Living that Traditional Hot Rod and Kustom Vibe
By Chuck Vranas – Photography & Videography by the Author
It’s been a longtime coming. Finally, after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the 7th Annual Hot Rod Jalopy Jam Up in Canada is back. Back in 2014 a trio of like-minded hot rodders gathered their collective thoughts to lay down plans for creating a unique traditional hot-rodding experience with a dynamic fusion of all the right elements. Fresh from the inventive minds of Jeff Norwell, Brandon Roberts, and Jay Tyrrell, the initial ideas for the Jalopy Jam Up evolved to spotlight pre-’64 traditionally styled hot rods and customs built to reflect eras from the ’40s-’60s.
Initially, the ghoulish twist was that it took place in the sleepy town of Durham, Ontario, within the rustic confines of Frontier Ghost Town. Flanked by small rustic structures creating the town, it was the perfect destination for a two-day event spotlighting vintage hop-ups, kustom kulture, high-octane sets of rockabilly music, and an old-timey swap meet. The inaugural year brought with it plenty of windswept rain that would have created havoc at any other venue, but at the Jam Up, the muddy roads acted as a right-of-passage for the hard-core traditionalists who all claimed the event as their own.
This spark led to the show increasing in size each additional year with cars participating from all over Canada and the U.S. Eventually with all the growth, the event moved onto the historic Rockton World’s Fair established well over 150 years ago and spanning close to 80 manicured acres, where now well over 500 traditional cars gather each year to celebrate. It’s created a wicked-cool show that has a vibe all its own, giving hot rod and custom owners something truly different to look forward to every year. There was a full schedule to check out, starting with a vintage bicycle show, classic pin-up contest, minibike races on the dirt track, old-time pie-eating contest, tattoo artist, classic barbershop, and even pinstripers laying down lines. Let’s not forget the killer sets of nitro-fused rockabilly from the area’s top talents, including the HellBent Rockers, Green Reflectors, Amy D/C, Mark Malibu and the Wasagas, Trucker Mouth, The Pistolettes, and tunes spun by DJ Swankenstein. This is definitely a show to add to your calendar. You can dig it all at jalopyjamup.com. MR