Sunday, January 30, 2011

2011 GNRS, Sunday

The rain paused long enough to snap a photo of this coupe parked soaking wet.

It rained.

I survived.

Car survived... again. 

--thank you hot rod gods.

And here is the 2011 America's Most Beautiful Roadster, a 1934 Ford built by Squeeg's Kustoms:

2011 AMBR Winner, by Squeeg's Kustoms, Daryl Wolfswinkel owner
AMBR Trophy

Saturday, January 29, 2011

2011 GNRS, Saturday

Mickey Thompson Indy car from inside the NHRA Museum at Pomona
I slept in this morning because there was no need to rush over, I'd already seen all the cars over the last two days.  But I didn't want to miss the HAMB Meet & Greet at noon, among other events.
So I left at 11 o'clock. Little did I know that just the line to park was 30 minutes! Needless to say, I got there a few minutes late.  And I still never met Ryan, the organizer of the HAMB, to shake his hand.

Soon after, my friends Ed, Ed, Tim, & Tim showed up and we proceeded to walk the halls in an effort entertain ourselves further despite the throngs of spectators, it was still fun.  This was actually their second day, I got them in on Thursday.  So they had already seen most of it.

At 2 pm, we were at the Pinstriping Auction to support Tim and to see what he'd donated to be auctioned to help fund Progeria Syndrome research. All I did was clap.

At 3 pm, there was the Then & Now, Customs builders get together.  This is where history's greatest living customizers all came together for a mass greeting a signature session.  A can't miss event! Unfortunately the crowd was so thick I couldn't get near it.

Then at 4 pm, the NHRA museum hosted the Low-Flyers car club panel discussion with Alex Xydias, Phil Remington, Stuart Hilborn, Dick "Magoo" Megugorac, and others.  This time Ed & I had seats.
They all talked about what they built and raced in the very earliest days of hot rodding and lakes racing.  Stu Hilborn may have had some the most interesting stories. He spoke at length about his lakester with the first fuel-injection unit.  The amount of times Stu evaded fatal racing accidents were incredible!  From flipping his car on the lake bed over & over and living through it. To inhaling toxic fumes as a result of an engine fire.  And to narrowly avoiding driving his racer into a 10' ditch, that would have killed him for sure!

This was a real treat for me.  I got to hear about what those early racing pioneers had to do just to gain a few seconds at the track before there was any race car parts available to them.  It makes me feel like what I'm doing the backyard with hand tools, was what they might have done 60 years ago as well.

From left --Dick Magoo, Bob Wenz, Jim Miller Jr, Xydias, Remington, & Hilborn

The infamous Miss Linda Vaughn came in at the end to wish Phil Remington a happy 90 birthday, which was today.

Any time spent inside the NHRA museum is very rewarding.  So many of the best racing cars are here.  They tell a story if you simply study them  with your eyes, each car frozen in time.

Here is the the newly restored "BEAST" early land speed racer.

Also parts, memorabilia, artifacts, & complete engines are all on display

6 pm; The award ceremony at for participants of the Suede Palace getting under way.  There is Daytons boxed in to the right.

Following the awards was the Trophy Girl Contest.  Each of the 10 beauties was introduced and asked an appropriate question like, "What is your favorite tattoo".
Each lady an example of the "loose city woman mom warned you about", as seen on illustrated movie posters from the 50's.

GNRS Suede Palace Trophy Girl Contest

And the winner is... the brunette on the right.  Winners were determined by the amount of applause one received from the crowd.  Making all other judging criteria null.  Apparently she brought all her co-workers to cheer her on.  Although, I must admit she was quite good looking, and knew how to work the crowd.

2011 GNRS, Friday

Today, my brother and I got there early to take advantage of the hour participants gets before the public at noon.  By 11:20 there were at least 300 people waiting to buy tickets (Sat & Sun it will open at 10).

When we got over to my car, I set out some pictures, propped the hood open, and tried to look busy for a few minutes. And before we knew it, the place started filling fast up like the first summer day at Disneyland.

These are big crowds for a Friday!  So it wasn't long before people were ducking & dodging, in & out of pictures.  "Oops, I'm sorry", & "oh, watch-out honey" can be heard as people focus on little the camera screens through bifocals.  As expected, smells of buttered popcorn, pizza, hot dogs, and Budweiser start mixing into the air of these enormous fairground halls --tempting.  But the prices keep me away.

Certain building were obviously more popular with the crowds.  Building 4, where the main stage, big vendors, and most notably, the America's Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR or 'amber' for short) competitors stand on display, was bustling!  Building 10, or the 'Suede Palace' was hopping early on, it is the first building nearest the entrance. But it must have been building 9, the crowd was elbow to elbow.

This theme building #9 held the Then & Now Customs display, some of the most notable custom cars ever produced were on hand.  Most of these cars started their claims to fame right here in the LA area.  Now spread around the country, the have been brought together under one roof.  I'm sure this is the only time we'll ever see, really the most famous of them all, together in the same place

Below are some of my favorite cars of the show. We'll start with the customs.

Astra Coupe restored to it former glory

One of my favorites.  Looks great front to back, below.

