A Book Review: Street Sleepers, The Art of The Deceptively Fast Car

This is a review of a book I read recently titled Street Sleepers; The Art of The Deceptively Fast Car.

The author is Tommy Lee Byrd.

I haven’t written a book review since like 8th grade.  I wish I had been able to write a report on this book way back then.  I would have enjoyed Jr High School.  Maybe.

I met up with Byrd when I bumped into his website/blog titled Byrd PhotographyClick the title to read the blog.  I recommend it highly.

Byrd’s blog is (as titled) a photography blog, but it is about another one of my passions:  hot rods, drag rods and other fast cars.  Most of the photography is focused on cars and the storytelling, the writing to go with the photos, is excellent.  I enjoy reading his posts almost as much as I like looking at the great pictures.

Same thing with the book.  The pictures of the hot rods, street rods and drag racers are always good and sometimes amazing.  And the writing is easy to follow (even the more technical stuff) and really supports the story that the photographs are telling.

I am not associated in any way with Byrd, his book, the company that printed the book, Amazon (where  I bought the book) or anyone else.  I’m just a hot rod nut that enjoys the website and bought the book.

If you like cars you will enjoy the book.  It’s a coffee table book in size & shap, printed on 8.5 x 11 stock and the quality paper helps the photographs really pop.

As I said, I purchased the book at Amazon.  You can check it out there.  You can check other dealers too.  Not sure about Kindle, I should take a look.  It is only $16.47, so it shouldn’t break your bank.

Or you could check your local library and if they don’t have the book yet, tell them to pick it up.  or you could be nice.  Buy a copy & donate it to your favorite library.

You can read every word cover to cover or read the sections that most interest you and skim over others.  The photographs you will enjoy, and if you are like me you will come back to some of them again and again.

If youy have a car you are modding,  or that you want to mod, this book can help you keep the assets hidden.

If you just like looking at cars or have a big interest in race cars, this is a perfect book and I promise you will enjoy it no matter what kind of car nut, or even car pro, you might be.

I don’t think Byrd is on Twitter, but he does have a MySpace page and a few other social networks.  You can check em out.

Besides the vehicles you would expect to see in a book about sleepers:  Camaros, Vettes, Chevettes & Chevelles, older Fords such as Fairlanes, some trucks and Pontiacs, I really enjoyed the cars that I did not expect to find.

Like what you say??  Like some old 60s & 70s station wagons, some 4×4 trucks, some 4 door sedans, an Eagle Talon, a Maverick and a ’77 Buick LeSabre among others.  These cars would shake me on the street or at the track when they break their tires loose and jam.

But it all comes back to the photographs.  Byrd is definitely a photography pro, an artist with the camera.

Give A Little Love To The Hot Rods

I gotta lot of love for the first hot rod builders.  Always lusted for a hot rod since I was a little dude in the 50s and continued that love affair up to today.

Check out the hot rods and custom build projects from the guys at Hot Rods & Custom Stuff  in Escondido, California.

I love old pickup trucks too.  It’s (mostly) a guy thing.  This project is a beauty.

I would love to own this Mercury convertible.  Hell, I would pay good money just to ride in it!!

And check out this 1932 Ford Deuce….a true hot rod!!  Reminds me of the rods I used to see as a kid.  So many of them were chopped up 20 year old Fords.

Where to find Hot Rods & Custom Stuff:

2324 Auto Park Way | Escondido, California 92029 1-800-Hot-Rod-5  (1-800-468-7635)

Randy Clark has 40,000 sq feet in his shop and 30 employees to bring his creations to life.

Here is an interview with Randy and a TON of great pics of his shops hot rods.  Check it out.

They build ot rods in Australia too!  What did you think they drove?  Kangaroos??

Check out the Hot Rod Hi-Way website.

This 34 Ford “Airhog: started out like this and ended up the red & white beauty below.


Make your ride a hot rod and you will have tons of fun.  Gimme a ride brother!!

Motorcycle, Chopper and Hot Rods Blogs

Some new chopper & motorcycle blogs that I found and like a lot include:

From the United Kingdom we have ………….6.9%………….

