If you’re working on a custom hot rod or classic American muscle car on your own, chances are you spend a lot of time in the garage by yourself, tinkering around with ratchet and radio the only sounds you hear. If you don’t have a friend to rebuild with, you may want to get consider getting involved with one of the many online communities with members from across the country—and even the globe.
Sometimes you have questions. Sometimes you need advice. And sometimes you just want to shoot the sh—. Online communities are a great way to connect to fellow enthusiasts. Here a few simple ways to get connected.
The Google+ communities section is growing fast and is easy to use. You can search through existing groups or you can start a brand new group, giving yourself more control over content and membership. Here are the search results for hot rods + muscle cars.
You may have to wade through ‘for sale’ posts, but Reddit does aggregate a lot of content from all over the country. Browse around and you’ll find good people and good chats.
Facebook and Twitter
The old war horses of social media. Facebook has a lot of communities connected with muscle car restoration and classic hot rods. These communities are typically less specific than the Google+ communities; you may be one of 100,000 members as opposed to 100 or less. Twitter is good for following updates from the car shows and major brands you like.
Pinterest isn’t just about crafting, fashion and beauty. Believe it or not, many muscle car enthusiasts put their vision boards here so they can keep track of inspiring hot rods and get ideas for restoration.
Click here to see some of the new muscle car restoration posts that go live each week along with our repeat readers. Comment and ask questions—the Brauns community is listening!
When it comes to classic cars, the 1957 Chevrolet is an icon of pop culture. Walk into any auto hot rod restoration shop and you’re bound to see one getting worked on or just on display. Regardless of whether it’s a coupe, sedan or convertible, the ’57 Chevy is a model that is revered by all the classic car aficionados.
Why is this car such an icon? Read on for five reasons we think it has turned heads for decades.
1. The ’57 Chevy Has Style
The ’57 Chevy is characterized by sleek tailfins, beautiful chrome bumpers and recessed grilles. The two spears on the hood and the side and fin make it extremely recognizable and unique. What many aren’t aware of—except for the hardcore classic car experts—is that the ’57 Chevy’s hood and cowl were dropped one and a half inches, making it seem lower and wider. The stainless steel, excessive chrome and two-tone colors represent the 50s very accurately.
2. Everyone Had One
The ’57 Chevy was extremely popular, making it one of the biggest sellers that year and way beyond. It is widely considered the best known and best ranked car of its decade.
3. The ’57 Chevy Had its Own Postage Stamp
The ’57 Chevy was pictured on a 33 cent first-class stamp in 1999.
4. The Car is Fast
In 1957, Chevrolet won 49 NASCAR Grand National races. That is the most any car has ever won in the history of NASCAR. The ’57 Chevy’s lightweight size made it a favorite among drag racers as well.
5. There is a Song About It
The song “I’ve got a rock and roll heart,” was one of Eric Clapton’s many popular hits. The lyrics feature the iconic car in its hook: “I get off on ’57 Chevys…” Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
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Arguably the most legendary hot rod of all time, the 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Fastback is a true American classic. It is considered the holy grail of hot rods to auto restoration car enthusiasts. This rare and mythical muscle car restoration machine lives up to its reputation with a 355hp V8 engine.
The Ultimate Hot Rod Restoration Project
If you were to run chassis dyno testing on this timeless vehicle, you would immediately see why it’s revered as the ultimate hot rod restoration project. Shelby added a custom fiberglass hood, nose, and intakes, giving this classic ride its distinctive look. The car featured numerous powerful upgrades from its stock counterpart, including improved carburetors, manifolds, transmission, and braking system.
Unrivaled Manual Transmission
The Shelby had a four speed manual transmission that powered it into the history books—race after race. Due to its immense popularity, it is exceedingly hard to find a well maintained one for sale. That is where Los Angeles auto restoration shops like Brauns really shine. Their skilled mechanics have taken countless weathered classic cars and turned them into truly show-stopping hot rods. The shop is a perfect example of hot rod restoration at its finest.
