Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cat Dragrz

Over the weekend, I discovered what my brother’s life goal is. I think it is best summed up here:

As a child, my brother really looked up to our grandfather (one quarter Cherokee, three quarters hot rod hooligan!), shown here as a young man:

My brother was also inspired by the cartoon image of Rat Fink, symbol of 1950/60’s hotrod culture, seen on this DVD's cover:

By the time my brother was in elementary school, he was drawing pictures of hot rods and engine diagrams. (He added brads and flaps to the drawings, so that the hoods of the cars could really lift up, or so the engine parts could really move.) In his late teens, he started going around to old farmers living in Garfield County, offering them a few hundred dollars for rusty old trucks and cars that had been sitting in their hay fields for decades.

Now my brother and his roommate have a shop of their own, where they spend their hours before and after their shifts at Halliburton. They call their business “Eyes & Elbows Kustom Fabs N Chops”. (Fabs = fabrications. Chops = reducing the vertical height of a car...by chopping!) They call their car club “Cat Dragrz”. At first, I was a little puzzled by the Cat Dragrz logo, seen here:

The reason why is because my brother is an animal lover. He especially loves cats. His three pet cats (two left behind by ex-girlfriends) live in the shop. Here are their photos:


Grace (A.K.A. "Pee Pee"):


My brother broke down the meaning of “Cat Dragrz” for me. Both “Cat” and “Dragrz” come from 1950’s slang. A “cat” is a cool fella. “To drag” was to go cruising in one’s car. Now, before I explain the cat image in the logo, I need to tell all of my sensitive or weak-stomached readers to skip the following paragraph.

So here’s what happened one night when my brother was out driving. There was an already-dead cat lying on the road, and he couldn’t avoid driving over its carcass. He flinched as it happened, because he loves, loves, LOVES cats, and was upset by the thought of running over any cat, be it dead or alive. And if this whole situation wasn’t bad enough, the cat’s carcass actually got stuck to the bottom of his car. How did he know? Because the floorboard of his car was rusted out, and he could actually SEE the cat through the hole. (“Its eyes were bugged out like Rat Fink’s!” my brother told me.) He was so perturbed by this that he had to get one of his buddies to, uh, dislodge the poor departed creature. Despite the fact that my brother found this all to be a little traumatizing, he also saw some humor in it. And so the name Cat Dragrz was born!

I am utterly enchanted by the sub-culture of Rat Fink, car shows, pin-up girls, rat rods, and rockabilly/psychobilly music that my brother and his friends are a part of. To illustrate why, I took what might be WAY too many photos.

My brother:

His tattoos (he is also a tattoo artist):

My brother's car:

His roommate's truck:

Their shop (this is seriously one of the most fascinating places I’ve ever been in my life):

Their shop's garage:

Their "hillbilly bathtub", in a little room just off the main part of the garage (I took a shower in this when I stayed the night, and almost fell out trying to lean way over to turn the faucet off!):

To the right of the garage is a room that has a couch, microwave, and a bunch of my brother's stuff. (The couch is where I slept, the neighbors' mariachi music lullabying me through the walls. It was AWESOME!) The door in the corrugated metal leads to my brother's room:

My brother's room. Notice his treasured white-wall tires and his antique sewing machine, which he is learning to sew auto upholstery on. Five points for anyone finding two VERY Coloradoan objects in his room!

Between my brother's room and his roommate's room is a wonderful little bathroom:

Car show photos from my brother's photo album. In some of these, you can see the awesome mohawk he had, as well as images of him painting pinstripes on people's cars:

My brother's artwork:

Metal gear shift knobs he made (I think he welded them):

His pinstriping work:


  1. Reading this post transported me to an underground castle garage where a race of tall gangly men, all with tattoos, build magical cars that also serve as time machines. And each man has a cat who acts as his familiar.

    When they get into their hot-rod time machines they turn into cartoons and all their eyeballs come out of their head and dance around like in your brother's drawings.

    What a special fantastic place your brother's garage is!

    My favorite drawing is the Alcoholic. The vibes drawn around the character's head are exactly how it feels! :)

  2. I totally agree with Minima. What a great setup!

  3. I'm so proud of my son and his creative spirit. Like his sister, he is a smart and beautiful soul.

  4. I think his sketches are fricking awesome. And he has an awesome house too!

  5. Kyle Holmes Lauman....UT chapterDecember 25, 2010 at 7:56 PM

    I love you chancer you always inspire me to chop an inch lower and drop it just a bit more!!!! .fellow cat dragr for life.