Modern Rodding STARTING OVER
A headshot picture of Brian Brennan grinning
Deadlines & Other Notable Things
By Brian Brennan

s I sit at my makeshift desk, I find myself thumping away on this month’s editorial while also looking at the latest roadsters in competition for the AMBR. Yep, I’m at the 72nd Grand National Roadster Show on AMBR judging day. This takes place before official move-in, making it as peaceful as this place will be for the remainder of the weekend. This is good as I better get my editorial written or there will be “hell” to pay with my managing editor (we affectionately refer to her as “Boss,” “Sarah the Ruler,” you get the picture). Sarah doesn’t believe in cutting any of us (Rob Fortier or Nick Licata) any slack. I’ve written under far worse conditions. Of course, invariably it is all my own making.

Now, you might think, “Well, that’s cool.” But the reality is I’m panicking. You see, just like these amazing roadsters, time is up and I’m running late. As each owner and builder jump into their roadster, fire it up, and drive to the judging stand there’s an abundance of last-minute tweaking, polishing, or assorted other last-second (not even minute) detailing efforts. I know better, well duh! I should have turned in this editorial a week ago. But alas I didn’t. Such is the life of an editor and I’m beginning to understand and feel what the pressure must be like when in the final stages of completion of a roadster, or any hot rod, in time for this or any competition or show.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that me busily typing out an editorial, or for that matter even an entire issue, pales in comparison to what it takes to build any hot rod. While I’m, once again, appreciating the efforts of these amazing builders, professional and privateer alike, there’s truly little comparison.

record album jacket where it was featured alongside the McMullen roadster
Ian Cusey's roadster on display
This is one of the roadsters in competition, but it’s my sentimental favorite. Originally belonging to Ian Cusey of the L.A. Roadsters and now Bob Owens, he has meticulously restored it. (Look for its feature in an upcoming issue of Modern Rodding.) It’s graced the covers of magazines, but my favorite is the record album jacket where it was featured alongside the McMullen roadster. It’s just a piece of rodding history that’s near and dear to me.
I can honestly say as I thwack away on my laptop’s keyboard I watch as builder and owner alike massage and pamper with amazing dedication on the one last-minute detail before subjecting their hard-earned efforts to the “cruel” scrutiny of someone like myself. Don’t get me wrong. Of the seven judges all fully “understand” and appreciate the trials one must endure to build a hot rod for competition or for one’s own personal enjoyment. (I believe I am part of the judging panel for comic relief.)

Having been to countless car shows I’m constantly reminded and amazed at the dedication and pure talent that’s exhibited by anyone brave enough to build a hot rod. I know all of us have stood next to and admired a car and watched as another walks up and begins to pick it apart. Shame on those who would do this. How about you take your own time and effort and build your own car and then subject yourself to others tearing apart your efforts. It’s not so much fun, is it?

I believe I read somewhere in one of my high school science books that it takes more facial muscles to frown than to smile. So, in the interest of conserving one’s energy why not smile and make others happy? You will find that it does wonders for yourself as well. I find myself smiling right now. I can barely comprehend the amount of desire, talent, and effort so many invested to have these roadsters here in competition.

Congratulations my friends for an endeavor well worth the effort. Yes, I will get my editorial in and be subjected to a scolding, but I can sit back and smile and enjoy the massive effort put forth to have these roadsters ready for competition. Job well done.

Modern Rodding
VOLUME 3 • ISSUE 18 • 2022