Monday, September 22, 2014

Rusty Plastic: The Patina Art of Ace Rakes

Rusty Plastic: The Patina Art of Ace Rakes
By Anna “HotRod Doll”  Marco
Pix Courtesy of Ace Rakes

Transforming the plastic body of a remote control model car into the appearance of rusty metal is an art form.

Patina Artist
Ace Rakes is chip off the old block.  His father, William Rakes, surrounded his son with art and cars and their household was a giant creativity project. Ace, who has never attended art school, was always encouraged to be artistic and as a child, his school notebooks were filled with images of Spider Man, scary monsters and cars. Today, he has amassed a huge collection of vintage Marvel Comics and his model car artwork is sold to finance his real car builds (1951 Hudson Pacemaker).  He calls his little 1/6-scale creations, “patina art.”

Distorted Hobby
Several years ago Ace received two remote control cars as gifts. The ’41 Willy’s and ’54 Chevy sat unfinished until Ace watched the documentary “Back From The Dead” starring Ian Roussel who struggles to make a hot rod out of spare parts. Inspired by Ian’s unorthodox approach to auto fabrication, Ace redesigned his model projects by turning plastic into metal using only steel wool and spray paint to achieve “ a well-worn, perfectly seasoned old hot rod. It doesn’t get any prettier.”  The results are so realistic that everyone is shocked to discover these miniature vehicles aren’t really heaps of steel. 

Fauxtina Ford
Recently Ace was approached by Christeen Vertress to paint a 1964 Ford Thunderbird (with a faux patina paint job) for her daughter Laikyn’s College graduation present. The car was orange and black and they basically just wanted it a different color.  Being the artist that he is, Ace, wanted the car to really stand out, something you wouldn't ever see on the streets. So he started doing research on Ford racecars and found a picture of Dan Gurney's 63 Ford Galaxie (Holman Moody NASCAR). It was decided it would become the paint scheme for the T-bird. It took a month to finish the paint job and everyone that has seen the car in person thinks it's a true patina. Laikyn’s grandfather had been a professional painter/body man for 40 years.  Ace proudly recalls, “When he saw the car he said, "It couldn't have been done any better" which was the best thing I could've heard. The T-bird is actually her daily driver and it looks like a racecar but is still fully street legal. I plan on painting a few more early 60's Ford, Chevy's and Dodge's to look replicate NASCAR and take them up to our local circle track and race around. I already have a few more “fauxtina” jobs lined up.”

Future Fun
Ace is a member of the Cam Winders CC (Washington) and when he’s not building unique model cars, he is cranking Leon Redbone or Skrillex on the stereo or cruising around the Rebel Riot, Billetproof or Cam Winders A-Go-Go car shows.  Future plans include finishing his full-sized automotive projects and continuing to build 1/6-scale art that folks will appreciate and enjoy. Meanwhile, he dreams of owning either a 1951 Henry J or 1941 Plymouth Coupe but jokes, ““If you want it bad enough, you can make it.”  Contact:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Reactor by Gene Winfield

Fans of the TV sitcom "Bewitched" are celebrating the show's 50th anniversary this week, so  we are honoring Gene Winfield’s Reactor. Built in 1965, the aluminum show car is really as 1956 Citroen DS with a hydraulic liquid on air fully independent self leveling suspension that allowed the car to be raised from ground clearance of 4” up to 9 ½ inches.  A 425 hp flat 6 engine from a Corvair gave it that low engine, low hood look. The completely handbuilt car featured electronically operated doors, hood and flip top roof, a radar screen, and retractable fins. The first version was painted green over lime gold  metalflake, the second version copper orange.

The Reactor appeared in several television series. In 1967, it appeared as the Reactor Mach II in a Bewitched episode called "Supercar,” where Endora sees Darrin admiring an exotic car in a magazine, and proceeds to zap it into his driveway as a gift. He's thrilled, but it turns out she appropriated the wild ride from a car manufacturer's development lab. In that episode you can see how the Reactor rises off the ground when you start the engine, just like the DS. It was also featured in an episode of Star Trek as the "Jupiter 8", a two-seat sports car marketed to the inhabitants of the planet 892-IV. In 1968, it made an appearance in the Mission: Impossible episode "The Freeze." In Batman, it appeared as the "Catmobile", and it was driven by actress, Eartha Kitt. She picked up Cesar  Romero playing the Joker, in the car, and they drove away together.

The car still exists today and can be seen at Winfield’s shop in Mojave, CA. A similar car styled car named the XR-6 (August 1963 Cover of HotRod Magazine and an AMBR winner)  resides at the Petersen Automotive Museum. ZOOM!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sandy's Can Cars are Kool

Sandy Sanderson, a talented crafter living in Hamilton, New Zealand, noticed that those empty beer cans don’t just have the fate throwing away. In an accidental opportunity, Sandy started to build up his incredible model car using dozens of recycled cans and tool kit. And he also added tons of details to his "Can Car"  like wheel nuts, suspension components, brake hoses, lights, and more, in order to achieve realistic effect. Fortunately, unselfish Sandy has posted an article to teach you how to make a can car.  They aren’t easy to make and you need to know how to read a blueprint. Of course, if you have no time to make them, you can also pick up your favorite one from Sandy’s  website.  Each can car is reasonably priced at $10 USD. Very KOOL! We give it 5 out of 5 stars. See:

Friday, September 5, 2014

G is for Gasser

We at Ol Skool Rodz Magazine appreciate the gasser style of hot rod and you will find our pedal car tribute to these awesome race cars in our Koolhouse booth at So Cal shows. Stop on by, take a closer look and get a discounted subscription rate on our magazine title at the same time.

Gasser History

A gasser was a type of hot rod originating on the dragstrips of the United States in the late 1950s and continued until the early 1970s. Gassers were based on production models from the 1930s to mid-1960s, which are stripped of extra weight and jacked up using a truck beam axle to provide better weight distribution on acceleration (beam axles are also lighter than an independent front suspension), although a raised stock front suspension is common as well (called a nosebleed stance). Common weight reduction techniques include fiberglass body panels, stripped interiors and plexiglass windows (sometimes color tinted).

Because gassers were primarily built for racing, cars typically had the engine swapped to a larger or more powerful one, or the existing stock engine modified (often heavily). Its very common to fit a supercharger and mechanical fuel injection such as one from Algon, Hilborn, or Crower.

With form being dictated by function, their appearance is often top heavy and ungainly, due to front ends being raised higher than stock specs, which assist in the weight transfer during rapid acceleration (racing). Having exhaust pipes exit through the front fender well is a common characteristic as is having bodies painted in flamboyant metalflake, pearl, and candy finishes complemented by lettering in wild fonts.

The name arose because these cars competed in a gasoline fueled drag race class, rather than one using methanol or nitroomethane. The gasser is the predecessor of the modern Funny Car and are experiencing a popular resurgence in nostalgia car clubs and car events such as the Eagle Field Drags, Mooneyes Xmas, Dragfest and the Meltdown Drags. Ed Big Daddy Roth created Weirdo decals in the Sixties depicting monsters driving gassers that are also very collectible. ZOOM.