Welcome to the final installment of our three part series “Basics Of Getting Into The Automotive Hobby”. Be sure to check out Part I Rat Rods and Traditional Hot Rods and Part II Classic Cars and High End Street Rods.
Lead Sled cars are a work of automotive art, they include many body sculpting modifications. Most have had the tops lowered (chopped) some mildly and some to the extreme, some even have sections of metal removed from the bodies (channeling).
The headlights, taillights, and antennas are recessed into the body (frenching), and the hoods, deck lids, and grille openings are often pie cut and the edges rounded (nosed and decked).
Many have the chrome trim, drip rails, and door handles shaved off to smooth the appearance of the body, most have 2” side pipes called Lake Pipes, and almost always have rear fender skirts and wide white wall tires.
Lead was usually used and some still use it today for the body modifications, hence the name Lead Sled.
The paint jobs on these cars are very elaborate, with custom candy colors, pearls and very intricate pinstriping, although recently a trend of “Suede” paint jobs have been emerging usually a matte black color, other colors are now being offered in the matte finish.
These cars have very reliable drivetrains and very nice interiors, often in a Tuck and Roll or Button Tuck style. The extensive body work often requires several hundred or in some cases thousands of hours to complete.
This gorgeous 1949 Cadillac was built by a friend of mine Chris Carlson and his crew at Chris Carlson Hot Rods in Mulvane, Kansas. It doesn’t get any better than this.
Gasser, A/FX and Altered Wheelbase cars are extremely popular right now, they’re a throwback to the glory days of Drag Racing, many of these examples are similar to what you saw blasting down your local strip.
They are being built out of most any year, and any make, but many people are staying true to the 50’s and 60’s style of these racing icons.
This is just a glimpse of a few of the different styles of cars that you’ll see at shows and events.
Before buying your 1st project, attend as many shows as you can to see what style of car
peaks your interest.
Research what style of car you like, ask lots of questions from people that have similar cars, search the internet for available parts suppliers, call them up and ask questions.
Most will always answer any questions you have, if they won’t take time for you, then don’t waste your time with them.
Visit the vendors at different shows, most will have free catalogs and you’ll see tons of cool stuff, ideas you’d never thought of and take lots and lots of notes.
Most importantly before you ever spend a dime, or turn a wrench, plan your project completely. It’s very easy to make changes on paper than after you’ve spent a lot of time and money in fabrication.
Now get out there and see some shows, get some good ideas and let’s get you started building your new Hot Rod.
This is my own project, it’s a 1976 Chevrolet Laguna S3 that I saved the day before it was to be crushed. I’ve loved the Laguna S3 since I saw one the first time when I was 14 at the same Chevrolet Dealership in Augusta, Kansas, I went to work at 5 years later.