Gallery>> The Hot Rod Lifestyle At Essen

With Dino’s Mooneyes Japan coverage in full swing, I thought now would be a great time to publish a contrasting story, showcasing some European Hot Rodding.

It’s always interesting to see how different cultures around the world remix, rework and replicate their ideas about foreign car scenes. I’m sure any of you who live in the west but are fans of Japanese car scenes know exactly what I’m talking about. We see some type of car action in a far away land, and either draw inspiration to our local lives, or perhaps more radically, move abroad to submerge ourselves inside the source itself.

As I travel the world meeting car enthusists, I’ve seen this story played out time and time again. It seems like car scenes from distant countries have an exotic allure which seems to shine brightly against our local offerings..

Perhaps the owners of these Hot Rods know this feeling. These are Europeans who have hooked into the lifestyle sometimes refered to as Kustom Kulture; It’s a modern re-interpretation of retro American culture which mixes up old school Hot Rodding, Pinup Girls, Lowbrow Art and Rockabilly together in an all pervasive way of life.

From what I can see, these are pretty hardcore devotees and were proudly showing their machines at the Essen Show in Germany last week.

The Hot Rod display was organized by the creators of the Berlin based, Smokin’ Shutdown magazine. It’s a German-English language Hot Rodding magazine devoted to “Hot Rods, Kustom Kulture, Pin Ups, Heroes and Punk Rock.”

In looking at these Hot Rods they seem to be styled to utmost perfection and represent the leading edge of hot rod styling.

There are no out-of-fashion 1980s Street Rods or 1990s Billet Rods here.

This ’29 Roadster is a perfect representation of traditional style. It’s exactly the type of machine you would have seen students driving to high school all across California in the early 1950s.

This roadster is more of a throwback to an early 1940s style. It’s complete with a layer of dust for authenticity’s sake.

This 1932 Plymouth Roadster is an old show car from the States and was Grand National Champion in ’65-’66. It sports an original Barris Kustoms paint job to boot.

I hesitate to call this a rat rod, as it seems like too deliberate a build to be lumped into this category.

This is as good as it gets in terms of a traditionally styled psychobilly machine…

Although for me, this ’29 Ford Coupe was even better. The forward rake gives more of an aggressive feeling. I also prefer the open headers and exposed engine… hmmm… perhaps I should call that number to buy it?

To use the proper definition of the word: the rod has great stance. Also note the Ramblers club plaque.

This 1930 Ford Model A was originally built by Skoty Chops Kustoms in Redwood City, California.

Some of you may remember that Jeroen ran a spotlight on this car last year.

I’d love to see a car like this driving through the streets of Berlin!

Mind you, Sweden also has a pretty strong Hot Rod scene too. I’ll need to dig into this further one of these days.

At the other end of the hall, were these cool retro Bumper cars which had been converted into ATVs of sorts. OK this isn’t hot rodding as such, but a little window into Americaness appearing at the Essen show

This one was based on an old Corvette. How cool is that!

Thoughout the Essen show there were other pockets of American car culture. This East Coast style sedan gave the impression of being an original 1960s show rod, which had found it’s way to Europe many decades ago.

Wow check out this giant surfer themed Olds wagon. There can’t be many of these left in the world.

Ok that’s it from me for Essen show coverage. Jeroen has a few more stories coming up before we wrap things up.



More Hot Rodding on Speedhunters

Essen 2011 Show Coverage

Pin Up Girls

Smokin’ Shutdown Magazine



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Great write up. I really do enjoy reading about all things automotive. Keep up the diversity.


Love this write up, it kudos to owners as i'm pretty sure its very difficult to find authentic parts and make these rods road legal with the very strict European safety laws




Need to make some of these with "the beast" background a wall paper, please!


Some sweet rat rods there.

What exactly is a rat rod though?


i want shots of these machines ripping up nurburgring

ps the wagon is a Olds.


I once read an article in an old Hot Rod magazine. It was a feature of a 1940 or '41 Willys coupe that a guy from Sweden owned. He was so big into the culture that he bought a small road-side diner from SoCal and had it shipped to Sweden so that he had a proper environment for it.


Nice to see the rods in Europe featured on Speedhunters!! ps. the blue roadster is painted by my former partner Charles ( C&T Speedshop) at onet time it was painted by the Barris bros, the car is a amazing pice of art!!. @Geoffrey , the laws I the Netherlands are super for cars older than 1952 .. there is a lot alowed due to the age, we can improve the technics to up to date...but everything is best inspected by the RDW ( tech guys).


Grtz Tristan


Cool to see a variety...


like those converted bumper cars, never seen anything like that before! great coverage overall - Thanks


love these cars. I'd rather drive it then wash it.


Personally ive been missing rod & kustom coverage on speedhunters lately, so this and the Mooneyes Japan features are a welcome shot in the arm. Thank you.


This is the European style! There are a lot of cool hot rods and those ATVs are funny!!!:D Thanks Rod for sharing!