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Street Rod Components

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Date: 4/15/2018 1:38 PM PDT

Some of the most fun I have ever had in a hot rod is on road trips. I have traveled all over the country in hot rods on road trips, mainly to rod events. I have traveled in groups and by my self. For me, it doesn't really matter whether I am alone, have a passenger or in a group, road trips are a kick. For those of you that are members of the HA.M.B., there are threads that describe road trips by members that allow all of us to follow along, such as the one by ACME Speed Shop every year to the Lone Star Round Up.

In years past, I traveled in a group to several of the Rod and Custom Americruises. One year, we had the Two Lane Tour where we traveled on two lane highways as much as possible, and in the process, visited places like The Sprint Car Museum at Knoxville, Ia and the Tex Smith Publishing world headquarters in Driggs, Id. Another year, we played golf at various venues across the county, as well as driving golf balls off a cliff in Colorado waiting in line for a road construction to let us through. Travelling in groups makes for lots of fun when someone needs roadside assistance as there are always lots of helpers, and hopefully at least one cameraman to record these events. One of the best of these happened in Driggs when my buddy Mike locked himself out of his coupe. With both doors locked from the inside (with original Ford latches) and no way to unlock it from the outside, he was able to open the trunk and work his way to the door handle inside. When Bob came out of his motel room, all he could see was two feet sticking out of the trunk. Of course, he forgot to take the pic so we have no permanent record of it.

Road trips in a hot rod also let you meet lots of friendly people along the way because everyone want to talk to you about your car. Every gas stop and food break becomes an opportunity to show off our cars and handy work and to become ambassadors for the hobby.

So, in summary, road trips are fun and I would suggest joining one or planning one this year to one of the many events around the country. Have Fun!!!

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Date: 3/15/2018 7:55 AM PDT

Customer service is one aspect of doing business that can make or break how a business is perceived. Now, in my experience, some of the worst customer service is provided, or not, by the various telephone companies around the country, and maybe the world. We just experienced two days without phones because of changing carriers and all the new technology involved with telephones now. I won't go into detail but suffice to say, the help I received from my local rep for the new provided was not quite up to expectations.

Now, I have to say that we have always prided ourselves in giving customer service above and beyond, or at least we try. As an example, I just spent somewhere in the neighborhood of one and a half hours on the phone with a customer chasing a brake problem. This was not all at once but in a series of calls. He gave me his situation and I gave him ideas to look at or try. Now, this customer had only purchased the pedal and booster/master from us, none of the rest of the brake system. As we talked back and forth, the idea of a bad residual valve started to look like the culprit. I had offered to replace them to see if that cured it. During the last phone conversation on Friday, we were discussing the actual brakes front and rear. I told him that I was not familiar with exactly how the front brakes were mounted but suggested that he check the orientation of the bleed screw to make sure it was at the top. We parted with the understanding that we would talk again on Monday with any new ideas.

When he called on Monday, he had cured his brake problem. Seems when the put the brakes together on the rear end (Ford Explorer discs) he inadvertently swapped the calipers from side to side and the bleed screws were at the bottom. He swapped the calipers and cured his brake problem.

Now, this is an example of good customer service. I spent quite a bit of time trying to help a customer, which I am afraid doesn't happen much any more. I have another story about trying to help a customer with info and going between the customer and another supplier that wasn't as successful but, that's a story for another time.

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Date: 2/26/2018 7:47 PM PST

Last week I spoke about the advent of the reproduction body segment of the hot/street rod industry. Because of them, and the growth that happened to the hobby and industry, the numbers of participants in the hobby grew dramatically. With this tremendous growth came a large influx of money into the hobby. This growth allowed several companies that had the capability to stamp steel body panels to grow their offerings to the point of offering complete bodies. A few entrepreneurs that did not have the stamping capabilities jumped in and contracted with stampers to offer steel bodies also.

Now, as with the fiberglass bodies, some of the steel offerings may not have been of the highest quality either, but as time passed, the quality has improved also. Now the steel repro bodies are excellent too. Plus, some of the steel bodies are priced so close to the fiberglass bodies, budget becomes less of a factor in choosing. Budget does factor in though when deciding to find an original or use a repro body. With the possible exception of the Model "A" Ford bodies, the asking prices of decent original 32 to 34 Fords is oft times nearing that of a good repro, yet they may need several thousand dollars worth of repair work. This then makes the repro bodies quite a bargain, plus a major time savings. It takes time and money to rebuild a beat up old car body.

So, now with the availability of good repro bodies, in many styles, the debate whether to use original or repro comes down to ego. So, if your ego isn't so big, or fragile, why not consider the repro body for your next build. It just may be easier on the budget and get you on the road quicker, and what could be better than driving your hot rod with a bunch of your friends?

