Monday, December 22, 2014



Oh what fun it is to ride in a 500 horse open sleigh. Hauling a bed full of goodies home from the swap meet is just gravy on the turkey. (Photographer unknown)

In our holiday haste, it's too easy to forget the true meaning of Christmas. This is a holy time. A short respite from the worn teeth of the daily grind. A moment to set aside superficial distractions and focus on what really matters in our all-too-short lives. We have all year to spend time with family and friends, but only this single magical day to ignore the ringing phone while locked in the shop. A beautiful gift to savor. The most wonderful time of the year. The parts houses all feature deep holiday discounts, and shipping is often free! That's truly something to be grateful for. So we take a moment to thank Saint Nicholas for chasing the snakes out of Ireland, then get back to work before the game comes on.

Christmas isn't all shiny new drill bits and sparkling cutoff wheels though. It's really about the children. The year's exhaustive labor on our project cars becomes so worthwhile when we see those young faces light up with anticipation of dad being off their backs for the day. So everyone wins at Christmastime. A truckload of gratitude wouldn't be enough to repay our debt to the marketing geniuses who dreamed up this national holiday. Since there's no use in trying, we hereby slam the tailgate and just enjoy the truck.


This is Art. He could leave his glasses on the bench and still build a nice blown flatty with one eye closed. 

Art (last name kinda rhymes with Christmas. Okay, it's Chrisman) could pop both eyeballs out of his head and still build a meanass blown hemi. He received this one for running the top speed at the first NHRA Nationals in 1955, and stuck it under his bench to save for a rainy day. It will go into brother Lloyd's F-1 truck, one of many F-1's the Chrismans have been spitting out of their Santa Ana, California shop lately.

Yes, Art and Lloyd share a chronic-level F-1 fetish. After building several show winners for customers, they're finally treating themselves. Lloyd actually bought this truck new in '52. The command center is already crawling with subtle trickery (check the T-bird dash), and it's just getting started.

Study this rear fender for a sense of the build quality. 

More sleight-of-hand has been performed on the nose, and more yet is to be revealed. Updates as they become available. Congrats to Art and Lloyd. It's about time. 

Here's how Art's personal truck came out. It runs a hemi built for a customer with cancer, who's last wish was for Art to install the engine into his own F-1. Done. Get the whole story at Hot (Photos courtesy of Hot

Speaking of old parts haulers fitted with blown hemis, remember this Jimmy Smith masterpiece, previously featured on the blog? (Image courtesy of Jimmy Smith)

The Dodge A-100 is currently coming together nicely in 3-D at Squeegs Kustoms in Chandler, Arizona. Paint will likely match that of the rafter fish. This truck makes us feel funny - you know - "down there". (Photo courtesy of Squeegs)

Jimmy Smith rendered his own '37 Ford truck years ago for future reference, but the future never arrived... (Image courtesy of Jimmy Smith)

...until now! Jimmy's been intensely focused on the build in recent weeks and with the help of devoted friends willing to pull all-nighters for pizza and beer, the '37 is quickly coming into focus. Congrats, Jimmy! Stance much? (Photo courtesy of Jimmy Smith)

In other old truck news, Marty Strode has finished up the sideboards for his '40 Ford...

...and he celebrated by whipping the pee out of brother Tom's Shetland motorbike while Tom was otherwise occupied. Marty: 1, Tom: 0. That score could very well change by next week. This ranks right up there with the best of the college bowl games for competitive entertainment. (Photos courtesy of Marty Strode)

Artist, musician and rod builder Tom VanNortwick also has visions of truckdom. He scratched them out and dived in. (Image courtesy of Tom VanNortwick)

Tom started his build four years ago, with this '29 roadster cowl...

... and today, it's hauling the goods. This vehicle has been a bad influence on the SGE Model A from the get-go. Congrats Tom! And thanks for the inspiration. (Photos courtesy of Tom VanNortwick)



Fuzzy spy photos are always intriguing, and we rarely give late model cars any love on the blog, so Merry Christmas. Our own Mr. X was trolling New York's Long Island area last week (on an unrelated assignment), when this plum crazy Mopar cut in front of him at speed: "I thought it was a new Challenger, until I saw the hockey stick on the side, then the tail lights, then the Cuda badge on the rear valence panel. This has to be one of those custom jobs, but it got me thinking..." Hey, as long as it kept you from falling asleep at the wheel again, we're okay with it. Thanks for the exclusive spy shots, X. Your check is being processed (as far as you know). (Photos courtesy of Mr. X)


For reasons unfathomable, I compulsively decided to test a typical online home remedy that claimed Off mosquito repellent to be a quick and affordable alternative to polishing faded late model headlight lenses. The lenses on my beater '98 Honda Civic were completely opaque, so with nothing to lose but my Mr. Magoo status, I tried it and it worked great! I shared this chemical breakthrough with girlfriend Shellski, and she asked for the treatment on her dimlitted 2004 Honda Accord. I jumped at the opportunity for heroship (and to snap the photos I didn't think to get of my own car). 

The patient, fresh from a 1,000 mile drive through California's central valley. I scraped off the bugs, washed, and dried. 

Working in a cool shaded area, I sprayed some Off onto a soft cloth and applied to the lens. Just as with my Civic, a nasty black skung instantly covered the cloth and the lenses sparkled like polished crystal. For a few seconds. Unlike my archaic Civic, the high tech Accord lens material was vulnerable to attack. In hindsight, it would have been preferable to spray the Off directly into my eyes, so I wouldn't see Shellski's disappointed face. So concludes Test #87 of my journey into modern technology. Same result as previous testing: I'm old. Next week: Making a phone call. (Scotty cell phone shots)



We regret to inform you that the SGE Squirrels' highly anticipated feature film debut (scheduled for a Christmas day release) has been cancelled. Yes, this development is related to the North Korean cyber attack on Sony Pictures. That's all I can say, for now - other than the release date has been tentatively rescheduled for Mothers Day of 2015 (if the Northern hemisphere still exists by then).

No toolbox for SGE pal Jimmy Smith. His '37 pickup is being built with tools tossed into whatever container happens to be nearby, yet Jimmy is realizing a quality result on his build. If this makes you feel stoopid for spending thousands on your tools and storage, our work here is done. (Photo courtesy of Jimmy Smith)


The SGE Nation is the most beautiful force of nature ever. Thanks to all who sent Christmas greetings this month. Here's a tiny sample of the heartwarming sweetness...

The best gift under anyone's Christmas tree since Buster Couch passed. Get yours at