Flamed Cars


53 Responses to “Flamed Cars”

  1. ill lich says:

    For several yeas I have fantasized about getting Ford Pinto and painting flames on it . . . coming out the back.

  2. zuzu says:

    Carl: Oh sweet nectar. This pool is freakin’ sweet. It’s like my pool is tearing ass around the backyard. But it’s staying still. Still waters run deep.

  3. igpajo says:

    I saw flames on a mailbox today! Cracked me up.

  4. Egypt Urnash says:

    Oh, man, I just spent like an hour looking through Hot Rods & Custom Stuff’s build logs. I never would have imagined myself being fascinated by this but all the process involved…!

  5. nck wntrhltr says:

    The guy’s mood is definitely “I can hold it until the next rest area.”

  6. dculberson says:

    Rudy, I love the flames on your old car. Totally rock the house.

    Flames and low riders are so under appreciated. I bought a lowered ’68 Ford wagon a few years ago to pimp around in for a few months and had a blast. The experience was so surreal; driving to work behind a desk all day and knowing that this creation is waiting to take me home.

    I ended up selling it in a fit of pique, to “simplify,” but don’t regret our time together.

    Glass packs, too. Glass packs are great.

  7. Pyros says:

    Human facial expressions are universal. We all know what a smile or a frown means. The mood of the driver of this car, on the other, cannot be discerned because such an expression cannot be found in the compendious catalogue of human expression.

    There is only one conclusion to draw.

  8. dross1260 says:

    Sheldon: I have flames on my car. I HAVE FLAMES ON MY CAR!

  9. Cupcake Faerie says:

    Rudy, Back in the day (1973),having such a car (with hand-painted flames),did you get pulled over an inordinate amount of times by the local authorities?

  10. Antinous / Moderator says:

    I’m not that keen on the True Fire. It makes me think of those glamor photos at the mall photo booth. Or lens flares.

  11. zuzu says:

    Or lens flares.

    Lens flares are cool again. Just ask J.J. Abrams. (Fringe, Star Trek)

  12. Strange Quark Star says:

    Neck wrinkle!!

  13. TroofSeeker says:

    That is beautiful, Mr. Snoddy!
    I hope some drunk doesn’t try to piss it out.

  14. Anonymous says:

    sweet ride. the guy in the drawing shouldn’t be driving a car, he’s out there!

    my bike has flames on it, flames coming off of dice! i’m fast and i gamble.

  15. Anonymous says:

    My side gig is painting flames (and whatever else) on cars. I did my own a couple years ago…




    There’s something intangible that people just love about fire on something so loud, American and nasty looking. I don’t have ANY idea where it comes from, but I like it.

  16. Anonymous says:

    There’s something very fractal and stylized about great flame jobs. Turn them around and they’re like something out of an Asian woodblock print, maybe a dragon’s mane. I’d love to see an ambulance with red and blue art in the same, er, vein.

  17. bbonyx says:

    @#12 – I’m not sure, but my bet would be that cars probably didn’t have flame jobs before the Rocket Age. My guess is that seeing the re-entry of early spacecraft, which have that furnace for a nose when dropping through the atmosphere, might have been inspiration for the earliest paint jobs, the idea being to make your car look like it’s going as fast as Shepard’s Mercury Freedom 7 on his way home.

    But I could be totally off.

  18. Pheidias says:

    I took a course or two from Rudy back in the day. I remember that car.

  19. Poustman says:

    I love the handpainted flames! Much better IMO than stylized commercial ones.

  20. grimc says:

    +1 on the awesomeness of the eyeless mouth

  21. Anonymous says:

    That “Man in Flame Car” painting is great. Fun. Looks like my sister’s man-partner Frank.

  22. Anonymous says:

    People who paint flames on classic cars professionally are true artists! Having gone to every classic car show/rally in the SoCal area that you can think of, I am constantly amazed by the detail and craftsmanship.

  23. geobarefoot says:

    Hot rod flames are THE best and will improve anything. End of argument. I say this as I slurp coffee out of my stainless steel coffee mug that I flamed almost ten years ago. Coffee never looked or tasted better.

  24. Anonymous says:

    but is it alive!?

  25. Ohhhsnap says:

    Alas, I am not a fan of flames on a car. But that’s just me, and I hold no judgment on anyone who does.

    However, can someone explain to me what the appeal of them is? What the meaning is? Seriously, for my own information.

  26. TroofSeeker says:

    I’ve seen a lot of flames, I’m almost ‘burned out’ on them, but the job you did on that Firebird is absolutely beautiful. Absolutely.
    You da [flame painting] man!

  27. Antinous / Moderator says:

    The first lecture in my first design studio when I went to school was about customizing cars. Specifically about how the racing stripe was a custom element which rapidly turned into mass-market blandness. Wouldn’t it be nice if cars came with just a protective coating and everybody took their car to an artist to get the final paint job? We’re not a very visually interesting culture.

