West Coast Report — Ninth Edition: By John Gilbert

You Ain’t Nothing but a Hoon Dog

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but I like to drink a little coffee, and watch TV while I write. After chugging down two big cups of extra strong Yuban spiced with Vietnamese  cinnamon I turned on the TV, and sat down to watch The Hurricane. It’s a pretty good movie about Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, and his trials and tribulations with the law. At the same time I was also trying to come up with a subject to write about for this week’s West Coast Report a police car they were hauling Rubin off to jail in drove past on the screen. It got my attention right away, it was a’56 Chevrolet 4-door sedan, with a 6-cylinder emblem on the hood, and wide whitewall tires. Now wait a minute I doubt any police department ever chose a 6-banger over a V8, but I’m positive no ’56 Chevy fuzz car ever came equipped with Bel-Air hubcaps and wide whitewalls. You’d think with all the money a Hollywood movie has in budget they’d hire to someone to authenticate the accuracy of the picture cars they rent.

One might wonder how it is I have such an insight into how ludicrous  it would be for the cops to be driving a 4-door ’56 Chevy Bel-Air  with a 6-automatic. My first car was a 1957 Chevrolet 4-door Bel-Air with a 235-inch 6-cylinder stovebolt and 2-speed Powerglide automatic transmission. Yes, it even had full Bel-Air wheel discs, and whitewall tires. What I’m saying is the only thing slower than a 6-Powerglide Tri-five Chevy is a stop sign, OR maybe a snail climbing uphill.

And that my friends is what got me to Google whitewalls on a police car. The results weren’t exactly what I was hoping for. I was counting on ONE of those websites popping up that cites screw-ups in movies, and mentioned the ’56 Chevy… but, nada, zilch, nothing. Instead some weirdness from Australia about “hooning laws.” And when I say weird, man I mean real weird. What do Australian police classify as hooning?

  • Participating in unauthorized street races and speed trials
  • Burnouts
  • Damaging the surface of a road or public place
  • Poo-pooning: Excessive use of bum wad in a public restroom resulting in toilet eruptus the most horrific of all public waste management crimes.

Okay, so I made the last one up, but could you really tell?

Are you a hoon? Not to be confused with cooning, pruning, babooning,  special tuning, or even the time-honored tradition of mooning (exposed buttocks in public) our friends in Australia seem to be having a problem.


The Northern Territory Government is getting hoons off our streets. New anti-hooning laws mean  that if you’re caught in hooning on Territory roads and in public places you could lose your car and your cash.”

Hoontang: So, it all it takes in Australia to lose your car, and your cash is one misguided neighbor to turn you in for doing burnouts on your street and your life is going to be a whole lot less fun. Here’s an interesting situation. See this little minor burnout that’s smack dab in front of my house? I didn’t do it, but I think all it takes in Australia is someone to accuse you of doing it, and that’s good enough for the fuzz to take your car. Now, the next question is can the same THING happen in the United States?

  — John Gilbert


Hot Rod’s Homecoming 65th Anniversary

I have to admit that for some reason I wasn’t really all that fired up about going to Hot Rod’s 65th Anniversary show, but looking back I’m really glad that I did. It was an incredible show and I have over 500 photos to document the occasion. That said West Coast Eastwood reader’s can look forward to numerous features with a ton of historical facts and insights generated from the event.

The show took place at the Fairplex in Pomona, California, home of the Pomona drag strip, and a million great memories for all of us gearhead types that grew up in the San Gabriel Valley. Oh yeah, and the reason the place is called the Fairplex is it’s also home to the Los Angeles County Fair.


RCC Students Finish the Dodge

Maybe RCC students refinish the Dodge would be a better title. My ’86 Dodge Ram shortbed pickup is a project I started back around 2006 while I was editing Custom Classic Trucks. The Dodge project was titled in several CCT articles as the High School Custom, but it was a very short matter of time before the truck found itself going to college. Riverside City College to be exact. The college opened in 1916, and the campus is nestled in the hills surrounded by Victorian and Craftsman style homes. The campus is an idyllic setting for students to work toward individual achievement, intellectual curiosity, and life-long learning. I stole that last part from RCC’s home page. But all that jazz about what an incredibly nice campus RCC has is all true, I love that place.

Epoxy primed, guide-coated and blocked straight RCC students under instructor Jerry Sievers had the Dodge ready to go black. Black by the way is the ultimate test where its either pass or fail. There is no in between when it comes to getting a vehicle ready for black paint. Now that the Dodge is back in my hands I’m going to drive through the Eastwood catalog with a magnet, and get every spray can product needed to finish the truck off for an upcoming magazine feature. I think I’d better start with the frame.

Oh man here it comes, lame excuse number 42-B. I had a list with all of the students names that were involved on the Dodge project, but it blew out my GMC window on the Riverside freeway on the way home. So if there’s any RCC students reading this that would take the time to point themselves out it would be appreciated. Also never use the dog ate my homework. Bart pretty much ruined that one.

We used Auto Air Colors for the sealer and black paint. It’s 100-percent water based and VOC free. Auto Air Colors are available from Eastwood here on this very website.

Here’s the big meats going on the Dodge. Toyo Proxes, my favorite tire for handling and longevity… they look badass too. There’ll be more to come on the Dodge and the students at RCC. The bitchin’ black bench seat that’s going in the Dodge was done by RCC’s upholstery class. In there near future I’m heading back out to do a story on them as well. Maybe the students should wear name tags just in case.

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One thought on West Coast Report — Ninth Edition: By John Gilbert

  • Like the new direction you’re going in. Need to see more of the new shop girl. What’s her story? Great shots for the Hot Rod show. Very sneaky how you put the Eastwood product placement in the article so they keep running your subversive column (hah!)

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