SoCal Rockabilly in the City of Glass

Brendan McAleer
by Brendan McAleer
socal rockabilly in the city of glass

Vancouver’s a funny place when it comes to car culture. One one hand, we’ve got a downtown core that’s switching over to highly affluent residential living, similarly well-heeled Western regions and, carved into the hillsides of West Vancouver, a community that rates its own “Real Housewives Of…” unreality show.

Fuelled by wealth swirling off the Pacific Rim, there’re a lot of high-status automobiles on the streets: throw a rock at random and you’ll likely hit a Supercharged Range Rover, but only after a bounce off two 911s and a Ferrari California. I’ve seen more curbed dubs, beat-up Vantages and hack-job ‘tuner’ M3s than I care to remember. I even recall seeing an RS4 with doilies on the headrests.

Still, to each his own, and for the residents of East Vancouver that means a backlash against conspic-consump buggies and an affinity for hot-rodding. Quick, hand me a ballpoint before somebody notices I don’t have a neck tattoo.

Loud. That might well be the theme of this year’s East Van Show and Shine. A four-piece band just finished hooking the crowd with Back in Black and have moved into their own set list which is considerably uptempo. Cars are rolling in and out, this chopped n’ channelled rod’s lumpy idle sounding like Rodimus Prime falling down a flight of stairs.

Naturally, no show could be considered complete until somebody shows up in a Studebaker Avanti with straight-pipes and has a rev-off with a chopper-bike. (The Stude takes the win, if you’re interested.)

The heterogeneity of the crowd might well be summed up by this particular eyesore. Sure, the two Ray-Ban’d young persons checkin’ it out might be just back from a photo-shoot for hawking underpants or cologne, but there’s all sorts here. Also, a Corel Word Perfect sticker? Seriously?

Bike culture is big in Vancouver, and, like other West Coast cities, much of it could be described as anti-car. Not these two harmonious lead-sleds – make welds not war.

Not a commuter-car then. Gas flipped to a buck-fifty per litre this weekend (past the $6-a-gallon mark), which should mean we all run out and buy Velosters for high-style low-impact motoring. Alternatively, run this thing and rob banks.

Bikes are a big part of the outlaw identity of those pushed East by developers, but cubes don’t necessarily count.

There’s a whole range of two-wheelers here, and I kinda dig the sharpie-scrawl on this next one…

On a Husqvarna no less!

Categories? This ain’t that kinda show. with a single block set aside for angle-parking, it’s the wide mix you get that makes things interesting. A pink Isetta just makes sense.

And not everything is weird or ratty. Plain black t-shirt with jeans and green Chucks = still a badass.

D’ye loike dags? Funny how there’s a pack of mutts here and not a single dalmatian: no Sublime fans?

Just shot down Snoopy.

More evidence of the Grand National Problem: every Firechicken a Burt, every Gran Torino a Starsky.

The old. An empty lot, a ratty Olds, a decrepit VW bus, body-shops, brickwork and bars on the windows.

The new. Splinters of glass-front hammered into the East as the real-estate bubble swells outward. This cherry cherry Caddy lasted. It won’t.

Gas is expensive. The car is a dinosaur. Efficiency is king. Gridlock strangles horsepower. Regulations clamp down fun. The public is falling out of love with the automobile.

Rock n’ Roll is dead. Except, of course, that it isn’t.

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2 of 14 comments
  • Felis Concolor Felis Concolor on May 29, 2012

    Love the stretched Cadillac air cleaner on Thirsty Bitch; that's an especially clean design.

  • Mad_science Mad_science on May 29, 2012

    You can get a slightly rough, driver-grade classic for $5k, a new sporty, stylish commuter for $20k. Even at $5/gallon, $15k buys a lot of gas.

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