‘The’ anything…

55 hardtop

…was this past weeks’ lingering thought.

Put the word “the” in front of another word… but with emphasis. Like “THE album”, or “THE ‘55 Chevy”. When you do this, especially in the presence of friends or like-minded people, you can almost always get a knowing nod or smile. If you’re Zeppelin fans, “THE album” may be either Physical Graffiti or IV (and may be grounds for a fist fight, who knows?). Say “THE ‘55 Chevy” in one group, and you conjure images of  Falfa’s black ride from American Graffiti (or its prior incarnation in gray for Two Lane Blacktop… perhaps the sound of it in Smokey and the Bandit? We’ll save that for another time…), or maybe even the first ’55 you put on the street?

55 chevy hardtop

Or in another crowd, Scott Sullivan’s Cheez Wiz Orange masterpiece. Perhaps it’s not a car, but your High School sweetheart whom you married? That one great dog you had…

Say “THE goal” to a Hockey fan, and you’ll conjure up this iconic, historic image:

orr goal

Game 4. Overtime. Sweep of the Blues on the line. First Cup victory in 29 years. Sanderson’s pass leaves Orr’s stick as he’s hit by Blues defenseman Picard (insert ‘Damage report!’ sound byte from John Patrick Stewart). As Orr sails though the air, the puck slides past goaltender Hall, and a historic moment is caught on film… quite possibly the most famous sports photo of all time…which is what got me thinking about all of this in the first place. Bobby Orr. Why would I think of Hockey’s greatest defenseman while sketching up some cars? It may have to do with my kids heading back to school this past week, and thoughts of book reports, nostalgic whatever about my days in school, who knows… But I do know that one of my first book reports was on a book about Mr. Orr, and it left an impression on me.

I recall reading the book, and thinking “whoa… this guy is the greatest!”, and not just numbers-wise, but man… he’s everything a sports hero SHOULD be: talented, dedicated, and driven. Calder Cup winner, eight straight Norris Trophies, three-time Hart Trophy recipient, two-time Conn Smythe Trophy winner, and two, count ‘em, TWO Stanley Cup winning goals… and a spot in a little place we call the Hall of Fame. He played with a terribly injured left knee, and when he felt that his play on that knee was hindering his team, he politely retired from the game. With 270 regular season career goals, and 645 assists, it’s obvious that this guy was a leader…and more. When he moved to Chicago, and his injuries allowed him to play only 26 games, he refused to accept a salary, and, in fact, never cashed a paycheck.

At that early age, what I had learned at home was reinforced in that book: work hard, remain dedicated to what you do, and earn your keep. It left a mark on me that became permanent… What’s this got to do with cars? Like I said at the beginning, there’s always that certain “something” about, well, something that just sets it apart, and etches itself on you in some way. Bobby Orr’s story was like that to me, much like Scott Sullivan’s ‘55, Doane Spence’s roadster and Winfield’s Jade Idol… Each has that mystique, that vibe that draws you in closer, and then leaves an indelible mark. Perhaps it’s that first car, the one that ‘got away’. My goal is to one day design or create something that does that to someone, and who knows, maybe inspire some grammar school kid to look up to me. May you have that effect as well, and leave behind a legacy of THE’s


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About drawinghotrods

I draw cars. I also provide full-service hot rod design and illustration, custom car, graphic and web design tailored to the custom automotive aftermarket, including logos, branding, project planning and research, and even apparel design. Need an ad, some copy, or a jump on social media? I do that, too. My mission is straightforward: To consistently provide the ultimate in design creativity and customer service, with an experience and artistic vision that is second to none. While working to raise the standard of automotive illustration, I seek to educate the public with regard to the labor and sacrifice required to create a work of fine art.

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