Bringing with them the sights and sounds of 50s Americana, the new exhibition will showcase a wide range of low-slung customs and cool chopped designs from the hot rod heyday of the 30s,40s and 50s, with the retro racers set to roll into Coventry on Saturday 28 January for the exhibition’s Grand Opening event.
The Grand Opening - 12pm to 2pm – will provide an afternoon of retro entertainment including themed food and live music and play host to various guests of honour such as Jaguar Land Rover Design Director Ian Callum, whose own 1932 Ford Hi-Boy Coupe is set to feature in the exhibition.
With the cars taking centre stage, the exhibition will showcase a premium line-up of icons from the American and British hot rod and custom car scene, all equipped with eye catching designs, thunderous engines and compelling histories.
Built for speed, hot rods were quickly branded a menace to society but the thrill and glamour of Californian white sand races made them the ultimate American dream.
Inspired by the growing teen subculture, the cars became the stars of classic movies such as James Dean’s broodingly infamous Rebel Without a Cause, and the more sugar coated view depicted through John Travolta’s Greased Lightning in the Grease movie.
As Hot Rods and Kustom Culture made its mark on Hollywood their danger, excitement and creativity was quickly adopted across the pond here in the UK by a hip new chrome-plated generation eager to give the trend a British spin.
Jo Muskett, Director of Marketing and Communications at Coventry Transport Museum, said: “We are very excited to announce our new Hot Rods and Kool Kustoms exhibition, showcasing these iconic vehicles that so encapsulate the American Dream.
“From the early days of souped-up mechanics to the koolest kustom designs of the 50s these are cars made with personality, speed and style and they will make a stunning addition to our displays over the next few months.
“We look forward to the new exhibition providing an educative and entertaining spectacle for our visitors as it brings the sights and sounds of 1950s Americana to the Coventry Transport Museum.”
The Hot Rod stars of the show will include UK custom club Junkyard Cruisers founder member Anthony Ward’s 1957 Ford Popular, nicknamed ‘Poppy,’ which has featured in a number of high profile Hot Rod magazines.
There is also ‘Attitude Adjustment’, a unique wheelchair accessible, hand-controlled hot rod/drag car built by Herefordshire teenage hot rod engineer Rogan McGilp for his young disabled brother.
Built from scratch in five months by Rogan and a group of friends, Attitude Adjustment’s style is described as “1920’s Chicago gangsters meets The Munsters” and won student Rogan the title of UK Young Engineer of the Year 2016, in the National Science + Engineering Competition at The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair.
Another inspiring story from the exhibition cars comes from David and Lesley Brown’s 1931 Ford Model A Phaeton, built by wheelchair bound hot rod builder Galen Meek, in the basement of his house in Colorado.
The Bedford-based Browns bought the car in 2007 and in a testament to Galen Meek’s engineering skills the car has clocked up 32,000 miles as the couple lived out their own ‘American Dream’ with road trips across 20 US states and parts of Canada.
In 2015 the car was imported and the adventure continued around the UK, with a further 7000 miles clocked up by the Browns, who are members of the National Street Rod Association.
The Hot Rods and Kool Kustoms exhibition will run from 28 January to 14 May. For more information on the exhibition visit http://www.transport-museum.com/events/1198/new_exhibition_hot_rods__koo...