Hot rods are typically old classic American cars with large engines modified for linear speed. Richard Quaid and Keith Johnstone are hardly old – they do have vehicles with superior grunt though, and are both big supporters of the local American Rod and Custom Club – their trophies a sign of their love of the hot rod.

Richard, a keen car enthusiast recently purchased his new hot rod; a fiery orange 1932 Ford with impressive flames on the sides. You might have notice d his personalized plate: CULA8A. He’s fanatical about the look of his cars: when I ask about the size of the tyres he says, “Small at the front, big at the back! The engine is an impressive 350hp with a 350 manual shift gearbox and the fuel consumption is pretty good – I can get 6hrs of driving with a 120lt tank. Not bad with a supercharged engine.”

Both Richard and Keith also own classic cars, so what’s the fascination with hot rods? “Because they look awesome and go fast!”

One of the main changes to the vehicles has been the chopping and channelling on the vehicles to change them. The main change, they say, is the 3 inches taken off the roof, shortening the vehicles to give them the hot rod look.

Keith’s 1934 blue Ford Coupe also sports large vibrant flames on the doors and bears the number: VENMOUS “Like the sting”, he says. “I can do a ¼ mile in 10.9secs standing start, and have had her up to 128 mph,” he says. “She has suicide doors, and her engine is a 383 blown super charge trans-auto, with a 9 inch diff. My front tyres are 15” x 195 and the back 30 x 12. “The fuel consumption isn’t as good – I can only do a couple of hours as it’s a smaller tank.”

Richard hasn’t had his car long enough to take it too far, but he was very happy with the drive back from Hamilton where he purchased it.

Keith says he drives his often having taken it to places like Dunedin, Cromwell and the Kaikoura Hop. He has won was People’s Choice voted by the club members 3 years, twice in a row.

Richard’s trophy: Best American Car of the year chosen by the President – not bad when he has only had the car a couple of months.

Both say the Hot Rod club adds to their love of Hot Rods. The Club based at Tinwald, meets once a month. “The club rooms have lots of memorabilia and photos of vehicles and trips on the walls. It’s a great atmosphere and a good mix of people. Hot Rod clubs are pretty strong throughout the country, with owners not thinking twice about heading up to Whagamata to the Beach Hop, or down to Cromwell. The clubs are a great way to meet people of all ages and are great hosts wherever you go,” says Richard.