I have received enough e-mails (the letter is a thing of the past), spent enough time on the phone, dropped in at enough shops, and visited with plenty of rodders to have an idea on what's happening in our world of rodding. Having shared this bit of irrelevant information, how about something of significance?
For starters, high tech in any aspect of rodding is in full bloom. Pro builders and individual homebuilders are enjoying the advantages of technology in either its techno or camouflaged vintage appearance. Examples of this would be the Retrotek, vintage-looking Stromberg 97s that hide the latest in fuel injection.
Or, how about ATI ProCharger, vintage-looking Rochester fuelie box, which conveniently hides the four-barrel, required to feed air to a state-of-the-art turbocharger? If you like all the high-tech bells and whistles, then the Magna Charger Retro Blessing kit, which features a LQ4 6L Gen III engine with the Magna Charger supercharger system coupled to a 4L65-E transmission, and a Painless wiring harness; and a pre-programmed computer provides it all--looks and performance. And let us not forget the current proliferation of point-actuated-appearing distributors that feature modern electronics inside from the likes of MSD and Pertronix.
If you want your resto-techno look to continue through your rod's suspension then there is the Fat Man Vintage IFS, which gives your ride the vintage looks of a tube axle, all the while providing some of the advantages common to an independent suspension. There's more, such as the CEN-PEN and its airbag system for I-beam axles and, of course, there are several brake kits on the market such as a SO-CAL Speed Shop disc brake system that has the appearance of a '50s Buick brake drum system. Then there are modern touches such as antisway bars from the likes of Heidt's Hot Rod Shop and Pete & Jake's Hot Rod Parts that allow you to use independent- or solid-axle cars all the while maintaining desirable handling characteristics. And, it doesn't stop here, with vintage-appearing wheels such as American Racing and its Torq Thrust, originally designed in 14- and 15-inch diameters that are now available in contemporary plus sizes. That would bring us to the tire, and an excellent example of the vintage appearance with modern performance would be Coker Tire and its radial wide whites.
You want more of the benefits of modern technology packaged in yesterday's clothing? How about power-window kits that are actuated by the conventional window crank? That's having your technology and nostalgia at the same time. And let us not forget radios that look old-timey but are the latest state-of-the-art AM/FM/CD stereo digital remote control that tells time and opens your garage-door sound system.
There's plenty more out there, but it's for sure that if you can't make up your mind on whether or not you want to go retro, techno, or a combination of both, the parts are out there for you to think over. This summer will bring a new lot of cars to hit the road, and these rods will surely have the latest gadgets, which in turn makes it effectively impossible to tell the ergonomic difference between your street rod and family car. But that's okay as long as you are having fun with cars and you enjoy the drive.