September 30, 2022

Louis I Vuitton

Savvy Car Technicians

Inspired Innovation | The Jalopy Journal The Jalopy Journal


Not long ago, Root posted a thread on the HAMB concerning burn rates within traditional hot rodding, lack of innovation, and just general boredom regarding the state of the community. In turn, another buddy of mine called me with the same concerns.

“I feel like the possibilities are no longer endless…”

To be frank, I’m not burned out. I don’t know that I’m capable. My passion runs so deep that it’s on the verge of insanity. My obsession knows no bounds… and it’s focused squarely on traditional cars. Always has been.

The thing is though, I have other interests as well. I love the ocean as much as I do cars. And even in the automotive genre, I have other passions. I value a well balanced and period correct Porsche 911 almost as much as I do a squared away ‘29 on deuce rails. And then there’s technology, wood working, horology, Jordan 1s, art, and… Good god man, I’m obsessive.

Each one of those other interests distracts me just enough to keep hot rodding fresh. And sometimes, they even inspire me. So much so, that I think it might be cool to feature these sources of inspiration every now and then.

Here’s an example:

Lately, I’ve been traveling deep down the hole of early Grand Prix cars. It started when I was researching for my Briggs Cunningham series and just sort of spiraled out of control from there. Last night, I was reading about the 1923 French Grand Prix. The talk of the race was the new Bugatti Type 32 known as the Tank De Tours.

Now, what in the hell does a Bugatti race car have to do with traditional hot rodding? Well, everything…

In 1923, Bugatti wasn’t some big corporation. The Type 32 was actually designed and built in-part by Ettore Bugatti. He wanted an aerodynamic race car that was easy to re-build and cheap to maintain. After 6-months in the shop, the Tank De Tours was ready for the French Grand Prix.

The car was pretty much a miserable failure on the track. Out of the four that entered the French GP, only one finished. But, that doesn’t matter… It’s the process, the thought, and the innovation that matters. The Type 32 was followed by the Type 35 – one of the most successful race cars in history.

But, where’s the relevance?

The point I’m trying to make is a simple one. If the traditional norm is wearing thin on your creative mind, remove the norms. At no point did someone pass a bill or law saying traditional cars have to be a stamping of each other. Stamp your own shit in much the same way Ettore Bugatti did… and, in much the same way Dick Flynt did:

I mean, that Bugatti put some weird shit in my head man… I can see a heavily hacked t-frame with a stovebolt-6 for power and a strange reverse wing body similar to the Tank. Super low… 18” or 20” spokes… Big noises… The possibilities are endless.

You might hate it, but why the hell would I care?





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