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Date: 2/20/2018 8:04 PM PST

The debate over the use of original or reproduction bodies has raged since the first repro body was built. The pioneers of the fiberglass reproduction body industry thought they were doing rodders a great service by providing new bodies in their favorite styles, so that they could build the hot rods of their dreams. While the first offerings may have been a little crude, especially by today's standards, they were still a boon to the hot rod hobby. Many a hot rod were built using those early roadster bodies. And with the advent of the reproduction body industry, the repro chassis and suspension component industry grew. Without the repro bodies, the repro chassis builders would have had a very limited market for their goods. True, when the early chassis component manufacturers such as  Gene Scott's PSI industries started, there was still a large selection of original early cars to build hot rods out of but, even in the 60's, the suspension component manufacturers knew that the supply of original cars wouldn't last forever.

With the proliferation of repro body manufacturers and their many styles of bodies, the chassis manufacturers grew in numbers also. As time went on, the quality and accuracy of the repro bodies continued to improve to the point that quite often one couldn't tell the difference between and nice original and a repro, with out asking the owner. This higher quality body also demanded higher quality chassis. As the industry grew, the ability to build a complete early car using all reproduction parts became a reality. With this growth, the accessory manufacturers for these cars also grew, which made the restoration and rodding of original cars even easier, and often less expensive.

So, with the advent of the repro body manufacturers, the entire hot rod/ street rod industry has become quite large and has made it so that thousands of enthusiasts can participate. So, thank you all of you repro body builders for the phenomenal growth of the street/hot rod hobby.

Nest week, fiberglass versus steel repro parts. Stay tuned.

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Date: 2/11/2018 12:29 PM PST

This hobby of ours has a great way of generating friends for us. When people gather together with similar interests, they tend to form friendships. We all need friends, I mean where else will we find guys crazy enough to get up at ridiculous hours to go to a swap meet or to go chase down a lead on a new project. We need our car friends to help us not start to agree with our "other" friends that we are nuts!

I have just recently had contact, through an online forum, with a guy that we shared parts of a project that we did some 35 years ago. I haven't seen or talked to him since we finished that project and now; he has a new car that he has just finished that is a beautiful custom and I can't wait to see it in person. The interesting thing is that a customer of mine had sent me some updates of his progress over the last year or two, so I knew of the build. Now, this customer is becoming a friend too. This network of crazy hot rodders becomes a large "family" of friends. Now, when I travel around the country, I have friends to see all over it.

I have another friend that I have known for probably 50 years. We talk on the phone every couple of weeks, even though we live 500 miles apart now. I have built one of his cars three times, in different styles, another one just once and he has one of my old personal builds. He has a friend that I just met a couple of years ago, not through him, that now I call a friend. He is another guy with too many cars and projects, just like me, and most of my friends.

So, now take your hot rod or custom out with some old friends and make some new ones.

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Date: 2/3/2018 9:11 PM PST

We just returned from the annual Winter Turlock Swap Meet put on by the Modesto Area A's. We had a great time but didn't buy much. I noticed that prices for raw materials, that is, the old cars and parts, has gotten to the point of crazy. I know some of you will say, "Its all original Henry steel". Two things here. One, the cost of building hot rods has gotten to the point that it is restricting the who can play. If we all want the younger people to get into this hobby, so it can continue on, we are going to have to help make it somewhat affordable for them. I realize that there are only so many 32 Ford sedans or 34 Ford coupes left but, unless these people that have these old hulks have figured out how to take them with them when they leave this earth, they might want to rethink their prices. Two, (remember I said there were two things here), it looks like a lot of these project cars the people don't really want to sell, they are just fishing or want others to know that they have them. I mean really, 11K for a beat up rusty 32 tudor body on a hacked up frame? I realize that ego has a lot to do with our hobby, and that isn't all bad but don't let your ego keep others out.
That's my rant for today. Please enjoy our hobby and encourage others to join, we're losing participants everyday.

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Date: 1/28/2018 9:43 AM PST

40 Fords
40 Fords have been one of our favorites for many years. We have helped build and modify several
in our shops and have sold lots of parts for others to build their 40's with. 
The 40 is one of the best looking early Fords Henry built. Whether built as a stocker, hot rod, street rod, racer or custom, the 40's body lines lend themselves quite nicely to each style. Stockers and most street rod styles get and need no body changes except maybe minor cleanup. Of coarse racers are going to be built with stance for their particular use. The custom crowd is going to be the ones that change the looks the most with chopped tops, shaved moldings, bumper changes etc. It doesn't really matter what you do to a 40, if tastefully done, they all look great.
The 40 Ford came in several body styles with the coupe and convertible being the most popular, follower by the two and for door sedans, sedan deliveries and the pickups and panel deliveries. Of course, the holy grail for 40 Ford owners (and 39's) would be the 39 convertible sedan, with a few that were made into 40's for the 1940 Worlds Fair. Enjoy the following examples.

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