Yes, our favorite Wisconsin Insurance Monitor, Bob Klessig got the slippery Stovebolt done in time to put about 13000 miles on it this summer. This was at Bonneville. You might remember Bob as the guy who was ‘ice fishin’ ’ on the salt a couple years ago an’ we caught him on film.





Now, see here, all your buds have already ponied, Bub. They got theirs on the way and you…well, you’d be the one who had to say,’.....uh…no….I have NOT seen the new one…is it THAT good..?” unless you grab the cabbage and send it on along to Ol’ Morty…so’s he can put the finishing touches on that hot iron he’s all twitchey about. Come on, Man, ya got a stinkin’ job, ya CLAIM to be a cool-livin’ Hop Up Guy, doncha?

It’s this year’s Trip Thru Tradition, man; send the $17.00 (includes s&h) to

Hop Up
PO 790
Riverside, Ca. 92502 or go to the right over there and hit
“Speedshop” an’ there you can Paypal it and buy some other junk, too.







So, at the Big Roadster Show, a special treat…the debut of the Berardini Roadster…..





Rudabager was custodian of this piece for about (what was it?) 35 years, and got off it so Roger Morrison and Dave Crouse’s team, along with Pat Berardini..could restore it to it’s historical root configuration. That’s
cool of Rudy because he, like so many others in his position (East, Koefed, Travis, et.al.), had the car for eons longer than anybody else, but deferred to history and wished the restoration well.

The results wil be seen at GNRS, and we think it’ll be in for the Bruce Meyer Preservation Award, but that’s speculation; we don’t know of any competiton at this point.

On that subject, The Meyer Award is one of the only features of GNRS that harkens to the the noble tradition and purpose of the show; expressing your pleasure with trad rods in the show -to the promoter- wouldn’t hurt.

They do see the crowds around the Hop Up booth, and are bemusedly scratching their heads.

We actually started a paragraph about ‘tell them that a traditional roadster should win the big prize some time’ but then erased it because…… coveting any trophy is anti-Hop Up. (Exception: the real ‘Stroker’ Award, as intended, is a worthwhile one; ‘course we’re prejudiced because we have one in the garage.) We’ll go to the show for the beer.. ...and the spectacle, to sell some books and see to it that the gospel is spread in a nominally incompatible environment.

In any case, come by for services: The Ecumenical Church ™ of the Hot Up Rod and Custom will be in session near the big trophy.





Are we gonna let them Test us, Tax us and Track us?

The state of Cali is going way overboard now, and your state is going to follow suit if you don’t pitch a bitch.
But do end-runs: go thru some other ‘Big Brother Is Watching’ campaign or something. The mugs that run the state want to put us and our old cars out (it’d please extreme enviros to stop us, not because it would clean air, but because it would have stopped something they can’t be: cool); if they think it’s some angle other than hot rods, they might listen. Just bitch.

We’ll note that it is as much Uncivil Servants who ‘enforce’ in the extreme; the legislators, wrong as they are, may not intend the heavy-handed treatment that some of their power-buzzed employees employ.

Not all of ‘em, Billy, DW; but a lot of ‘em.




We figger it’s on, Bub. We just now took down the Christmas tree and already we’re looking forward to heading east again, with our Bros; looks like a slew of those Tejas Galoots are gonna come west just go go back east with us. Whaddaya suppose is in it for them??

Nice long passes in hot rods, that’s what:

Savoring the open road; communing with the landscape; listening to the internal combustion discontent out front; feeling the base’ that’s enough’ efficiency of a buggy spring chassis.

Quiet braggin’ at the over-nighter. Might even be a shot o’ booze and a good Bar-B-Que. Prob’ly got some locals, who knew you were comin’ thru, sittin’ accross the table from ya. Compare notes with the other guys; Greasers don’t look as tired as the Greybeards, but they’ll fold up a little earlier….their stories only go back 8 or 10 years…..the rest of us can go in to the night with tales that go back decades….and they- the tales-  could have been yesterday; the cars are the same. The cats are greyer but just as silly. And no less impassioned than they were in 1968. Or ‘78. 88. Or last week.

On the road the next day you’ll be driving. About 80. And you will know, appreciate, be thankful for, the reward you sought only a few days ago. And you’ll be quietly anticipating the reunion with those on the other end. They’ll have all had like experiences.

