust me I don't worry about it, it just bothers me to see people ridiculed for their cars by people with half to no talent to do anything.
  7. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 1,613


    Without the advent of all the new tools now available, a lot of the cars now being saved would be just so much scrap metal.
    loudbang and Desoto291Hemi like this.
    Joined: Sep 5, 2007
    Posts: 1,634


    I don't know much about plumbing but I enjoy a good crap.
  9. The only way I can repair stainless trim is with a 240 Lincoln tombstone buzz box because it's traditional
  10. Billet parts were called aluminum parts and made from aluminum plate or pig during the period that we call traditional. Mostly used on race cars to keep them light and used as machined normally as opposed to polished. Just to be a little more accurate.

    I don't use anything CNC but I am not opposed to having a piece cut with a water jet or plasma cutter as opposed to my using a hack saw or jig saw. Not traditional? I am not a restorer I am a hot rodder and if someone is willing to make my job easier I am not opposed to letting them.

    For me building the car and the car itself are equally important. I am a mechanic/fabricator and am happy with a wrench in my hand and something to wrench on. There are cars that I find particularly desirable, they are not in my budget, so more often than not the important car for me is what lands in my garage.

    I am not a purest, if someone asks I can and will explain the most traditional path (I was there for the 50/60s era and know a good bit about it), but if someone hangs something on the car that is not "traditional" I will probably not snub them online or off.

    For my own cars there are things that I prefer. I think that it reminds me of my youth or the cars that I have always driven. I for example like the feel of an old heap, especially the truckish feel of a live axle, or needed to feather the brakes on an old car with manual brakes as opposed to modern antilock brakes. This is how I learned to drive and that is what I appreciate. I could go on about the feel of the older drivetrain or transmissions but I have made my point right?

    OK off my soap box. Carry on
  11. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,699


    Aren't most transmission adapters billet?
  12. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 933

    from Brooks Ky

    I think the idea is to preserve the traditional any means possible:Dergo radial tires that look like bias ply,super leather that looks like vinyl, aluminum wheels that look like steel wheels,350/383 Chevys that look like 283/327 (somewhat), overdrive transmissions that you can't see,CNC crankshafts and camshafts, reproduction bodies, aftermarket frames,ceramic coated headers that resemble high temp paint, reconditioned classic guages with modern stepper motors and GPS speedometers, tubeless radios, high tech ignition systems......etc.:D:D:D:D:D:D:D
    Everyone has a different way of getting there, but its the journey itself and the final destination thats important, not the route you took.;)
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  13. Nostrebor
    Joined: Jun 25, 2014
    Posts: 925


    If the question is about the website, the rules are available for review. I don't recall them saying anything about *how*(tools or processes) you build a traditional Custom or Hot Rod , but I have not read them in a while.

    Assuming the rules only pertain to the car and not the process, then it boils down to personal preference of the user. I am at heart a "tool collector" and the cars are just the carrier for my real obsession.:D I love tools! I enjoy finding newer, fancier, more technically advanced ways of doing things, and then applying these newfound skills to whatever it is that I am working on at the moment.

    I'm also very appreciative of those that do things the old-world way and greatly enjoy watching them do so. Float your boat!:cool:
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  14. Most of the trans adapters I have seen are from plate .
    Although,,,I guess it could be argued what the correct term is .

    Like Mr. Squirrel said earlier,,,I don’t see this thread ending well,,,,Lol .

  15. It is a matter of semantics. "Billet" was popular with the '90s show crowd. A piece of aluminum plate can be called Billet if that makes you Kewl or if you want to sound traditional it is just aluminum plate. :D
    Montana1 and Desoto291Hemi like this.
  16. I am a guy that loves hot rods & customs, the build is important to me just as driving the wheels off, I was one of the guys that didn't join in on the billet, tweed,bubble gum paint job, graphic laden street rod scene, my old 40 sedan was black with black wheels, I was into traditional cars before I ever heard the concept, I was the restorer guy that just might stick a bigger engine in my car but it had to look stock, interior & exterior.

    The Hamb opened my eye and I knew there were other people that disliked the modern hot rod.

    I have grown to like using a mig welder instead of the stick welder, if it makes the job easier I'm not opposed to taking advantage of modern tools.

