Letters

Letters Issue 26

Dear SM, Zack Stiling’s considered piece in this month’s mag (July 2019) made my heart sink. A core strength of this hobby, for me, has been driving through the gates of any rod run or drag strip, knowing that that was where the politics, religion and general nonsense of the outside world got left behind. For 48 hours or more, I know I can unwind in the comfortable familiarity of being surrounded by like-minded people, talking cars, having a laugh and ignoring the chaos and burden of modern life. The “rebel flag” (and that’s what it always was, in my day) adorned clothes, flags, diffractive stickers (remember them?) and more than one or two petrol tanks back then, but it was just that: a symbol of being a rebel, a hot rodder, an edgy geezer, at least until Monday morning and the office rolled around. ...

Letters Issue 25

Letters Issue 25
Dear SM, I really enjoyed what you called the halcyon days of British Customising (Scene & Heard, May 2019 issue), but I do not wear flares, and I do not let my hair grow past my shoulders any more! I believe this lifestyle/hobby has learnt by its mistakes, and is still learning. There were great cars built in those times, but there was also a load of tacky rubbish. There was the phase of jacking up the rear with a Jag IRS that had lights shining on it, and sticking thousand of lights on the front and back of the car, and the best, sticking a big chrome grille from another car onto the front of yours. Most of those things did not look good then, and do not look good now! When cars like Richard Wales’ Triumph Herald, John Baldaccino’s Hot and Bothered, and then ...

Letters Issue 24

Letters Issue 24
Dear SM, First of all, happy 40th Anniversary! I’m just reading the 40th anniversary issue, and it is so good to see SM at its best, with the mixture of true home-grown machines. Great job, mate! Just one little thing I noticed on page 53 – Street Machine moved to Eastcote in December 1983; not Ruislip! As I was born and grew up in Eastcote, being SM HQ was (and still is) the coolest thing about my hometown in darkest NW London suburbia. Champers, the local wine bar (still going, I think!), played host to regular SM meets; I’ll never forget seeing Gordon Jones’ Mini Van parked in the high street! In a distant second, most cool car factoid about Eastcote was that SM shared offices with Performance Car magazine, when Jesse ...

Letters Issue 23

Letters Issue 23
Dear SM, I’m not sure if you can help me or not. My name is Lionel Olyett and I now live in Perth Western Australia. And no, this is not a hoax or begging letter! I was once the owner (the third after the build) of a MkII Ford Zodiac, which, from memory, was on the second ever Street Machine front page. The car was built by a guy called Steve Dodd who lived in Romford, Essex, and it was fitted with an Essex V6, manual box and Appliance wheels. It was painted Rover Caribbean Blue over white and had Rover seats front and back, trimmed in powder blue. I owned the car for about six months in 1981, then swapped it for a ’67 Camaro. Regrettably, I sold that on after another six months – the things you do when you’re young ...

Letters Issue 22

Dear SM, Forty years – now I do feel old(er), haha! Regarding the story (Super Snapper, February issue) I still have my vinyl, American Dream, bought in ’81, mint condition, one owner, low mileage. It has now become a collector’s piece of history, knowing that the photo was by kind permission of SM. Maybe it would increase twofold if it had Mr Saunders’ signature on it? Looking forward to another 40 years, Martin Cooper, via email Dear SM, Regarding Sam Barber’s 1979 Chelsea pics in the March 2019 issue, the two Minor pick-ups were featured in a very early Street Machine issue together – I am fairly sure it was the June ’79 issue. The white muralled one was called Night Diver and featured murals of people diving etc. The Pop in the pictures ...

Letters Issue 21

Letters Issue 21
Dear SM, Happy 40th birthday for this year! Here are some photos I took at Battersea Park in 1979, at the Street Machine London To Brighton Run. I was 14 at the time, and took them on a Box Brownie camera. Hope you like them! Sam Barber, Cambs. Amazing. These are scans of a photocopy of some pictures taken 40 years ago on a 50-year-old-plus camera… and they still look cool! Does anybody recognise the cars? That chopped MkII Zephyr is pretty distinctive, not to mention the straight-six powered T and the Moggy pick-ups. And who was that suffering loss of traction action in a flamed’n’side-piped El Camino?! DS, SM

Letters Issue 20

Dear SM, I’ve just finished reading the January issue of Street Machine magazine, which I have enjoyed since the relaunch. My input to the debate on event reports presentation would be to have photos the same size as on the Muscle Car Corner page. My special request would be that if a car is mentioned in the event report, could we have a picture of the actual car as well? Also the history of drag racing article format is too messy and disjointed. So, a couple of formats to improve, but I love the current mix of content. Keep up the great work in 2019; I really appreciate opening the grey plastic bag each month and sitting down for a good read. I must make a start on my hot rod in 2019. I built a Jago Model B roadster ...

