It’s easy to love the idea of doing the most with our cars; the most epic adventures in the most radical builds. Attention-grabbing headlines with eyebrow raising horsepower numbers, sponsored parts lists full of exotic race components, or events like Ultima Street Challenge and Hot Rod Drag Week that extract unreal performance from cars that can seemingly do everything by sparing no expense. This side of the automotive landscape is intoxicating and aspirational but it can also steal well-deserved attention from the approachable ways to build and enjoy a car. This is the value that Hot Rod Power Tour has […]
Weight doesn’t matter until a force is applied and the things you accumulate are massless until you try to move them. So there’s nothing like moving across the country with little notice to reveal the true value of your possessions. When I agreed to relocate to California for a year-long contract I was volunteering for this angst. In Michigan I had achieved a dream: a large home shop, almost a dozen project cars, and tools stacked to the ceiling. But while this freed my motorhead ambitions it grounded me physically and I’m not immune from the globe trotting aspirations of […]
“Watch out taking a photo of that car!” a caution rang out over the dusty staging lane. “It’s so ugly it might break your lens!” A mustached man was leaning out of the window of his 1957 Chevrolet gasser, looking back at the beige Studebaker Lark gasser behind him in the staging lanes with a scornful expression. At my uncertain silence his face broke into a smile and he elaborated; “I built that car for my best friend. He made me do it!” His friend grinned at the teasing and they got ready to square up against each other again. […]
I was enjoying a warm Los Angeles Friday evening with the Odd Squad Car Club and a collection of charming chopped coupes when one of the local hotrodders mentioned that Mooneyes USA in Santa Fe Springs was having their annual open house. A busy Saturday of possibly pretentious cars and coffees and stanced late-model cars flexing was immediately cleared; Mooneyes was bucket list status and exactly my speed. Hotrodding has a complex history full of iconic early pioneers; the grease monkeys who innovated, the arenas where they tested their machines, and the shops that built a global industry of speed […]
The landscape of vintage racing is well populated. There are opportunities to scratch a vintage racecar itch all over the world, from larger-than-life phenomenons like Goodwood Festival of Speed and Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion to the regular weekend events by the SVRA and other organizing bodies. This makes it challenging for a new event to break in, especially when they’re aiming for top billing.
Each of the last six summers Luftgekühlt has galvanized the Los Angeles car scene and sent shockwaves throughout the international car community. For the first five I experienced it with the envious masses; a few days of total Instagram takeover as famous photographers, collectors, and car enthusiasts descend on an unassuming location in the LA area. Like opening presents on Christmas morning they uncover an impossibly rare set of air-cooled Porsches arranged among beer vats or lumber stacks like a Japanese zen garden. For the following week each of the most-bookmarked automotive blogs drops mega-galleries and glowing platitudes. For Luft’s […]
Racetracks are like sacred ground. Fans and drivers make pilgrimages deep into rural areas where land is plentiful and some din on the weekends is tolerated. Simple outbuildings and paddock sheds are elevated to shrine-like structures immortalized by decades of magazines. Each corner and inch of the circuit is memorized by racers from all over the world. Decades of oil and rubber laid so deeply into the asphalt that it could never truly go away. Over the years tracks become special places imbued with the spirit of motorsport. Except for street courses. The few remaining city races steal their land […]
Maybe the young men exposed to the powerful machines of World War 2 were infected somehow. A chronic disease borne on oil and exhaust fumes spread through the forests of Europe, the deserts of Africa, or the islands of the Pacific and wormed viral fingers of obsession into the brains of young soldiers.
We’ll always pine away for cars we idolized when we were young. The speed machine that hung on our childhood bedroom wall burns into our retinas and influences our taste in a way that no newcomer can quite outshine.
Automotive enthusiasm inevitably skews towards opacity. The machines themselves are complex but their appeal is often similarly nuanced. A shapeless torpoedo with a leather helmet peaking out atop spindly bicycle tires might not impress the uninitiated despite creating ripples of influence, significance, and value for generations of collectors.