And there’ll be the parties, and gumbo, and adult beverages, and warehouses full of hot rods and neon, and music, and reacquaintance and more hot rod driving (customs can play too, ya know?) And then somebody will say, “We thank y’all for comin’; see ya next year!”

And the minute they turn around and go home again? And on the long, ‘that was a blast’ ride home, the second they turn off the fire in that mean-ass gow of theirs? They’ll be jonesin’ for the next ride. And it’l prob’ly be soon.

You’ve heard it here before:

                Let’s leave tonite.




What follows is the continuing saga of the conversion of a streetrodder to his proper roots through…. juxtaposition.



And alchemy.

It is submitted by Rolling Bones’ Ken Schmidt. (Ed.)


                        By the GRIN REAPER -  Scene 4

While the flames licked the sides of the kettle ,  Bill’s eyes began to focus on a stack of original deuce frames. Axles , wishbones , springs , y – blocks , early hemi’s and flatheads were everywhere. Grills, headlight bars, speed equipment and well, just all sorts of old “ JUNK “, hanging, leaning. IT WAS A MESS ! Even worse , everything was covered with DUST and DIRT, no doubt the result of all the sanding and grinding and welding and————-  “ MY GOD “ what a HORRIBLE place!
    Bill remembered those SPOTLESS street rod shops he had visited around the country. You would NEVER, EVER, see scraps of steel plate with weird shapes cut out of them or the rejected brackets that ‘weren’t just right’ laying around. And the TOOLS? ”MY GOD “ they had tools strewn every where. Why, in a “ REAL SHOP “ tools were neatly laid out along side each freshly opened box.
    Bill shuttered as the working men occasionally cast their blank white eyes in his direction, mumbling some indiscernible phrase then returning their attention to the frame.



Bill could see that they had moved the model A front crossmember back and pinched the front of the frame. Why, he wondered as he noticed the upside down L brackets coming off the front of the shortened frame. MAN, that Dennis Varni-built early Hemi just seemed to belong between those deuce rails; and there’s not much change to the stock firewall either. A five speed? Well of course.  What HOT RODDER wouldn’t want to shift the gears in a severely whacked deuce sedan powered by a HOPPED – UP vintage engine with straight pipes.
. But where’s the vega steering or for that matter those brackets that hang down for those short four bars that come off those other brackets that come off the dropped axle? And what about the shock mounts? In fact I don’t see any mounts or brackets, just some different size holes in the sides of the rails. WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?



Shifting around, Bill realizes his arms are strapped down?????
    “ Oh wait , they’re hanging the front end but that drilled axle looks stock? Boy this things gonna’ sit so high it’ll give you nose bleeds. Their using an old set of split wishbones. Why the heck would they use split wishbones when you can buy ……….. ,  well they do look kinda’ KOOL, drilled and sleeved with those old style ends and clamps. Hey , the spring perches are mounted though the sides of the bones!! WHAT THE ?????????
    Leaning forward for a better look Bill feels the ties on his legs. Spotting a row of nails on the wall, each with a GOLD CHAIN hanging on it, a flash of panic grips him, quickly looking down “ SHIT “ !
      Dave turns and asks , Does this answer your question. Bill tries to shake his head yes but his movement seemed so limited.
    Gee, the ends of the wishbones bolt through the holes in the rails just above the reveal and with the spring hung from the wishbones it actually stretches the wheelbase and lowers the car without all those 1 – 800 gizmos. Well that’s what those other holes are for , inboard mounted 33 shocks , hey those shock arms are a lot longer than stock. Boy they sure look COOL , DAMM that’s got to be the cleanest looking front end I’ve ever seem! Look at those BITCHIN’ rear wishbones comin’ off those old ford trumpets with that V – 8 quickchange sandwiched in between. Another set of early shocks mounted in the rear to the inside of the frame , I bet you can’t even see them when the body’s on. What’s with the T spring,  well it does look great and I bet it’s shape gives you a nicer ride. Looks like their “ Z “ing and shortening the rear horns which brings the spreader bar up and just past the back of the body , what about the gas tank?
    Bill watched while they worked deep into the night stopping only to refer to the recipe in the “ BOOK OF GOW “ or twist off the top on another bottle. Was that golden liquid the enlightenment of KOOL ? Could it be the source of “GOW”?                           
                  “ OH MY GOD , THEY JUST OPENED FOUR “ !
Bill strained at the bonds that held him in the roadsters roll cage. Twisting , turning , he opened his mouth to scream. No sound would come.




