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Brian Brennan headshot
A Few Observations From Behind the Windshield of a Roadster
By Brian Brennan

have always had a particular soft spot for roadsters, especially topless highboys. (Tops are for rental cars.) Hot rods can be any make, year, or model (there, that should get the drums beating) but for now that means cars/trucks well into the ’70s. But I have always thought that a true hot rod shouldn’t have a top. I should also point out that ’32s, ’33s, and ’34s are all very cool but they are “newer” cars. To me a hot rod should feature an engine swap, a modified chassis, and be sans top. To me an early hot rod revolves around the Model A on Deuce ’rails with at the very minimum a Flathead but ideally a small-block Chevy. In this day and age something from the ’70s is 40-plus years old and should also be shown the respect afforded any earlier hot rod—but that’s an editorial for a later date.

I was wandering through Facebook one night, attempting to overcome boredom, when I came across the musings of one Glenn Roy. He managed to capture nearly 30 bits of wit and wisdom of why we roadster drivers drive what we drive. So, I thought I would “borrow” some and share with the Modern Rodding crowd. See if these don’t bring a smile to your face, remind you of a joyful trip, and give you a chuckle. Of course, the rest of you will want to park your closed car and get yourself into an open highboy. He ends his piece with the comment: “Add your own here.” So that’s where I will begin and then stream into his musings.

The first thing I learned about highboy roadsters is that you can get cracks on the inside of your windshield and, simultaneously, you can also get pelted in the back of your head. (You need to own one to fully understand.)

Driving an open car on a chilly morning mandates that you stop at Bertha’s Dippity Donuts after about an hour of driving for hot coffee (hot chocolate is acceptable) and two bear claws at least the size of your fist. A nicely sized bear claw should pack around 700 calories per (remember you will eat two) and each contains 58 percent of your total daily intake of fat, 80 percent of your saturated fat intake, 43 percent of your daily sodium intake, and 25 percent of your total carbohydrate intake for the day—and that’s per “claw.” But let me move onto Roy’s observations.

Roadster side profile
Roy begins with, “Street rods move the body. Roadsters move the soul.” Couldn’t have said it any better.

Next, how about: “Roadsters can never hold everything you want, but they can hold everything you need.” I have experienced this on many a road trip. I’ve found it best to travel in threes, with each roadster having a similar engine, trans, front and rear suspension. You would know why if you’ve been part of this posse.

For the younger hot rodders out there: “Life may begin at 30, but it doesn’t get real interesting until about 80 mph!” This leads us to the next observation: “Sometimes it takes a whole tank of gas before you can think straight.” One more: “Young rodders pick a destination and go. Old rodders pick a direction and go.” (Of course, truth be told, the older rodders generally forget where they set out to and just keep driving. Sounds cooler that way.)

One more muse about getting on the road early: “The best alarm clock is sunshine on chrome.” I can state unequivocally there’s nothing quite like an early morning start, a coffee in one hand, a doughnut hanging from your mouth, and your other hand giving general directions to the steering wheel. (A little glaze on your fingers and a sticky wheel makes it even more spiritual.)

When the drive is coming to an end, keep the following in mind. “A long ride can clear your mind, restore your faith, and use up a lot of gas.”

But, “Roadsters parked out front, means good chicken-fried steak inside.”

Lastly, “There are two types of people in this world; people who drive roadsters and people who wish they could.”

See you on the road—top down!

Modern Rodding
VOLUME 2 • ISSUE 13 • 2021