The GT500 is also the only car to have the distinction of having its own credit in a movie. It is listed as “Eleanor” in the movie Gone in 60 Seconds (the old school original made in 1974, not the remake). This movie essentially solidified the Mustang’s prominence in American pop culture with its groundbreaking chase scenes.
A recently auctioned 967 Shelby GT500 commanded a whopping $1.3 million price tag when all was said and done. Under the hood of this one-of-a-kind Shelby is a 427 cubic-inch V8 from none other than the Ford GT40 racecar. This car is the pinnacle of hot rod restoration—no detail on the vehicle was overlooked and the result was unparraleled.
It’s 1965 and you’re in the grandstands at the Grand American race in Long Beach. Heat is kicking off the asphalt and sun is burning into your retinas. You hold a newspaper over your eyes to block the glare. What the hell is that coming up to the starting line? It looks like a midget delivery truck, red and covered with decals. Is it here to collect debris?
You can’t believe what you’re seeing. This little red wagon wants to race! The lights go green and the driver stomps on the accelerator. BOOM! The little red wagon blasts off the starting line with its nose in the air, full wheely. That wheely sure as hell isn’t slowing it down. It rips through the quarter mile in 11 seconds at 120 mph. You’re on your feet. You’re roaring. You can’t wait to see the little red wagon line’em up again.
You weren’t the only one to get jacked-up about the little guy that day. The Little Red Wagon gave birth to the wheelstanding era. It said (bleep) you to I think I can, I think I can and became an instant hot rod classic.
Why and how?
The 60’s were a time of extreme experimentation for drag racing. Chrysler wanted to sell more pick-ups and saw a chance for symbiosis. Using the A100 model as a jumping off point Jim Schaffer and John Collier made the adjustments needed to fit a 426 HEMI in the bed just behind the cabin.
They wanted a fast truck. The fact that they ended up with a wheely popping red devil was just a happy accident. One they didn’t discover until legendary driver Bill “Maverick” Golden got behind the wheel to film a commercial. The Little Red Wagon gave him a two-wheel thrill ride. Maverick fabricated a brake system that let him steer while the wheels were high. He hit the the road starting in Long Beach.
Everyone develops their passion for muscle car restoration for different reasons and from wide-ranging inspirations. For some, it was that chase scene in a classic action-packed movie or the teen idol they looked up to growing up. For others, it was a love handed down by their fathers or simply an innate instinct perked by the rumble of a perfectly tuned engine. We all took that spark, let is develop into something more and built our own identities around it: Chevy man, Ford guy, Camaro fanatic or Mustang aficionado.
On the subject of muscle car identities, here is a tough one for you. Would you rather…
Have anonymity: You can build your muscle car dream project but you can never tell or show a soul. No car is off limits; Shelby GT500KR, Olds 442, Dodge Charger; the choice is all yours. Starting with a rusted frame and a mess of an engine block, you prep and pamper until that baby shines. You take it out of the garage and rip it through windy mountain roads. It rumbles and roars and you want the world to see your masterpiece. But the world never will. The roads will always be empty.
Anti-Climax: You can build a string of legendary muscle car restorations, but you can never drive them. You are the host of a popular TV show. Muscle car enthusiasts across the country tune in week in and week out to see your handywork and to pay homage to the king. You rebuild cars for billionaires and dignitaries. You are lauded and revered. But when each project is finished, you have to turn over keys without ever turning over the engine. This is your curse.
Send us your answer in the comments! Click through to learn about some of the premier muscle car restoration services available in Los Angeles.
In a perfect muscle car restoration world, there would be no kit cars. Everything would be all original and every enthusiast would drive their dream with pride; elbow jutting out the window and sunglasses blocking the glare of a sun drenched open road.
Unfortunately for car lovers, not everyone has the cash to pull that off, and not every auto restoration projects are bound for Barrett-Jackson big bucks. When the question to kit or not to kit comes up, you simply have to do the math and determine what is realistic in your financial world and what other resources are available to you. If all original isn’t affordable or tracking down the parts is downright impossible—kit it. We won’t tell.
