Sunday, 24 November 2013

My Hot Rod past...

My addiction in cars and motorised things in general started way back around 1974 when aged about 12 or 13, I used to hang out with a friend called Micky, who's dad worked at the local scrapyard, (Junkyard). On school holiday's we would spend all day down there and whenever they got a car in to be scrapped his dad used to let us take all the glass out, and remove the passenger door (for safety purposes) and then take it in turns to drive the car round the field out the back where we had made an oval track until it ran out of petrol. Then we would take it in turns to tow the car into the scrapyard using the tractor. Since then I have been hooked on all sorts of motorised things. In my teens I had the usual array of tatty cars with 'go faster stripes' and 'furry dice' until one day I went to Santa Pod to watch some drag racing and the old style Hotrods blew my mind and from that day on all I wanted was a Hot rod.
Many years later, my good friends Stuart and
Malcolm also got into hot rods and attended
many hot rod shows. Malcolm (on the right)
and me posing for the camera at the1988
N.A.S.C. Nationals at Bruntingthorpe
Proving Grounds. This stack of lager was 
meant our weekend ration, unfortunately Malc,
Stuart and I finished it all that day!

This was my first hot rod, a 1959 Ford
Popular with a stock rover V8, an automatic
gearbox and attached to a live Jag rear end
with Vauxhall Viva front and finished in two
tone pink!

Flared steel rear arches, jacked up rear end
and tinted windows, well it was the early 80's.

I still love the shape of the Ford Anglia / Pop.
This was a true British hot rod car and they
are still popular today within the hot rod
community. I could quite easily get another
Pop, it was great fun to drive around in.

If I remember correctly these were 10" x 15"
rear wheels with 7" x 14" front wheels. The
rear lights are not original Ford Popular but
they are period.

The Pop looks pure hot rod from the front. A
single wiper on an 8" high windscreen is not
that practical when it's dark and it starts to rain
 but it does look cool. With a V8 under the hood
and a narrow front end when the throttle was
planted to the floor, the front end lifted
slightly and the steering became very light.

I attended 2 NASC Nationals (annual hot rod
shows) in this car, and it broke down at the
show 2 years running! It was only a jammed
starter motor on both occasions. It also broke
down when Stuart and I went to the 'Chelsea
Cruise' in London. We couldn't find the fault
so Stu and I had to leave the car down a 
back alley and walk home from the centre of
London, on a very cold winters night. We
ended up walking down the middle of the A40
 (the main route into London from the West)
in the middle of the night. When we got home,
we got in Stuarts car and went back to London 
to tow the Pop home, a few day's later after I
had thawed out I discovered it was the earth
strap from the chassis to the engine that was
broken, which was causing the whole engine to
become 'live' every time the ignition was
turned on.

On the motorway en-route to a hot rod show,
Malc took this photo as they came alongside in
Stu's van . I had a trendy 'Magnum PI' looking
moustache in those days, but then it was the
mid 80's and they were in fashion.!

A nice photo of me driving on the motorway,
taken by Malc.(I think) as they followed in the
van that also doubled as the sleeping quarters.

After a few years, and a few breakdowns I
sold the pink pop, to a mate called Lee,and
bought this beast. It used to be a drag racing
motor back in the early 1970's and had an
extended front chassis section to extend
the overall wheel base to obtain more

Again this had the trusty Rover V8 up the front
end and an Austin Westminster rear axle which
provided plenty of traction. Off the line you
could floor the throttle and the rear end would
squat down and dig into the tarmac and you'd
be off with virtually no wheel spin at all. I drove
this around like this with brushed on grey primer
for a year or two, which really annoyed the shiny
Porsche owners as from a standing start at the
traffic lights I would beat them every time.
This photo from around the same time shows
the Aylesbury Ford Pop crew. Malc's red
pop, Bob's blue pop, my grey primer pop, and
Lee, who bought my old pink pop.
This Pop came with a fibreglass front end, to
keep the weight down for racing, but I decided
to put a steel front end back on. You can see
the original red colour before I painted it in grey
primer. Stuart and I were talking about what
colour I should paint the car in, Stuart decided
it would look good in the true hot rod paint
scheme of black and flames. So Stu got some
aerosol's from the garage and painted half
the bonnet to show me what it would look like.
I liked the look of the flamed paint job, so that
was settled.

With the paint scheme decided Stuart sweet
talked another mate into lending us his
workshop to paint the Pop. The prep work is
going well as this photo shows.

Stuart working hard in prepping the body.

All prepped and ready for paint in the spray
booth. The large bonnet to the left is off a
Camero, and it almost dwarfs the Pop.

Stuart couldn't wait to start spraying my car,
here he is applying the filler primer. which was
sanded down before proceeding.

The gloss black starting to go on, I think I'm
right in saying this was Stuarts first complete
car he had sprayed.

Stuart is in there somewhere... the black is
almost complete. After a few hours in front
of the heat lamps the paint dried quickly.

Once completely dry Stuart then covered the
bonnet in 3" masking tape, and using a sharp
blade cut out the flame design by eye.

After the car had been masked up to avoid
any over spray, Stu started to apply the gloss
white to the grill, lower front wings and front
of the bonnet.

Again after a short period in front of the heat
lamps, the yellow could be applied over the
remaining bonnet and wing area's and over
his masking tape flame design.

The orange was the last colour to go on. At
this point it didn't look much like the flame job
he promised me. But I had faith in him and his
capabilities, and once the paint had dried and
the masking tape on the bonnet had been
carefully removed using a sharp blade, Stuarts
design was revealed.

WOW, What a transformation, those flames
look absolutely brilliant.

It's hard to believe it's the same car car I drove
around in grey primer just 2 days previously.

Nice photo showing Stuarts handiwork.

This is my favourite photo of this car. The
flames are just licking over the front wings, the
deep gloss black paint has a super shine with
some great reflections. The traditional red
steel wheels with white wall tyres complement
the paint job perfectly. Unfortunately a short
time later I lost my job so had to sell her.
A few years later, I was back in work and had
saved some money so it was time to purchase
another Pop. This one was going to be a
salt flat racer type rod, with a 2 litre motor,
fender less at the front with stock rear arches.
I had the louvre boot made, and the exhausts
was going to come through the rear valance.

It had a 4" roof chop, HA Viva front suspension
and it had a lovely stance. I had the rear alloy
fender guards made up and had planned to
have the bonnet top louvred as well, but yet
again I lost my job so it also had to be sold.

So that was a brief insight into my hot rod past,
I do miss those days, but onward and upwards.
A massive thanks to Stu all those years ago
for doing such a brilliant job in painting the car.


  1. Good days my friend, seems such a long time ago, but we are still, best mates and still into motors it wont ever change.

  2. I hope not on both counts. I think we're a bit old to change now..!