Letters Issue 19

Letters Issue 19
Dear SM, Regarding the Letters page, November edition, I have to agree with Dave’s letter on the postage stamp size photos – I hate them! I can’t be bothered to even look at them; I just turn the page. It looks a complete mess too, with images thrown on top each other like a cheap montage. If a photo is worth using, print it big enough for us to actually appreciate it. A tiny photo is just frustrating. The ‘Race the Waves’ spread worked well because the images had interesting backgrounds that made the cars stand out. I don’t look at the ‘Vintage style’ Hot Gossip pages for similar reasons; tiny bits of photos and the horrible ‘shouty’ slanted font.  Other than that, it’s a pretty good mag. Regards Ian Fleet, via email Oh ...

Letters Issue 18

Letters Issue 18
Dear SM, Whilst devouring the November issue, I read the letter from Dave about show report pages. I don’t mind the “busy-ness,” as you put it, but what’s missing are the captions. The pics used to be numbered, with a list of captions usually describing engine type, cubic inches, and something about each of the cars shown. A little bit more work for the reporters, but add the captions back and you’ll score the win light for sure. Chris Jenkins, via email Fair comment, Chris, I’m usually pretty lax with the captions in order to get more pics in! Does anyone agree with Chris? DS, SM Dear SM, I loved the Welcome editorial in Issue 17. The time you speak of is also the end of the Capri, no coincidence surely. It also marks the ...

Letters Issue 17

Letters Issue 17
Dear SM, I have bought Street Machine for the last 27 years, and always enjoyed it more than Custom Car and Classic American. I never missed a copy of any of them. The only problem I have is the pointless amount of small photos that are being crammed onto pages; a total waste of time. I think the magazine was at its best when it was called American Car World a few years ago, with larger, more detailed, artistic photos of the cars instead of 26 photos the size of a postage stamp. I hope we get a return to a better magazine soon. Dave, via email That’s a shame; I always liked the ‘busy-ness’ of the show report pages. Does anyone else feel the same way as Dave? Or the opposite?! Let ...

Letters Issue 16

Letters Issue 16
Dear SM, In your Random Pick piece (July issue, page 89), you mentioned Jonathan Sutherland’s Model Y. He still has it – he’s owned it since 1992; it has been blue, red, and is now green, and was at the NSRA Supernationals this year. Peter Sutherland, via email Thanks, Peter, I thought it was the same car – the old “This Y Up” on the back should have given it away! – DS, SM

Letters Issue 15

Letters Issue 15
Dear SM, The plaque (Letters, July issue) came with the May ’81 issue. I still have a copy with it still stuck on the front, and one with it removed! I used to love all those freebies; often every month or every other month at one time. Shame they are no more, but we should all thank the Lord that the magazine has been reborn, amen…Mark Blows, CDSRC historian   Dear SM, Did anyone answer Graham Beckwith’s question in the letters page of the April issue? Looks very much like the picture was taken at one of the Doncaster Shows, from inside the racecourse’s Exhibition Centre in the late Eighties or early Nineties. Pictured are what I think are the Best In Britain contenders. Jerry Cookson, via email Dear SM,  Just flicking through the August issue of ...

Letters Issue 14

Letters Issue 14
Dear SM, With reference to the Volvo Amazon sled in the Solent Renegades show report (June ’18 issue), you were unsure if it was a new build or not. Well, I can confirm that it has been a sled for 25 years plus; I have included some photos. The first unfinished pic in beige and grey is John Phillips’ photo taken at the 1993 NASC Nationals. The pic in yellow is a Custom Car pic from the 1997 Nats. The pics in green and white are stills from a video taken by me in 2002, in Chelmsford. CDSRC member Graham Spencer owned it at the time. Note the asymmetrical boot closing line, which makes it unique and easy to identify. I think this may have been the last time I saw it. Mark ...

