RODS & PINS
The LONG story made SHORT.
If I have to pinpoint a stage in my life when my passion for Hot Rods was born, I would have to say it was the day I was sitting next to a high school buddy, who was drawing fabulous caricatures of pimped out automotive creations with outrageous big wheels in his Latin work book!! The look of these “RAT FINK – like figures” resonated deeply with me and right then and there swore to myself that I would build my own real-life Hot Rod someday. Later while at a local news agency with my mom, I saw a publication called CARtoons. BOOM !! The connection was made, thereafter I tried to buy one every month and today, I have a substantial collection of over 5000 various Hotrod-related magazines.
Besides the printed media, I was fascinated by all types of cars, bikes, trucks, buggies and always tried to go to local races and car shows – whether stock car racing, sprints, touring, off-road, rally, drags, motocross, Formula 1, you name it, I was there!! I always tried to take lots of photos at those events, which i would later peruse over & scrutinize for ideas. Also, movies about cars, trucks, bikes and races played a major role in inspiring me to build rods!!
My first serious project, at the age of about 14, was restoring a 1951 A.J.S. Single 500 motorbike, which had to be done in secret at a friend’s house, as my father was totally against bikes because of injuries sustained from racing Speedway bikes himself. Unfortunately, I only kept that bike for a very short time, as it was pretty difficult to only ride it over weekends – while keeping an eye out for my dad! Since those early days at high school and university, I have completed Jeeps, various cars and bikes over time and sold a few – something I have regretted in hindsight. I once owned a ’56 Oval window, that my father-in-law gave me and a barn door Split-Window panel-van Kombi that I turned into a camper. Those also sold along the way, and VERY sorry !!! If only I knew!! Now I am simply unable to part with any of my babies.
American cars and bikes in my opinion, have always been bigger, better, glitzier and have more muscle than any other breed around, so they generally have been my choice and preference to restore & modify. When it comes to bikes, Harley Davidsons’ have always had that bad-ass connotation and a special place in my heart.
As much as I love all things automotive, restoring classics has never rung my bell. Hot Rods were so much more rebellious!!! – making cars faster, lower or higher, flashier, somehow sexier than the original design was my infatuation. I believe that just about anybody can restore a classic car or bike with all the original parts… but to me, that is just boring!! Often I think, if the original designers saw it in this day and age, they would say, ‘Why didn’t we think of that’.
I’ve been inspired & intrigued by some hot-rod builders that have that certain KNACK to visualize alternative body lines & shapes and to conceptualize the whole completed project differently, even before they start to build, whereas others just don’t. Sometimes the end results look odd.
I my opinion, this is the ‘Rodders Eye’ or ‘Flying Eye’ that Von Dutch and Ed Roth referred to and often depicted in their art.
In 1993 I met Ivor Pringle, while scratching in his Alrode workshop for CJ2A Jeep parts, he showed me his dream & aspiration, in various fiberglass bits and pieces. It was a 1934 chopped Ford 3-window coupe project that he was planning to professionally build & sell in South Africa. It was just like the ‘Eliminator’ (of ZZ-Top fame). I was blown away.!! The Hot-Rod ‘sickness’ had really been notched up after I saw that.
Ivor was by far, my biggest inspiration to get more involved with hot-rodding and was a virtuous friend and mentor. I was very fortunate to buy his No.1 in 1998, while he was still alive. He built 19 in total.
While at the NSRA 50th Nats 2019, Gaye and I were very lucky to see the original & iconic red So-Cal built & Billy Gibbons’s owned Eliminator on display at the show. This was quite a moving experience for us, as we always just only seen it in pictures or in videos. Just wished that my old buddy Ivor could have seen it as well.
Another fascination I have had since an early age, are pinball machines and the allure associated with them. Pinball machines were banned for a while in South Africa, as they were considered to be gambling machines. This meant you could only find one in the back room of the local corner Café. This pastime was also outlawed by my dad, which obviously made the attraction even greater. Playing pinny EVERYDAY after school was much more fun than doing homework.
I have slowly but surely built up my collection over the years. Due to lack of space in my home, I have built a dedicated pinball room which affords family and friends many hours of fun.
This website is simply a showcase to share my passion with like-minded enthusiasts. I hope it gives you as much pleasure as I have had building and collecting my ‘rodded’ and ‘pinned’ treasures and the experiences I’ve had on the way.
My latest project is a 1952 Zwitter VW Beetle resto-mod Hotrod with all the bells and whistles…….. watch this space!!