Archive for the ‘ Builders ’ Category

THE 2014 AUTOCULT CALENDAR: APRIL

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

“You better get a girl and all your bullshit down here before this thing leaves the shop on Friday. You’ll never see it again…”

That was the call we got from Cole Foster on, like, a Tuesday. See, when this new film about the match race glory days of Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “Mongoose” McEwen was being shot, some of the guys’ real Funny Cars were used – The Mongoose’s Silver Anniversary ‘Vette, being one of ‘em. Turns out, the fiberglass body got knocked around a little and the thing needed some repairs before it went back to whoever was responsible for returning it just like they found it.

Now, not only is Cole a master craftsman, but he’s drag racing royalty: son of driver and builder Pat “Bananas” Foster and literally growing up at the drag strip, the man comes with the kind of baked-in trust and admiration from the grey-haired drag racing kings that can only be gained by putting in countless hours of sitting patiently in the cab of the car hauler while the ol’ man is partying in the motel room through most of the Seventies. And that’s why Don Trasin trusted Cole with fixing up one of the most famous dragsters of the Funny Car era.

The repair work and paint was finished, but we had a very small window of opportunity to find a girl, a bikini, a makeup artist, a hairstylist, the car keys and a photographer and get them all to the Salinas Boys shop and get out before the trailer showed up. Lucky for us, photographer Adam Wright was home from working overseas for a few days and he agreed to get help us get the band back together at Cole’s.

Not every day you get to crash so much great history together at one time and one place: Cole, McEwen’s complete dragster, Adam Wright, the Deadend Boys, Noah Greenberg, Susie and a few other random Salinas Boys showed up over the course of the afternoon at the shop. And our own Hip Hop video girl, Quania, crawling across the delicate flopper top made it all dangerous. This is the kind of shit that makes this calendar project so special.

And these are the days you don’t forget…

Special thanks to Quania Jones, Santana Espinoza, Bella Cristina for Archer Salon, Adam Wright, Don Trasin and always Salinas Boys

THE AUTOCULT 2014 CALENDAR: JANUARY

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

We just took delivery of the 2014 calendar and if you already placed your order, we’ll start shipping soon. If you haven’t ordered yet, make sure you stock up – there’s literally tons of stunner metal in this thing backed up by a dozen girls you wish you knew a little better. Believe that.

To kick the year off right, we did two things: called Joe Hickenbottom about his killer ’65 Barracuda gasser, “Leggin’ It!” and then placed a call to photographer Jay Watson. As soon as both Joe and Jay gave in to our pleads, we hit up one of our favorite California Suicide Girls, Bob, to see if she wanted to spend the day with us on Joe’s ranch near Salinas, CA. Lucky for us, she didn’t have a better offer for that day.

Now, if you haven’t seen our particular style of hot rod pinup, you’ll be happy to hear we don’t carpet-bomb the land with the likes of the horrendous photos you’ll see on the covers of the ratroddish car magazines these days. Not really sure what happened to the world of pinup photography over the last few years, but yeeeeeeesh…it’s not good, friend. Not good.

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YOUR CHANCE AT THE DICK FLINT ROADSTER

Monday, October 21st, 2013


Images courtesy HOT ROD magazine, Michael Furman and RM Auctions

Neat post by Dan Strohl over at Hemmings this morning: the Dick Flint roadster – one of the most iconic hot rods in all of hotrodding hotroddom – is hitting the auction block soon. It’s dizzying to hear the names associated with one car: Alex Xydias’ So-Cal Speed Shop, Neil Emory and Valley Custom, The Rusetta Timing Association, the SCTA, Hot Rod magazine, Dean Batchelor and, more recently, the one and only Don Orosco.

In the light of history, the little track-nose Model A roadster is a near-priceless artifact. And what we love about it, probably more than anything else, is the cover of Hot Rod from 1952 (above): in an age of rigidly conforming popular culture, the magazine dared to let loose with a photo that we can only really describe as the visual equivalent of the Hollywood Wolf Whistle. Hard to find a good example of the main reasons guys built hot rods in post-war America, but the Dick Flint roadster is one of ‘em.

Now, on the other hand, RM Auctions and the folks who can afford the paddle on the auction floor are going to do their best to find exactly what the price actually might be for the car. It’s estimated that the Pebble Beach winner will bring more than the last post-war roadster with just as much of a pedigree: the famed McMullen ’32. Read more about the whole deal right here and let Strohl fill you in on it. What a world, huh?

