Category: California

Watch a Master Chop the Top Off a 1937 Ford – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

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It seems most videos on YouTube that show the procedure for chopping the top on a custom or hot rod are either far too short, omitting important steps and context that help viewers understand the process, or belabor each point with a lot of blabbering about what makes this difficult. Cutting the top off a vehicle requires skill and competency with various metalworking tools, sure, but it also takes a keen eye, not just for the overall package but for the details that make a chop flow. Each chop is unique, made up of thousands of individual decisions, hammer strokes, and beads of weld.

Despite a minimum of dialogue, this time-lapse video of Mike Bello of Bello’s Kustoms taking three inches out of a 1937 Ford’s roof doesn’t gloss over any details. You can see Mike’s thought process as his hands work over each piece. It’s evident he’s done this many times before from every step that seems incongruous at first but later proves prescient. Though rendered in steel, the work here is far from cold and emotionless. It’s well worth the watch, even if you never plan to chop a car.

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Good things come to those who wait? Jonny Smith and his 18-year Chevrolet Impala lowrider project – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

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Just so you don’t start to think that Hemmings editors are the only ones who get distracted from finishing their long-term car projects, let’s catch up with Jonny Smith, the British enthusiast of American cars and host of the Late Brake Show, and his 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS lowrider (yes, a lowrider in the UK), a project that has been ongoing for close to 20 years now thanks to a few instances of hard luck, a lot of time spent away from the garage, and all the other nuisances that keep a project from progressing. But now it appears Jonny’s got some help in finishing the project, so perhaps his lowrider will soon be three-wheeling it around England’s country lanes in style.

This Classic 1949 Mercury Custom Is The Perfect Dose Of Nostalgia – Zeeshan Sayed

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We all love a bit of nostalgia, don’t we? Especially if it is a classic from the yesteryears. And every automobile lover has their own favorite classic car. Some adore the likes of Ferrari P4/5 for its rarity while others are admirers of the likes of GTO 250 purely because of the moolah they generate in today’s times.

Almost every big automobile company boasts a super-rich legacy in terms of classic cars. And so is the case with Ford. The American multinational automaker produced a bunch of timeless classics back in the day. And one of its classics was the Mercury Eight – a part of Ford’s Mercury brand that was established to bridge the price gap between Ford and Lincoln models. While the Mercury Eight enjoyed a successful 13-year reign, it is the 1949 Mercury Custom that gets us nostalgic.

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1952 Ford F-100 Is Fully Custom, Restomodded With LT1 Corvette V8 Engine –

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1952 was the final year for the original F-Series pickup, and the most powerful engine that Ford offered for the half-ton model was the Flathead V8 with 239 cubic inches of displacement. The F-100 we’ll talk about today is a little different under the hood, though.

1952 Ford F-100

Not only did it win “First Place for Outstanding Engine and Interior at the ISCA Summit Racing Equipment Auto Show,” but the single cab in the photo gallery sports a Corvette powerplant from the small-block family. The LT1, to be more precise, and the automatic transmission comes from General Motors as well.

The Turbo Hydra-Matic 700R4 is one of the finest choices you can make for a restomod. Smooth but also stout, the four-speed gearbox switched from hydraulic logic shifting to electronic in 1993 when it was known as the 4L60. 1987 and newer transmissions are extremely popular with race, street, and even off-road builds.

Turning our attention back to the custom truck with sparkling light tan over brown paintwork and a bright orange pinstripe, the Ford F-100 “took over a year to build” according to Worldwide Auctioneers. Offered at no reserve, the go-faster pickup features a TCI chassis with chrome plated arms, Coy wheels, and Nitto radials.

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Tetanus Cord Proves Custom Work Is Art, Without a Doubt – Elena Gorgan @autoevolution

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Not that there is much doubt about it among car enthusiasts, but custom work is art. British designer and customizer Andy Saunders is proof of that.

As part of autoevolution’s Custom Builds Month coverage, we’ve already discussed a couple of Saunders’ most famous projects: the MINI HaHa and Claustro Phobia, another MINI that held the Guinness World Record for the lowest car. If these two builds did not get you thinking “wow, this is art!,” Tetanus will.

The name might not be very artsy, but this build is a monument of sophistication and elegance, artistry and wild creativity. Tetanus Cord, or Tetanus for short, started out as a 1937 Cord 812 Westchester sedan and came with a very interesting history. It belonged to royalty and then came very close to becoming a race car, before being suddenly and mysteriously abandoned on a field for decades.

An original right-hand drive export model meant for the UK market, the Cord was sold as new by R.S.M Automobiles of Berkeley Square, London to the Earl of Derby, according to Saunders’ official webpage. The Earl drove it for a few years before deciding to part ways with it: Saunders believes it had developed a gearbox problem and the owner probably thought buying a new one was less of a hassle than having it fixed. Rich people mentality

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New Petersen exhibits feature James Hetfield customs – Larry Edsall @ClassicCars.com

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“Reclaimed Rust” is the title of an exhibition of custom cars, guitars and memorabilia from the James Hetfield Collection that opens February 1 at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Hetfield is co-founder, lead vocalist and songwriter for the heavy-metal band Metallica.

He also is a lifelong car enthusiast.

“Hetfield’s vehicles assert both a reverence for history and a disregard for convention, standing collectively as a testament to the musician’s distinctive personality and artistic energy,” the museum said in its announcement.

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This 1940 Ford Convertible Custom Has Deep Family Ties – Tim Bernsau @HotRod

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Her name is Debbie Walls and she has contributed to the upgrade of thousands of street rods over the past three decades. Maybe yours. Debbie and her husband, Skip, are the founders of Lokar Performance Parts as well as hard-core hot rod enthusiasts. It’s always interesting to find out what the people who create performance and dress-up products for our hobby, people like Skip and Debbie, have in their personal corral. In their case, the list has been long and includes race cars and muscle cars in addition to street rods.

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Chevrolet Assembly Plant Grand Opening Van Nuys, California — The Old Motor

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In light of the recently announced closures of General Motors passenger car assembly plants at Lordstown, Ohio, and Hamtramck, Michigan we decided to take a look at two assembly plants GM has closed in the past. The new Chevrolet plant at Van Nuys, CA, located 22-miles northwest of Los Angeles and the GM plant in…

via Chevrolet Assembly Plant Grand Opening Van Nuys, California — The Old Motor

TROG Brings Street Racing to Drag Racing’s SoCal Birthplace – Stephan Szantai @HotRod

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Back in 2012, a small drag-oriented event held on the East Coast called the Race of Gentlemen (TROG) shook the hot rod scene. Although it gathered only 15 hot rods and 15 motorcycles, it still captured the imagination of gearheads the world over. It was organized on the beach and featured aesthetics reminiscent of faded pictures glued in a 1950s photo album.

Over the years, other TROGs have come and gone, including one in 2016 that tread the sand of Pismo Beach, California (unfortunately plagued by stormy weather). Promoter Mel Stultz and his crew traveled back home afterwards, thinking another race was unlikely to take place on the West Coast. Yet, surprisingly, officials from the scenic city of Santa Barbara contacted Stultz in 2018 and asked him to have an event in town! They made it clear racing on the sand would not be an option, but how about using a street along the beach?

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