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WATCH THIS: The wayback machine is all about the Bad News…

Published in blog.hemmings.com

It’s the end of January. If you’re anywhere east of, say, Arizona, it seems like it’s well below freezing and driving an old car is limited to the earliest year for factory seat heaters. But if you’re in California, old-car season lasts all year, bless that Golden State. It also means two of the year’s biggest events in cardom: the Turlock Swap in Northern California and the mighty Grand National Roadster Show in the Southland.

It’s always a hard decision for West Coast gearheads: “Do I need stuff for the new project?” Turlock. “Do I want to see everyone else’s new project?” GNRS. Neither is a bad choice, and we’ve certainly seen people do both in the same weekend. That’s no less than 1,000 miles of driving, but hey — not like we haven’t done crazier things to fuel our habit, right?

To celebrate the Grand National Roadster Show, we thought it was time to watch our favorite episode of the long-gone Rides TV show. If you remember Rides, it was a little corny, since it featured the voice-over talents of Jason Priestly (or “Brandon from 90210,” if you’ve got a daughter in her 30s). Jason had to read from a script and the show’s writers clearly knew very little about how to talk like gearheads who actually knew what they were talking about, so we can’t blame Jason, entirely. Well, maybe we can…

Our favorite episode was called “Rat Rods.” Now, we really hate what that term conjures up these days, but back before this episode aired, it really distinguished the movement that the Choppers car club of Burbank embodied from the street rod scene that had been convalescing for years by the early Aughts. If you can get past the Priestly narration, this episode is jam-packed with great hot-rod history, anecdotal experiences, important artists, and how-to tech, and one of our favorite hot rods emerges at the end. How can that be bad?

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Gearheads cannot live on muscle cars, alone. And you won’t be sorry for having spent an hour with this story.