The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Roothawg, Jun 8, 2021.
Well said Steve.
Also, great input.
To build a traditional custom --- it takes big balls. To change a car not normally done by most. To do things like adding wide white walls. Lowering the rear more than the front. Changing out your grille and putting on hubcaps instead of chrome wheels. But when a non educated car guy looks at you and says they like your car. Even thou they don`t understand why the heck you did those things to your car. You know you did a good job.
The cost of a traditional custom probably works out to the same of a finished traditional hot rod in the end. The initial investment on a hot rod will most likely be way more than a custom. The custom will most likely take more time to finish so the cost is spread out more too. If the metal work is done by the builder then I would be willing to say the custom will come out cheaper than a finished traditional hot rod. 99% of the custom metal work can be done with inexpensive hand tools. You just have to be willing to learn.
Watched a few of his videos after you mentioned it. Dude has some real skills. Amazed at the amount of tooling he has in his shop. He has been collecting tools for a while.
My first reaction. Yet he persists with that manual guillotine!
You can take a 40 Ford hot rod and chop the top and do custom mods on it. But in the end it is still a hot rod with custom tricks done to it. Had an argument with a guy about this one time. He had a 50 Chevy fastback and wanted to put it in our traditional Custom class. It failed because of the tires/wheels he had on it.
OK fellas this is NOT going to turn into a discussion on customizing modern cars... this is the Hamb, I am sure there is a tuner forum somewhere that would welcome such things. It will not fly here....
Whatever it is I’m gonna enjoy as long as possible and influence as many as possible while I still have the opportunity I have.
Anyway. Gotta adjust on the carb of the kids 61, he wants to drive it to his first cruise in.
Oh, I stopped watching the news years ago.
I just look up info for subjects I’m curious about.
Much happier now
Your 41 looks great with the bumpers on, that no bumper thing is a modern day misconception of what customs look like. There were a few cars in the 50's that ran with no bumpers but with nerf bars, hardly any with no bumpers at all.
Keep your bumpers your car looks great. JW
Miss Snooky and her New Jersey Bunch, they have nothing to do with customs!
And neither does your post pointing that out, yet here we are…
That's not actually true... Yes, up to about '59 bumpers will still common, many times because of local legal requirements. But from there on, rolled pans became popular and bumpers disappeared off many cars.
I'll somewhat disagree about the cost thing. That can vary widely, depending on what style and era you're going for. Some types will be more expensive than others. Miss Taboo is almost the poster child for the high-expense type. Scads of now-expensive chrome, much of it not reproduced, and worse yet much of it die-cast so if you do find it the repair/replating costs will take your breath away. If that's what floats your boat, make sure your money pool is deep enough so you don't go aground... LOL
The bodywork is more intense for sure, but you see guys here reconstructing rust-buckets back to stock, I don't think it's that much of a leap to go custom. And a mexican blanket isn't going to cut it inside, so yeah, you'll have to have a nice finished interior. It doesn't have to be a show-stopper, just make it nice. As for other costs, it doesn't have to be big bux... A few examples...
The Astorian '55 Chev. This checks all the boxes for me. Keep the hood shut and you don't have the heavy chrome bill under the hood. The Olds taillights may be hard to find, but everything else could be fabbed out of inexpensive materials. Use stainless steel, no chrome bill. If you use .100" thick stainless, you can get stick rod to weld it, putting this within reach of most builders.
A little wilder... The Jade Idol. Two hard-to-find parts here; the 'gear' headlight bezels, and the late '50s Chrysler quarterpanels. Everything else is fabricated, including the taillights. Not chopped, but the sectioning may be beyond some builders but again, there are home-builder guys here talented enough to pull it off.
Last, the Adonis '60 Ford (version one), another one of my favs. Probably the easiest one. All major body mods are at the two ends and certainly no more difficult that what you see on many early Mercs. No chop or sectioning. All trim on this one is either fabbed from available material or OEM, nothing here that will break the bank or need chrome. The interior wasn't over the top, and I don't think I've ever seen it with the hood open. There was a fair number of outstanding customs built in the '60-65 era using this formula, probably be cheaper to build today rather than trying to track down missing/damaged trim as a 'mild' custom.
Now I'm not advocating that these be cloned (they mostly already have been), but just pointing out that a builder with decent skills needn't go broke building a car like this. Hell, the owner of the Adonis DROVE it between shows (and through the snow no less), showcasing it's practicality.
I will agree with the lack of creativity... or is it just a lack of balls? Most guys take the 'safe' choices, leading to a distressing 'sameness' to so many customs. It does take an 'artists eye' to create a pleasing design and not everyone has that, but there's also more than few automotive artists still doing concept drawings, if you doubt your ability in that area it may pay to spend some $$$ with one of those guys.
And if you've noticed that I like the roll-pan cars (eliminating the $1K each restored bumpers), I'll throw out a tip for those who don't have all the metal-working tools to fab some of this stuff (like me). Take a look at the steel aftermarket roll pans for later pickup trucks. There's a wide range, all the way from '60s into the '90s. The trucks tend to be boxy like the early cars, the pans are generally not all that expensive, and enough variations that you'll find something that can work with suitable mods. You might have to buy two and splice 'em to get the width you need, but the stuff is out there. Cast a wider net....
