DSC04611 (1024x768)It’s hard to keep focused (as evidenced by the slightly blurry picture at left) on what Hot Rodding is supposed to be about.  How it started, why it started, and how the hobby got where it is today.  Go to any cruise night or car show, large or small, around the country, and it’s sometimes hard to pick a “Hot Rod” out of the over-chromed, over-wrought, candy colored (or the 80’s pastel colored, tweed interiored disasters the owners can’t afford to re-do) examples of “If a little is good, too much isn’t enough” cars, art cars, and outright messes called “Rat Rods”.

What is Hot Rodding, anyway?

Dennis Lesky, of “Ionia Rod Shop”, along with the Gilmore Car Museum near Kalamazoo, MI, has put together a stunning display of important Hot Rods and Customs, that were trend setters when built, and like true classics of any art form, are still relevant today, that ought to answer the question.

The backdrops for the cars are covers of the iconic “HOT ROD” magazine, which, like the cars, still exists today, and while it may struggle in the new electronic media age, still manages to hold on to its roots, and is still relevant.  The stunning examples of Tom Fritz’s Hot Rod oriented artwork, blown up to life-size,  accentuate the cars, and bring them to life.  Brilliant.

It’s an inspiring display, and there is guaranteed to be a car there that made an impression on  you as a child, that set the hook and reeled you in.   If you’re not a “car guy”,  there’s one that will do so now.  Cotton Werksman’s “T” is the one that did it for me, back in the late 60’s or early 70’s in “Rod & Custom”, and my jaw dropped when I saw it in the flesh.

I promised Kim I wasn’t going to start another car until the T’Bird is finished and sold.  I’m sticking to that promise, but the seed was planted for that next project after seeing this collection of cars.

Enjoy the pictures, and better yet, make a trip to the Gilmore Museum, and get back to what Hot Rodding is supposed to be.

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  1. Bob Nugent says:

    Would like to exchange links to your great site. My website, hotrodsonline.com is the oldest hotrod site on the internet, almost twenty years. Quality links are important to a site and I like your content.
    Bob Nugent

  2. scotty gosson says:

    All good examples Brian. Love those backdrops, too!

  3. Mart Dawson says:

    Brilliant pictures.

  4. flynbrian48 says:

    Thanks Scotty. The museum gift shop supposedly will be selling prints of the artwork, however, when we were there two weeks ago, they had none. Darn.

  5. K Ashley says:

    Thanks for picturing the cars at Gilmore.

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