ALAMOSA — A lost art: the term may well describe the hobby known as hot-rodding.
This is the premise that guides the recently published “The State of American Hot Rodding,” by David Lawrence Miller. This piece is a compilation of 20 short stories about the building and refurbishing of old-style cars.
In chapter 12, John Davis of Alamosa is featured. Davis was the owner of Van’s Machine Shop for 45 years. He started his career sweeping floors at Van’s in 1954 at approximately 16 years old. Davis continued to work his way up and became the owner of the business at 38.
During that time Davis built a 31 Model A. He drew the original plans in 1955. Parts for the car came from a 1931 roadster, a 1947 Ford Sedan, and a 1949 Oldsmobile. The vehicle was completed in 1959.
Davis drove the car for four years, and then sold it to Joe Boos in 1963 who later transferred it to his daughter, Joelle Medina and her family. The car was refurbished in 2013 with the assistance of Kenneth Yohn. The car is now over 50 years old. The “Widdle Car,” as it is called is a piece of history.
Davis has been referred to by Miller as the “go-to machinist for a generation of southern Colorado hot rodders.” He also recognizes that there is less knowledge about the craft and that it has become increasingly expensive. He is hopeful that the craft will be revived and continues to share his story.