By Cory Doctorow at 11:56 am Thu, Apr 8, 2010
Steam Trunk Industries Ratrod!
I agree with some commentators here that this is not strictly Steampunk. But who cares, right?
This is a Really cool, classic rod with some nicely surprising design elements: like the four side pipes, busted up grill, engine details and the brilliant lack of “drag slicks” in the rear. I like it A LOT!
Thanks for the post
Yup. Not steampunk. Not Big Daddy Roth. Rat Rods are a wierd, atavistic genre of car culture. Many rat rods are exceedingly poorly engineered, visually distorted apparently as a sort of caricature of 50’s style rods. It’s as though these rodders desperately want some kind of nostalgia, so they look at granddad’s collection of “Hot Rod” and “Rod and Custom” magazine, and create a sort of post-mod pastiche, with a veneer of pre-women’s-lib cheesecake as decoration. I like ratrods if they’re simple and unaffected, hate them if they’re all about attitude, rockabilly, white trash goatees and tattoos.
Thanks for the bike links, Jake & Freddie!
There is a very well informed and technical critique posted on the creator’s site.
One of the very first objects I saw that was labeled ‘steampunk’ was this cool remote controlled tank that was powered by steam. That influences the definition of the term for me. Can’t wait for hybridpunk!
Every time someone winges about how something isn’t really steampunk, another angel in steampunk heaven gets it white rubber and rivet wings spotwelded on. I look forward to the complaints that spotwelding is non-period.
whoo! slap an sweeping red LED ‘eye’ on that thing and it’s a CyRod!
As always I dig that which you call Steampunk, but forgive me if I contribute by questioning the validity of that term.
The punk movement was (is?) the ultimate anti-establishment ideology. Impulsive, emotional, angry, confrontational. I don’t claim to be a music historian, but that’s the gist.
However,”Steampunk” seems to be a movement of ornate, calculating, tinkery, nostalgic thought. Sentimentality is NOT punk.
think it through.
I get it, it’s a steam powered hot-rod inspired by noted Victorian era hotrod designer Lord Big Daddy Ed Roth!
I would complain over calling this Steampunk, but you know what? this car is badass. You can call it Medieval for all i care, i want one.
ok so there are two tribes out there the steam punk purists who want actual working machines and then there are those who are perfectly fine buying all the brass colored paint from the local hardware store so they can go home and spray paint their favorite nerf gun or supersoaker for the next time they run around in their plastic brass painted swimming goggles with cape.
These guys glued copper to an engine to make it look cool, I think they qualify in the later catagory
enough with the hassle geez.
Big Daddy Roth would have nothing to do with this. He created original works of art, not fake-patina’d wrecks.
This is more like something the Little Rascals would build.
A little too clean for my rat rod tastes, but a lovely car, regardless.
Nice, but I’ll always prefer Rat Bikes over Rat Rods:
Nice!, But the real rats are here: http://www.ratbike.org/ and I lurves me some diesel ratbikes: http://www.dieselbike.net/ratbikes/ratbikes.htm
There are tons of these all over LA, and I doubt their owners would call them steampunk … the car show at Big Boy in Burbank had about a dozen last week.
Looks like an IC engine to me….
It would be cool to actually build *real* steam powered rod. Stanleys were fast cars for their time!
(oh, and not to be a steampunk hater, but if something is intended to be steampunk, it’a a god adea to take the barcode stickers off the copper parts. It just looks better that way)
Shouldn’t this have more brass to be proper Steampunk?
Also, for some reason, I want the passenger compartment to be shaped like a giant bowler hat.
That should read “good idea”…
Svenski got it right. That is just a Rat Rod. Nothing to do with SteamPunk or Roth.
Officially as of this post the definition of “Steampunk” is “I quite like it because it’s not ordinary. There may also be some leather or metal bits, but maybe not.”
I’m slightly disappointed that Cory, as someone who makes his living from words, would dilute a word so thoroughly.
On the other hand the car is pretty sweet so I guess I’m just here because I like complaining.
Did you not read that the car was built by a shop calling themselves “Stream Trunk Industries?” They self applied the label so it’s not Cory’s doing.
Copper lines for coolant and other fluid is not a really typical material for rat rods. Not unheard of, but not common either. They were shooting for a steampunk aesthetic here. Maybe didn’t hit the target according to you, but that’s what they were going for.
Drum Brakes FTW!
(and just to piss off the people who desperately need something to be pissed off about: steampunk! SteamPunk! STEAMPUNK!!!)
Jake von Slatt says it’s totally Steampunk and that h8terz can suck it.
I love ‘steampunk’ – esque things: anything that reflects a bygone era that history tells us did not exist during that time. I love egyptian spaceships, steam-powered time machines, and even star-trek era flip-phones.
That being said, I do not like the term ‘steampunk’. One thing you can count on from any ‘punk’ is that they are likely to stop being your definition of a punk as soon as you classify them as such, and I’d hate to see the creative effort put in to things like this beautiful car never happening because the artists’ drive to make something unique was overshadowed by having their work classified by a term as nondescript as ‘steampunk’.
Gotta agree with Svenski and Sketch V – in now way is this vehicle either Steampunk nor Roth-inspired.
Sure, while it may resemble some of the hotrods that Ed Roth drew in his cartoons, his actual hotrod builds were one-off pieces of automotive art. This car has had a lot of work done to it – but its nothing compared to Roth’s work.
As far as Steampunk: In what way is this hotrod an imagining of present day technology as viewed through a Victorian lens?
I respect Corey, but he’s not even close here as others have pointed out. Slapping copper and spikes on a big block Chevy in a suicide front end whack job doesn’t make it steampunk. Where’s the steam? Where’s the punk? Missing on both counts. Many rodders, myself included, wouldn’t even look twice at this thing. Pete Eastwood nailed it when he said “How can somebody get something that’s so easy, so wrong?”*
And Ed Roth? He *NEVER* built anything that looked this asshat awful.
*”Hot Rods: Roadsters, Coupes, Customs” by Dain Gingerelli, pg 4
It’s a beautiful project. No one is claiming that it runs on steam. Are there written rules for this sort of thing? Because rules and exclusivity kind of make something less of a subculture and more of a douche club.
Want. Need. Now.
I demand more superfluous gauges!
Steam Punk Roth Rat Rod …Who gives a flying F*ck
I think it’s the coolest car I’ve seen this week.
I say Man Up PUNKS … Critics… Post a link to the car you built and let me see if you are REAL or just a trollpunk full of your own steam!
I’ve long had a love/hate relationship with “steampunk”. I love it because it allows for an old aesthetic to apply to new things, counterbalancing the spartan “modern” look with a warm elegance. I hate it because it is the catch-all term for anything that has non-functional forms attached to give the illusion of that aesthetic.
But I’m coming around:
You all should check out my steampunk 1992 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon. It looks exactly like a 1992 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon with 140,000 miles, only it has a hood ornament made from 4 tiny nuns. I’ll probably install a CB transceiver as well. Totally steampunk!
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