You can be seduced and overwhelmed by the advertisements in any field of endeavour. Fashion, electronics, financial transactions*, etc…anything. Hot rod design is no different. And in particular you can fall victim to the slick presentation of polished cast wheels.
All us old guys have been pre-conditioned for this by our youth – we spent all our time looking at car mags and building model cars that featured the ” mag wheel ” as the ultimate for rodding. We didn’t really understand what made them good, or know what made them bad, but we always drew and glued them onto our creations. Later generations of modellers and real-car builders were further bombarded by the cast aluminium wheel. And the designs have gotten wilder and wilder as time has passed – they look like something that Flash Gordon would have rolled on.
And all the time we sort of forgot that there was a world of good looks in the standard pressed metal wheel. All it needs to be the correct size, not dinged out of shape, and bearing a good paint job.
Here’s a perfect example of the look, on this 1940 Ford Coupe at the Victorian Hot Rod Show in 2016. It’s a rainy day, the light level and contrast is under control, and a little fill flash brings up the colour. Perfect choice of red for the wheels and grille. As the tail lights of the car are going to be red anyway, the other splashes balance it out perfectly. The choice of wide whites is also good design…really it is good art.
The interior of the car is a little hard to see in the photo – the flash reflected off the wet window a little too much – but you’ll see it is a clear grey with grey seats. Good, but I can’t help thinking how luscious it might have been with black, red, and white in there as well.
The rest of the car looks to be as stock as anything in a showroom – but doesn’t the choice of colour scream ” hotrod ” to you. And all on a coat of red paint on the wheels…
- I refuse to call greed, betting, usury, and fraud “products” as they do in the financial prospectuses. “Product” makes it sound productive of something other than sadness.