Saturday, December 8, 2012

Mooneyes X-Mas Party 2012

The cold December morning didn't deter the hearty, for the Mooneyes X-Mas Party crowd weather isn't a concern.

2012, the foggiest on record, brought in the biggest crowds with it to Irwindale Speedway as the show continues to grow year after year.  One could hardly walk the merchant's isles, where people were shoulder to shoulder shopping, gawking. talking and being merry.

And as always, Southern California dusted off its melting-pot and cooked up a full serving of real kustom car culture.  Our ladle was spilling over again with another colorful mix of super-nostalgic to low-brow rods & customs.

By 10 a.m. the sun was peeking through the clouds and the temperature was rising, but it never got as hot as the cars! Roadsters to coupes, sedans and even a speedboat, all in attendance.  There were superchargers, quickschanges, polished motors, chromes headers, and glitter paint to dazzle the eyes of the young and old.

Vintage Supercharged GMC 6 from the chevy sedan above.

Irwindale isn't known for great views! The only way to keep a speedway is to have noisier neighbors.
2012 will be known as the "Year Of The Vans"

It seemed everybody was having a great time.  Early arrivals were parked haphazardly in some areas, with many clubs hanging banners and pitching tents, with charcoal grills billowing the smoke from cooked meats.  At the far end, the gassers & rails-jobs where smoking something else --tires!

A friend of mine confirmed my observations that the show was a bit lighter in hot rods this year, with lowriders filling in more of the spaces.  Henry said, "I think all of El Monte is here." As the area is popular with tail-draggers, and happens to be next door to the city of Irwindale.

Another supercharger, this time on a Chevy in the 3-window '32 coupe above

Vans too had a bigger presence, I counted at least forty!  There were motorcycles also, and some were inside those vans.

These are Willys coupes.  One stock, one not >>>

San Diego's TRAVIS PERICH on the right, great car.

Irwindale Speedway is all about racing.  So after the fog lifted and the track cleared for racing, the sounds and smells of vintage races cars filled the air.  It was a run-what-you-brung (with tech inspection) on the 1/8-mile track.  It's all mostly for show, there were even a few cageless roadsters having a go at some legal tire smoking fun. 

We were in the lowrider mecca, so it only seems fitting to include at least one.

I really love 1936 Fords.  Here is one I liked --it's a little bit street rod, a little bit custom.

Book author Pat Ganahl with a very vintage, early rial job.

Unfortunately, I couldn't stay past 2 p.m., but even then a steady stream of late-comers waking in from the only parking left that was on the street.

You wait all year for something, and then it's over so quickly! Still, thank you Mooneyes!

GMC 6 again.  Pat was racing this himself.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Throttlers Picnic 2012

Year after year, the Throttlers Car Club Annual Picnic never lets me down.  The best Burbank has to offer can be found in one place.  By no means a large show, but the concentration of vintage rodders (and early rodders) is unprecedented. 

This year, fellow A-V8ers member Ollin Trujillo joined me in my car for the trip over the Hollywood Hills.  We got there nice and early, and as usual the pancakes were as great as ever --not to mention the company. 
Mike Degles' (right) beautiful A-V8

Once again, the conversations turn to back-slapping as we congratulate each other on what fine cars we drive.  I have to say, it's as fun as it gets.  Gosh, I really love vintage hot rods!

The time always flies when you're having fun.

With perhaps 200 great cars in attendance, there was plenty to look at.  Anybody can go, it's all free (pancakes breakfast is $6).  And it is a real,  honest-to-goodness hot rod community event.  It all feels comfortable, laid-back you know --no music playing, no products for sale.  Just a simple gathering of friends.

My friend Tim Cicora 21-stud powered V8, 1934 coupe drives great. Proving that this pre-war Davis intake & 2x Winfield carbs do work well on the street. 

Many enjoyed this ironic 1929 pairing.  The least expensive American made car that year, the Ford roadster Model A ($450 new).  Parked besides one of the most expensive cars, a Packard Dual-Cowl Phaeton, an exclusive car only for the rich & powerful.

Left to right: Tim, Mike, Henry, and Paul Ray II on camera.

Mike somehow had a cameraman there for a video, you can view it below. Mike edited it too, and has Glen Aliano doing music.

I even made the cut.  I'm driving my car near the end.

Big news --well not really.  After years of teasing, this custom Model T track roadster finally drives in under it's own power.  For the last three years at least, the builder has been trailering it in unfinished.  The cars has many handmade parts.  It's now as impressive now that it is done.

The weather couldn't be better, this was a great end to another car show season.

Many more cars from the show can be seen on the HAMB, click here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Palos Verdes Hot Rod Cruise --All Nostalgia

Take a bunch of the coolest hot rodders in So-Cal, invite them to the picturesque Palos Verde peninsula, and what do they do?  That's right --talk about cars.  Then eventually, they drive slowly around the perimeter of the said peninsula, wooing crowds while trying not to get lost.

We were wowed by the Keith Tucker collection.

The First Annual Palos Verdes Hot Rod Cruise, directed by the incomparable Lynn Bird, was fun for the participants as well at the general public.  Who seemed to enjoy waving at us from the sidewalks and from within other cars.

Lynn's 'Surf Kart' would be driven by his sons.

Many of the planned stops along the way included scenic views of the blue Pacific and nearby industrial harbor.  At each point, crowds gathered around our cars to snap pictures and look at them inquisitively.

The day started early with everybody meeting at the Tucker Car Collection in San Pedro.  Keith Tucker owns & maintains a large collection of vintage cars and automotive ephemera collected mainly by his late father. It is also where Keith grew up and where his mother Patricia still lives.  The large quarter-acre lot had several large garages, and plenty of space to work on cars.  There were so many great vehicles there and vintage gas station signs, I could have spent the entire day just looking around!

