Wednesday, May 21, 2014

1962 Cars Get Personal... The Orange Crate, And Other Nicknames

There was a time when a boy looked forward to getting his drivers license as much as he looked forward to getting his first girlfriend (almost). The day he turned 16 was the equivalent of turning 21 today; it was the moment he really became an adult.
No more parent ride-alongs, no more driving like Grandma on the way to her blue-hair appointment. This was the day he could lift the keys from the hook by the kitchen door, skip down the stoop to the driveway, and point the grille any direction he wanted. And just drive, with his radio station playing his music, and the only limit being the needle on the gas tank gauge and the few bucks burning a hole in his pocket.
After months of rubbing, sanding, scraping, patching that 57 Chevy, the bond between a boy and his rod (yes, I know) was snugger than the two-stripe tube socks in his Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers, and the final declaration of love was the christening of the machine. 
You just couldn't call it "the 1957 Chevrolet", no, it was much more personal than that. Your blood, from that screwdriver that slipped and gouged your palm, was mixed into the welds and steel. It was your partner, your blood-brother, your maiden ship. Sometimes, a mythological gesture was required, like "Adonis", or exotic, like "The Polynesian", but usually, it was "Lucille", or Trigger", or the "Playboy" (hope springs eternal in the mind and libido of a 16-year-old).
Here is a neat spread from Custom Craft magazine, in 1962, with some vivid examples of the art of naming your hot rod....

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