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Life of Riley Hot Rod

We have done several article lately on hot rods and rat rods and it suddenly came to me that many of our readers may not have any memories of the birth of hot rodding. There was a time when hot rodders and motorcycle riders were all believed to be hoodlums and dangerous. Those hot rods were an assembly of scavenged parts from junk yards and clunkers.

It was a time when “swell” was as common in the vocabulary as “sick” is today. It was also a time when TV was just beginning to appear in the average American home. It seems every TV show of the time had a good moral message to tell and there was always a happy ending.

The following B&W episode of Life of Riley is a little long but is a “grand” example of the status of hot rodding and TV in the eary 1950s. You might also notice a little more resemblance to today’s rat rods than the trailer queen fiberglass hot rods of today. Sit back, enjoy and learn a little about the age of innocence in America and the birth of the hot rod.

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I grew up and lived in Iowa for a good portion of my life before moving to Southern California. After 20+ years we now live outside Nashville Tennessee. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle especially the 1969/1970 NASCAR Aero Cars. (Check out our other web site at site) As long as it has four wheels and an engine I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife, Katriana, is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. We have a small collection that includes at least one car from each of the Big Three. It includes a Best of Show winner, a survivor, a driver with lots of patina and several others. Katrina prefers all original cars while I like to modify them so we have a few of each. When we aren't playing with cars we are out working with or showing our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at

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