Letters Issue 13

Letters Issue 13
Dear SM, Re: the six-wheel Model T cement mixer on p89 of the June issue.This is the legendary ‘C-men-T’ build by the equally legendary UK rodder, Ray Christopher, of Heli-Rod and v8 milk float fame. It featured on the cover of the September ’79 issue of Hot Car magazine and starred at many of the shows around that time. There’s a thread on the Rods’n’Sods website regarding C-men-T under the Whatever Happened To… heading. I hope this can help the new owner fill in some of the history gaps, and if he could find a copy of the Sept 79 Hot Car that it was featured in, he’d probably get a lot more helpful info – I have a feeling that I have a copy of the mag in my own stash, ...

Letters Issue 12

Letters Issue 12
Dear SM, I have a couple of question to ask. I have good Tudor body, which I want to make into a rat rod style but well-made hot rod. First, with these new laws coming in on original parts I’m concerned should I even start? I’m not an engineer so will have to pay someone to build it. What is your view on this? How are other guys going to get their odd parts cars through an MoT? The only way I see is to get a very professional rod building company to build it and to get it passed as roadworthy, but this could cost a fortune. What is the future for our hobby? Dave Bell, via email Hi David, As far as these new laws/regulations go, it’s difficult to say because it seems ...

Letters Issue 11

Letters Issue 11
Dear SM, With reference to the “Life, Grease and Hubcaps” freebie booklet mentioned in the March issue, it came stapled to the outside of the October 1990 issue. Someone also mentioned the bottle opener. This came with the May ’91 issue, and I have had one on my keys since the day it came out in the shop – best useable free gift ever! I do also, of course, still have an unused one on a cosseted mag in the loft! I always have loads of custom magazines on eBay – my name on there is hotrodmags. Cheers as always. Mark Blows, via email Magnificent work, Mark! Please turn to page 84 for more about that October 1990 issue. DS, SM Contributor Steve ‘Autoholic’ Edwards has upped the ante for old SM memorabilia with this ...

Letters Issue 10

Letters Issue 10
Dear SM, I’ve sent you a photo I can’t claim to have taken, but found in one of the hundreds of shoe boxes in the spare room whilst engaging in some futile tidying exercise or other. You know how it starts. Do you know where and when it was taken? I’d be interested to know, because I must have been there. Another day filled in. Was it Docklands? It might be nice to continue the accolade for feature cars. Latest issue just as fab as the rest. Graham Beckwith, a subscriber in Yorkshire, via email Does anyone recognise the venue? And could anyone take a stab at the year? Let us know! – DS, SM Dear SM, Once, long, long ago, when I was a teenager dreaming of getting out there and owning a car, ...

Letters Issue 9

Letters Issue  9
Dear SM, First of all, it’s great to see Street Machine back. I have been an avid reader since the beginning, and glad to see Small Talk back in, too. I have had many of my scale hot rods featured over the years. I really enjoyed Paul Dodd’s feature on the Krispy Kreme meet, which I, along with my better half, attend on a regular basis. David Williams’ Buick is nearly always parked in the same spot, unless someone parks their Fiat 500 there. We have made many friends at the meet, and we were blessed to have some attend our wedding back in mid-November. The event was perfect, a Tudor/Victorian themed Handfasting, with glorious weather, fabulous friends and great cars. Thanks to David Williams (’54 Buick), Paul Wilson (’66 Olds), Robert van Boesschoten ...

Letters Issue 8

Letters Issue 8
Dear SM, Reading your What’s Old piece in December’s Street Machine reminds me of the Volvo estate car my son Marc built for drifting. He had to chop so much metal out of it to make it lighter – over-engineered comes to mind – then fitted a BMW V8 engine. It went like stink with the original axle in it, so that must be strong. These axles are used for drag racing sometimes – they’re built like a brick sh**house. My wife had one years ago; an automatic that went on and on for years. Thanks for a great mag, and we love your articles – your way with words just makes me laugh. Keep up the good work. Brian Huxley, via email   Dear SM, In the late Seventies, I stopped playing at rallying, and ...

