There is no denying street rodding and street rods have changed and changed greatly over the past decade; everything from appearance, driving habits, build styles, model years, and makes of cars we build, along with many other considerations. The Deuce is still standing atop the Hill of Desirability but we have seen more and more Model As, more non-Fords, and the line between pre- and post-1948 is all but gone. You can hot-rod a 1932 just as easily as you can a 1962 and the same guys own both.
For starters, some say our cars have evolved into a retro look. But for every nostalgia build that I see I can still find a contemporary car being built. That's a good thing. One thing is for certain, they have changed. Rat rods have evolved and with it brought about another spoke in the wheel of street rodding. There is plenty out there for any rodder to find to pique his interest.
In the end there are all sorts of reasons how and why our hobby has changed. Somewhere in the mix the "graying" of our hobby has had an impact as has the ongoing economic downfall that has impacted all of us in some fashion. I was reading that two out of three Americans still believe the federal deficit is growing when in actuality it is declining. At its height the Federal deficit topped $5.2 trillion. Recent numbers show it at $1.2 trillion and before year's end it will be (or should be) around $900 billion and the money people predict that by the end of the current administration's tenure it should be around $474 billion. Of course all of this can turn around and begin another downfall if certain elements of the economy do not continue on an upward trend. It's also been reported this year that companies are reporting record profits, have the most money in the bank, and are having trouble finding enough qualified staff. Yet unemployment is still a major concern. But look at the stock market, for us who are novices in this money world it appears to have come back as strong as ever. I live in an area where the housing market evaporated yet today homes are selling, prices are on the incline, interest rates are at all-time lows, yet in some areas it is a seller's market while in others it is a buyer's market. Go figure! Could all of this be having an adverse or positive impact on our hobby?
I see the overall trend in event participation dropping at major events while at the same time the number of events appears to be rising. My first reaction to this is, "We aren't driving our cars as frequently or as far." My guess is the cost of gas and rooms has something to do with all of us not driving as far, spending as many nights on the road, and all of us are just being more careful with our expendable income. I know I am and I can see it with the rodders.
Yet while all of this gloom is out there I still see l ots of hot rods with plenty of potent V-8s being built. Maybe that's because our street rod isn't our daily driver. Pickup truck sales area still robust but gas misers, hybrids, and so on, have become our daily transportation. This type of "gas hoarding" allows "gas budgeting" to be used in a disproportionate manner on our hobby cars. Not a bad thing. The less money we spend driving to work the more money we have to spend on our street rods—parts and/or gas.
I may have it all bass-ackwards, nothing surprising there, but what do you see? I would be curious to hear from the STREET RODDER fraternity on your take as to what's happening with our hobby.