Thursday, August 25, 2011

Centerfold action - yeah - that's me.....NO RAT RODS

It comes down to definition.....what IS a rat rod?

Rat Rod Magazine just put me in the centerfold. Ok - Ok - maybe it's not me...Maybe there are other guys out there with red hair, glasses, and make it a point to wear goofy striped overalls.And perhaps there are other guys out there that look like this, that try to put on events where only traditional hot rods and customs are allowed to enter. Coincidence? Maybe....Bottom line is that we agree with 2 out of the 3 lines on the sign that the mean gate keeper is holding up.

1 - No Billet - agreed.....we dont like billet. Why? Because it represents something that is NOT traditional. Billet was not seen in the 50's and 60's. These billet accessories are a relatively new phenomenon and if you are a street rodder stuck in 1998 then I am sure that you want to do your best to keep up with the "Boyd Coddington" look. This kind of car is welcome at thousands of shows all over the country every single weekend of the year. People with our mindset are trying to have something special at events like Vintage Torque Fest and this is why we explicitly state - No Billet in our entry criteria.
2-No Rat Rods - we go. It comes down to definition doesn't it? My friends and I consider rat rods to be unsafe and/or art cars. What is an art car? Something that is designed to get attention for mere shock value or comedic value. Take a look at some of the silly things that Carl Casper did back in the day. The Popcorn Wagon started to go down that road of art car and then the"Pinball Wizard" and "Phone Booth" sealed the deal with the over the top craziness. It became a mockery of some of the amazing stuff he produced-like the Paddy Wagon. THAT is a cool ride. It is a show rod - but not one that is SO over the top that it makes you roll your eyes. I understand that people want to have a car that is unique and something that people will want to check out....but it seems that people want to weld just about anything on to their ride that will be of shock value.
"oh wait - I have to fill that back quarter panel cause there is nothing on it - how about this giant metal spider" Well....ok - that is fine. But you have just put something on your ride that makes it an art car. We can go round and round til we are all blue in the face trying to define what is and what is not a rat to the magazine that featured ME as the centerfold.

Aside from the cover car on Rat Rod Magazine #8, there are no rat rods featured in the magazine. Before you send me nastygrams - note that -This is my OPINION-What I see are hot rods in different stages. Some are complete and are no where NEAR the rat rod spectrum....take a look at Scott Peck's '50 Chevy truck in Issue #8. How is that truck a rat rod? Because it needs paint? Also - this guy is a member of the Road Devils...not sure they are really a "rat rod" car fact -they have a long tradition in hot rodding - started in 1946! And this is a nice segue into what we DO want at our show - TRADITION. The appearance of something from the 50's or 60's.Why this era? Cause that is when hot rodding was at it's peak. This is before the big 3 came in and started mass producing all that muscle that took over. What we strive for is a picture of a car show taken in 1961, and a picture from our show should look like they have the same kinds of cars....that is to say - the cars in the picture from 1961 could easily be interchanged with cars that are at today's Vintage Torque Fest. I urge anyone out there to show me photos of hot rod and custom car shows from the late 50's and 60's that had cars with shotguns welded on to them....A car with things like that welded on are a "non traditional" car.
3- NO FUN - This is where I object. The guy in the picture up there states that you are gonna have NO FUN at the event he is guarding.....well...if that is supposed to be me then you know that is NOT what we are all about. If you talk to 99% of the people that come to Vintage Torque Fest - you will know that the first priority for the show is FUN. If you think that we are some stodgy, uptight crowd that sit behind our cars for 7 hours and wait til the plastic trophies are handed out and then go home....well - you are terribly mistaken. Our show is designed for the true car enthusiast....ones that are not afraid to drive their rides (not sure you heard - we have a dirt track for people to actually take their rides out on), rockabilly bands from all over the country, a lowbrow art show that has contributions from artists all over the world - yes - WORLD. Vendors from CA to NY. Motorcycles (again the correct kind [pre '75 choppers, bobbers & customs],swap meet for auto parts ONLY, and who can forget - Friday night vintage stock cars, motorcycles, & BUS RACING! If you can't have fun at Vintage Torque Fest - then you are in the wrong hobby and I would say it is time for you to take up quilting or stamp collecting, cause this show is power packed and filled with too much FUN stuff to do in one day. AND - it should be noted that we have a different parking area for bone stock rides as well as rat rods-they dont have to park over with the Camry's and F-150's. SO we do give them special treatment - just because the ride is not "traditional"does not mean that we dont like it....Just like the Roadster show in CA on Fathers Day weekend - they have a "Friends" section of the show where NON roadsters can park. That is a great idea and no one complains. We try to do the same thing.
So I hope you understand that we are not out to upset anyone - we just want to have a certain kind of hot rod or kustom car represented at the show....I know it is hard to explain and I know that some people don't understand where we are coming from, but I bet if you come to Vintage Torque Fest - you will "get it"
John Wells
PS Rat Rod Magazine layout is done REALLY well. The photography is top notch. Aviator's Delight spread in Issue #8 was REALLY well done! A classy model and a photo shoot that was obviously well thought out and executed! Keep that trend up and readers are going to be wondering - where are all the rat rods in Rat Rod magazine?ha

OH and if you want to see VIDEO of people having fun.....

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