Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Just Your Basic Hot Rod"

hot rod front suspension - copyright 2009 Jeffery Blackwell

That’s what Dennis calls his stripped-down, hopped-up, hand-made automobile.

I had seen Dennis coming towards me on the highway, and had to get through a traffic light before I could pull the U-turn. Then I caught the red, and counted the seconds after Chris had disappeared around the bend. At 30 seconds, I figured I’d lost him. But when I finally got round the bend I could still see him - at least a mile away. It’s amazing how easy it is to track the silhouette of an open-wheel car with no roof and no windshield to speak of.

Dennis was scrupulously obeying the speed limits (I wonder why), and I caught up with him at the Kwik Trip, where he had removed the passenger seat cushion(!) and was filling the tank.

hot rod front suspension detail - copyright 2009 Jeffery Blackwell

Dennis told me he and a couple of his buddies had taken three years (he couldn’t estimate the hours) to put this car together, and as you can see, it is very tidy. One of the things that I like about Chris’s car is the well-worn red leather seats, with everything else on the car being either gloss black or chrome.

hot rod seats and windscreen - copyright 2009 Jeffery Blackwell

Originally, they had used a steel Ford model T body shell, but then replaced it with fiberglass because it was lighter. You can see from my photos that this car is about as minimal as it can get, which is part of the traditional hot rod philosophy. If you don’t need it, take it off. That includes such niceties as fenders, roofs, and sometimes doors.

Which is why you see Dennis climbing over the body into the driver’s seat.

hot rod driver climing into driver's seat - copyright 2009 Jeffery Blackwell

All images and words copyright 2009 Jeffery Blackwell

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