I was loading groceries into the Alfa Romeo at the Sunflower Market in Fort Collins when a twinkle of highly polished chrome across the parking lot caught my eye. A few pre-World War II hot rods were lined up in an orderly row, with several more pulling in. Of course, I had to check them out.
It turns out that this was an annual gathering of hot rods in front of Mancino’s Pizza & Grinders, the starting point of a “Cruise the Night” event (at least I think that was the name). Every vehicle was exceedingly clean, custom, and probably very expensive. There was not a single beater here!
In the past, I’ve been more of a restored vintage sports car guy, but lately I’ve been appreciating the individualistic hot rods even more. Aside from being unique, the custom cars usually exude hand craftsmanship, clean lines, and simple elegance unequaled by stock vehicles. Think of it as art but with chrome, iron, and steel.
One thing I noticed was the number of custom license plates present. Almost all of the hot rods had them (which I guess makes sense—if one is going to customize everything else about the car, you’ve got to do the plates too!) While most people probably view “vanity” plates as a frivolous expense, I am clearly a big fan of them, having had custom plates on my BMW Z3, MGB, and Alfa Romeo Spider. (Click on the links to see what they read.) They are a quick way to individualize one’s vehicle and far less expensive (at ~$25/year) than, say, a ground effects kit, tinted windows, mufflers louder than a Harley’s, and a 10,000-watt earthquake-causing “sound” system that are often retrofitted to cars nowadays.
Below is a sampling of plates on these ‘rods:
- DO RUN (guess the car is not just for show)
- 37 HUMP
Hmmm, methinks these plates are not the most creative; I like mine better. But the cars themselves were certainly well done!