BOARDWALK EMPIRE

Friday, October 11th, 2013


images courtesy Oilers Car Club/Race of Gentlemen

Last weekend and for the second year in a row, the Oilers Car Club put on its “Race Of Gentlemen” on the off-white sand of the Jersey Shore. And we haven’t seen a car show get this much attention since the heady days of Paso – Lord knows, we needed something like this in underground car culture.

Old cohort and schemer, Meldon Stultz, along with paint guru, Travis Hess and the rest of the Oilers have done a great job of pulling the attention away from the West Coast for a few days when they set up the old-tymey starter pylons – this year, on the beach of Wildwood, NJ – and go racin’ like it’s 1929. Taking advantage of the relaxed attitudes of Jersey Shore beach towns, the club has really turned the attention toward the Race because of the natural obsession that most of our own generation harbors: that custom car and hot rod culture is as much a visual experience as anything else and certain things should just be paid attention to, for chrissakes.

The cars look right, the race venue is set up to be visually spot-on and the folks who’ve fleshed-out the race for the second year in a row come era-correct, too. No cupholder lawn chairs, no bullet hole decals, no EZ-Ups crammed full of bright pink zip-ties, no true-flame demonstration tents…no shit. Just a great collection of old hot rods, spanning the earliest years of hopped-up four-bangers to pre-war hot rods and some vintage bikes thrown in for good measure.

One of our favorite aspects of the Race of Gentlemen is that it is truly a unique East Coast trip. Racing on the beach has long been owned by the Right Coast gearheads, but it’s changed over the decades into something, well, devoid of any good taste and style. But them Oiler boys have studied the old photos and books and magazines and just inherently know what hop-ups from the Twenties up through the early Forties should look like, sound like…feel like.

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THE AGE OF THE LOW CUSTOM

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

There are few things that remind us we’re more than a decade into the new millennium quite like the strange and ponderous collectibility values of Malaise Era cars.

“Malaise Era?” you ask, “WTF?” And for the most part, we don’t blame you. The most active generation of underground car culture was barely conscious when Vanilla Ice notched his eyebrows in the side-view mirror of his 1st Gen 5.0-litre Mustang GT and slept through American History 101 when the half-chapter on the Arab Oil Embargo of ’73 was pop-quized.

But the era of largely-forgettable, nay laughable American cars are now bathing in the light of nostalgia and we have to just deal with that shit. When the oil embargo of the early Seventies put the kibosh on the great Muscle Car era, the early ham-fisted attempts at fuel economy and safety were the rule of the land and it wasn’t pretty. The Mustang II – need we say more? OK, we will: the Laguna S3, the Chevette, Pinto, Gremlin, 2nd, 3rd and 4th-Gen Monte Carlo and don’t even get us started on the ’78 Dodge Challenger that looked suspiciously similar to a Mitsubishi Galant.

But, here we are – some 40 years after the earliest Dayz Of Malaise – and those awkward rubber-bumpered, steel-bodied, hopelessly underpowered shadows-of-their-former-models are now sorta cool. And easy to pick up fairly cheap right now.

We give you this backstory so that we can bring you the actual story: the rise of the Low Custom. And Skoty Chops‘ 1980 Monte Carlo is the perfect example. Take a 1980 Monte Carlo, airbag it over a set of 14″ or 15″ Keystone Klassics, squirt a late-Sixties to mid-Seventies panel job of some sort over metalflake and you’re pretty much right on. It ain’t a lowrider – the hesher wheel choice should give that away. It’s not a traditionally-accepted custom, either – the body model takes care of that misconception. It’s not a hot rod, a street freak, a classic or an antique. It’s a Low Custom…

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THE 2014 AUTOCULT HOT ROD PINUP CALENDAR

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Welp, it’s no secret we’ve been tied up for the last few weeks, but we have a feeling you’ll understand: we just wrapped all the shoots for the 2014 wall calendar project and that sucker is off to the press.

For 2014, we decided to stay home and trounce around our own backyard – right here in Northern California, there’s just a ton of underground motoring and some neat shit going on. And we’ll be bringing you some great stories over the next few weeks from all the locations, garages, backseats, liquor stores and rest stops that we had cause to haunt while putting it all together.

You’re gonna meet some talented photographers, a dozen beautiful girls, some downright bitchin’ cars and maybe even a vintage hotboat and a chopper that squeezed out an entire movement. Hell, you might even discover a new strain of underground car culture you weren’t even aware of. We think you’re gonna dig every lowered, jacked, ‘flaked and smokey bit of it.

So, to kick it all off, order a stack of ‘em and get your shipment in time for Christmas. Or Chanuka. Or Kwanzaa. Or National Whisky Day. It’s all waiting for you in the 2014 AUTOCULT Hot Rod Pinup Calendar.

