- Harrison Ford as Bob Falfa in American Graffiti. Photo Courtesy of: My DVD player. Text, errors and faulty logic by: Chris Breeden

THE HOLY TRINITY OF HOT ROD MOVIES

Grab your favorite pair of blue jeans, a plain white t-shirt and a pack of Lucky Strikes for this one!

RECREATING A PERIOD IN TIME.

The golden age of Hot Rod culture began in the early 1950s, peaked in the early 1960s, began to be supplanted by Muscle Car culture in the mid 1960s and was nostalgic by 1973. With that wave of nostalgia, Hollywood made three of the most enduring Hot Rod movies of all time. Let's take a look.

3RD: THE CALIFORNIA KID (1974)

An ABC Wednesday night movie. Photo Courtesy of: TV Guide

An ABC Wednesday night movie. Photo Courtesy of: TV Guide

This 1974 made for TV movie propelled its real star into fame. A 1934 Ford three window coupe called the California Kid. The car was owned and built by Pete Chapouris, half owner of Pete and Jake's Hot Rod Parts, and was the real stand out in the movie. The car getting the starring role did more for the Street Rodding hobby than it did for any of the actors careers.

2ND: TWO LANE BLACKTOP (1971)

Even the movie poster was stark. Photo Courtesy of: IMDB

Even the movie poster was stark. Photo Courtesy of: IMDB

This oddity of 1970s cinema was stark in its portrayal of 2 gearheads making their way through life. The scene at the dive-in restaurant, where James Taylor tells the braggart to bring it on is an example of a line delivered so poorly, it is actually good. It is one of my all time favorite lines in any movie.

1ST: AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973)

Iconic poster. Photo Courtesy of: IMDB

Iconic poster. Photo Courtesy of: IMDB

A little movie trivia. Two notable actors and one actress were introduced to audiences through George Lucas's American Graffiti. Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfuss and Suzanne Somers would use their appearances in AG to further their early careers. The movie tells the story of a group of teenagers and their antics on the last night in their hometown before High School graduation. It may not be cinema gold, but it is definitely Hot Rod car gold.

The above movies are the best examples of Hot Rod culture Hollywood has ever made. I have purposely stayed clear of the 1950s propaganda films. While those films were full of great Hot Rods, they were intended to scare audiences and were all fairly boring. Please keep in mind I'm talking about Hot Rods, not cars in general. What do you all think? Have I missed something? Did I get the order wrong? Is one of the above your favorite movie? Let us know in the comments! Now if you'll excuse me, I'll make it 3 yards and we'll have ourselves an automobile race!

Keep on Cruisin'!

Art by: Chris Breeden

Art by: Chris Breeden

About the Author

"Chris Breeden is a Social Media content creator for Custom & Hot Rod Life on DRIVETRIBE, YouTube and Facebook. After spending 5 years in Southern California, a.k.a. Hot Rod Heaven, while serving as a jet engine mechanic in the United States Marine Corps, he moved back home to Tennessee with an even greater love for Hot Rodded Vintage Tin. Since then he has worked in retail sales and the transportation and logistics industry. In 2018, seeing a gap in Hot Rod and Custom Car coverage on DRIVETRIBE, Chris began advocating for their inclusion on the platform. During the summer months, he can be found all over the Tennessee region covering car shows, meets, and cruise-ins. During the winter months, he can be found in the garage working on his custom 1949 Ford two-door sedan and 1954 F100 truck."

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Comments (12)

  • Two Lane Blacktop was filmed on Tail of the Dragon

      1 year ago
  • Great picks! I have enjoyed these movies and agree they stand out in the hot rod culture, and were influential in there time and beyond. There are other movies for sure that influenced me that could be in the top ten. They are Vanishing Point, Last American Hero and Crazy Mary and Dirty Larry, and four Burt Reynolds movies, of course Smokey and the Bandit , Gator, White Lighting and Dixie and the Dance King? There are others, not as well acted or plausible story lines, but we each have are favs, and the list will probably be debated, with Bullet and French Connection and the 7 ups. Wouldn't it be cool to see these on the big screen again. Any way, great picks!

      1 year ago
  • Great list, I've seen AG a dozen times and it never gets old. When you can feel the temperature and sense the smells, beyond the sounds and visuals, the final drag racing scene is movie making perfection!

      1 year ago
  • All incredible films and gonna watch American Graffiti tonight with the wife.

      1 year ago
  • Yeah, I’m good with the choices. Like my opinion matters though.... 😎

      1 year ago
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