Cruisin’ To The Drive-In

Posted: 20th August 2012 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
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Who here remembers drive-in theaters, sock hops, and having a burger with your best girl down at the local diner?  Some of these events happened just before I was born, but they all formed a part of the tradition I had growing up.  I definitely remember drive-ins and cruises, these were an important part of my youth and a series of memories I cherish.  Mrs. Toad and I often talk about how strong associations can be in life, and how sometimes hearing a song or seeing something from your past can immediately take you back in time.  There are certain things that really embody this concept, and some of them are widely recognized.  Like, for example, the classic ’57 Chevy.

'57 Chevy Retro-Mod - Langford, BC, Canada

’57 Chevy Retro-Mod – Langford, BC, Canada

As cruising and hot-rods became popular in culture in the 50’s and 60’s, certain models of car really embodied the spirit.  The small-block Chevrolet V8 engine was a pioneer of the time, with a limited amount of moving parts and a controversial push-rod design, this engine quickly proved to be both highly reliable as well as the perfect platform with which to create vast amounts of power for relatively cheap.  Ford and Dodge were soon to follow with their own designs, and the entire concept of drag-racing and cruising on a Saturday night was born.  It didn’t take long for this all to become part of the vernacular of society.

Chrome, detailed trim and solid flowing lines were all found in the ’57 Chevy.  The iconic fins at the back of the car were soon to disappear in car design, yet have left an indelible mark on enthusiasts far and wide.  This is a car that makes you want to run your hands down the fender.  Cubic inches were the prime force used to get this car down the track in a quick hurry.  And these cars deliver this with enthusiasm and passion.

'57 Chevy Retro-Mod - Langford, BC, Canada

’57 Chevy Retro-Mod – Langford, BC, Canada

This is a strong looking car, almost menacing.  It is definitely at home cruising the strip at an idle, but if let loose it will take off like a scared rabbit in a plume of tire smoke, leaving the passerby to wonder exactly what just happened.

Many of the styling cues were taken after the burgeoning jet era.  The two features on the hood vaguely resemble jet intakes and fins, and the well-known rear fins on the car are derived directly from airplanes.  The entire jet age was upon us and we all reveled in how fast technology was advancing, and dreamed of better times for us and our families.  This era came and went, but many of the facets of the time remain today.

'57 Chevy Retro-Mod - Langford, BC, Canada

’57 Chevy Retro-Mod – Langford, BC, Canada

A growing trend over the recent years has been to find a platform that meant something to you growing up and to rebuild and refurbish these old cars using the very latest drivetrain technologies.  This blends the best of both worlds inasmuch as you can get huge amounts of power delivered to the ground in a very reliable manner, and wrap all that up in some of the most beautiful bodywork you’ve ever seen.  By and large many aficionados try to create this blend subtly, to create a car the evokes memories of the past.  This particular ’57 Chevy has a modern-day LS1 Corvette engine and 6 speed transmission, along with all sorts of contemporary technologies to bring added safety and comfort.  These cars are typically referred to in today’s circles as Retro-Mods.

Much like a kid who’s just been given $100 to go to the candy store, I almost always come away from these encounters with sticky hands and a sweet taste in my mouth.  I can’t help myself, it’s much bigger than me…  I find the more time you spend with cars like this, the more wonderful details you find that come to life.  Each builder brings their own personality to forging these gems, making sure that no two cars are remotely close to the same.  This all helps to create both a sense of nostalgia as well as a sense of wonder.

If you have any stories of cruisin’ to the drive-in with your best girl, please feel free to share it below!  We really appreciate your visit today and always love to hear from all our visitors.




  1. Another cool post full of awesomeness, my friend

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      You sir, are a true scholar and the finest of gentlemen! Thanks Chris, we really appreciate that!

  2. avatar LensScaper says:

    That is one cool car. Reminds me of the Hot Rods and Funny Cars as we called them over here in the UK that I saw at Drag Race meetings at the Santa Pod Raceway way back in the 70s. Those were the days!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Drag racing was really a big part of our culture growing up. It’s still very active here these days, but as with everything the sport has changed a bit. You don’t see as many of these old classics anymore at the tracks. It really means a lot to us to have a chance to photograph these cars and keep them alive in all our hearts and spirits!