LOVING THE CUSTOM VANS

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013


photos: Dennis Dahle

In a perfect mash-up and filed under the “Shit We Love” category comes an email from Nomad Dennis Dahle. Turns out, Dennis was butterfly-collar-deep in the Florida custom van scene in the late Seventies/early Eighties: ISCA shows, Playboy Playmates, hotel room parties, van parties, parking lot parties, party parties…

And he had the wherewithal to snap a few photos of what was going down when he ran into the one-and-only Candy Loving.

Now, we’re not only big fans of Playmate Candy Loving, but we’re also old enough to remember the custom van movement of that era. We were stoked on ‘em in the same way we were stoked on KISS: it was good theater, son. And while we’re not totally convinced that a new build retro custom van is the right thing for the AUTOCULT headquarters parking lot, we do love the theater of it all.

And here’s a good example of why: Dennis was good enough to jot a few lines down about what it was like in those hazy, bong-water-in-the-shag-carpet days of vanning…

“Photos taken in Ft.Pierce, Fla.’74 Dodge van powered by a ’70 (balanced) & blueprinted 340, (estimated) H.P. 400, a Fairbanks Racing 727 Torqueflite trans, 3K stall converter, Mopar 8 3/4 rear with 4:88 for strip & 3:23 for street. Ran 14.20 @ 105 mph. & weighed over 2 ton. Owner-built engine & interior. The interior consisted of 26 yds. of orange crushed velvet & 1382 real buttons. This I know for a fact as I made them all. The upholstery shop refused to do it and pointed me towards the button machine. Exterior was 7 coats of Hemi iridescent orange, gold pearl, candy apple tangerine flames. More gold pearl, then cleared. It was bright in the sun!!!

After the show in Ft. Pierce, it was party time back at the hotel. Candy & her handler/bodyguard/stud for the evening. Bob & Cindy Brazen from Miami (who showed a ’67 Datsun pro street p.u. that scared the crap out of me on a test run. It was bad ass!!). A couple from Jax, Fla. (she had never partied Candy L.-style) and I who was down for some hard core fun. I lived local and glad I did, for Candy could party you under the table. WOW!! She was present at most ISCA shows in ’82 & ’83. The ISCA show in Miami was a blast. Private concert for entrants by Paul Revere & the Raiders, free beer, Big Daddy Don Garlits doing a burn out with the Swamp Rat II in front of the Miami Beach Convention Center. Fun Fun Fun…”

Like we said: theater. And by the way, ‘theater of the mind’ is sometimes even better!

THE SECRET LIVES OF THE UNDERGROUND

Monday, August 26th, 2013

We’re in full production on a project that we’ll be talking so much more about in a few weeks, but for now, we’ll show you a little sumpn’ we know you’d dig…

We love it when a plan comes together. In this case, we had heard photographer Dylan Maddux was back in Sucker Free for a few weeks from his perch in Cambodia. We also knew we wanted to shoot Tyler Pullen‘s grey ’54 Chebby (the original customer told TP that he wanted the coupe painted grey, so Tyler did what you see above). On top of that, we got the chance to work with Olivia Dantes. And when Tyler said he’d bring us to this secret location, we knew we had something good on our hands.

Now, we had heard about an abandoned warehouse in the San Francisco Bay Area that doubles as a graff nation historical landmark years ago, but we never gave it much thought. So, when Tyler told us that he’d taken a few of his bitchin’ customs to a certain warehouse that was all tagged up, we were ALL IN.

In Japan, there’s a temple that features a long hall with the full bodysuit-tattooed skins of its long-gone members framed on its walls. Point is, there’s a long history of buildings that feature the art of the cultures they were built amid over the course of human history and this one is no different.

While Dylan was shooting, we found tags dated back as far as the early Eighties – which, if you think about it, ain’t really all that long ago…but we’re talking about modern urban graffiti, here. Those early (in graff nation terms) tags were created in the first days of Hip Hop, when artists – musical and otherwise – weren’t given the respect they command these days, in the light of classic roots history. They probably had no idea that, 30 years later, Adidas would run multi-million dollar spots during the VMAs on cable TV featuring RUN DMC as old men, still rocking the early, crude Hip Hop aesthetics as retro-cool to kids who can’t imagine a world with pagers and 30 D cell battery-powered ghetto blasters or without Instagram or video screens hanging from the ceilings of their moms’ minivans.

