Part 2 of an ongoing series. Part 1 can be found here:
The July issue of R&C starts out with a call to ignore the trolls. While those aren't editor Spencer Murray's exact words, the thing he is railing about could well be described that way. Spencer is basically painting a group of people, he feels are a danger and annoying in a very bad light. I'm not really surprised to see an editorial like this in a Hot Rod and Custom car magazine of the 1950's. This was the beginning of the (well deserved) bad rap that Hot Rod's would soon be labeled with by the end of the 1950's.
For anyone interested in a snapshot of the type of world that had sprang up around Hot Rods in the 1950s I'd suggest reading "Hot Rod" by Henry Gregor Felson. The book has been criticized in recent years as an example of 1950s anti-Hot Rod propaganda, which it is, but I've been told it is a fairly accurate representation of teenage speech and car attitudes of the time. It was aimed at teenagers as a way of scaring them straight and getting them to not act foolishly in cars. It didn't work.
Here's the editorial page:
George Barris, owner of Barris Kustoms in Los Angeles, CA, makes his writing debut in this issue of R&C. Barris Kustoms was one of the leading custom car creators of the time. Chip Foose, wishes he was half as famous and talented as George Barris. In his first installment, George gives us the soft pitch for why someone would want to build, or have built for them, a custom car. The article appears below:
Photo courtesy of: The Custom & Hot Rod Life vast historical archives. (I'm starting to notice a pattern here. Are you?)
The Rods & The Customs (by chance, that was almost the name of this tribe)
The Hot Rods start out with a four page spread on about the cover truck. Clarence Roderick's 1932 Ford hardtop pickup truck is an excellent example of an early Hot Rod. For a kick read the first couple of paragraphs as the fact that the, then 21 year old truck, was a little long in the tooth and took an enormous amount of work to get into decent shape. If they only knew we'd be beating, cutting and welding things a million times worse than this 65 years later when they were 86 years old is a hoot! See the gallery below:
Up next he find Dick Burton's convertible 1947 Ford. The frontend treatment is a little weird, but that chopped Carson top is nice!
Up next we find Doug McNair's heavily modified 1933 3-window Ford coupe. The odd looking fender trimming is something that I'm glad never really caught on. Luckily, the next trend would be to simply remove the fenders. That would become the classic look for a early coupe.
Lastly, we have a custom Shoebox Ford from Hobart, Indiana. Harold DeBoy, owner of a local body shop, created the sectioned custom as a part time distraction from his day job. Talk about loving what you do for a living!
Well there you have it! The highlights from the 3rd issue of the best car magazine ever published. These magazines are able to give a real insight into the Custom & Hot Rod world. It's important to remember that these cars were included in the magazine because they were very different or they were very fine examples of commonplace trends of the era. Just like automotive websites today, they were the front line in reporting and influencing trends, habits and attitudes in the Rodding world!
I hope you all have enjoyed this little trip down memory lane. They are probably going to become the Sunday main articles for a while.
Keep on Cruisin'!
Thanks for reading!