Name: Dave Haskell
Age: Unknown
Birthday: Some time in February
Education: Not much
Hairstyle: Elaine

Favorite Color: Maroon
Favorite Book: The Complete History of Carry On Films
Favorite Movie: Passport to Pimlico
Favorite Food: Pizza
Favorite Quote: "and if that doesn't work we'll just change the f******g..."

Favourite Photos

Dave Haskell Hotrods Dave Haskell Hotrods
Advertising Harleys

The Kuntryside
Dave Haskell Hotrods
Meet The F*ckers!  

The Infamous Model Y
Dave with his infamous model Y back in the 80s

The Five Window Coupe
The Five Window Coupe

The Vestas
Dave (on the left) part of a spoof rock band called The Vestas which was put together tp promote Vesta Ready Meals.

A Day Out with Jeff Beck
A Day Out with Jeff Beck

1934 Coupe
1934 Coupe

Dave Haskell Hotrods

An Interview with Dave

Extracts from an interview with Dave for Drag Rod and Classic Review
Story: Andy Kirk & Graham Jones, Photos: Andy Kirk & Dave Haskell


Dave's a likable, down-to-earth cockney character with a colourful use of the English language, he built his first hotrod for himself back in the 1970s.

Since then he has built over 20 street rods for customers as well as for himself, put together a vast number of part-built cars – possibly more than anyone else in the UK – and reckons he's notched up over 40 roof chops in the process.

Leytonstone-born Dave has been involved in hot rodding since he was 18. While most teenagers in the 1970s were happy to dream of hot rod ownership, Dave broke the mould by going out and building himself a hot rodded Ford Popular – in just five months. "It cost £25 for the base car and I fitted it with a Ford V6 motor, obligatory Jaguar independent rear end and Draylon interior – it had all the bollocks," says Dave. "Even sadder, it was Runner-up, Best Paintwork at the 1978 Alexandra Palace Custom Car show!"

"I got into hot rodding when I was about 14 years old," says Dave. "There was a modified Ford Popular that used to park up outside our house and I just loved it. That sort of inspired me to build the Pop. I then decided I wanted a '34, but found a Model Y for £40 instead (a shrunken '34), and chopped the roof. I then thought I'd sell it on as an unfinished project, but ended up completing it and fitting it out with a Rover V8, Viva front suspension and Jaguar rear etc – again, all of the usual nonsense of the era. That car sort of put me on the map. "

"I got bored and sold the Model Y, and then just happened to call in to my local newsagent and started flicking through the pages of Street Rodder magazine, which was previewing the Street Rod Nationals. Soon after, I jumped on a plane with $15,000 tucked in my pockets to go out and buy a '34 five-window coupe at the event. That would have been about 1982 – it was a long time ago, and I remember I flew with Freddy Laker's airline. When I got to the event, no one wanted to sell me a car – they were all much more expensive than I'd imagined, but through a friend of a friend, ended up visiting a guy in Pennsylvania, who, by chance, just happened to have a rough five-window coupe stashed away in his garage. I offered him $5,000, and we struck a deal. When I got back to the UK, everyone said, ‘Why did you pay so much money for it?' It was mad. Everyone thought you could build a hot rod for thirty-bob back then."

"I stripped it down and slowly built it up. I had that car for 17 years, and sold it in 1996 to Phil Macintyre, who was a West End theatre producer. Sometime later, his house in the New Forest burned down, but the car was saved. It ended up in a garage in Southampton and now has a new owner, who phoned me a few days ago and said he'd like to bring it back to have some work done. By all accounts, it still has my original paint and interior trim."

His fondness for the 1934 Ford body style saw Dave import a roadster from South Africa during the '90s. "I started work on it and then decided I didn't really fancy an open car after all," he says. Fortunately, Dave knew of someone who might be in a position to take it off his hands. From a very early age, Dave had formed a strong relationship with legendary rock guitarist, Jeff Beck – they both share the same passion for hot rods, and over the years, became great friends. Jeff had a coupe body that he was happy to trade for the roadster, and so a deal was done. The only thing, however, was that the coupe body had been heavily chopped, to the point of being almost undriveable on the road, so Dave "unchopped" it, adding 1 3/4 inches to the pillars before tacking the tin back in position.

Dave completed the car 10 years ago, having set out to build a rod that wouldn't age. Amazingly, the car looks as contemporary now as it did the day it rolled out of his workshop. It's a beautiful rod, full of little details that you just don't notice on first acquaintance – like the slight rake of the roof chop, the subtly laid-back grille with revised apron, the perfect line of the doors in their apertures and the amazing fit of the fenders against the body which is so good, there's no need for fender welting. "I used 35 sticks of lead to get it right," says Dave, "and of course, most of that ended up as filings on the floor."

The rest of the car is pretty much "hot rod fayre", according to Dave. "It's got a 350 Chevy, 350 auto trans, 9-inch rear, a Neil Tadman tuck 'n' roll interior, and I painted it in a special mix of cherry maroon. "

"I still enjoy putting cars together, even the little jobs you sometimes need to do – like sorting a leaking fuel pump, for instance –which can take up so much time, but I believe in building a car to drive. To me, a hot rod should be as close as possible to a normal road car. It should be comfortable, quiet and easy to drive."

"That's why I take a lot of care over details, like making sure the throttle and brake pedal line up, which they don't on a stock '34, and why every car I build has a different wheelbase – to take into account the irregularities in tolerances between wheel and fender."

"In spite of my love of '34s, I'm happy to work on other cars, too, and there are a couple of interesting, long-term projects shaping up nicely."

© 2011 Dave Haskell     T: +44 20 8553 2887     M: +44 786 0360 363       davehaskellhotrod@googlemail.com