Letters Issue 7

Dear SM, Congratulations on the re-launch of SM. I dropped into a local Nisa a couple of weeks ago for some award winning Clarkes of Ware sausages (they are a must) and, as you do, I had a quick run through their huge magazine selection – as big as any WH Smiths, and all in a country village store in Clavering, Herts – and wow, SM #5 jumped out at me. Anyway, terrific content and lots of it; thus, very happy. Oh, please, lots more build projects (per issue!). Do you have binders available and if so would you please give me the link? Will you be doing a re-run of Issue #1 as I see it’s the only back issue? Gordon McGeachy, via email Thanks, Gordon, glad to have you back! We were supposed ...

Letters Issue 6

Dear SM, I always thought very highly of Street Machine, from the first issue I bought at approximately 11 years old, with the cars blowing my mind; saving pocket money and getting a paper round to buy it (and Custard Tart) every month. Seeing it dwindle away into American Car World was quite disturbing, I love American motors, but I felt something was missing When American Car Mag suddenly came to a close, I thought f*ck! What can I read on the throne now? Then, when you said you were going to bring back Street Machine, I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t think of a better editor to revive a lost and missed rag like Street Machine. Since ordering #1 on eBay and subscribing for issue #2 and beyond, I’ve never looked ...

Letters Issue 5

Letters Issue 5
Dear SM, Reminiscing about a car I used to own, I was wondering if any other readers have developed particularly strong bonds with some of their cars over the years? I used to have a two-door MkIII Cortina, in Dagenham’s finest Argent Silver. I really loved the car, despite it being a bit crusty and it was a project that dragged on forever. I sometimes felt that the ‘Tina and I had some sort of empathy for each other’s plight. It dragged on mainly because it seemed to be one cock-up after another. On one occasion, while I was building a stroker Rover V8 for it, rather typically I found that the piston skirts were galling the crank. It was the final straw. I didn’t go in to the garage for ...

Letters Issue 4

Letters Issue 4
Dear SM, Wasn’t the Buster Lang hot rod show pretty good? My wife and I had a great day out, and not only were we lucky enough to meet and chat to Welderup’s Steve Darnell and Justin Kramer, we bumped into you, too! My wife Anna wondered what was going on when I shouted “Oi… Dave, alright!”  It was good to meet you! Steve and Justin were great too, very down to earth. I built a model hot rod and presented it to Steve, he seemed quite chuffed! Anyway, must go before someone catches me (I’m currently at work) and I have to say, great mag. Good to see it back, even better with you at the helm… Andy ‘stonechip’ Grady It was good to meet you both too, Andy, and that’s a ...

Letters Issue 3

Letters Issue 3
Dear SM, Hello and WELCOME BACK, as the Channel islander said to the first British soldier he saw in 1945. I thought I’d slipped back in time, Street Machine with Henry Hirise on the front cover – had our local newsagent found some back copies? No, it’s back and looking good. All we need to do now is invent a time machine, go back to 1979 and buy all those £50 MkI Ford Escorts that were for sale on every street corner. My first MkIII Zephyr 6 only cost £40 around that time – happy days. I’ve still got all my Street Machine mags, including the number one I bought in 1979. I’ve still got all my built/partly built AMT, Monogram, Revell etc kits in the attic (somewhere) so it was nice to see you’ve brought Small Talk ...

Letters Issue 2

Letters Issue 2
Dear SM,I’ve always been heavily interested in vehicles of all sorts. Leaving school, I went straight to college to study motor vehicle repair for two years, achieving my level 1 and 2, then went and studied vehicle bodywork for a year at a different college, then went back to the first college to do two years of a level 3 motorsport course. Since leaving college I’ve got myself my first proper job working at Halfords fitting bulbs and such. For myself my first car I got myself a 1982 MkI Ford Fiesta. As you can see it has and still is having work done to it. It has the smallest engine they offered for it, 957cc. The only mods done to it beside the Escort bumpers on the front is lowering, ...

Letters Issue 1

Dear Street Machine, How in the name of steaming Jeebus can you have a letters page in issue one? How does that work, then? Ivor Titchypecker, via UnicornMail That’s a damn fine question, Ivor, but this is the Street Machine letters page, hardly a suitable forum for sodding metaphysical conundrums. Or is it conundra? Answer that one, clever dick. DS, SM Dear Street Machine, Rod runs and car shows these days aren’t as good as they used to be. Eeeeh, I remember 20 years ago when we used to go ape on the cruise, party until the wee small hours and crawl out of our tents in the morning ready to get polishing. Nowadays nobody ever suggests a four-storey Moonie Mountain or a quick game of Catch The Axe after 17 pints; it’s political correctness ...