Hot bars in Ontario: Jalopy Jam Up . revisited

In 2014, long before I officially joined fast hunter I submitted a location in Ontario, which is my Jalopy Jam Up location for Canada IATSHA worthy event.

As a traditional show, coverage will be a huge divergence from the events that dominated the front page at the time. If I wanna make a splash like I’m a potential Speedhunter, TJam Up was the perfect opportunity to do just that.

There was only one wrinkle – on the day of the event it rained. a Many. I did what I couldbut the spot I was hoping for was a crush of wet socks more than anything else.


Four years later, I was able to make my way on board as a regular contributor to Speedhunters, and getting proper justice for Jam Up has been on my list ever since.


In those nine years, Jalopy Jam Up has grown and transformed. In this growth, it remains unique as Ontario’s largest and longest-running event that caters to hot bars and traditional customs. This particular slice of car culture has always interest me, simply because my exposure to it remains relatively low.


Like most kids of the ’80s and ’90s, that’s when I really started to notice that “street bars” were the norm for any old American car that wasn’t a muscle car. Boyd Coddington and Chip Foose dominated the roost and everyone followed suit with copious amounts of vines, billets, and teal accents. This isn’t a hit on that era, I loved it – and quite frankly still appreciate the many examples – but there was so much to the hot stick culture that I haven’t tried it yet.


Eventually, through friends, I became a little more familiar. The hot penis scene hasn’t fully captured my focus yet, but I couldn’t deny the allure of something simple and loud.

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My first Jam Up was so different from the other events I attended that I was instantly hooked. I’ve only missed one or two since then. It has also led me to look for more events of a similar nature and make many connections between the local Hot Road community. Heck, it’s a great reason to buy me ’51 GMC.

An unshy car guy, I find myself particularly drawn to custom (or ‘kustom’) cars.

If it’s low to the floor, has a scaly ceiling and exudes style, then I’m in it, son of a gun!

What makes a jalopy?


One of the hardest things to explain about Jam Up is what makes a ‘jalopy’. The word is more synonymous with vehicles in cases of damage than properly built hot rails. I suppose in some ways the link is convenient, at least for people who don’t own cars.


The majority of these cars pull their design from an era when cars were stripped to go as fast as they could, and anything unnecessary was eliminated in order to save weight. For starters, this seemed like neglect.

The fuel injection took a few years, the wheels were black and either steel or magnesium, the tires were white, and the exhausts were short. Driving was an experience to be mindful of, because there were no aids and bypassing the 6-volt sealed beam headlights was a real concern.

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Many of the cars in Jam Up not only represent that era, they’re actually from that era, salvaged from the barn and restored enough to be drivable today.

When I found out the last time This 283ci V8 ’32 powered car, the owner was chasing a sparkling front end. It has since been fixed and has been enjoying it all summer, in much the same way that the original creator would have done many years ago.


Is it a little rough around the edges? Sure, maybe a little, but it’s heaps of fun alike and “fun” is the main theme of many of the hot characters.


Eventually style came back into focus and habits entered the scene. These cars prioritized form over function and no form of modification was truly off-limits.


Jam Up is essentially a “rad” event for an earlier era of American automobile design.

Actually, make those American cars And the Motorcycles….

… oh, and bikes and scooters, too.

It’s not that dangerous

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Some people think limiting an event to a certain era is elitist, but trust me with Jam Up – it’s Not This is serious. Good times are more important than rules and regulations.


Yes, the main viewing area fits a specific theme, but anywhere else on the ground, pretty much anything goes. This means that there are some interesting games hiding in various corners of the sprawling place.

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Of the wide variety of cars in the overflow yard, two really attracted me.

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I probably don’t need to explain why I like this boxed Cadillac so much, but the Tri-Five wagon below really stood out to me for being almost mixed up.


At first glance, this looked like a nice, low-end cruiser, but the bars peeking through the rear windshield indicate that more was going on.

So did the aftermarket gauges, discreetly placed tachometer and manual transmission.

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was the car “Just a small block” It is located in the front end of the tube, but the owner also mentioned having a larger grinder on the motor mount in the house. No need to rush him into setting him up just now because he enjoys his sailing as is.

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Like any great outdoor event, there were a few vendors selling their wares and I had to get a quick shot of a pretty wild looking vehicle that could have been had for $5,000 or better deal.


It’s easy to see that this is a Volkswagen-based kit, but can anyone guess which one? Take a guess in the comments and I’ll let you know if I got it.

More cars from the overflow area will be separating the cutting room floor because I’d like to end this post with something a little different.

drag the line


Since the days of building RC and model cars, I have always appreciated a good paint job. While modern auto events are good for cool vinyl graphics or solid paint jobs, events like these are great for flames, scallops, peels, and strips.


Pin bar really amazes me because it is often done on the spot and fairly quickly all things considered, no less.

Give an artist an idea and he will work on it, using their best-deserved judgment and the look and feel of your build as a guide.

In the end, you have something unique to ride around town because no two jobs are exactly the same.

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It may have taken me a few years, but I’m glad I’m finally back at Jam Up. It is an event worthy of much commendation, if not more than giving men like me a chance to go back in time a little bit.

Dave Thomas
Instagram: everything

cutting room floor

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