    “ BILL   ,  BILL , WAKE UP BILL , you’re having a nightmare Bill, wake up!  Opening his eyes he saw his wife’s face , her hands shaking him . “Bill you know you shouldn’t stay out so late with your friends… and when did you start drinking beer with the boys? “
Later, Coffee mug in the holder , brief case on the seat beside him, Bill pulls out of the driveway and heads for the office.

With the garage door automatically closing behind him,  “ SON OF A BITCH! It’s gonna’  take a month to clean the mud off” and a smile creeps into the corners of his mouth. 

                                      see ya next time – the GRIN - REAPER



We hate to brag. We try t’ lay back, play underdog, second rate (we don’t really believe that shit, though) and, because a Pal of ours has built the all time hippest Merc..and the Bigs were all over it…and we just sat back and savored it while it was being constructed. It’s done now and it’s flat-ass difficult to not claim it as Hop Up Iron.

See, Big Glossy will have a feature on it soon; we’ll all be there at the GNRS when it is officially debuted…..but..Hegman is a Hop Up Guy - . Betcha ass -  So why don’t we got the damn Merc in HERE???

Well, we can at least tell you that we previewed it and the sum total of the car is striking in it’s packaging. There ain’t a lump anywhere; the car was thought out. Hand formed. Metal-morphed. Yeah, until it all figgered as a creative entity.

It’s one of those where it looks like ‘less is more’..but then….more is there anyway. Do not underestimate it when you see it.

Our guy has the eye , the hands and the vision (separate from eye).

‘It’s the Hirohata ’ of this millenium.

An’ you’ll see it on the road in several spots in Hop Up Volume VI. Right. Running with his kin right here in River City.

Yup. It’s hard to be humble.



On the topic of customs. our Pal, Timebomb John from up in Canada has his ‘36 in the trim shop and we got this leaked to us. This rig might make it west this year - Paso prob’ly.






Once in a while we get ‘em. Our Buddy Bill Stinson from Detroit is involved in the big Woodward Ave deal every year and besides bein’ a product and promotional type he does all kinds of artistic things too (even a DJ I think) and writes, too. The following is a column he did for Cruisin’ News; in the belly of the piece he is nice to Hop Up and that will get you on these pages… so here goes, copied with permission:

Stinson January ’05

“Outa My Mind Over Cool!”


