Greg Wapling

PANIC | FAQ | Help
Chev 34 | 51 Pickup | Business Directory | Photo Gallery | Readers Rides | Under Construction | Virtual Body Shop
General | Documentaries | Events | How-to
Artists By Name | Artists by Genre | Music Links
American Chopper | American Hot Rod | Horsepower TV | Hot Rod TV | Monster Garage | Overhaulin | Rides | Wheels TV | Wrecks to Riches
Queensland | New South Wales | Victoria | Tasmania | South Australia | Northern Territory | Western Australia | New Zealand
Let's Go Cruisin | Dry Lakes Racers Australia | Hot Rod Internet | OzRodders | HAMB | Rodders Roundtable | Land Racing
subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link

Hot Rod History


Pat Aust


Car Collector Pat Aust
A Fireman's Full House of Projects

After 35 years of serious collecting, Pat Aust is ready to catch up on a few projects and move a few more of his cars into the "completed" category. As a second-generation Southern California native hot rodder, Pat was messing with cars well before receiving his driver's license, and luckily for him, he's been able to hang on to a majority of those four-wheeled fascinations. Back in the '60s, Pat started off with a 1953 Ford Country Squire station wagon that he fixed up and eventually sold to purchase a pristine 1956 Chevy Bel Air hardtop. The '56 was given the treatment of the day with new paint, leather interior, and chrome reversed wheels. That ride lasted until the end of high school, but soon a family and civil servant career took center stage.

Antique cars remained a fascination for Pat, and a young Aust combined his passion with his career as a then-rookie fireman and began collecting antique fire engines. He first acquired a 1919 American La France pumper that was the first motorized fire truck purchased by the city of Inglewood, California, followed by a similar 1924 model purchased to protect Catalina Island just off the SoCal coast. A couple more fire engines would follow, but when it was clear that storage of such large vehicles was going to be a problem, Aust's focus returned to more garage-friendly antique passenger cars. By the mid-'70s, a wave of nostalgia focused the search on a Tri-Five Chevrolets, and after looking at hundreds of candidates, a suitable example was finally found in a pristine and nearly 100-percent original '55 Chevy Nomad. More cars would follow, like a '38 Ford sedan delivery, a '56 Chevy Del Rey, a '47 Chevy sedan delivery, a '40 Ford coupe, a '29 Ford roadster, a '35 Auburn phaeton, a '42 Ford convertible, a '32 Ford three-window coupe, and a '36 Ford phaeton. Most of the cars would stick around, just like the fire trucks, as Pat's garage expanded to house them all.

Today, after retiring as fire chief of the Redondo Beach Fire Department in California, Pat has plenty of time on his hands to catch up on some of the projects he's lined up over the years. Under construction right now are the '35 Auburn, the '32 Ford coupe, and a '56 Chevy custom that was converted into an El Camino-style rig in the early '60s. The Auburn, originally an MGM Studio lot vehicle for decades, will be getting a full ground-up hot rod rebuild while the '32 coupe--an all-steel early '70s-built survivor--is getting a few upgrades to make it a more enjoyable driver. The '56 will be returned to its early custom glory, far from the '70s "street machine" version it was last dressed in before being rescued from a few high school hot rodders intent on driving it into the ground and running from the police.

You've most likely noticed that the subject and author of this piece share the same last name and they are indeed father and son, and this story should hopefully make it clear where the author developed his undying passion for classic automobiles.

 Pat Aust Profile 1936 Ford Phaeton
It might not look like much now, but this 1935 Auburn phaeton was only recently disassembled from a complete car to be media blasted and primered in preparation of the impending hot rod makeover. Media blasting revealed perfect original sheetmetal with almost no sign of rust.
 Pat Aust Profile Stacking Cars
Stacking vehicles has become mandatory, as Pat's collection has outgrown his current garage floor space.
 Pat Aust Profile Auburn Sketch
Good friend and fellow Early Times club member Larry Wood (Hot Wheels chief designer) sketched up what the final version of Pat's Auburn will look like. This car definitely fits in the resto rod category, but with a twist, as it sits much closer to the deck than most classics in that classification.
 Pat Aust Profile 1956 Chevy Pickup
A local Redondo Beach, CA, car for decades, Pat rescued the infamous '56 Chevy custom from the hands of high school hot rodders who were well known for street racing it and even doing a few donuts on the high school football field. Safely tucked away for over 20 years, this car will soon see the road again in its full early '60s style glory.
 Pat Aust Profile 1957 Ford Window
The clean conversion from '56 Chevy sedan delivery to El Camino-style shop truck was made with the assistance of a '57 Ford station wagon rear window decades ago by some unknown customizer.
A more recent addition to the collection is this '36 Ford phaeton that was restored in 1963 by Gene Winfield. The original Winfield-sprayed black lacquer still covers the body and many engine-turned aluminum pieces handmade by Winfield dress up the interior. The original owner traded the car in for a brand-new '64 Mustang that was owned and driven by one family for the next 40 years until the recent acquisition.
 Pat Aust Profile 1942 Ford Convertible
One of Pat's favorite drivers is the 1942 Ford convertible. Most '42s are not often seen because the United States entered WWII just as these models began production. Only a handful of Super Deluxe '42 Ford convertibles were produced before production was halted.
 Pat Aust Profile Collection
Much of Pat's house is dedicated to his multiple collections, which include, among other things, antique license plates, vintage signs, and early tin toys. Also included is one of the largest private collections of antique fire fighting equipment and memorabilia.
 Pat Aust Profile Classic Cars
Pat Aust Profile 1932 Ford Three Window Coupe
 Pat Aust Profile 1932 Ford Coupe
 Pat Aust Profile Mercury Cougar Rearend
1953 America's Most Beautiful Roadster
About Us | Site Map | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Contact Us | © 1995 - 2009 Greg Wapling All Rights Reserved