May '20

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56 THE SHOP MAY 2020 F lame paint jobs on a car are a very old hot rod tradition. When we interviewed Ed Iskenderian years ago, he recalled being 12 years old and seeing older boys driving stripped-down Model Ts or Whippets with flames around town in 1933. Iskenderian said the cars were called Gug Jobs, Get Up and Go's or Hot Iron. So, the idea of having a hot car or a car with a hot engine goes way back. Of course, there's no better way to show people you have a hot car with a hot engine than to have flames painted down the side of the body, looking like they are exiting from the headers. Cars at many shows— including trade shows like SEMA and PRI—capture this concept perfectly. There's nothing cooler than a hot rod with chrome exhaust headers ending near the side of the cowl and beautifully crafted flames heading rearward from there. A HOT TREND We'd guess that the nose art applied to World War II fighter planes and bombers had a little something to do with the evo- lution of body graphics and flame jobs on hot rods. There were many aircraft manu- facturers in the Los Angeles area during WWII and many of their employees were involved in the expansion of hot rodding that occurred in that region immediately after the war ended. Flames actually moved from the doors and rear quarters of cars to the nose, hood and fenders when early rodders began modifying fat-fendered cars like 1940 Fords. Nose art-style flames looked especially good on certain vehicles, such as the rounded fronts of Ford F-1 pickups. When Detroit stylists went to the enve- lope body as the '50s began, flame painters gained a larger canvas to work on and many flame jobs once again stretched from the front fenders to the doors. However, when it came to pickups of the late traditional hot rod era, the flames looked better when limited to the hood and fenders, since there was so much sheet metal to heat up with a flame job. Specialty vehicle shops that offer painting services can turn this relatively easy-to-learn skill into a profit generator if they have the needed resources and follow a few simple steps. Let's take a very quick look at the basic process of painting flames. A HOT PROCESS When it comes to painting flames, cleanli- ness is important for both car and shop. Tidy up your workspace and then use a grease and wax remover on the areas of the vehicle that the flames will cover. After the car is washed, it must be com- pletely toweled down so it's very dry. Then, wet-sand areas that will be flamed with 600-grit paper. The surface must be as smooth as a baby's behind. Once sanding is completed, prepare the What's a cool hot rod without hot graphics? By John Gunnell Flames With Fun 56 THE SHOP MAY 2020 Note how the radiator shell is flamed to match the flames on this car's body. Tri-color designs with orange and yellow flames and white outlines are always popular.

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