For Starters

Street Rodder - - Contents -

♦ In the early days of hot rod­ding, say the ’30s and ’40s, it was all about build­ing and driv­ing, although fre­quency trumped mileage. Then came the late ’60s and the ’70s and the parts ex­plo­sion was on; then came more build­ing and more driv­ing with cruis­ing cross-coun­try on ev­ery­one’s mind. Now it was about dis­tance … “Where did you drive your hot rod this sum­mer?” It was the ques­tion to be an­swered on all rod­ders' minds. a re­mem­ber and Nats Win­ston-Salem, hot For it South, rod starters, was of my to then any the I first can dis­tance North NSRA held drive in in Carolina. Ewing the Long and Dis­tance The I even late Jim gar­nered Award

(still garage) proudly as we hangs started in in my Fresno, Cal­i­for­nia, and then swung through SoCal and on our way to all-points south and east. We did this in his well-ham­mered '34 Ford coupe.

I can vividly re­mem­ber SEMA time (Novem­ber) talk­ing with hot rod­ders from all over the coun­try about where we would be driv­ing come sum­mer. All of us were look­ing for­ward to all the places we would drive, whether it was to the NSRA Nats in the North­west or to the Na­tion­als them­selves, Mem­phis, Tulsa, Min­neapo­lis-St. Paul, and the list goes on. To me driv­ing is the end game. other John In­stru­ments, of Tucker Inc., Bowler I Ad­vanced found and McLeod day Trans­mis­sions, of Mark my­self speak­ing Detroit Plat­ing, Steve of Bowler Clas­sic the Speed Tracy with Kyle of and each in­ter­est­ing about of driv­ing them ob­ser­va­tions had fre­quency some and been dis­tance my con­tention trav­elled. that It’s dur­ing or so rod­ders the past have 10 years taken to driv­ing less fre­quently and less mileage. There are prob­a­bly any num­ber of rea­sons, such as price of gas, trav­el­ing ex­penses, and the list goes on, as to why this phe­nom­e­non oc­curs. But I be­lieve I am about to change my tune. Take a close look at the photo ac­com­pa­ny­ing this ed­i­to­rial … it reg­is­ters 4,685.7 miles on the odome­ter. That’s nearly 5,000 miles I have placed on my '72 Sub­ur­ban in the last five weeks. (The mileage ac­cu­mu­la­tion is the re­sult of the fre­quency and du­ra­tion of my trips from the mag­a­zines’ home in SoCal to

Hot Rods by Dean in Phoenix while fol­low­ing the build of our cur­rent Road Tour pickup.) My “nor­mal” hot rod, my '29 Ford high­boy road­ster, still isn’t driven as much as I would like … just twice in the past two months, and both were short jaunts. I’m think­ing I should re­ally lim­ber it up and take a cross-coun­try drive; any­one up for it?

It was McLeod who first felt that rod­ders are driv­ing more and more as of late. It’s his opin­ion that “the pi­o­neers in our in­dus­try started these tours and oth­ers have fol­lowed. A lot of folks have fig­ured how much fun driv­ing them is and now more are us­ing their hot rods.” Given how many speedome­ters/ odome­ters Clas­sic In­stru­ments has sold I’m guess­ing McLeod may be onto some­thing.

Tucker has an in­ter­est­ing per­spec­tive as a com­pany that makes sus­pen­sions and related com­po­nents. “I see rod­ders driv­ing more often and for longer dis­tances. They ex­pect ev­ery­thing they have in their modern driver. They tend to drive the cars as much as they can now as op­posed to only car shows or cruises. We spend more time fo­cus­ing on ride qual­ity and quiet cars now.” Wow, that pretty much sums it up

… if the hot rod rides and drives well the odds are you will use the car more often and drive greater dis­tances. And this leads right into our next in­dus­try voice.

Next up was Bowler who has a dif­fer­ent but equally as valid per­spec­tive. “We have seen a large tran­si­tion into modern overdrive trans­mis­sions and peo­ple look­ing for de­pend­able op­tions to drive their hot rods. The tours have re­ally helped get peo­ple mo­ti­vated to drive more.” Again, I would have to agree with him as I look at the grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of our Road Tour pro­gram and other events like the Hot Rod Power Tour.

Lastly I lis­tened to what Tracy had to say from the “keep ’em shiny crowd.” Tracy has fig­ured out how to travel in style and com­fort with his '40 Cadil­lac that’s LS pow­ered matched to a 4L60E. “These LS mo­tors are just in­cred­i­ble matched up to a 4L60E tranny. My '40 Cadil­lac man­ages 22 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the high­way. Also, all of the cur­rent tours are just a great way to get in and drive them.”

Let’s have fun with cars.

Brian Bren­nan Net­work Di­rec­tor/Edi­tor

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