Cars are what I call “living history.” No matter how much you shine the paint, or gloss the tires, your car is aging. For some, those who want to preserve cars to match what they looked like off the line, this is a depressing situation. I support those who like preserving history, because I think we all like to see original cars from time to time.
However, it’s never going to be completely original. And someday, something is going to happen – a scratch, a ding, something. I don’t like the stress of worrying about that sort of thing. So, when I happened along and found this “1946 Rocket Car” on Craigslist, I knew that if I were to own it, it wouldn’t be lovingly preserved – it would be lovingly modified.
The history of the vehicle as written on Craigslist is fascinating. Apparently, in 1946, a guy in California who fabricated hospital equipment made this, and then used it as a daily driver into the fifties. Then, in 1964, while on a ride he was giving a grandchild, he hit a tree. Then, (I assume because he saw that the vehicle was somewhat dangerous), he hung it from the rafters. The next owner mounted it on a tilting trailer and put it through it’s paces – in parades. When he wanted to put on a show, he’d tilt the trailer and make an extinguisher blow out the back of it. Blast off!
The man who’s selling it notes that some of the engine isn’t original, and that the steering wheel is out of a VW (which indicates that it was installed sometime after 1946, as the first VW’s weren’t imported en masse until the fifties). So, this isn’t an all-original beast. It doesn’t have any racing pedigree; it was just a machine built for fun, and then used for fun.
Without erasing the past, why not upgrade it so that a whole new generation can have fun with it? I think a good start is to get some better geometry out of the suspension. We’ve come a long way since 1946, and I doubt that the Californian hospital equipment fabricator was a suspension expert. Thus, out goes the double-shock setup in the rear, and in goes a single-spring and double-arm set-up. In the front, it appears as if there is no suspension at all. However, one would need to be installed, I think. Thus, an independent front suspension that preserves the look of the original might be in order. And, the front suspension would be chromed out, and the rear with some flat black.
Flat black is fine for the rear suspension, but what about the rest of the car? Well, it is a Rocket Car from the 40′s. Mash together a little aeronautic and rodding inspiration, and you get a shark front-end with classic flames.
To decrease the risk of rear-wheel induced projectiles, and to incorporate that license plate a little better, I thought it would be good to add a little buttress out of carbon fiber. What would be causing these projectiles, anyway? The spinning tires might have something to do with a Suzuki Hayabusa engine sitting within those rear flanks. And that carbon fiber “smoke stack” sitting behind the driver is actually an air intake. With roughly 150 hp in a 200 lb. engine, it would certainly make this Rocket Car fly.
The 1946 Rocket Car. History, not repeating itself. For more information about getting it, visit http://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/cto/2465793361.html or email email@example.com.