I just checked Barris, Ayala, Valley Custom Shop on Rik Hoving's custom car site and Bumpers win 20 to 1 so what I said about rolled pans being a more modern thing is true. 41 Chevy guy keep your bumpers on they look GOOD.
Since when has the '60s been modern times these days? That's 50 years ago! LOL...
And if you had checked the Alexander Bros, Starbird, Cushenberry, Jeffries, and Winfield the results would have been a bit different... LOLOL...
Reasonable is subjective. Recently, I looked at my Social Security statement and I had forgotten how broke I was back when I was first married. We built several cars back then. I will admit it gets easier and the cost isn’t a big of a factor as you get closer to retirement. It all depends on what you are willing to commit to.
Crazy, I did check them , over half the cars have bumpers. 41 Chevy guy keep your bumpers.
At the risk of getting flamed; to me sometimes customs are too busy like the "R" rods. I loved the Merc on page 2, simple, clean and classic. I feel less is more and some are just trying to show all the stuff they can do. I want my 55 Customline to be a cruiser. Not too hot rod or custom but a happy medium.
John, you missed my point. I wasn't advocating either for or against bumpers on a '41 Chev, I was simply pointing out that customs didn't have 'rules' back in the day. It was your car, the only limit was your imagination. One of the issues here is in attempting to cram all customs into this now-perceived 'traditional' box that didn't exist back then, they don't all fit as neatly as hot rods.
The 'fix' as usually applied here is to simply ban all post-'65 parts. But all the parts made after '65 didn't magically become ugly, and you do see examples of them used here and there. Some are very well done, enough so that they either past muster or the 'trad' police don't see them... LOL. But I'll be the first to admit that many are 'forced' into a design with predictably ugly results. But you see ugly results with 'era correct' parts too, so it's much more of a designer problem rather than a parts problem.
It used to be that building a custom made a statement of some sort. It could be as little separating yourself from the crowd or redesigning parts to make it look the way you want, to pursuing show wins. If the only statement you make is 'Me too!', you've kinda missed the point of a custom...
The last few pages listed here kinda justifies the presumed decline of “forum friendly” customs.
If some of the customs turned into ugly ass customs. So did the pre 49 Street rods turn into rat rods. Which would you rather have. Or see.
If you don't like and take inspiration from these cars, you're not really a custom guy IMO....
And I still say the Matador is the best '40 Ford custom ever built. If I could only have one out of all out there, this is the one...
Geez 9 pages and nobody’s put a meter on the battery or checked the generator? Good grief
Could be a clogged fuel filter too!
Why are customs dying ?
My take, they are dying because it is easier to just buy whatever you want. Customs take time, money and some level of skill, if you build it yourself.
There are a whole bunch of rodders who have no time or skill, but they have money. Why build when you can buy ? Instant gratification !
I have always seen customs as an expression of the builders vision to make it their own.
Does the upcoming crowd have a vision to express ? Do they want to stand out ? Do they care ?
when i first got out here in the 90’s, i knew a fellow who was in a rodder car club. Man i thought that was just tits up ! I asked if they held classes on chopping or frame swapping. He answered that nobody was interested, they were more interested in gathering and listening to 50’s music. That’s ok but i thought they were missing the boat for rodders, no skills.
To make the point again, one of the car magazines held yearly money limited car contests. One group of guys won two years in a row by doing the work themselves, welder, machinist, engine builder and driver all with professional skills. Rather than fostering this type of skill level with classes and how to articles the magazine decided to change the rules (lower the bar) of the contest to eliminate the level of skill shown by those winners.
That probably had more to do with the fact that those actual builders weren't buying the mags advertiser's products.
I may be off base, but isn’t this the crux of the issue? It used to be that building a custom meant taking a relatively common contemporary car and making it into something unique that stood out in everybody’s eyes. It made a statement. Flash-forward half a century and the context is gone. All of those formerly contemporary cars are incredibly rare now, and therefore stand out in the eyes of the modern public, be they stock or customized.
So what’s the motivation for a young builder, when a bone stock ‘50s 4-door is just as appreciated as a full-on ‘50s custom?
And yes, I know there are young builders on this site doing wonderful things. God love them for it, and they should be celebrated. Because they are unicorns. The bulk of their contemporaries are working with newer stuff that their peers can appreciate.
the 50's customs are my biggest interest. I'm building a 55 Dodge Custom which is out of the normal realm. The big problem I'm facing is doing metal work to repair areas that are unseen.(Like floor areas and rockers, etc.) Also the price of parts that are pot metal. these are harder to have re-chromed. and than its becoming harder to find places that do, do re-chrome work. My car has a 270 Hemi in it which cost way to much to build. So at this point I have a cool engine, and a bad looking body. I like doing all my own work so it takes a lot longer to build. even though I was a body man in my early 20's. Than you add to the "Harder to get up and down". But I still like customs the best.
ever now and than you do meet a young guy that likes and wants to build a custom. even though it would be easier for him to just buy a newer car.
Just use trim off a car with better trim. I'm using Pontiac trim on my 55 Ford and no handles or hood ornament or deck lid emblem. Doesn't leave a lot.
What part of OK are you from? I'm outside of OKC.
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