The common stereotype of American made cars is that they are a decade behind the innovations of European and Japanese automakers. They hang on to old ideas too long and by the time they catch up, it's too late and executed too poorly. This, of course is a broad generalization that fails to acknowledge the achievements of hybrids and fuel efficient turbo engines.
Yet, if one really wants to see American automotive ingenuity, the best place may not be your local new car dealer; rather your local car club or private custom hot rod garage may be the place to go. Those noises you hear emanating from the seemingly abandoned warehouse behind your house may just be the sound of modernity meeting classic American iron and chrome. The results of which is what you will find at your local Autorama, or other rod and custom, show as we did a few days ago.
The custom and hot rod scene is among the most creative group on the spectrum of the car culture. Sure, Joey Shortshift can bolt on a coffee can exhaust and get some coil-overs, but can he bang out some fender flares on the body of his 98 Acura, or rebuild the engine from scratch while adding hundreds of normally aspirated horsepower? Sadly no.
The Autorama is the place of power and fantasy. The exact geographic position where creativity and cunning come together to produce everything from the beautifully surreal to the powerfully unreal. It is the land of chopping, tubbing, channeling, frenching, lacing, tucking & rolling, metallic flake paint, and dummy pipes and dummy lights. It's where you learn that those outrageous Hotwheels you see in line at Target are really pretty tame and uninspired compared to their full-sized brothers and sisters. The cars at shows like this range from first time attempts that drive (sometimes daily), to magnificent show queen art pieces that will never move an inch under their own power. This diversity is what being a gear head is all about. At The Loud Pedal, WE LOVE THEM ALL!
Yes, the rod and custom scene is probably the last bastion of innovation for the normally aspirated American V8. In this town, the Autorama is truly a living museum, the last chance to see these mighty fossil fuel burners before emission standards leave us driving solar powered lattes. The people who build these custom beasts throw caution to the wind and MPG be damned....and we're with em.
Give us power or give us death!
If you have never been to the Autorama (or any other rod and/or custom event) then add it to your list of must see car events. Please make sure to take a look at our gallery. Hopefully, we managed to represent the awesomeness of the show.