As many of you already know, I have a lot of hobbies. Too many, probably, but they keep me occupied. Two of them are classic cars and BMX bikes. I have joined forums that showcase each of those activities, and some of the people on them just get ridiculous. Allow me to explain what I mean.
Although it’s technically not the correct word, I call these particular people purists. They are the folks who do not, for whatever reason, believe in modification of any kind. They believe that both cars and bikes should be brought back to their factory glory if you are going to mess with them at all.
Case in point, someone on the BMX forum I’m a part of redid his Robinson race bike in colors he wanted instead of factory stuff. Very bright colors. The bike looked super cool, and I was extremely impressed with the build. However, the purist gang teamed up on him and berated his bike because it was custom. What? That attitude, to me, is nothing more than fourth-grade immaturity.
I have built both bikes and cars for quite some time, and I have never once done a full restoration on either. Not that I don’t think it’s sorta cool to source parts and make an old, jacked up bike or car factory correct again, but it takes a ton of money and time to do that. Unfortunately, money and time are the two things most of us don’t have a lot of.
When I build a bike, I strip the paint off the frame, forks, bars, sprocket, stem (what I used to call a Gooseneck), seat clamp, and whatever else may be painted. Then I prime and re-paint it in whatever color I want using spray-bomb cans from Ace Hardware. I get grips and seats and brake pads from wherever has them for cheap, and replace the tires if necessary. The bikes come out looking great and they work well because I know what I’m doing. The purists don’t like that a Mongoose which was only offered in red, black, or chrome left my garage bright blue with Huffy rims and a GT crank? Tough. My bike, my build. Neener-neener.
The same goes with cars. Most of my gear-head friends think stock is boring. That’s because it is. I like cars from the ‘60s and ‘70s, but I wasn’t around to see most of them new. For that reason, their stock forms mean very little to me. For instance, if I get an old Plymouth and the paint is brown, I’m going to redo that. Brown sucks. That leaves me with a plethora more options than the stickler purists have.
Also, nobody wants to drive a small-block with a two-barrel carburetor and tiny, restrictive exhaust manifolds. So, my classics run headers, custom mufflers and four-barrel carbs. It’s just that simple. Why go through all the trouble to make the danged engine stock when it put out 195 horse power in that form? I like my V8s to run strong. I’m no racer, but I don’t mind a little punch off the line, either.
The point is that the people who bitch and complain about custom builds should really be grateful that someone built the things at all. Too many nice old bikes and cars end up in the scrap yard, never to see the road again. Not for me. I don’t care if you lower your ’59 Edsel, put twenty-inch rims on it and paint the thing zebra-striped; at least it’ll be on the road instead of crushed or recycled. Build it how you want it, gang. Life’s too short to whine about factory correct.