This is a nice mostly motorcycle blog.  The guy keeps it simple.  It’s about his bikes, friends and interests.  That’s all.

Lots of pics and stories about his sports bikes and track racing too.

I like this blog enough to join.  Wish I could go to the UK and ride the backroads of En gland and especially Scotland.  Meet some of my old timey Scottish bloods.

Eat The Rich UK is also a blog from the United Kingdom.  It’s solely about Hot Rods and motorcycles after 40 years of chopping up “perfectly good vehicles”.  Cool pasttime!!

Another Shitty Day in Paradise is a blog all about the authors’ shovelhead and custom bike builds after 15 years.

This one is for sale and promises to make hipsters swoon and girls weak at the knees.

I am adding Pipeburns website here just because I really love their hot drag bike!!

This is a 1969 Triumph drag bike.  It’s beautiful isn’t it??

Although I have some Scottish blood flowing in my multi-racial veins, I have always been attracted to the bikes that Irish Rich designs and builds.   I really like his Applied Machete blog too.

“Irish Rich is the owner of Shamrock Fabrication, a “no frills” custom motorcycle and fabrication shop. Rich has been involved with custom motorcycles and hot rods for over 40 years, and is a member of the Sinners, out of Southern California. Rich and his motorcycles have appeared in Street Chopper, DicE Magazine, The Horse, Easyriders, IronWorks, Bigtwin, Jesse James‘ documentary “The History Of The Chopper“, and One World Studios’ “The Harbortown Bobber“. ”

From Irish Rich’s blog:  “A great photo of the ’84 FXRDG Disc Glide. Total production for the FXRDG was 863 units, including 10 FXRSDG’s with the longer Sport front ends.”  Here is Rich’s fxrsdg

Check these sites out, you may find one or two to join or at least keep going back to.

And ride hard but be safe.

1946 Ford Convertible

This beautiful black Ford is from Rod & Custom Magaszine.

I love this hot rod for a number of reasons.

It is a beautiful restoration, front to back and wait until you check out the interior!

My Grandfather owned a 1944 Ford hard top.  Not as sweet as this, but I sure loved that car.  He called it “a fohty foh fohd” in his bit of a southern accent.  He had moved to California as a child before 1900 and really had no accent, but when he talked about his ’44 it came with accent and all.  Grandpa’s was a 2 door Coupe Deluxe.  Would make a real nice hot rod!

Here is that hot interior I promised you, beginning with the steering wheel & dash.

The last shot is the sweet engine compartment.

Television shows I like

As you can tell from my usual header, I like hot rods, choppers, guns, poker and crap like that.  Guy stuff.  Well, add chicks to that list cuz I like them lots.

But when it comes to TV I am all guy, so add sports to the list.  Shows that I do watch (and why) are:

American Chopper & offsprings

I have been watching this for a few years now and still like it in all various forms, even the Bike Buildoff shows on Discovery Channel.  People say it’s about the people, but if I was a bike I would say it’s about the bikes (stoopid)

Sons of Guns

Let’s see:

  • design and build wicked guns…..check
  • shoot the damn guns…..check
  • blow lots of crap up…..check
  • do it all again…..oh yeh, check and mate

NOTE:  I had to edit this post because I find I am not enjoying this season (2012) as much as I did the first year.  Why?

  1. Vince is gone and he was their best gunsmith plus he was good on the show.  Funny and other peeps seemed to respect him.
  2. the marriage between Chris and the onl chick on the show.  Why marry her off?  Plus Chri has alway been a knucklehead.  I know I kept hearing Will says he had ‘potential’ but I always wanted to see him get fired.
  3. they got married in Vegass?  (I guess) Just not what I expected but I guess trailer-iti can get to you
  4. all just IMHO

I wantch it some but lat year it was GREAT, now…but it’s hella better than that American Guns shit.

Now I watch Swamp People.  Hell Yeah!!

Swamp People

Peeps in the swamp.  Well, and gators

Top Gear

Cars, racing and crashes.  Let’s see…..how come I like this?

