Thursday, January 20, 2011

Street Rod Custom Cars, Big Boy Toys, by Sharon Powell

     Belief that the antique Junker pictured on the right would someday resemble the Firery Lime Custom Classic shown above is somewhat difficult to imagine. Car enthusiasts much like Henry Ford who built the first “self-propelled” Quadricycle can profess; pioneering spirits begin by combining creativity and skill in order to advance a nation of people. Fords Quadricycle consisted of a four-wheeled cart and gasoline engine which sparked growth within the automobile industry; followed by the mass production of automobiles and assembly lines. Others, much like Ford, dedicate their lives to perfecting the technological designs of public transportation while enjoying the rewards of Classic Car designs.

The Ford Legacy
     Henry Ford was no different in 1896 than many classic car enthusiasts found today. His innovative talents and contributions to the industry helped him establish the Ford Motor Company in 1903. Ford believed public transportation was an invaluable resource to society, enough so that he dedicated his life to automobile manufacturing. Ford became the Vice President and Chief Engineer for Ford Motor Company in 1910, and by 1918, half of all the cars in America were Model T’s. Although the Ford Motor Company remains one, of many car manufacturers operating within the world, their professional successes and engineered designs make them one of the leading car manufacturers found in America today.

     Every classic car buff will profess that it takes money, and a lot of patience and skill in order to produce the “Fiery Lime Green” classic like the one pictured above. According to Matt Deoden, Custom Cars, Lerner Publications; only a certain type of custom can be classified as a “true” custom car. According to Deoden, early hot rods were pretty rough looking, and factory built cars did not have much style says Deoden. Interior Design and body style are all a part of what makes the difference with each classic car. Most builders seek to find a specific type of car in order to give their design an exciting, and unique appeal to their audience.

Pimping Your Ride
     There are many visual aspects involved with custom car building, and in order to assure a car will qualify for most national car show events, builders must work to design the best looking model they can. Rebuilding custom cars begins with stripping the car of old paint and residue before new parts can be replaced and welded onto the newer model. The stripping process is necessary in order to modify the original body style and prepare it for the next stage of redesign. Some builders choose to “Channel” the body; meaning they drop the car lower to the ground, or shave the door handles in order to provide the car with a smooth and fine finish. Other builders prefer to replace the car’s engine with a more powerful V-8 model. Much like the newer trendy “Pro Street” designs, some builders enjoy using the “Ford Flathead V-8, or the Chrysler Fire Power Hemi, or a Chevy big block engine in order to give the car a unique design. Once the car has gone through the welding and parts replacement, the builder will then sand the metal to a fine finish in order to prepare the car for a new and “flashy” custom paint job.

     Who would have thought that engineers like Henry Ford, or Thomas Edison could have made such an impact on public transportation, but they did. Their names and life successes will remain an important part of social growth. Custom car builders and enthusiasts will always pay tribute to those responsible for the foundational strengths of industry within America.

To find out more about Custom car building, go to your local library or internet search engines at:;; or or Powell, 2011


1.) Doeden, Matt, Custom Cars, Lerner Publications Co., Minneapolis, MN, 2008

2.) McCollum, Sean, Custom Cars, The Ins and outs of Turners, Hot Rods, and Other Muscle Cars, Velocity-Capstone Press, Mankato, MN, 2010



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