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IT WAS ONLY A FAD…so we thought!

IT WAS ONLY A FAD…so we thought!
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So, I been looking backthrough a ton of old photos, and I notice that in the Seventies, all the rage, with my compatriots in the hot rod underground messing with Fad Cars. I never had one, didn’t need one, still don’t. Especiallly since, years later, I got up close andpersonal with a born-again fadster that Ron Ceridono brought into my life. Actuallly, more like the life next door.

Source and story of this Instant T here

I met Ron and his lovely wife Linda in Idaho back in the very late Nineties, I think it was. At the time I was hosting rodders from near and yon at a thingie I called the Teton Krooz. Way it worked is that I simply announced that we would be having a week long rod trot in the mountain country around Yellowstone Country. No great organization, just honking around in hot rods and grinning.

Ron saw the bait and bit. Driving with Linda from their Northern California home at Clear Lake all the way to the roof of the world in Idaho. In a Fad T. Ron had bought the car as a rather non-descript Seventies cast aside, but then he took it all apart, and turned it into a very distinct, and very road worthy blue line runner. With a distinct Antiquer looking brass era radiator it looked the part. With Ron’s penchant for everything on the car working as it should, it was totally reliable, and with a thumper small block Chevy V8 it would blow your hat off.The best description I can give of that car is that it was a skateboard on steroids!

You kind of sat on, rather than in, the car. And it was minimum on creature comforts. It had a steering wheel. It had no top. It had a tall T windshield. It had a tiny pickup bed on the back, that dutifully housed the fuel source. It was just subtle enough in maroon re-paint, and it had a lot of chrome bling. It was the literal source of Get In And Hang On.

Of course, that kind of car requires constant cleaning, but Ron must have been planning ahead as he had Linda and two willing-to-clean teenage daughters. The car was never the type of sod that I always drove, but it went everywhere I went, on or off road. While the Junkyard Dawg was often called onto carry a small bag or two excess, the Ceridono’s had long since mastered econo-travelling.

Alas, I must report that back a decade or so, Ron felt it was time to move that Fad Car along. Whoever the new owner is, they got a gem in the shiney. Even if it does scare the B-Jesus out of you when the loud pedal is depressed, it sure does eat up the long black pavement.

And I should have known, what with that car coming out of the Northern California mind-set for performance. Fad T’s were everywhere. Everyone had one. Most notably a hither-to little known Nor-Cal dude name of Andy Brizio. Ever the entrepreneur, Andy recognized an opportunity, and overnight appeared Andy’s Intsant Ts. Just in time to get some tidy hot rod magazine publicity before the new Street Rod Nationals in Peoria. Along with a couple of friends in similar fad rods, Andy was the smash hit in Peoria, and a dozen or so Nationals after. All of this appeared in the new street rod magazines, and Andy’s new business was off and driving. Every guy in Northern California who knew Andy must have bought one of his T’s. At the time, young Roy Brizio was just a whelp hanging at the swimming pool with my kids. We had no idea that he would pick up the banner and soar it to new family heights.

But the writing was on the wall with each passing summer. The young rodding families were getting on, both in quantity and quality. The Fad car was being replaced overnight with more crowd-friendly confines, and although we continued to see the Fad Ts, they were most definitely on the decline. Within a ten year period, they were gone. Most were disassembled, to provide vitals for later model body styles. Which was just in time to drive the new fad of resto-rods.

But the fad T remains, and perhaps for the same reason it appeared. It is a simple engineering exercise, which means is can be low cost. It is light of weight, which means it can be a barn burner without a lot of money under the non-existent hood. And the Fad T is basic enough to appeal across the builder talent board. It is a great learning platform. Just how many fad Ts are tucked away in garages is unknown, but I’ll bet a quid that the number is more than your two hands full. Won’t it be interesting when the new generation of grandchildren start poking around the garages and basement is earnest?