Welding, Grinding and Bonding

January 21st, 2011

Text and Photos by Travis Noack

Back in the old days when ambitious young hot rodders began playing with their coupes, roadsters and sedans there was usually a hangout spot where a group of buddies would corral on a Friday or Saturday night to turn wrenches and squeeze a bit more speed and style out of their cars. They didn’t have any fancy shop full of tools, just a two-car garage and a stretch of driveway to work in while knuckle busting their way to a dream. Today (aside from technology and a few more tools) times are really no different.

Our quest for custom truck style is fueled by that camaraderie and the passion we all share at every gearhead gathering across America. From shows to club meetings to workbench racing to wrenching on your truck in the driveway, enthusiast horsepower hits the rev limiter with every tack weld. A few of the projects we have tackled of late and those currently being built out of our garages and driveways bring the staff of Street Trucks and fellow enthusiasts together to create custom using nothing more than basic hand tools, a welder, a grinder, an air compressor and a load of determination. We’re likely testing our neighbors’ patience and noise tolerance while we’ve pounded on projects through the night, reshaping metal, retrofitting custom dash panels and dropping in power plants all while the iPod spits out jams from multiple decades, triggering cruising memories from high school. Starting in the small hours and working into the night, breakfast, lunch and dinner have all been consumed at the workbench, since “break time” is reserved for quickly inhaling some chow and sitting back to brainstorm how we should perform our next set of modifications. There is nothing like eating a home cooked meal around intakes, carburetors and freshly cut “shrapnel.”

After a full day of beating on metal, wrenching on power plants and custom truck building mayhem, a half-hour of clean-up preps the garage and the driveway for the next welding, grinding and wrenching session.  Even though we are all about to fall down from fatigue, we can’t help but spend a few minutes (usually an hour) rapping about the build, the progress made, and the direction the project is taking, while making a list of the items needed for the next thrash session.

In the October issue I announced the introduction of our new “Reader’s Profile” column where we are showcasing one reader’s custom truck each month and telling their story. Since that issue hit the stands, the letters and pics have been showing up in my email in box and through the post with readers showing us what they have been spending their nights and weekends working on. I look forward to seeing more of our readers’ project trucks.

Building and driving our trucks is the best part about owning them. We express ourselves on blank sheet metal canvases, and build great memories with our buddies while doing it. So, the next time you are out in your garage at midnight working on your project just know that the crew from Street Trucks is wrenching, welding, grinding and sanding right along with you.

Until next month keep dragging the frame rails, cranking the hair metal and cruising until the fuel needle hits empty. ST  tnoack@beckett.com


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