  3. avatar Jim Nix says:

    you’re shooting cars again? no way! 🙂 nice work my friend, nice work

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I know, eh, Jim? BIG SURPRISE THERE! LOL 🙂 Thanks so much for taking the time to come by and see us here today, we sure do appreciate it!

  4. Sweet ride here, Toad! Wonderful images and a narrative that helps bring the images to life.

  5. avatar Perry Bailey says:

    When I think 1950’s, the ’57 Bel Air is one of the first images to come to mind. It is, to me, visually synonymous with the era. Another great set of images Toad!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I totally agree with you on that one, Perry! Well said, my friend! Thanks for popping by today and leaving these comments for everyone to enjoy!

  6. avatar Jim Denham says:

    Toad, this is a car built for the public, not for regulation or utility. It’s a car that is meant to be driven, in whatever manner needed or wanted. It’s a total shame that we have the options we have today instead of awesome works of art like a 57! The heyday of automobiles in my opinion, shown by the attention to the detail in styling as well as performance. It was a different time and one I’m grateful for you taking me back to! Well done Toads!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      It’s always a huge highlight for us when we see you’ve popped by and left us some comments, Jim! You never fail to really share some great thoughts, and your comments here today really showcase this concept! Many thanks, my friend, I do admit I agree wholeheartedly with you!

  7. Great shots of a truly iconic car. Maybe you should start another site called Cool Car Hollow Photography. 😉

  8. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Just a little before my time Toad but I grew up seeing the television shows that depicted them. Wonderful images and post, my friend.

  9. avatar Chris Nitz says:

    Man, that is one sexy ride. I totally want to steal it and tear it up on the roads of Madison, WI right now!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Isn’t it awesome how these cars evoke these kinds of thoughts and emotions? Hey, at least we know we’re alive, my friend! Thanks so much for taking the time to pop by and see us, much appreciated!

  10. avatar Rick Louie says:

    Awesome car! I just spent the weekend at the Super Chevy Show here at Bandimere Speedway. Lots of restored classics that you would love. That ’57 looks amazing! Brings back a lot of memories. i still remember by dad polishing up his ’58 Olds. They don’t make them as solid as they used to be. I guess that’s a good thing? 🙂

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      LOL Awesome comments here, Rick, many thanks for taking the time to leave those for everyone to enjoy!

  11. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Sock hops and drive-ins were before my time. I grew up during the disco era (yes I admit it…the 70’s & early 80’s weren’t pretty) but thanks to TV and movies the 50’s and early 60’s have a special place in my heart. I think they were much better decades. This car is iconic and you’ve really brought out the beauty in it.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I love all these era’s to be honest, there are things that are wonderful to be found in all of them! Many thanks for visiting us here today, Edith, you always make our day when you pop by and leave us your wonderful comments!

  12. This is one of my all time favorite cars! I wanted to buy one so bad when I was a teenager! It’s amazing how there are so many different ways to customize them. Looks really nice under the hood. Great post and images Toad!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      You and I both, my friend! Every time I see a ’57 I stop in my tracks and really try to take it in. They are beautiful beyond description and are so suitable to restore or hot rod up! Thanks for your kind visit and comments here, Michael, we sure do appreciate it!

  13. avatar ehpem says:

    Great story and pictures to go with it, as usual.
    Reminds me of a 57 Chev wagon a friend of mine souped up. The body was primed but never painted (before he crashed it), it was jacked up, and engine maxed out in magical ways I never understand. We had fun cruising on San Juan Island in the early 70’s, laying hundreds of yards of rubber on hills and choking in clouds of smoke that came into the rear of the wagon, somehow. Great memories of that car, many of which I am glad that my own boys are not engaged in. Too bad he wrecked the car, many would love to own it now, probably him included.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      These cars were icons of our time! I love hearing stories like this, many of us have them. I don’t have any stories with an actual ’57 like this one, but I’ve got a million cruising around and doing burnout type stories!.. too many to mention really! Thanks ever so kindly for taking the time to pop by and see us here, and for leaving your absolutely awesome comments for everyone to enjoy!