Digital Exhibition: Cory Taulbert
Name: Cory Taulbert
My interests in hot rodding began as a child, growing up within a family and network of friends who were into custom cars. As I developed my personal interests in custom cars, I found that the flourishing period of hot rodding directly after WWII captured my attention the most. The ingenuity and hard work ethic of that time paralleled what my family and I often did when wanting to customize a car – we did it ourselves. In the case where we didn’t possess a skill to do a specific activity, we either traded labor with a friend who did or learned the skill outright.
As that post-WWII period still peaks my interests, I find myself modifying my cars in a fashion similar to what others did at that time. Automotive technology greatly advanced from the early 1930s, and throughout WWII. Fortunately for hot rodders, Ford, who was hesitant to make significant design changes, unknowingly made many of their advancements backward compatible to earlier model years. That meant you could take a cheap and lightweight early ‘30s Ford roadster and swap in a more powerful flathead V8, add better hydraulic brakes, and stronger steel disc wheels by just combing through a local junkyard.
I start off with an overall plan of the look I want to achieve. For example, a late ‘40s hot rod would necessitate a flathead V8…..an early ‘50s hot rod may have had Cadillac or Oldsmobile OHV engine…..a late ‘50s hot rod would probably mean a small block Chevrolet engine. Once that’s determined, I can decide what chassis modifications are required to support those upgrades. The streamlined designs of the late ’40 and early ‘50s had a direct effect on hot rodding. Reducing the frontal area is key, so chopping the top not only allows faster speeds, it can lead to aesthetics improvements too. The removal of fenders can further reduce unwanted drag as well.
Most important to me though, I enjoy using hot rods as the machines they are. While I’m not out to race them, I spend many miles behind the wheels of them in the cross country drives every year. The challenges I face in cross country drives are not much different than what hot rodders faced back then – improving the durability and reliability of the cars to make sure they can withstand the abuse of more modern times.