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Photographer's Note

Besides its music culture, Austin has become a center of the retro-rodding scene. Dedicated mechanics and hobbyists are preserving an interesting slice of Americana. When GIs returned from World War II they were emboldened by a "can-do" spirit and empowered by the GI Bill. The US auto industry took several years to return to full capacity after the war, so the lack of new machinery (and the affordability of "old cars") led many folks to find an older car and make it faster or more stylish. Early '30s Fords were favorite models, as the "Flathead" V8 could be made more powerful with some simple tricks.
The engine in this Ford is not a flathead, which can be identified by three exhaust runners per side, as the middle two cylinders shared an exhaust runner. Perhaps it is a big-block Chevy.
These cars came to be called "hot rods" in part because the original cooling systems were often inadequate to handle the increased heat from the modifications, necessitating the removal of the side panels or cutting louvers into the top of the bonnet. This car has both of these touches.
Styles come and go, but the current trend is away from lacquered paint jobs. This Ford sports a matte black primer finish.
The building in the background is the decommissioned Austin Power Plant. It was built about the same time as the Ford, and has some fine Art Deco details. Like almost everything else in Austin, it will be redeveloped soon into retail and condos.
In the fall of 2010, in conjunction with a monster hot rod festival weekend, there was a curated show on the grounds. Fine foto opportunities abounded. This one shows the great even light we had from the overcast sky that day, making it possible to get fair shadow detail in the black car.

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Additional Photos by Russ Ham (EstudioChispa) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 258 W: 90 N: 498] (2182)
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