Jack Calori 3-window, something I'd want

My favorite paint -- a Gene Winfield signature car, "Jade Idol"
Pictures out of the Suede Palace:

Travis Perich's RPU, we are new friends.  Car is an attention getter

Also a fav because of this view.  A '36 5-window coupe.

Hopped-up flatty in the '36 touring convertible below

Fairly rare car I must say

Unrestored hot rod, lots of great parts on this '32

Another memorable Model A survivor with 50 year old silver paint, Donald Pennington.

I like the look of slammed, but unchopped coupes

...and what an engine!

Another favorite of mine

Later that night...

A short drive over the hill from Hollywood, the fun continued at Bob's Big Boy in Burbank for some yabbering with friends, checking out what drives in, and din-din with the wife.

I drove My A there.  And boy the wind gets cold!  But exciting for sure.

I'm going back to the show Saturday.  I'll be staring at more hot rodding icons.  But this time the icons are people.  There is a Low-Flyers car club of Santa Monica reunion with some very famous names  --think fuel-injection for one.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

2011 GNRS, Thursday

Thursday is the day of the show most people don't see.  It's the day owners, and helps, or the curious are milling about while cars are readied.  Some people are franticly setting up booths, or polishing chrome, and many are just enjoying the cars free of any boundaries like stanchions.
Hot rod luminaries can be seen or even approached like Neal East, Blackie Gejeian, Bruce Meyer.  And some of the younger rodders are there setting up booths or cars: Troy Ladd from Hollywood Hot Rods, Mike from H&H Flatheads, Tom Branch, or Chris Casny.

As for my car, it made it... barely.  Again it wasn't making it easy!  Last week the car started just fine --today, no spark.  It was a lot like the morning of the Pasadena Reliability Run.  This is one stubborn car!
No way was I not getting it to the show.  What it didn't know, was I rented a trailer.

Friends Ed, Tim, and Tim Jr from Denver, Colorado, were on hand to help put it on the trailer.  Yes, we did spend a good hour calmly trying to fix the problem.  But we really wanted to get to the show badly.

I am sure I am missing something in the wires we simply overlooked. But it will probably start next weekend with no answers to what happened.

We got to Pomona at about 1:20, and were beside Building 10 in an hour.  We pushed it right in and Axle Idzardi had a nice place for it right near the entrance, next to the stage.  Lost of people checking it out.

But bad luck stuck again.  My camera battery was dead --blast!  I only have the one picture off my cell phone on the trailer.  The rest of the shots are courtesy of the HAMB, where you can also find more show coverage.

Custom '55 driving in.
Tom Branch's roadster
Van'Go, familiar to HAMBers
Special gathering of historic custom car
And some not so special looking.  But very interesting, none the less.
I'll have more for you (with luck) tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Just Days Until The 2011 GNRS

The car is all prepped and ready to go... my friends flying in have their bags packed by the door... and I'm counting the hours until the show!

Come back daily to The Hot Rod Disorder, starting Friday, for my show coverage.  I'll have reactions from viewers of Daytons & lots of pictures of cars that interest you.

**Now that the show is over click here to get the latest from The Hot Rod Disorder.

Friday, January 14, 2011

1920's Edmunds & Jones Weird Torpedo Headlights

Edmunds & Jones Corporation torpedo lights, Type 20 if you want to get technical, might be one of those parts you either love or hate.  Certainly not the kind of light that can go on just any rod or custom.

The "E&J", with their beady-eye lenses, & football shaped body --make you want to pick it up and toss it through the air.  Personally, I think they look like a cocktail olives w/pimento.

1923 Kissel Model 6-45 Gold Bug Speedster
They were an aftermarket item, before there was an "aftermarket". A few car makers actually made these lights factory stock on cars. The lights were high-priced/quality items, and that quality transferred into coach-built cars for the Elite, or the just 'well-off'.

1926 Graham-Paige

In the Roaring '20s, the numerous "boutique" makers needed to stand tall with the pack. So car models like the early 20's Jordan Playboy, the 1923 Kissel Gold Bug Speedster, or the 1926 Graham-Paige, had the futuristic E&Js headlights from the factory.  And they didn't need to the spend money designing there own swanky headlight either.

By the late 1930s & '40s, 20's cars they were yesterday's news.  But people still saw the value in the quality of these obsolete projector headlights.  Naturally, early rodders took a lick to the aerodynamic looking lights too.  But the love-it-or-hate-it attitude was prevalent then as now.

The coveted Frank Mack built 1927 T track roadster

I suspect most wreckers & pickers harvested the lights due to their oddity or curiosity rather then scraping them.  And this may be why so many pairs of unrestored lights are coming out of barns, garages, hoards --people just can't throw them away! 

Poteet's Indy inspired '32. Goodguys 2010 Truck of the Year.

There is possibly no time in history that E&Js have been more popular then they are today.  And they belong on many important custom cars from past & present.  I always like to say; It's the parts that make a car stand out as a whole.


Take a look at my dedicated page, with the campy title; E&J: Inside The Light.  Were I dissect a headlight from the AJ Elias Memorial Hot Rod Parts Collection.