July 2002 Rant
Many times I’ve seen someone look at a street rod and say, “he shouldn’t have cut that car up”. I’ve seen people who own street rods look at restored antiques. But I’ve never heard them say that they would love to cut the antique up or even say they would love to rod the car. Why is it that having a street rod is so bad in the eyes of some car hobbyists? More importantly, is this attitude having a negative impact on the car hobby?
First what is so evil about owning a street rod? What is so evil about owning a fiberglass replica of an antique car? What is wrong with pursuing your own version of the American Dream? Why condemn someone because they have different tastes in automobiles than you do?
Street rods and street rod enthusiasts have been very good to the old car hobby. They have recycled cars and trucks that no restorer would want. They have resurrected vehicles that were in terrible shape. Vehicles that have been extensively changed and modified over the years until they would be too expensive to restore are being saved by rodders. All you have to do is go to a bookstore and take a look at the auto magazines. Pick up a couple of magazines that cater to rodders. These magazines are filled with ads. Take a careful look at the ads and you’ll see some of the same companies that sell parts for the restoring of antiques are happy to sell the same parts to rodders. Thanks to the extensive marketing of street rod parts, many reproduction parts used to restore vehicles are now being manufactured.
Some that own street rods also own stockers. And the same people that yell street rodders “cut up” cars consider some old vehicles that have had some minor modifications OK. Who draws the line on how many and what type of modifications are OK with the restoration crowd?
I know you have noticed that in the last few years car hobbyists have had to fight for legislation just to keep the hobby alive and well. Sure we can joke with each other about our cars. Which make is better, which engine runs stronger and lasts longer and other similar stuff is fine. But let’s not let silly attitudes alienate car hobbyists from interacting in a positive manner for the benefit of all. We certainly don’t want our legislative enemies to have the opportunity to “divide and conquer” us all.