Marc Christ
Brand Manager, Modified Mustangs & Fords
June 11, 2014

The car scene is one big, happy family. Everyone meets up for cruises, races, car shows, or club meets, sharing in our DNA one commonality to which we can all relate—cars (and trucks, of course). Everybody talks about their car, what they’ve done to it, and how long they’ve had it. But it seems like lately, the big-money cars and budget-minded cruisers have become increasingly polarized from each other. Guys like Chip Foose, Troy Trepanier, and the Ringbrothers have taken their pro-built showpieces to the next level with spaceship-like mods, and receiving rock star acclaim in most of the leading magazines, including this one.

There once was a time that any roadworthy classic Mustang or Ford could be appreciated by just about everyone that laid eyes on it, young or old. Now, you’ll either see a restored stocker, or you see builds that are trying to break the record for most body modifications ever—not much in between. The latter are obviously trying to match or compete with the aforementioned masters of metal. But it’s not all about following trends, or at least it shouldn’t be.

Big money builds set trends, there’s no arguing that. Look at Eleanor, for instance. It’s builds like those that drive the aftermarket industry. But there’s also a place, a very large place, in the automotive world for budget-minded builds that penetrate through the outer crust of the elitist of budgets and down into the core of small towns, neighborhoods, and driveways everywhere. These builds, in my humble opinion, are what makes classic cars, hot rods, and the car scene in general what it is, and they should not to be taken for granted.

Check out 16-year-old Austin Keech and his unique ’67 Fastback on page 74.

There’s something to be said for a guy and his son (or daughter) building a project car or maintaining an existing one. Where I think many of these builds fall short is in their intention to make their project like the big-buck builds, when they are too far apart to pull that off. It often turns out looking cheesy, tacky, and often cartoony and fake. I know these people don’t mean for it to look like that, so it breaks my heart every time I see one.

What people often miss is seeing their project as an opportunity to set their own trends, creating their own personal masterpiece that transcends any boundaries set by budgets or society. Crazy body mods, an amazing paintjob, and a Kaase big-block are all amazing, but don’t define a car’s character; just as the size of your house, where you work, the brand of your clothes, and your zip code don’t define your character as a person.

The solution? Well, you have to determine that on your own. If a Mustang is going to break the bank, then look at a Falcon, Comet, or Fairlane. Heck, you could even get a four-door. You could spend the leftover budget on a mod or two that you want to do, not because someone else has done it, but because you like it. You should need no other reason to do it. Be creative, utilize the resources you have at your fingertips, and forge your own trend. There’s no shame in having a humble budget, and your imagination sets your only boundaries.


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