Modern Rodding STARTING OVER
A headshot picture of Brian Brennan grinning
By Brian Brennan
Memories Build Up Over Memories

emories are great. Of course I sometimes struggle to remember my memories. When I do then it’s all cool. I figure given the amount of time I’ve been around hot rodding, all the cars that I’ve seen, and all the hot rodders that I have hung around with, I should have many more memories than I have. I figure that’s since I’ve forgotten many memories so they are no longer memories. I hope that doesn’t mean all those great experiences really didn’t happen. Oh well.

What got me going down my hot rod memory lane was a recent visit to a longtime friend’s shop. He’s a longtime hot rodder, builder, and painter—Dave Shuten. He heads up the restoration and creation division of Galpin Speed Shop as the lead builder. From his craftsman-like hands and always-active mind comes a wide assortment of hot rods with varied backgrounds, from customs to race cars to movie cars to everyday hot rods.

In wandering through the collection of race cars, hot rods, and lots of famous show cars, I came across a memory shaker. It was Dave’s paint table. You know the drill. It’s a table with the obligatory hammer, screwdriver (for popping open paint cans), can shaker, paint sticks, mixing cups, spray guns, favorite paints, and an assortment of cleaning solvents. Why did this relatively obscure and non-descript table shake my memory so hard? Well, it’s not the first one I’ve seen. It brought back the memories I have of many other famous painters whose shops I’ve wandered through over the years. Some of my favorites (just a few) are the likes of Ed Roth, Bill Hines, Gary “Chopit” Fioto, Pete Santini, Charley Hutton, Darryl Hollenbeck, and Randy Borcherding. I always found it fascinating as to what I would find in each of their shops that was instrumental in leading them to perfecting their craft. But one item, the paint table, was (is) always intriguing.

In going over Dave’s table there were two items that engrossed me. Each were “tattooed,” showing off years of craftsmanship. How about a bench vise (yes, a vise) and the neighboring trash can? Look closely at the accompanying photos and you will see what I mean. The vise clearly has had years of “abuse,” but it has turned into a work of art in and of itself. Stare at it for a while and you will see the countless number of colors that have splattered across the steel having dried, giving testimony to years’ worth of paintjobs. I should also add that in many paint shops there is a buildup of paint on the floor, next to the paint table, leading to multilayer evidence of all those previous paintjobs.

Next is the trash can. Come on, a trash can? Yep, an everyday garden variety rubber trash can that each of us has somewhere in our backyard or garage and have used for eons. The contents were what one would expect … paint sticks, rubber gloves, mixing cups, and lots of paper towels and empty supply boxes. But what really fascinated me were the myriad of colors of paint that had streaked both the inside and outside of the can. It was fascinating. All those paintjobs, all those dreams, and all those cool hot rods, show cars, and everything in between. You can imagine a paint gun cleaned and hooked on the lip of the can as the trails of color taper down the side.

In the world of art when an artist paints over a previously painted canvas it’s called “pentimento.” It is the painting over previous works for any number reasons. In our world it is all about leaving traces of memories past.

Thanks, Dave, for providing me with another memory to add to all those great memories, proving once again why our hobby of hot rodding is so cool.

a paint covered tool
a paint covered trash can
a paint covered desk
Modern Rodding
VOLUME 3 • ISSUE 22 • 2022