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Just back from the Good Guys national show and..


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what a huge show again this year. We get a lot of cars down from Canada, each year it seems to get bigger and bigger. I have noticed over the years that there are so many high dollar cars being built. Seems to me always trying to out do the other guy. The crowd is getting older each year that are building these high dollar cars. So what are the younger folks doing? Well this is interesting, even though I have no empirical data, I can tell you where the crowds around certain cars were. They certainly were not around high dollar street rods. Most of these 75-100,000 dollar cars sat lonely, occasionally with its owner behind it sitting alone wondering why people are just walking by all this beauty without nary a look. I can tell you that 5 years ago it was a different story, guys like me dreaming for retirement age so we can drain our 401 K accounts to finally build the high dollar highboy or full fendered roadster. Now not so.

I think it is coming full circle again. Meaning the high dollar check book cars are not getting all the attention, the crowds are going nuts over ratrods-delapidated early iron unpainted with hunks of metal welded here or there in no semblance of uniformity. Fewer and fewer Chevy350/350 combos but older stuff like rocket 88 ,buick nailheads, chrysler polyhemispheric engines , flat heads seem to still stand the test of time along with old caddy and Y blocks and tripower 348s.

T buckets still generate a lot of interest especially with younger folk now. I heard conversations from some teens yesterdaythat were excited that it was legal to drive without full exhaust systems and no fenders, and huge DOT tires that looked like slicks. Cars of the forties and fifties and sixties are really hot too. I cant tell you how many 62-67 novas I saw.

Maybe economics is forcing a change, people dont have the cash to put into high dollar cars anymore instead they are worrying about health care until you hit medicare age.

I'm not saying street-rodding is dead but I am saying hot-rodding is alive and well; Rat rod interest is off the scale.

Maybe my plans have changed a bit since yesterday, the fat tired polished alum. wheeled and chromed out t bucket may give way to a black primered cheater slicked T with a skull shifter.:lol: Either way buckets are still tops in my book.
Sounds like a great meet and I have also noticed the change in cars being built and admired. I think what happened was as people started going to shows, they found themselves admiring cars that, in all reality, they could never afford to build or own. Maybe they were like me started and started to feel that you actually had to have a $10,000 paint job and $10,000 worth of chrome to build a hot rod. The lowbuck guy does the one thing that will always help this hobby stay alive. He builds a car that gets driven.

I have actually had people say they were surprised that hot rods were street legal. You'd be surprised at how many people think they are for show only.
Build Em to drive not just a showpiece. I get more smiles from people rolling down the road than come to some car shows.
Not to hijack a thread but there were several things said that kinda bother me. First let me assure you that I do drive my cars (I don't own a trailer) and to me there are no bad cars. Read that as whatever brand, year or size of engine you want have at it. But and maybe its just me but what is wrong with doing the best you know how and then learning some and doing the next one a little better.
I think some people are doing the early rodders a disservice by passing off some (not all) of these cars as examples of early day hot rods. I think those early guys did the best they could with what they had. Like if there was 100 bucks to spend on the rod, what would you do, buy that new cam and intake or paint or chrome? I think a true rodder would get that cam set up and a few cans of primer and again do the best he could. But from the ones I have talked to they always had the dream of having the car painted with that fresh tuck and roll interior but something always got in the way. And again some (not all) of these "rat rods" look as if the owners have no pride in their ride. Rusty tattered metal, silly things stuck on with glue, unfinished welds street signs, and in a few cases some very dangerous suspension engineering.
Now I have always like the high dollar cars as they have provided me ideas that I may be able to use someday. And again if someone is lucky enough to have that kind of disposable income more power to them. I have never thought that I was better than anyone else because I could weld or machine something I needed. And if a person can spend 100k on a car they might be doing something right and doing it better than I could.
Now please understand these are my thoughts and mine alone. And I feel much better now.:D:lol::lol:
I'm also going to share some of my thoughts here.

