This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. All opinions are 100% mine.
Nationwide provided me with information regarding its partnership with Goodguys Rod & Custom Association.

Summer is in full swing and that means there are car shows every weekend—you’d be able to find something happening every single day where I live in Los Angeles! Whether it’s attending an event as an automotive journalist for Driving Line, getting my own local cruise-in going, or venturing out to something just “for fun,” I never get tired of checking out new cars and meeting other enthusiasts. I’ve been lucky to fit in some stellar automotive events so far in 2017—King of The Hammers, Lone Star Round-Up, LS Fest—and I’m looking forward to dropping in on Goodguys West Coast Nationals, alongside Nationwide, Partner of Goodguys Rod & Custom Association

When I purchased my Studebaker 10 years ago, and really started getting into cars, it was upon moving from San Francisco to Los Angeles. So, I never got to be part of the car culture in Northern California. One of these days I’ll make it up there with Studie — but until that happens, I’m really looking forward to attending the Goodguys show in nearby Pleasanton, California. The U.S.’s largest hot rodding association, Goodguys is sure to be filled with some of the best cars Northern California has to offer. In fact, they’ll be giving out “America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod” award at this show.

“Most Beautiful” car or not, one of my favorite things about the car world is that every individual owner has a reason for choosing that car and building it whatever way they did. It makes cars just as unique as the people who own them. As Nationwide is concerned with protecting what matters most, I’ll be talking to people to find out just what makes their car so special.

Back in the day, hot rods and customs took on unique local trends. In fact, we still name certain custom styling trends invented back then with a regional reference. Bellflower Tips, for example, or an East Coast stance. In today’s Internet culture, trends have a way of melding just as quickly as photos are shared on Facebook or Instagram. But there was a time when it took magazine coverage or someone driving their customized car to another state before a larger group had access to a new fad. In fact, that’s part of what made the big car shows of early days, like the Oakland Roadster Show, so popular. You’d see things at them that you couldn’t find anywhere else.

5 Custom Styling Trends From Early Hot Rods

While I look forward to meeting new people and seeing fresh builds up in Northern California, I thought I’d share a few examples of some historic regional hot rodding customization trends that I’ve learned about over the years:

Bellflower Tips

Bellflower Tips - Custom Car Modifications
A city within L.A., the Bellflower area adopted their own “cruiser” style. The Bellflower tip refers to an exhaust that exits behind the rear tire and follows the lower body line to the back of the vehicle.

Lakes Pipes

Lakes Pipes - Classic Car Customizations Hot Rods
What may seem a slight difference from the Bellflower tip is actually a pretty large one. Lakes pipes refer to the pipe exiting behind the front tire and extending back toward the rear tire. These got their name from the hot rodders that would go out to land speed race at the dry lake beds, adding in a cutout portion to enable them to run open pipes while out on the lakebed and close it off to route the exhaust back legally when getting on the road to head home.

Lakes Pipes for looks - Classic Car Customizations Hot Rods
They were eventually adopted by customizers and used for non-performance reasons, with no cut-out present (and at times not the actual exhaust pipes). Lakes pipes continue to be popular in both forms.

East Coast Stance

East Coast Stance - Classic Car Customizations Hot Rods
While cars in the West were being built for dry lakes racing, East Coasters were in it for style. They’d often set up their stance by doing extreme channeling work to their cars. Channeling, removing the car and raising the points where the chassis frame meets the body, can lower the car’s profile while maintaining the overall ride height. It’s said a large reason for this arose because East Coasters had weather to deal with and salt on the roads, quickly rusting out car floor pans.

Bonneville Chop

Bonneville Chop - Classic Car Customizations Hot Rods
Named for mecca of land speed racing, the Bonneville Salt Flats, the Bonneville Chop features several modifications to improve aerodynamics at speed. First, a heavy chop will lower the side windows to mere slits and then the windshield will get angled back. Originally done on 3-window coupes, this style can also be seen on 5-windows as well. Of course, it didn’t stay put on only racers cars, this style found its way into “cool” cruisers as well.

Carson Top

Carson Tops - Classic Car Customizations Hot Rods
A removable, non-folding, upholstered top. An alternative to the heavy amount of metal work required in chopping a car, these were made from metal conduit and wire mesh before getting upholstered. The name is not to be confused with Carson, a city within Los Angeles, but rather with the shop it came out of, the Carson Top Shop—which is, coincidentally, in L.A.

This is just scratching the surface of localized historic hot rod trends, comment with other regional style cues you know of!

Classic Car Customizations Hot Rods
Car shows are a great place to look for and learn about customization trends such as these!  Come join me at the 31st Goodguys West Coast Nationals to enjoy the hundreds of hot rods, customs and street rods that will be there. I’m looking forward to seeing some of these old school regional customizations, finding out what local build trends still exist in the area today and meeting new people up in Northern California. If you see me, say “hi” and keep an eye out for more of what Nationwide & I am up to.

One Response

Comment & Join the Conversation!