Category: History of Hot Rods & Customs

The Street To The Strip: New England Hot Rods 1945 – 1965 Virtual Opening – Audrain Museum

The Street To The Strip: New England Hot Rods 1945 – 1965 Virtual Opening – Audrain Museum


 The Street to the Strip: New England Hot Rods
1945 – 1965

August 28 – November 14, 2021
(on view during the 2021 Audrain Newport Concours & Motor Week)

Automobile owners have been customizing their cars since the automobile became common place in American society. Hot rodding first became popular in Southern California in the late 1930’s, though enthusiasts from around the country quickly caught the spirit of what was going on. While the West Coast hot rod and custom scene is well known and extensively documented in period magazines, books and film, the no less vibrant hot car culture of the East, specifically New England was equally interesting. 

This show will focus on the builders resident in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts who designed and built cars that garnered national attention at shows such as the famed Autorama shows in Hartford, CT, at speed at Connecticut Dragway, New England Dragway, Seekonk Speedway and everywhere club members gathered to enjoy their creations.

A wide selection of period hot rods and customs, from the 1940s through the 1960s will tell this little-known story and further spread the fame of these underappreciated talents.

Read on

6 hot rod body styles you need to know – Phillip Thomas @Hagerty


In many ways, the terms used to describe the myriad body styles of hot rods read like scientific names for chemical compounds. Take dihydrogen monoxide, for instance: two atoms of hydrogen with one atom of oxygen. While it sounds like some complicated chemical jargon, it’s really just water, H2O.

When you’re equipped with the nuts and bolts of hot-rodding vocabulary, you can easily decipher the plethora of terms used to denote different body styles. Similar to chemical nomenclature, the different names are highly specific—and useful to know. Today we’re going to break down the terms used to describe the exact molecular chain of automotive features that comprise some of our favorite custom rides.

Gow job

Strange name, right? Before the term “hot rod” was in vogue (many early gearheads actually found the term derogatory), the preferred nomenclature was “gow job” or simply “gow.”

Most people consider the genesis of hot rodding to take place after WWII,  when soldiers returned to the U.S. fascinated by mechanized transportation and eager to use their newfound mechanical skills. However, these pre-war gow jobs were the true pioneers. (At the time, the term “hot rod” was reserved for the retro equivalent of a vape-smoking dude-bro in his straight-piped 350Z.) Gows were machines of function over form and often sported a somewhat ragged appearance, thanks to their builders’ penchant for removing “unnecessary” body panels to save weight in early land speed and beach racing.

While the term is usually applied to hopped-up Model-Ts, the etymology of the word “gow” goes back to the 1800s and the Cantonese word for opium, “yao-kao.” The term was used in horse racing to describe drugged-up or “gowwed-up” horses, and the phrase made a short leap to early hot rods that were similarly hopped up for performance. It wasn’t until the post-war era that “hot” evolved to describe something cool, hip, or fast and “hot rod” became the universal term for a modified car.


Similar to “gow,” the term “coupe” hails from the horse-and-buggy days before the advent of automobiles. Horse-drawn carriages—specifically, coaches—were the four-door sedans of their time, equipped with multiple rows of seating to carry around a group of people. The word “coupe” itself comes from the French verb meaning to cut. In contrast to heavy, people-hauling coaches, horse-drawn coupes were shortened carriages centered around a lighter package with single-row seating for personal transportation.

It comes as no surprise that two-door cars with fixed roofs quickly donned the title. Of course, there are many shades of coupes, so …

Read on

The John Collins Roadster – Ryan @TheJalopyJournal


Yesterday’s feature got me digging into my archives – specifically, the pre-A directory. While doing so, I ran across a true gem that I had forgotten about. John Collins’ ’27 Ford Roadster Pickup.

Not a ton is known about John’s little race car. He brought it out to a 1947 S.C.T.A. meet as a Class B Roadster and ran as quick as 111 mph, but the car doesn’t appear on any other rosters as far as I can tell. And, I’ve never seen any other photographic evidence of the car at all.

So… This is all we have. It is, however, enough to be confident in the fact that the John Collins Roadster was cool as shit.

The Jalopy Journal is here

History of Hot Rods & Customs – The Auto Editors of Consumer Guide @HowStuffWorks


Good article from How Stuff Works on the history of Hot Rods and Customs

The piece has plenty of in depth information and is in multiple parts