For those who can afford to build 100 grand cars, more power to them. Chances are they have worked hard for the money to be able to do that. On the other hand, that's a real small percentage of owners. You see a lot of cars built from parts ordered out of various catalogs. Again, I see nothing wrong with this. It's a very good way to learn about the how-to's of building a T. Then there are those who either because of lack of money, for one reason or another, or because of the challenge strike out on their own and build from scratch. Each and everyone of these guys is just as proud of their car as the next guy and rightly so. Personally, I don't care where anyone falls into this. We are T fans here on this site and that's what's important to me. :D

I'm not going to get into the rat rod/traditional cars 'cause I've already rambbled on enough. :eek:

i think that there should be the same amount of tropies or recognition for driven cars as trailer gueens. judges are good for the queens but let the people vote for the real driven stuff. ok ime venting a tad.
I quit doing the car show thing after just a couple of years. Judging at the small local shows was either done by local spectators who for the most part weren't too informed and voted mostly for pretty with little or no consideration for the effort the owner/builder had invested. Of course you can't fault them for that as they aren't necessarily aficionados of the sport. Judging at other small shows was done by the entrants. You would think that this would give the guy or gal who had invested a lot of time and effort into their pride and joy an even chance to take home a gleamy at the end of the day. I was at one show where a group of about twenty cars drove in from about 90 miles away to attend the show. I overheard one of their wives tell another that the guys had decided that so and so was going to get to take the trophy home that weekend. It was 'his' turn. That opened my eyes to the system of gang voting where members of the club all voted for one member's car in each class members of their group had entered and for best in show. I was never really into it for trophies but sometimes a little recognition can really give a guy a boost. I took a couple of seconds and thirds in class. I think the trophies are in a closet somewhere.

I was a member of Goodguys for a few years and went to the show in Des Moines for 4 or 5 years. I went mostly to spend time with some friends who I got to see about once or twice a year. I knew there was no way I would get any recognition for my efforts so my focus was on getting a low entry number. The last year I attended I got number 1. I was also numbers 2 and 4 in other years. I got tired of spending $70 a year for a subscription to Goodguys magazine and entry into the event. I figured all I was getting was a picture book and the opportunity to sit around a watch my car sit there for four days. Hell, I could sit in my drive at home and look at my car all day and not pay a dime. Meadors was, in my opinion, ripping us off so I stopped renewing my membership and just drove my car at every opportunity, which was why I built it in the first place.

I took the car to Back to the 50s in 2000. Never went back. Too many cars. Big is not always best. I drove in a lot of rain getting there and everyday while there getting to and from my motel. When I first got up there and got with the group of T owners I was gong to spend the weekend with the car was pretty dirty. Cleaning supplies appeared to come out of nowhere and everyone readied themselves to help me make my car presentable. I thanked them for their kindness but told them that the mud was going to stay. I saw a lot of trailers outside the fairgrounds and I saw a lot of trailer queens parked in strategic areas in all of their glory. I had driven mine almost 200 miles, driving through a thunderstorm between Albert Lee and Owatonna and I figured all of the mud and grime that coated my T would be testament that my car was a driver.

I'm relieved to read that people are finally recognizing the $100,000+ streetrods for what they are, store bought streetrods, and giving more attention to cars built by regular guys. The operative word there being 'built'. If I had 100k to spend on a car it would be an AMG Mercedes. I would use the change I got back to build another T bucket and have the best of both worlds. I know a few people who have had high dollar cars built for them. One or two of them are really nice guys who will park next to you at the shows and admire your work just as you admire what their dollars bought. They may not have built it but it was their ideas that got the car built. The rest of them that I've met will readily point out a flaw in your workmanship while pointing out that their 55 Chevy or 35 Ford they had built at a well known rod shop is perfection. And they make these observations with a lot of arrogance and without taking a breath. Gotta love doctors.

Well that's my rant. Sorry to have taken up so much time......Steve
That wasn't a rant, but a pretty good read. I couldn't of said it better myself.