  28. Takuan says:

    just what IS the oldest example of flames on a go-fast machine?

  29. TroofSeeker says:

    These are all very pretty, but I want to see a car decorated with REAL flames. Not impossible, running tubes with little holes drilled in them around the wheel wells and grill, and pumping propane gas thru them. Better use a powder coat paint tho.

  30. broken_fingers says:

    The earliest flame jobs on cars I’m aware of were in the 30′s or 40′s on oval track cars in SoCal. They weren’t a reflection of the rocket age, but a simple illustration of a car engine being on fire.

    I’d tell more, but my magazine collection is long since gone.

    Good people to ask might be Pat Ganahl–long-time hot rod magazine writer, Dennis Ricklefs–excellent flame painter (hope he’s still alive), Pete Santini–world-class car painter…I could go on, but the cat wants out.

  31. broken_fingers says:

    Might also inquire at the H.A.M.B., Jalopy Journal’s Hokey Ass Message Board–someone there will either have the story or know who to ask to find the truth.

  32. KurtMac says:

    A newer trend in the car flames is a style called “True Fire” which is an airbrush technique that looks like actual fire instead of the flat lobster-claw pinstriped style pictured in the post. First heard from it from an artist named Mike Lavelle who specializes in it.



  33. Anonymous says:

    I’m not a big fan of flame cars myself, but I absolutely love that painting. It explains to me, on a level that words can’t quite reach, why a person might like flame cars. It makes me want to like them, too.

  34. endymion says:

    #2: Nice! I was going to write the exact same comment, but you beat me to it.

    It’s from a truly funny movie, everyone… look it up!

  35. nanuq says:

    I vividly remember having flames on one of my old cars. Fortunately, the firemen were able to put it out.

  36. Alli says:

    My 4 yr old is car obsessed, and can ID most makes and models. And what kind of car is his fav? Cars with flames of course!

  37. Anonymous says:

    All the car needs is the sign in the back window reading “Don’t laugh, Jack. Your daughter may be in this car.”

    Of course, given my age, it might read “Don’t laugh, Jack. Your Mother may be in this car.”

  38. Anonymous says:

    Your handpainted flames are some of the only ones I’ve seen that I liked.
    The cliche flames you see on everything these days are usually a strong indicator that I’m not going to like the owner of said item.
    Vice magazine once had a picture of a meathead in flame covered gear, and the caption said something like “ever notice how the people who have fire on their clothes are the ones who deserve to burst into flames?” Generally I think that’s true.

    But yeah, your 1973 car looks super badass, your daughter is lucky to have grown up with such a cool dad.

  39. Beanolini says:

    #14: Takuan:

    just what IS the oldest example of flames on a go-fast machine?

    Not sure, but my guess is that flames on cars are related to WW2 aircraft nose art.

  40. Lobster says:

    Once when I was on the highway I saw this big column of smoke rising into the air. As I drew closer I saw that it was a fire. Someone’s SUV was burning. The flames were intense, but there was surprisingly little smoke and it looked like the paint hadn’t been destroyed yet. It must have gone up quick.

    But I can safely say, even after going to a bonfire, that that SUV was the most on-fire thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life.

  41. UncommonSense says:

    He’s probably worrying whether that lump is malignant, and wondering why he thought a car without doors was a good idea.

  42. TroofSeeker says:

    I always thought it would be cool to take a crappy old beater and paint black smoke billowing out of the wheel wells.

    Oh, and Rudy- anyone who feels that they can’t paint a picture should be inspired by your paintings.

    Clearly the naked driver is wearing a cheap human disguise. Frickin’ Romulans.

  43. grimc says:

    just what IS the oldest example of flames on a go-fast machine?

    Dunno, but in my attempt to try and find out, googling “history car custom paint” revealed a Google feature I never knew existed.

  44. mattsnoddy says:

    The flames on cars are usually related to overly-rich engines running without exhaust (open headers) and the exhaust gases igniting, creating flames out of the bottom or sides of the car.

    Sometimes they just mean speed, though, such as the paint heating up to the point of burning from the air friction.

    I have a true fire paint job on the sides of my 2008 Challenger.



  45. Anonymous says:

    @38 mattsnoddy:

    Damn, that is a beautiful car.

    Never really liked flames, but this post just might win me over.

  46. Anonymous says:

    its nice car ha

  47. Anonymous says:

    I used to like the flamed cars, but now there’s to many company vehicles sporting flame decals…

  48. Practical Archivist says:

    I’m a big fan of ghost flames: http://tinyurl.com/ksgkze …and a new convert to the AWESOMENESS of true fire. Thanks, #16 Kurtmac!

  49. Anonymous says:

    Cars are fine, but can you make a nice chocolate shake?


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