But, here we were, just amazed by the sheer volume of art on nearly every square inch of the interior of this long-abandoned warehouse – and not only that, but the decades of undisturbed art history. Sure, the taggers who found out we were there were far from enthused by our presence, but fuck it – Tyler’s work is no less important and, in the spirit of truly free art, has just as much right to temporarily occupy this hallowed, underground space. We all bleed for our art – whether it’s 200 hours of painstakingly masked and measured panels on a ’54 Chevy or hanging 200 feet above a concrete floor to reach virgin rafter space with an aerosol can. It’s all art and this shit is important.

More stories to come…

RESTORATION V. PRESERVATION: BIG WILLIE ROBINSON’S DAYTONA

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Our friends over at Hemmings brought the latest evidence of the restoration vs. preservation internal battle to light with the recent acquisition of a Big Willie Robinson Daytona.

Now, we can appreciate the new owner’s right to do whatever he wants with the car he rightfully owns, right? But when there’s some goddam history involved, well, that’s next-level shit. In this case, it sounds like the new owner of the last of Big Willie’s Daytonas didn’t just go off on some bullshit restoration project where he threw a wheelbarrow of cash at the project and removed every bit of handpainted, rough-cut, hammered, wrinkled, bent and force-of-will personality from the car…only to roll it out to shows and bask in the cheap, florescent glow of the shallow adulation of man-babies in lion-tamers and bluetooths before heading off to Chili’s for Bleu-Cheese-Jack-Wings and pints of Cleveland Steamer Brown Summer Pale Ale all across this great nation, then selling it at some Barrett-Jackson auction to some other fat-ass for 36x what he put into it. And so it goes.

No, this guy definitely seems to have put some real thought into the car. And, while it sucks that he felt he had to make the decision to go full resto on it, Corey Owens has our heart for really doing the due-diligence and considering a preservation of one of the last significant relics of the Big Willie Robinson legacy, before making the decision to fully restore it.

Good stuff, Corey. Can’t wait to see the car when you’re done and we think the Brotherhood would be proud…

LINDA LOVELACE BUILT MY HOT ROD

Thursday, August 8th, 2013


Linda Lovelace and Funny Car driver, Ed McCulloch

This Friday, a little film with some big names attached to it will release in just a few theaters and video-on-demand. “Lovelace” stars that chick from Allentown, PA – Amanda Seyfried – as the iconic Linda Lovelace and if this movie had its own FaceySpacey page, the relationship with American popular culture would be categorized as “It’s Complicated.”

Now’s the perfect time for a biopic about Linda Lovelace. Why? Well, because everything bitchin’ about the Seventies is hip right now, but we’re all skirting around what made it possible: the sexual revolution. Choppers, halter tops, Funny Cars, feathered hair, street freaks, doom metal, Keystone Klassics, Funk…the list just goes on.

Yeah, yeah, we know you think it’s a stretch, but the sexual revolution of the late Sixties/early Seventies was more than just a sex thing. It was a state of mind that allowed everything to be questioned. Tim Conder talks about how his blue-collar dad in a white t-shirt and perfectly greased Flat-Top Boogie discovered bean bag chairs and shag rugs in the Seventies and that didn’t mean he stopped running through the four gears of his perfect ’55 Chevy on the back roads of Kentucky, it just meant that folks of his generation were allowed, nay, encouraged to walk away from the Howdy-Doody bullshit that had been paving over the depths of the human soul for the last several decades.

By the time car culture finally got all the butch wax washed out of its hair in ’72, Linda Lovelace had brought sex grinding onto the silver screen in “Deep Throat.” The first film of its kind to actually wake up the American consciousness, the $50,000 investment (little more than $270,000 in today’s cake) by Louis Peraino and his mutton-chopped gang came to define the core of everything we loved. Namely, Freedom. Freedom to do whatever and whoever we wanted to, whenever we wanted to. And that kind of freedom – the kind that Linda made us all aware of in some very memorable ways – ended up in the haze-smoke of Bob Gerdes’ Circus Paint, the Funny Car circuit that Jungle Jim Liberman and Jungle Pam Hardy made so popular, the music of Pentagram, the mad lab of Dick Allen, the hot rod styling of “Lil John” Buttera, the custom van movement, “Convoy,” the cane-n-cape swagger of Evel Knievel, KISS…the mind just boggles with wizards, metalflake, Jesus toe sandals, Gold Streaks and shaggy-haired jet boat parties.

We could go on and on about Linda’s force majeure that excused an entire generation from the fate of its parents, but hey – that shit’s been done before. We’ll take the time to make the connection between the cult of personality of Linda Lovelace and everything we love so much about car culture. Swallow that.