Patina: Scratching at the Bottom

Thoughts on the whole “patina” thing:

It’s played. It’s over. Not everything is a “barn find”, kids. Do the fucking math. There aren’t nearly enough barns to house all of these “finds”. I mean, I understand that the term sounds better than “abandoned in a field”, or “yanked from the makeshift wrecking yard behind some guy’s trailer”, but let’s be honest here…. they all can’t be priceless wonders from a bygone era. A few have to be the pieces of shit they really are. That’s how life works. I mean, shit… I wanted to be the handsome, trendy designer who looks great with a $75 haircut and the collectible sneakers, but the reality is that I’m a homely motherfucker with a $7.95 haircut and whatever sneakers were on sale that week. But I make the most of it by creeping on people at the supermarket… I mean “being an upbeat kinda guy”.

Getting back on track here, I simply want to point out that the patina thing is no longer really a step or two away from the rat rod thing; it’s merged into one big shit festival sort of thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the low-budget project scene. It’s where I come from, and will wind up once more when I scratch together enough coin to fund a low-budget project (see that? I’m lower than low-budget, and even I understand that there’s a line between doing what one can afford, and simply settling for garbage). It’s just that, well, not everything ages gracefully. Goldie Hawn, for instance. Yeah, she MAY HAVE BEEN something else many moons ago, but now, well… not with a stolen one. (speaking of stolen, uh, “units”, you’d be hard-pressed to imagine getting it to function well enough to even get the other party on board. I’d imagine that it’s be a lot of “just hold still while I…damn it!” and then you’d have to get a popsicle stick and some… oh, I get it now. You’d be better to drop the flowery language, and just say “No, not ever.”) For the ladies, picture your circa-1991 dream date with Val Kilmer. Back then, you’d have waited an eternity for it to happen. Yet, reality creeps in, and hands you present-day, aged and weathered Val, and while nostalgia may cloud a bit of judgement, you will no doubt begin to recognize a bit of Meatloaf in there, and that’s not really what you had signed on for, is it?

It’s like that with a patina vehicle. If you picked it up because it has a solid body that will allow for a “build-and-drive” scenario (which is fucking retarded if you ever actually plan on finishing it, as you’ll eat the budget in maintenance and repairs from daily abuse), well, good on you. But, if you’re fooling yourself into thinking that those rusty flanks and faded layers of poorly-applied “paint” are the pinnacle of style, I might suggest going home, because you’re drunk. How can I possibly support this opinion with fact? You’ve got a point… My argument may appear subjective at best. However, ask yourself just how many times you’ve gone to look at a potential project, and either written it off as “needing paint”, or tried to work a bargain because, well, it “needs paint”?

Precisely. And you’ll be the guy who gets his feelings hurt when asked “are you going to paint it?”

And this “faux-tuna”, fake rust and faded paint bullshit? I equate that whole “genre” with the “continuation” or “tribute” cars. The SS or COPO or R/T clones that are pushed in our faces year after year. They’re not worth the build cost, because, at the end of the day, they’re still a fake. And what’s the point of owning something that merely represents what you really want? It would be like dating a mannequin, simply because it appears feminine in form, and you’d like to date something that is also feminine in form. It’s wrong on so many levels. And do we really need another dick joke or double entendre in the form of “door art”? Yeah, “Brown Star Lounge, Plenty of Parking in Rear” is hilarious when you see it on three trucks at the same show. Grow the fuck up. I’m always surprised to find that the guy with that truck isn’t wearing a “Big Johnson” t-shirt from that Val Kilmer era.

That said, I ask simply for the following:

Stop calling every damned crusty pile of shit car or truck that you yanked from a ravine a “barn find”. Even if you find some rusty hulk of worthless rot in a barn, don’t praise it. Realize that, just maybe, some guy tried to hide it from view, and keep it from leeching into the ground water, in the hope that it would never fall into the pages of another third-rate magazine. Kinda like in “The Walking Dead”, where they lock the undead in a garage to keep them from harming society at large. Speaking of which, dear magazines, if your feature vehicles are setting the bar at bolt-on parts and no body/interior craftsmanship, you can thank yourselves for the lack of finished projects to feature in the future. It’s a vicious cycle.

Put some effort into your project. Yeah, not everyone is a painter or a stitch master. However, you learned the basics, right? With some practice, you were confident enough to embark on your own build. Apply that same sense to learning the rest. Be a renaissance man.

And for the love of all that is holy, please understand that smoothie wheels don’t make a statement other than “I’m just like that guy. And that other guy. And those fifteen guys over there”). And artillery wheels only look good on vehicles manufactured prior to the second World War.

In conclusion, reach for greatness, or simply keep scratching at the bottom. It’s your call.


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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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