Hot Rods and Your Five Senses


Olds Fastback Hot Rod


There are many hobbies one might want to take up. Some people like playing with model trains, or model cars, (as in my case) golfing (which I’ll never understand) or even landscaping but there’s one hobby that without a doubt stimulates all the senses. Building a Hotrod.


You may ask: “what does touch have to do with building a hotrod?” Building a hotrod has everything to do with really getting down and dirty with parts and tools.

When building a hot rod, not all touch may feel good but it’s always more rewarding. Being up to your elbow in an LS motor with a fan belt half cutting off circulation isn’t fun. Or when you’re trying to break free a bolt with all of your weight and it lets loose – bashing your knuckles to a pulp.  When it’s all said and done and the last of the Fast Orange is washed from your cuts you know it’s worth it. For custom cars touch and feel are primary in my estimation. The swoop of the fender, the radius, the transition surfaces, everything has to work for the eye and the touch.


Let’s face it; 80% of hot rodding is all about the looks. You might not have a degree in design and you might be completely colorblind, but when you see a mean looking hotrod you’ll know it. Being able to choose the colors and designs to finish your hotrod is one of the most exciting parts of owning them. And getting to see the work of others is always inspiring. Finding that right balance of paint and chrome is what sets apart the casual builder from the Chip Foose’s of the world. The highlight along the upper surfaces is extremely important. They have to flow. Great designs have the best flow.


Side pipes, strait pipes, cherry bombs, and Borlas.  There’s never been a hotrod that sounded like a Prius. The roar of a Hemi or an LS88 is enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Loud, powerful engines are what hot-rodding is all about!


Smell is the sense which is most closely related to memories. Have you ever been behind a classic car or hotrod at a light and it smells like a “Hotrod”?  You’re probably smelling it running a little rich. Or the smell of fresh engine paint baking under the hood! Or the smell of new tuck and roll upholstery! For me these smells brings back a wave of memories of my own cars, mostly vintage convertibles and also walking around car shows and chatting it up with the other proud owners. Catch a whiff of hi-octane gasoline and instantly be transported to hotrod happiness.


You may say to yourself, “How does taste apply to a hotrod?”  I’d reply it does in a few ways. First, you obviously have good taste already if you own a hotrod. Secondly, ever have to siphon gasoline out of an old gas tank? Let’s hope you never have to know that taste. (Leaded gasoline tasted better anyway.) Finally, the sweetest taste is cracking a “cold one” (diet soda in my case) after you’ve sweat and bled over your hotrod for hours and you’ve completed the work at hand.

There may be other hobbies out there that use all 5 senses but none of them are as visceral and rewarding as owning and maintaining a hotrod. How does hot-rodding appeal to your senses?