Hot Rod Neighborhood

Tell me what you know about hot rods?

Well they’re cool!  Yes, that’s true.  But what makes them cool?

The shine of the chrome, the rumble of the engine, the ear-splitting sound of no headers that lead to the high-pitched sound of rubber over coming friction.  Yup all that too!!

If you are an owner, working on them make it pretty cool too, despite the mess.

I was reading an article in GoodGuys magazine where the writer (a hot rodder) would love to greet new neighbors by revving his hot rod and laying down some rubber in front of their house.  In the course of  article he matured a bit which improved his standing with the neighbors.

I’m glad he did because frankly he wasn’t doing the hobby of hot rodding or muscle car ownership any favors.  It reflects poorly on us and makes it harder to protect the ability to pursue the hobby at home.  There’s no reason to be a “Richard Cranium” (I have friends whose kids read this)!!!!

Let me share a story from my own neighborhood.

A few years back a guy moved in next door who was a DPS (State Trooper).  I was glad to see that since I’m a former cop and I was “DELIGHTED” when a couple of days later a bright yellow 1962 Chevy II drag car showed up on a trailer outside his house.  It was all I could do to keep from running over there and take it off the trailer for him.  The car was beautiful.  And the first day he fired it up – windows rattled 1/4 mile away.  It was awesome!!!

After a couple of months the thrill ran out. The owner would move the car out of his garage on to the driveway and running for long periods of time – while tuning and most of that was a the same decibel level you get at the drag strip that’s just 7 miles way (you can actually hear it on a calm day in my front yard).  As much as I enjoy cars, especially those that are fast and loud, there became a point where I starting to think my other neighbors were right to complain.

Now listen, my Mustang is pretty loud, and I’m sure a few of my neighbors are bothered slightly – but this guy made me look like a saint!!!

But, I think the tipping point for me was when he and a buddy (I would loved to help – in fact it might have been better if I did…the ‘why’ is coming up) decided to tear down that monster power plant in the driveway.  “Well what of it?” You might be tempted to ask.  Well they did so while allowing a wide stream of all the fluids (oil, antifreeze, fuel) to run down the driveway (driveway has a steep angle) into and across the street (which is mid-way a slope) and down the gutter on the opposite side.  It traveled about some distance passing about 4 house/driveways.  Needless to say neighborhood cars’ tires spread it further down the street and into their respective driveways.

Now, I like working on my cars and the “why” it would have been better if I had helped is the fact that I have all the containers I personally use to capture, hold and properly dispose of these fluids.  Oh, I’ve had my share of spills, but nothing as offensive as their failure to even attempt to stem the flow, much less clean it up.

Adding insult to injury, they left that big block GM motor open and dripping for two more days.

This was of course unacceptable to most on the street and as a car guy, I was horrible disappointed that a follow enthusiast had such disregard for those around him and the environment.  It wasn’t much after that I saw the car on the trailer and a moving van followed.

Now I know that owning a hot rod or muscle car isn’t perfectly clean but there is no excuse for such behavior.

Do what you can to protect the environment, and the image of the hobby.  Don’t be a Richard Cranium and ruin it for the rest of us.

So be reasonable and responsible!!!

1. Keep the mess contained to your garage or property.

2. Capture your fluids in the proper containers and have it disposed of properly.  Make friends with the local auto repair places and they may even take it off your hands.  Even auto parts stores will help recycle some fluids.

3.  If you can’t afford the containers or to have the fluids disposed of, then maybe you should have the car.

4.  Don’t run your car at inconsiderate hours and for extended periods. (I try very hard to warm up the Mustang and get out of the housing development a soon a possible.  I also do what tune up and testing as necessary but if I have to upon it up I’ll take to outside housing area to do so.

Thanks for reading.


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One Response to Hot Rod Neighborhood

  1. Bill says:

    If that had happened in my neighborhood, the HOA would have had it’s attorney starting a lein against my property for a hefty $1,000, or more fine.

    Having said that, I hate HOAs. I think the ‘self police’ use of neighbors is a better way to handle this kind of thing. I dislike the idea of someone telling me how to care for my property, or what color, or even brand of paint I have to buy. But I digress…

    My father was the neighborhood Shade Tree mechanic. A machinist by trade, my dad loved to spend his free time wrenching on cars. He did simple stuff like tune ups, fluid changes, belts, hoses, and brake jobs in our driveway for freinds and neighbors.

    There was NEVER a spot on our driveway. YES, the motor oil was poured on the fence lines for weed control, which was acceptable and desirable in those days (even Popular Mechanics magazine gave this tip out from time to time). Otherwise, my dad wanted the ‘shop floor’, and our yard/house to be clean and tidy. We had the bags of kitty litter for spills, but did not need to use it that often.

    The neighborhood I grew up in had no HOA. We did not need it; we wanted the live in a nice neighborhood and be good neighbors.

    I helped do ‘bottom end’ rebuilds and engine swaps for various friends over the years, and never had a neighbor, or homeowner complain. Like you mentioned, I used many containers for fluids, and performed as much work in the garage as possible.

    Wrenching is a thing of the past, so what you descibe is really a rare anomaly. I kind of wish I had a neighbor like that to become friends with and wrench together. This is your oppurtunity to be the ‘shop floor forman’ for your neighbor.

Let me hear from you!!! Drop a note!!