I was hoping to get a view of a spirit T this weekend but came up empty. There were a couple CCR cars there as were total performance and a bunch of homebuilts.
Steve... Everything you wrote has merit, well said. I go to the Good guys show in Des Moines every 2 or 3 years. As far as Back to the 50's goes, I haven't been there for the last 4 years. As you said it's just to big. I was at the first one on University Ave and the succeeding 30 some events. My feeling is a nice car gets lost in the crowd there now.

I would rather have someone come up to me in the Wal-Mart parking lot and talk to me about my car than spend an entire weekend sitting around a fairgrounds. Trophies aren't the reason I build my cars.


PS. Was that you i saw under the overpass wringing out his socks back in '00? :D
Youngster said:
PS. Was that you i saw under the overpass wringing out his socks back in '00? :D

No. I was the guy you saw at the Super 8 by the Happy Chef restaurant taking the interior out of his T bucket to put into his room to dry overnight.

I had booked a motel room further up the road but when the rain hit I stopped at the rest area a few miles south of Owatonna to wait it out. A squadron of northern Minnesota mosquitoes had moved in and between them and the rain I figured I'd rather deal with the rain. There was a pay phone there so I changed my reservation for Owatonna, uncovered the car and headed north. Ironically, as soon as I got off of 35 the rain quit. I could have continued on but I had a room and I was soaking wet. I went to the fairgrounds the next morning.

Aaahhhh yea...the memories!!

I take allot of crap about my car. It's painted with Bar-b-q paint, has mexican blanket interior. Most of the parts are from either the Pull-N-Save, the junkyard, the family farm or my dads garage.

I get asked two things everyday

1) when are you going to paint it

2) Is that a rat rod

To me, it is painted. I drive the crap out of my car. I have been through three transmissions and two rear ends in three years. It gets about 100 miles a week and we do a ton of street racing on the weekends. The body is an old glass body from the early 70s that my dad ran on his altered. It was actually cracked in half when I pulled it from the hay loft in the barn. I dont really get into the fluffy cars that make you a little warm and fuzzy on the inside. I prefer to instill a little bit of fear when I pull up.
Secondly, the defenition of a "rat rod" is not something that I want describing my car. My welds are solid, there is a minimal of rust ( just the exhaust really) and a majority of my parts are from the junkyard but that I painstakingly rebuilt for safety and reliability.

to me, there are street rods and hot rods. You can have one or the other and maybe a little bit of both. My car is a hot rod. It's a stripped down bare bones machine that was built to go fast, stop fast and handle well. there are no creature comforts and anything unnecessary.

As for Car Shows
I have noticed that when my car club goes to the one big show we do a year there is always a very large crowd around our 10-12 cars checking them out. But we also leave the doors open, let kids climb in and out of them and have people sitting on tires while chewin the fat.
Last year at this show I grump old guy mouthed off very loudly from his little fold up chair that he was really pissed that everyone was hanging out around our cars and his 80 grand 36 roadster was going unnoticed. I very politely replied that it isnt the cars they were hanging out with but the attitude that drew the people. We have the stereo on, coolers open and actually try to talk to people unlike the staunchy old guys that park their foldup chairs around the geritol punch bowl while discussing erectile disfunction inbetween bouts of gout and using the california car duster to wipe down their 1-800 car when they should be waxing the old lady.
Chop...That was priceless... :rolleyes:

chop said:
....Secondly, the defenition of a "rat rod" is not something that I want describing my car. My welds are solid, there is a minimal of rust ( just the exhaust really) and a majority of my parts are from the junkyard but that I painstakingly rebuilt for safety and reliability.....

That was a great right-up Chop! I especially like the fact you value your life. :cool:

Too many of those "Rat's" are not safe. :eek:

CHOP----Loved your post and couldn't agree more:lol:

I have a daughter [married 3 kids] in Parker. Hope to get to one of your car shows someday!
san-i-T said:
CHOP----Loved your post and couldn't agree more:lol:

I have a daughter [married 3 kids] in Parker. Hope to get to one of your car shows someday!

why are everyones daughters always married???

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