Scott Miller's Cadillac powered coupe.

It wasn't long and we were off to the first stop; Palos Verdes Drive overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

After the few miles of driving with all the cars in a line, the short 30 minute cool-down stop was just enough time for photos ops, chit-chat, & snacks.

Another stop included the Point Vicente Lighthouse (parking lot) for more discussion and car talk.

Lynn was also debuting his latest hot rod, this roadster pick-up on the right. Here Dave Steele & Vic Cohen are inspection the details.  It was also a shake-down run for Lynn's new new engine.  Luckily, the only part to fail was the distributor rotor which broke in half on his way home.  A frustrating, but easy fix.

Jon Fisher's Valley Custom coupe.

Next was the Korean Bell Of Friendship, which located on a majestic hilltop.  We walked away from the cars and gathered around the shade of the bell's pagoda only to talk about cars again and upcoming events.

What a great looking group of hot rods.  That's my car (with the freshly dropped headlight bar) right in the middle.

Our group keeping cool at the Korean Bell, Palos Verdes.

Oh sure, there were other subjects we talked about.  But all I remember was enjoyable debates & opinions of the automotive type.  It is great to have something in common with interesting people.

The cruise ended with the buffet lunch at Acapulco Mexican Restaurant on the harbor.  It was good finish after a long drive in an open car. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

What A Difference A Drop Makes

Dropping the headlight bar was something at first I hesitant to do.  My reasoning was that it looked fine with the stock height bar.  But after searching out a few examples online of fendered '29s with '32 grills it was starting too look like it really did need to be done.

BEFORE headlight bar drop
AFTER headlight bar drop

 Here are the before and after comparisons.

And now that it's dropped and on the car, I'm so glad I did it.  Turns out that it's must-do for hot rods --who knew!

It's only about a 3 inch drop, but the difference it makes is quite large.  The bar is now crosses the center of the grill.  And with the lights lower, the whole 'face' of the car has better proportions.

In a previous post I showed you how I installed the fenders on the hi-boy roadster and how I made a '29 headlight bar fit a car with a 32 grill.

But dropping the ends of the bar needed skills I haven't mastered yet.  I found that out when I tried dropping it myself and failed.  Luckily the talented Mr. Pete Eastwood was accessible to me.  I see Pete at many local hot rod events, later I learned that he drops bars like the pro while reading how others do it on the HAMB.

The jig I made that I couldn't use.

Failure: Here is my overly elaborate scrap-metal jig I built to drop the bar.  But due to never seeing how it's done, I was out of my element.

After Pete showed me the simple jig that he made, mine looks like a joke!  I won't share secrets of the master, but Pete has made dropping headlight bars a science.  For him, it's child's play.
I can't show you Pete's jig, but I can share one detail of his work found on my freshly dropped Model A bar.

Take a look at this close-up photo of the bar end.  Maximum drop, but with a quality of a factory part.

Now look closer.  Maybe you didn't notice, but the 28/29 bar ends are actually upside-down.  Pete cuts the ends off just shy of the light mounting cups.  Then flips it over before welding it back on to the center while in his jig and probably after completing the drop.

This is to start the drop coming off the flat fender mount in the downward direction.  It's an easy cheat to get the best look and the space to use factory style bolts.
The stock bar points up from the mounting, the new bar points down.  You can see it on the stock bar bolted to my jig above for comparison.

When I picked it up from Pete I was more then happy with the result.  The soft S-curves gave it the classiest look.  Thank you Pete!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Update: Daytons in Japan

Apparently my nickname for the outrageously vintage and well appointed roadster stuck.  Daytons hit the Japanese mainland and within months was splashed accross the pages of a popular moto-culture magazine. Good work Sehoji!

Fly Wheels magazine --half car/half motorcycle, all vintage stuff.  It is one of the many publications catering to the American nostalgic Japanese motorist.  It's large format, with high quality images of cars, bikes and events make it one of the best. It is reminiscent of the popular US magazine/book, The Rodders Journal, but on matte finish paper instead.

I have to thank Sehoji again for sending me several copies to keep and give out.

I don't read, nor do I know anybody fluent in Japanese.  So what is written in the margins is left to my imagination.  But I'm going to assume the stories told about the car is about its distant and recent past --perhaps I get a mention?

Some of the small detail pictures are out of the photo album of original pictures that went with the car.  By themselves, the reader gets a good idea at the car's vintage.  But again if you can't read Japanese, the story is missed.

Despite the few changes & additions made to the car, it's still the same car.  Some I'm sure are for safety like the new rear tires & turn signals.  But the car really looks great.  Yeah, I sometimes miss the car.  But I'm really, really happy to see it in good hands.

>       >     >    >   >   >   >  >  > > > > >>>>X<<<< < < <  <  <  <   <   <   <    <     <       <

Update, comments left Sept. 14:

"Hello! I'm Ayako and my husband Souichi Oikawa, who wrote the Daytons story, is the chief editor of Fly Wheels magazine. The Daytons story is mainly based on the article in Rod & Custom, and of course, this blog. First I translated those to Japanese and then my husband wrote the story based on them. And yes, you got a mention! You can see your name on page 40 and it explains that you found the car, which was far from in good condition, and did the excellent job to save it. The most important mention is that you had no intention to change the look of the car because that's the style Bill Bair had taken as perfect 50 years before. We were impressed by that. And what you did was just like a time-warping effect on the car, the story says. BTW my husband is happen to be a long-time reader of this blog. He had already known all about Daytons when he heard it's coming to Japan. FYI he's not very good at English--that's why he needed my translation--but he can still enjoy your blog..."

Thank you Ayako for leaving that very nice comment.  The magazine article is very classy, everybody I have shown it to has been impressed.