Pure Horsepower

This continues the Series from The 2011 Good Guys Rod and Custom Show from Pleasanton, California. There was such a hug variety of spectacular vehicles, it was a race to shoot before the light became too harsh! Here we focus on some details of the Engines. These are detailed and polished on the morning of the show – often before the sun comes up!

Hot rods are typically American cars with large engines modified for linear speed. The origin of the term “hot rod” is unclear. One explanation is that the term is a contraction of “hot roadster,” meaning a Roadster that was modified for speed. Another possible origin includes modifications to or replacement of the cam shaft(s), sometimes known as a “stick” or “rod”.

A cam shaft designed to produce more power is sometimes call a “hot stick” or, here, a “hot rod”. Roadsters were the cars of choice because they were light. The term became commonplace in the 1930s or 1940s as the name of a car that had been “hopped up” by modifying the engine in various ways to achieve higher performance.

The term seems first to have appeared in the late 1930s in southern California, where people would race their modified cars on the vast, empty dry lake beds northeast of Los Angeles under the rules of the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA). The activity increased in popularity after WW II, particularly in California because many returning soldiers had been given technical training in the service.



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