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We are 10 – Home Grown throws a party

Martin Smith owns this HGHR-built roadster which many may remember was once fenderless  

It’s hard to believe, but Home Grown Hot Rods is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.  That’s 10 years of creating high-quality hot rods and chassis packages, as well as undertaking a complete range of hot rod fabrication work.   It’s easy to take for granted now, but before the advent of Jon Golding’s business, if you wanted a hot rod built in the UK, there weren’t too many options.  The essence of HGHR’s success over the past decade has been to “standardise” hot rod construction, to some degree, while opening up the hobby to a wider audience.

The ex-Geordie Paul coupe in the foreground which Jon fitted with fenders and running boards 

In the past, if you wanted a high-quality rolling chassis package on which to base your rod, then a popular option was to import one from the States, from one of several established hot rod shops.  Nowadays, however, you don’t need to do that, as HGHR will build you one of equal quality, using proven hot rod hardware.  There’s no guesswork involved, as they use tried and tested components that are known to work, and chassis can even be specified to full show finish, if desired.   Jon has found a niche for these products, as well as for fully built, turn-key hot rods, judging by the steady stream of customers beating a path to his door in Southend.

The outrageously quick, big-block Chevy-powered Pop of Jeff Meads put in a noisy appearance, shown here behind Vince Grant's Model A coupe  

To mark the occasion of the company’s 10th anniversary, Jon and right-hand man, Andy Barry, decided to give a little something back to their customers last weekend, by inviting them to a special, one-off open day and barbeque at their premises.

The great weather ensured a healthy turnout for this private event, which kicked off in the afternoon and attracted nearly 50 quality hot rods and a smattering of ’50s through ’70s muscle cars. 

Dan Boone and Ian Callum (right) swop stories

There were one or two surprises for guests, too – notably, the arrival of Jaguar’s Chief Designer, Ian Callum, and his HGHR-built black Deuce, commentator and all-round nice guy John Price was there with his family, and later in the day, the appearance of popular hot rodding figure and ex-pat, John Reid, who had come all the way from California.  In addition, a film crew from the Fifth Gear television programme was present, with enthusiastic presenter, Jonny Smith, scheduled to front a special 75th Anniversary of the Deuce tribute, which will air on national TV in about four weeks’ time – we’ll let you know exactly when.  Jonny is an enthusiastic petrol-head, who is in the process of having a low-rider Chevy Impala built, so you couldn’t find a more sympathetic individual to host this particular programme.  Jonny interviewed Ian Callum and Dan Boone, while the crew took loads of footage over an eight-hour period.   

Jonny Smith - a presenter (and self-professed car pervert) for the Fifth Gear TV series

What was particularly noticeable about this event was the way everyone helped out – a great atmosphere and sense of camaraderie seemed to pervade the whole occasion.  Hot rodder, Steve Bird, swapped his blown Model B for a pair of cooking utensils as he became Chef for the Day, and he was ably assisted by Jon’s brother, Peter.  There’s no doubt the hard-working duo did a great job of keeping well over 100 visitors happy.

Steve Bird had the rabble under control in his makeshift kitchen

In the evening, a cruise was organised to the Southend sea front in order to show the local Subaru boys some proper hot rods, and for those who made the trip, there was also the chance to eat and drink at a local hostelry overlooking the scenic Thames Estuary. 

Later in the day, groups of cars set off for the sea front

Overall, it was a relaxing, low-key event, which seemed to be appreciated by all who attended.  There is already talk of repeating it in some shape or form for 2008.

Jon would like to pass on his thanks to everyone who came and a special thank you to all of the helpers on the day, especially Neil Tadman, Ben Weston, Anthony Haylock, new shop sales assistant for the day, Cameron Kirk, plus STP and for supporting the event.  Roll on 2008!

Story: Andy Kirk & Graham Jones
Photos: Andy Kirk

Cameron was selling HGHR T-shirts and STP goodies throughout the day

Cruisin' Southend's bright lights was a highlight

This seriously bad Tri-Chevy owned by local rodder Mark Le Mood  

Some of the Bristol boys made the long trip over

Ian Callum's Deuce prepares to battle Neil Tadman's '34

It's amazing what a change in rolling stock and the absence of a hood can do to change the appearance of a car.  As you might have guessed, this Hemi-powered '34 was formerly owned by John Best  

Jon is building this lovely Hilborn-injected 502 big block roadster for his brother

Keith Abrehart's all-steel 3-window coupe has progressed since we last saw it

Neil Tadman's fab '34 and a lovely 'Cuda from the 70s reflected the diversity of cars on show

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