Football and basketball

Other team sports just bore the crap outta me

Blogs that I read

not too many anymore, but we will start with a Native American blog with photos and graphics covering the California Native scene.  Thanks @CaliNDN for the blog and your tweets

Why do I like it?

  • kept up to date
  • pow wow and bird singing info
  • educational postings
  • great photos & videos
  • preserving the culture

Great story on the new gathering hall in Banning.

Check the site out here

Great photography blogs

Artists whose paint brushes are cameras.  Each site here also has an author with very good writing skills, so you get beautiful pictures and insightful words.  What more could you want?

  • Emad’s Photo Blog.  Young man with a ton of skill with his camera.  Twitter @Emad_14
  • Bird Light Wind.  I got hooked after stumbling into his photo series of a family of owls living in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.  Fantastic nature photos with lots of beautiful birds.
  • Byrd Photography.  Hot rods, hot rods, more hot rods.  Could look at these hot rod photos all day.  Excellent.  He’s a car guy and has a new book coming out called Street Sleepers, The Art of the Deceptively Fast Car.  Check it out on Amazon.
  • Wild Lives:  Trish Carney-Photoworks.  She hooked me hard with her beautiful photos of grizzlies in Yellowstone National Park.  Beautiful photos of an area I have not yet seen in person.  Love it.
  • Where Was I?  Nice photography and travel blog, two of my favorite things!  A good artist’s eye and storytelling skills result in a blog I enjoy a lot.

Sites that help me blog

  • lifenbits lots of helpful information on how to start and improve your blogging experience.  Clear and concise writing style puts this site at the top of the heap.  Easy choice.  Highly recommended.  Some great photography here as well.

I wish I could use a camera with the skill all of these folks have.

I look at a lot of sites but subscribe to just a few.  I’ll update this post as I add new sites.  There are great, undiscovered sites out there.

Know some blogs I should see?  Leave me a comment or Twitterize me @zenDR

Wicked paint jobs

There are some real artists out there and the internet allows you to see their work that otherwise you might miss.  Doesn’t matter if it’s a hot rod, a motorcycle or a helmet, these are just some wicked paint jobs.

First up is Rock & Roll painting.  Don’t think I could wear one of the helmets, a bit over the top.  The cars though are supreme and the trucks and bikes are sweet.  Ck their tins and tanks too.

Crazy Horse paints sticks mostly to choppers and hot rods.  Nice!!  I love Las Vegas…..

















A  youTube with nice paint

Hot Rod art

Such a nice pic…a 1957 Bel Air Nomad DeVille.  Could he have mebbe thrown the kitchen sink in there too???

Hot Rods

Hot Rods are hot..while Rat Rods are…..well, cool.

Like this Buick.  We always called the ‘potholes’ or ‘portholes’ in Buicks “Connies”.

The Buick Roadmaster was one of my favorite rods when I was a teen.  Heck even now.  Just a mean looking car starting with the grill and the wide stance of the car.  Not quite Caddy but close.

They are ‘Kustoms’ not “customs”.  As in the Count’s Kustoms in Las Vegas (the guy seen on History channel shows Pawn Stars and American Restoration.  Definitely one of the best kustom shops in the country.

vs this Rat (nice one too)

Danny “Count” Koker and Counts Kustoms

If you have seen the Pawn Stars series on the History Channel you are familiar with Danny “Count” Koker and Count’s Kustoms,  a great shop in Las Vegas doing custom work on all types of vehicles.

Danny Koker used to have his own TV show in Las Vegas where he took on the “Count” , as Count “Cool” Rider, and dressed as kind of an Elvis/Dracula merge while introducing the days movie for the audience.

Now it looks like Danny may get another chance to be the ‘star’ in a TV show with all the good publicity he gets from the Pawn Stars series.  he would not be the first person who turned into a spin-off series, but he would certainly be one of the best.

Hot rods & choppers…two of my favorite things!

Check Danny’s shop here with tons of great pics.

Danny’s Facebook page is here


Thx @53deluxe, @CountsKustoms and @DannyCountKoker