VIP Sponsors


If The Shoe Fits

If The Shoe Fits


Damn, I dislike posers. All kinds, but especially hot rod wannabes who will most likely die as never beens. Which is, in a way, the difference between hot rodders and too many wimp-o street rodders. There, that ought to get some hackles raised!

Consider this: If you run at the dry lakes or the salt, and someone asks you how you did on the last run, you never, ever respond with all of the numbers, such as “Oh, we did 159mph”. No siree bub, what you say is, “Oh, we cranked a 59, probably got to 70 out the back door.” Got it? If you have to fill in the missing blanks, you just ain’t one of the dudes, dooood.

This holds true whether you are talking about the hunnert mile class or a land speed record over 400.

You see, it is a matter of self-respect that hot rodders approach every other rodder automatically assuming that the other person is also a builder/maker/driver insider. Oh, were that a truth embedded in body lead. Instead, nowadays in street rodding one never is so indiscreet as to inquire whether or not the other built his or her car. Because the term “built” has so many definitions. As in: Yes I built the car. I paid to have it done! Rather one must skirt the issue with indirect inquiries as to the source of parts and services. It is unnerving to an older rodder when the reply goes something like, “Oh, I don’t know what cam is in the engine. I just bought it that way.” So then, to be circumspect, one carefully comments casually on the paint. Don’t ask what the color is, because the owner probably doesn’t know. You know the drill, “Yeah, I built the car a year ago. I don’t know what the color is exactly.“

Yet this same expert hot rodder will often volunteer such information as to gasoline mileage and how easy the car is to load in the enclosed trailer, and how well the trailer tows behind either the motorhome or the big Dodge diesel dually. And how the car has won so many car shows, mostly those held in shopping malls and dealership driveways. But, hey, the argument is that all this is ok because it serves to spread the gospel about the joys of old cars, blah blah blah. Horse puckey!

I ain’t buying into any of this. Just as soon as the luster is off the bubble, platinum card holder Billy Bob is on to some new ego toy. Remember vans? And muscle cars? And the current infatuation with Harleys with obese rear tires (same trailers and tow rigs). The really hardcore car guys get their hands dirty, and it doesn’t matter whether or not they do all the welding or work closely with the actual builders. It doesn’t matter how much money they have to spend. The key is that the real car guys are totally involved with their project. They know the cam grinder, they know the compression ratio, they know the brand of brakes, they know how to open the hood. And very few of them are posers.

There is a rodder from down South who has enough bread to have several different shops around the nation creating special vehicles at any given time, yet he gets intimately involved with each project. He enjoys every single car he has a true craftsman build, and he drives them all hard. Very hard. I see him at the salt, and he is one of the go fast guys in a red hat. He ain’t no poser, in fact you would be hard pressed to pick him in a crowd.

A few years ago I got a call from Rod & Custom asking if I could lead a group of their readers on a tour through Yellowstone Park. The aforementioned rodder was among them, driving a really fine world class roadster. Scott and I put our roadster pickup through the park at warp speed, and said aforementioned glued to our rear bumper. Everybody else trailed far, far behind. That ain’t the way of a poser, folks.

And you have high profile guys like Jay Leno. He has a ton of special vehicles, but I have never seen him strut and pose. More often than not, you will see Jay at some synthetic black tie and tux shindig wearing a comfortable jacket and jeans. And he knows who supplied what for each of his cars. And he knows how to open the hood. Hit the road all you fake wanna-be car experts, I know where the real car guys live, and it ain’t at some car show bragging to one and all about how they built this latest whizz that looks just like hundreds of other whizzs. And upon which he probably never laid a construction hand.