    I have to tell you, all my life I’ve been chasing after cool. You know, you’re seven, maybe eight years old, you begin to notice who and what’s cool…and you realize that you ain’t it? But, nevertheless, you still begin, at about that time, to formulate what cool means to you.
    Some people are born cool. They are genetically programmed to be physically cool. They dress cool. They walk cool. They have cool names. Like two brothers I went to junior high school with, Rocky and Lee Driver. How cool is that? You got a name like that; you gotta be cool just to fit into it!
    Well, having had well over fifty years to think about what’s cool, I still ain’t it, but I find that my idea of cool hasn’t changed all that much.
    As a kid I became enamored with all things ‘hot rod’. I went nuts over Ed Roth and Mouse and began drawing on shirts up at the local trampoline center. I was in seventh grade. Got kicked out of school for having a copy of Car Speed & Style tucked in my Social Studies book, while wearing one of my “Monster” sweatshirts. True story.
    Another thing I thought was cool were the names guys had lettered on their car, as well as the cool graphics…and the pinstriping? Oh man, the pinstriping! I got into all that, too, with a little success.
    All of this finally brings me to my point, which is: unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve noticed that hot rodding has come full-circle and, for the better part of the past decade, the roots rodding of the ‘40s and ‘50s has returned with a vengeance in all its slicked-back, primer-coated, flame-painted, nosed-and-decked, shackled-blue-jeans-wearin’, gas-and-30-weight-smellin’ glory! And I’m flippin’ out!
    Yep, everything I ever wanted to be a part of has returned, but in better shape for having been around the block a few times, if you know what I mean. And it isn’t just here. The whole world is riding the pomade wave! In fact, the Japanese are doin’ ‘us’ better than we do ‘us’! Some of these kids are so hip they make me wanna slide back in the shadows until they pass by. How do I know about all this? The magazines, that’s how.
    Over the past few years, as the root rodding craze began to take hold on the Left Coast, mags like The Rodder’s Journal brought (and continues to bring) the history of it to us with top quality photography in a very expensive, very classy, coffee-table-like package but with one thing glaringly missing—the tons of ads that fill most of the American hot rod publications.
    The ads are limited because the publication delves into the true artistry of the hobby and the people who build these cars aren’t dialing Jeg’s or Summit for parts. They’re scrounging, hunting and swapping, just like the old days, but mostly they’re fabricating what they can’t find. It’s the art of metal-shaping that is featured here.
    I was fortunate enough to be a part of one of these ground breaking publications when, back in 1999, Emap, USA (formerly Petersen Publishing, now Primedia) launched what was to be a two-issue publication called Hot Rod De Luxe. The issues were nearly a year apart and it was discontinued purely because the ad revenue of a Hot Rod or Car Craft simply wasn’t there. But the editor thought so much of his creation that he quit his job and created what is now Car Kulture De Luxe, one of the first publications of this type (that I know of) to succeed by targeting a totally different ad base. Instead of going after the cam and manifold crowd, this mag embraced the entire retro lifestyle by featuring ads for the music, art and clothing of the movement.
    But now, this carefree way of living life has, indeed, taken on a life of it’s own, giving birth to a burst of life energy and creativity of a type not seen since post-World War II times. These global “neo-retros” are quite literally taking the best of those times and the best of these times and making it their own. And they’re creating magazines to spread their word.
    As you must know, new slick lifestyle publications are cropping up everywhere, taking full advantage of cutting edge computer technology and latest design techniques as they go. Well, believe me when I say that the retro crowd is just as techno-savvy as these alleged ultra-chic mainstream dudes and dudettes are!
    Check out Ol’ Skool Rodz and, if you’re into bikes, The Horse is a must-have. Then there’s the giga-cool Garage for way hip writing as well as incredible photography on every page. And for pure low brow art, let’s not forget Robt Williams’ Juxtapoz. And guess what? The “Little Books” are back!
    There’s a very cool little black and white East Coast mag called Magneto. Plus, you gotta see the very slick full-color, glossy-paged East Coast publication; Kustoms Illustrated, and a brand new full-color mag from Iowa, of all places, called Wizzz. They feature customs and rods from the Mid West only! And then there is the extraordinary annual publication called Hop-Up.
    One of the world’s true eatin’, drinkin’ and bleedin’ ‘hot rod’ guys is Riverside, California’s Mark Morton.  Known for his annual endurance run up into the mountains (a blizzard in an open rod must be a trip!), this wacky raconteur has also resurrected a publication from 1951 that, if I’m not mistaken, ran for less than two years, yet was precedent-setting by featuring rods and customs together. It clearly set a standard and defined cool for generations of hot rod publications to come.
    Today, Hop-Up is on the web at http://www.hopupmag.com and the annual in print is super-slick with stunning photography and a haughty edge full of Morton-isms that you’ll love. But hey, what about the over-seas offerings?
    From France and Belgium comes Rolls & Pleats, several from England, and a hot rod mag from the Netherlands. But Japan is the one to watch. They have a bunch of incredible hot rod mags that are really hard to come by. The one I’m looking for is Cruisin’. I’d just like to check one out since a six-issue subscription is $90 bucks!
    If there’s a draw-back to the craze, it’s the fact that today’s kids who spend exorbitant amounts of money on the clothing sold under the trademark of Von Dutch, don’t really know about the astounding yet irascible Founding Father of the movement they try to emulate named Ken Howard, whose nom de plume they have emblazoned across their chests and derrières.
    That said, any way I look at it, I’m absolutely reeling from the veritable tsunami of cool that has cascaded over me this late in my life. As I’ve often said, hot rodding is also a philosophy – a state of mind, if you will. Personally, I find the entire scene today not only invigorating but inspiring. So much so, that I’ve taken up painting and I’m sharpening long dulled and weak to begin with pinstriping skills.
    Here’s to a great 2005 and my hat is off to all of you hot rodders. Thanks for letting me be a part of your world and, by all means, stay cool!

Bill Stinson