A gathering of Rolling Bones creations at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2011. Photo by Peter Vincent.
Hot rodding was born as a pure pursuit of speed, but as factory efforts caught up to and finally outstripped modified old cars, the hobby became as much about looking good as going fast. Few cars better express the aesthetic of vintage velocity than those that come out of the Rolling Bones Hot Rod Shop in Greenfield Center, New York.
The fellows behind The Rolling Bones, Ken Schmidt and Keith Cornell, have developed a formula for taking early Ford sheet metal and turning it into a driveable sculpture that immediately brings to mind land-speed racing in the 1940s. Further, artful use of vintage parts and preserved decay (“patina”), both real and simulated, gives the impression of a long history dating back to hot rodding’s golden era in the immediate post-WWII years.
Of his shop’s work (and philosophy), Ken said:
We’re not interested in building street rods with new or reproduction parts. Plenty of other guys do that. Our cars are aggressive, but they’re approachable. These cars make people smile; you want to hear them run and see them move. You can drive them during the week but they’re almost a full out race car.
Anybody can make something look dirty. It takes an artist to make something look old. Great hot rods are works of art. Like a painting, when you look at it, a serious hot rod will tell you enough of its story to grab your emotions, then let your imagination take you as far and as fast as you want to go. We build stories, Rolling Bones hot rod style, one story at a time.
Dick DeLuna’s ’34 five-window with Cockshutt tractor nose perfectly demonstrates the Rolling Bones aesthetic. Photo by Kurt Ernst.
Until now, your only hope of seeing some Rolling Bones creations was to intercept them during their yearly caravan to the Bonneville Salt Flats or to chance upon one or two at a gathering of vintage-style performance cars like The Race of Gentlemen or The Hot Rod Hill Climb. Luckily, the Saratoga Automobile Museum in Saratoga Springs, New York has just announced that a full 18 of the shop’s creations will grace its Golub Gallery, beginning with a November 11 unveiling and wrapping up March 26, 2017.
To attend the opening reception, or to learn more details about the scope and duration of the Rolling Bones exhibit, contact Brandon Salls at (518) 587-1935 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit SaratogaAutoMuseum.org.