Here are a few of the most popular models for kit rebuilds:
1969 Chevy Camaro
Kits for this legendary vehicle are readily available in a variety of stages, all the way from bits and pieces to fully assembled. Please don’t shell out the cash for a fully assembled kit, you will break our muscle car lov’n hearts—it’s truly not necessary.
1968 Ford “Eleanor” Mustang
If you don’t like it, blame Nicolas Cage. The fact of the matter is this kit is popular all across the globe. If you have the engine and the frame, the body essentials will only run you about 8k. If you want the whole shebang, expect to spend upwards from 40k.
Early Sixties Corvettes
The early Corvettes are undeniably gorgeous and extremely popular. Deep down, we hope you don’t do this, but if you want to be a miser, kits that fit onto the frame of a Fiero or Miata are available. But come on, you’ll always know that you’re sitting on an itty bitty Mazda. Realistic kits cost 20k plus, but with them comes pride.
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|Photo Credit: hotrodhomepage.com
Considered just as American as baseball and apple pie, all hot rods start with something old. ut did you know that the sports surrounding them are almost one hundred years old?
While many associate drag racing and cruising with the grease monkeys of the 1950s, the sports actually predate the Second World War. Bored and broke teens in Southern California started buying up old Model T frames and souping them up to race in the dry lake beds north of the city. Street racing was also prevalent in the late 20’s and into the 30’s, but the desert lake beds are where the community and the movement really took root. Plus, during the Great Depression, new cars were too expensive, so many teens and young adults refurbished old cars from junk yards and swapped out their engines to build their own self-styled hot rods. They also stripped away heavy, unnecessary components to make them lighter and faster.
While hot rods have evolved significantly over the years, most of the cars from the old school days that were churning up dust were four-cylinder Ford Model Ts and Model As. They were cheap and easy to get, lightweight and easy to boost up. Simple fixes like higher compression and timing adjustments made for big speed increases. And, of course, the even simpler speed fix—strip off EVERYTHING you don’t need.
Today hot rod culture is a national obsession. Those old Model T and Model A, Ford’s are still top choices. Imagine the looks today’s rides would get from those desert racing Southern California teens!
Hot rod culture is still alive and well in Southern California. Look no further than our full service restoration garage to see the amazing work being done by Southland enthusiasts!
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The 1964 Pontiac GTO is the very essence of what American muscle cars are all about. It dominated the market throughout the 1960s and 1970s and was considered to be one of the first mass-produced muscle cars. The GTO blazed the trail for countless future hot rod restoration projects. To this day, it continues to be one of the most influential vehicles ever developed.
Packing a 325 horsepower 389 cubic inch V8, the GTO is a force to be reckoned with. Its three-speed Hurst manual floor shifter, dual exhausts, and sport suspension all gave the GTO unrivaled performance during its heyday. It is so powerful, in fact, that some people simply couldn’t handle it. According to Pontiac, “To be perfectly honest, the GTO is not everyone’s cup of tea. … Its suspension is firm, tuned more to the open road than to wafting gently over bumpy city streets. Its dual exhausts won’t win any prizes for whispering. And, unless you order it with our lazy 3.08 low-ratio rear axle, its gas economy won’t be anything to write home about.”
The 1964 GTO was so popular, in fact, that GM sold 6 times as many cars as predicted within the first six months. Demand far exceeded production capacity, which further added to the mystique of the vehicle. This demand came from a combination of low retail price and rave reviews in magazines. According to Car and Driver, the GTO was “virtually as good as the Ferrari GTO”. This is where Los Angeles car restoration shops like Brauns really shine. There are countless variations of the GTO on the market as hot rod enthusiasts have had decades to improve and upgrade their vehicles. Also, its legacy still lives on today with the recently released GTO models. This is one vehicle that has stood the test of time, and for good reason.
For information about the best Los Angeles car restoration shop, click this link.