As sure as the sun will rise, the Cubs will never win a World Series, and every rodder's dream is to secretly (or openly) own a Deuce highboy--I am going to get hate mail for sure. Now, I should preface that by saying the kind of hate mail I get isn't intended to do me bodily harm, well, generally. But rather the intent is to insult my intellect, assassinate my character, or just possibly, redirect my understanding of our industry.
For starters, I am in daily receipt of electronic letters, as well as post. On average, I receive 30-plus e-mails per day from readers (in-house e-mails easily double that figure), and add to that about a half-dozen stamped letters addressed personally to me each and every day. However, my favorite method for "personal" communication is the tried-and-true method of being "skinned" alive in a club newsletter and, more recently, Web-generated chat lines.
Mind you, the vast majority of scathing rhetoric heaped at me usually revolves around the types of cars we feature in STREET RODDER.
For the most part we seem to have the events down pat; human-interest stories as well as historical pieces are also well received. Some would say SRM depicts too many trailer queens, show cars, and high-dollar street rods. Well, some of that is true. You will have to believe me when I say that we really do pay attention to editorial mix and try to establish a balance--parity among street rods, you might say. All this done in an attempt to give readers the wide variety that SRM has become known for and what you, our readers, tell us you want.
Remember, that's what's happening.
But then comes the obligatory (in this business you know you will get one) letter that states SRM depicts too many articles on manufacturers' product and not enough on junkyard tech. Yep, that's true, and probably won't change anytime soon. I should make mention that anytime we find something of value we will include it on the pages of SRM, regardless of its origin. But, I would ask those who find the manufacturers' how-to tech offensive to look more closely at the vast majority of the enthusiasts in our industry and observe the direction that has been taken by these very individuals, who, I might add, are also our readers.
Back to the flogging at hand. It appears there are those who can't get over the realization that fiberglass bodies are here to stay. If it weren't for the fiberglass body, many of us would be out in the cold and not capable of experiencing the joy of the build.
For anyone to think that a street rod must have originated from an iron ore deposit, hauled to a foundry, poured molten hot into a mold, or via stamped steel is, well, clearly lost in a fantasyland. To some, "steel is real," but to many of us, "'glass has class."
I am not opposed to steel or 'glass cars, nor do I have a problem with a rodder building a car out of wood or high-impact plastics. It's only a matter of time before Kevlar, or some other form of a composite, inlaid material will find its way into our rodding world.
Fiberglass bodies have given many of us an opportunity to build something that's more closely aligned with our dreams rather than to just make due. 'Glass allows greater numbers of us to participate, get on the road more quickly, and have a chance to own something we might not otherwise enjoy.
It also appears that "we" can't get over the trailer issue. Well, get over it. There was no one more vehemently opposed to trailers as a viable component to our industry than myself. However, that was then, and this is now!
Let's face it, we are capable of driving our cars farther, with greater safety, in more comfort, and with greater reliability than at any time in our past. (I might add that this is the direct result of an industry intent on advancing our hobby, and that's why SRM helps them. Think about it!) But that's not the point anymore. Nowadays, we have to deal with limited vacation time and budgets, larger families, and greater sums of money invested into many of these cars. So, how a person gets his car to an event should be that person's decision, and that person's alone. Should promoters see it differently, that's fine. And if rodders want to play in the promoter's realm, then they must abide by their rules. I can deal with that.
I must admit, I have, and probably always will, annoy anyone using a trailer. However, I make sure it's all based in humor and never meant to be a vehement, foaming-at-the-mouth kind of attack. You should read the letters I get! It never ceases to amaze me just how upset rodders can get because, according to them, "steel is real" and "trailers are for show cars." Hey, the object is to have fun. So, let's have fun with our buddies and their cars, and not give a hoot as to steel versus 'glass, trailer versus non-trailer.