Everyone and that’s no matter what kind of vehicle they drove were welcome to attend Hot August Nights in Reno, Nevada last week, but it was every year and style of Chevrolet that stole the show. And not just V-8 powered 1955-year models up either the Stovebolt Chevy six folk were there with everything from a stock “dipper-rod” 216 to a hopped-up full-pressure 292 sporting Clifford, Offenhauser, and Edelbrock speed equipment.
Lowriders a segment not typically found at mainstream custom car shows rolled in deep to Hot August Nights with mid-60s Impalas on air, and prewar bombs on hydraulics. In addition to adjustable height suspension Lowriders are famous for over-the-top custom paintjobs, and Reno did not disappoint in that department either. In particular was a 1947 Fleetline Aero paneled in pearls, candies, and flakes accented with Dave Bell style striping.
The dominant Chevy niche at 2018’s Hot August Nights were the Tri-five years with an equal mix of 1955-56, and ’57 Chevys ranging in style from restored stock with a boatload of dealer installed options to jacked-up Chevelles with flamed hoods. Donks are a style that started in South Florida, and spread to anywhere a guy could find a lift kit, and dubs-plus wheel sizes to complete the look. And not every Chevy on plus-sized wheels could be called a donk, but there’s no denying the donk look inspired owners of less radically customized cars to run with a way larger than stock sized wheel.
Only ten cars are selected at each major show and out of the thousands of cars present at HAN the pick for STREET RODDER magazine’s Top 100 Award. This year STREET RODDER chose a super simple1955 Chevy Bel Air that the closer one looked the more they realized the car was missing basic thinks like windshield wipers, and a brake master cylinder. Omitting a wiper motor under the hood and mounting a Kugel under dash brake and hydraulic clutch pedal trap left the firewall void of all mechanical elements providing a “bicycle clean” look. On the hot rod front a fully flamed 1969 Chevelle SS396 finished in Candy Apple Red sat parked on Virginia with a stack of old issues of car magazines including Chevy High-Performance on its dashboard.
STREET RODDER and Super Chevy magazine have been coming to Hot August Nights for quite a few years now shooting still photo galleries, videos, and for the last two years broadcasting Facebook Live feeds, and we’ll keep coming back to one of the most unique automotive events in the known world.
Photography by John Gilbert