POINT/COUNTERPOINT

We all have a buddy that seems to criticize the various aspects of our hobby. While they may THINK they’re all hardcore, the reality is they just haven’t thought things through. Driver or trailer, air bags or lowered, street rod or street machine, pro street or pro touring, rat rods, million dollar cars, did you build it yourself or have it built? The topics are endless and so are the opinions. Here are a couple of observations I’ve made over the years. Of course, I’ll start with a topic dear to me . THE DREADED TRAILER! I’ve always built my cars to drive and for a number of reasons. First, I realized long ago that I LIKE to drive, I LIKE to drive my HOTROD! My friends and I have determined that we have as much fun going TO an event as when we get there! For that reason we AVOID the freeway and take state routes whenever possible! Secondly, and I guess this is a confession of my practicality , I don’t want to own a nice,expensive, truck and trailer . I think “WOW with all the money I’ve got invested in this, I could own another HOTROD!!” Not to mention storing or tripping over it during the off season! Lastly, it seems no matter how careful you are, you’ve increased the risk of some BAD stuff happening to your car in the loading/unloading process, not to mention out on the road! Now , having said all of that, lets look at this from another perspective. My ‘55 is a rowdy automobile , when I drove it to CALIFORNIA I installed a 2:90 rear gear. I then changed to the intended 4:57 when I raced it. Upon returning home, I reinstalled the 4:57 and it’s been that way ever since. Now, I’ll still drive it to COLUMBUS for the GOODGUYS event but I gotta tell ya, I don’t care to go much further than that. If YOUR taste in HOTRODS tend to lean toward the lunatic fringe maybe a trailer isn’t such a bad idea for you! So, how about those AIRBAGS I prefer to build my cars at the intended ride height, I have a general formula that seems to work well for me. Plant that sonofabitch on the ground and make sure NOTHING is hanging down! Labor intensive? YOU BET! But I want my car to look cool EVERYTIME I look at it, not just when the air is out of the bags! Then, I found myself in a sticky predicament. When I built the HENRY J at ride height, the front bumper stuck out so far beyond spindle centerline that the car wouldn’t even negotiate going out the end of my driveway! Time to try this newfangled air bag idea! I guess NOW is the point where I interject MY narrow minded criticism… Nothing irritates me more than the practice of letting ALL of the air out of your bags causing your car to look like some broken down piece of shit lying in a junkyard! Low is great, lower is bitchin, on the ground is REDNECK!!! WHEW, I feel better! Lastly, when used properly, air bags allow you to tune your suspension in ways never before possible! That’s due to the fact that our airbag godfather BRETT is CONSTANTLY refining the product at an impressive rate! What’s with the RICH BASTARD that PAYS some top shop to build his cars and then takes it to an event to rub your nose in it? Does that piss you off? Years ago, I had a conversation with someone that I’ll never forget. I had just gotten all of the magazine press on my ‘67 NOVA and was approached by a prominent local businessman. During our conversation he confessed that he was WELL aware of what people thought of him and he had this to offer “I’ve loved HOTRODS my entire life and I have tried and tried to work on them, the bottom line is I SUCK at it, but fortunately, I’ve been successful in other areas of business that have enabled me to PAY people that know what they are doing!” Kinda changes things doesn’t it? Let’s move on to another trendy subject, RAT ROD! Personally, I HATE the term itself because it overgeneralizes anything without a 20k paint job into one tidy category. I guess the real reason for so much controversy is the smaller group of jackasses whose only goal is to see how big of a piece of shit they can build, although even that requires a great deal of thought! Remember the t.v. show in which people competed for a position at So Cal Speed shop? Do you remember who won? It was some guy from OHIO, his name escapes me (SORRY!) but did you SEE his RIDE? I saw the car at COBO in DETROIT the year before, WHAT a BAD BAD M.F. this thing was! Engineering, off the charts! Attitude, like none other!! Don’t be so quick to judge a group of people until you’ve done a thorough investigation! O.K. that’s it for now, remember, always look at the fence from someone else’s side!!! Or something like that !!

Scott Sullivan

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