    I enjoy the build but as I have gotten older I shy away from the long term builds, Brenda's nut & bolt Ranch Wagon build took me 7 long years but I built the 32 pickup in less than 6 months. HRP
  17. I have a billet distributor, does that count me out? o_O
    chryslerfan55 and ekimneirbo like this.
  18. tiredford
    Joined: Apr 6, 2009
    Posts: 481

    from Mo.

    Paint that billet part satin black , round off the square corners first.


    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
    chryslerfan55 and Black_Sheep like this.
  19. RJP
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,413

    from PNW

    On a traditional build the only proper way is to use the tools and parts available during the time period for that build. To call something 'traditional' that's been built with modern tools and parts is the true definition of an oxymoron.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  20. Black_Sheep
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 1,146


    I’m all about using the best means at your disposal, whatever that might be...
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,311


    That’s a very narrow point of view. If those guys would have had our modern tools you can bet your bottom dollar they would have used them
  22. I like ice cream.

    Is this really what we've deteriorated to? What machines are ok to use building a hot rod? I'm just gonna chalk it up to we're all locked in the house and bored.
    Nostrebor, wicarnut, IronTrap and 7 others like this.
  23. winduptoy
    Joined: Feb 19, 2013
    Posts: 1,882


    I like Ice Cream as well....does the OP have some pictures of his machines that date back to 1870 and things he has made with them...we like pictures too? @Jonathan W
    loudbang and chryslerfan55 like this.
  24. I build all my cars using only flint tools.
    Nostrebor, IronTrap, loudbang and 5 others like this.
  25. I built my first rod ('40 coupe with Olds & hydro) in a wrecking yard where I hung out. Only tool I had was a cutting torch so everything was bolted, no welding. If guys still had to build cars that way, we'd all be in a heap of trouble.
    chryslerfan55 and Desoto291Hemi like this.
  26. Blue-Collar-HotRods
    Joined: Nov 21, 2019
    Posts: 64


    To me, having access to more modern equipment makes building the cars easier, but it doesn't effect the "look"....the whole "traditional" thing can be accomplished easier these days, but there is still a certain style no matter how you get there.
  27. Zuffen
    Joined: May 3, 2013
    Posts: 94

    from Sydney
    1. COE's (Cab Over Engine)

    The journey not the destination.
    I'd rather drive my OT Mercedes than something I built that isn't fast enough to excite me.
  28. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,252



    The first choice would have to be the car. No one starts with a block of aluminum and says, I am going to make a 1940 Willys Coupe C/Gas Coupe to break all records on the West Coast of California. One has to have a 1940 Willys Coupe to start the whole process. Then as money decides how the build will be, it can be a slow one or a complete build, including a ton of machining or custom parts.
    CNC has opened up many different doors and has helped people create what is necessary. But, the CNC era was many years after the HAMB rule of pre 65 hot rods and builds. Guys like Atts Ono started the machining on many different machine shop tools to create his ultimate 1940 Willys Coupe. He machined most of the necessary parts for the Willys and the results were pretty spectacular. Yes, he did start with several blocks of aluminum for many of his creations.

    Today, if one were to build a 1965 Chevelle 2 door wagon, the outside would be pure 1965 style or earlier. But, underneath, everything responsible for a much smoother, better handling, stopping and powerful station wagon for the 2020 demands of the modern road trips. Do I need to say where or what was built and how? It is the car first, then parts to make it what you or anyone would need to have a reliable road worthy vehicle. The motor could be super high performance, but in this day and age, reliability is more enjoyable than 800 hp. (even with original 15" Halibrand wheels)
    Or, a hot rod Model A for a daily driving and long distance road trips, with everything modern underneath for reliability and pure fun.
    upload_2020-4-3_4-34-53.png It starts with a car or hot rod.
    Montana1 and alanp561 like this.
  29. Very good insight. It's good to hear your perspective as one who was actually there, Jnaki. Most of us young guys were not "there", we were only a twinkle in our Daddy's eye. :cool:
    jnaki likes this.
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,311


    It’s very good to hear someone say this. At 71 years old I was around to see some of this happen. When I was in the 5th or 6th grade I helped the neighbor kid across the street swap a 50 flathead into his 40 pickup. So I have been involved in this for a long time. I can guarantee that today things would have been done easier
    Montana1 and jnaki like this.

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