Friday, August 23, 2013

Introduction: Joey

“What kind of music are you into,” he repeated.
“Uhm. . . uh. . .”
I panicked. My mind started to skip and distort. Let’s see, I thought to myself, I’m at a party overflowing with traditional hot rodders and custom car builders deeply nestled in the north St. Louis ghetto . . . I’ll just pick a safe answer and act naturally.
“The Doors,” I replied.
“The Doors are good,” he said. “By the way, I’m Nick.”
What a relief. I think I passed his test.

In December it will have been two years since I first encountered Nick Giacalone at Bill Bierman’s XXX-Mas in St. Louis. But my story starts earlier than that.

King of the Chassises Brian Fox, myself and Nick deep into the STL hood. 

 At the tender age of nine, I caught a glimpse of a sapphire blue 1933 Ford roadster streaking across an intersection on a hazy spring night. Later that summer, I spotted the same roadster once again. Puzzled, I asked my dad what that old car was. He explained that it was a hot rod, and it went so fast that it used a parachute to stop. I was enticed.

As the years progressed, a steady barrage of magazines made their way into my suburban Detroit home. They served as inspiration for my countless plastic model car projects and notebook doodles that had taken over my impressionable mind.
My 1/24 scale buildup of the wheelstanding Suicide King Studebaker. 
One fateful day at the newsstand, I picked up an issue number 23 of The Rodder’s Journal. With promises of pull out posters sealing the deal, I immediately snatched up the issue and scoured it cover to cover. This became a ritual that continues to this day.

Right now I am attending the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism with aspirations of becoming a top-notch automotive journalist. I’m currently working with another website and a newspaper, so you can be assured that my mind is always rolling and my fingers are always typing.

Atomic Age Alchemy is a culmination of all of my favorite things. Midcentury furniture, fixtures and buildings bundled with hot rods, custom cars, motorcycles and all things old.

I’ll make every effort to keep the subjects in the midcentury realm, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t slide in some shots of my 1972 Honda CL350 cafĂ© racer that I’ve been wrenching on for years or my 1974 Honda CL125 freshly out of hibernation.
Alive and on the 1972 Honda CL350 in August 2013. 
My 1974 Honda CL125 running some errands. 
So that’s me, Joey, the young guy with the notebook in hand and camera around his neck. I look forward to delving into this Atomic Age adventure.

-Joey Ukrop
Atomic Age Alchemy 
The Big Cat. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Viko Carefree Furniture: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

It's late on a Saturday morning, my head is aching, stomach grumbling, and I'm falling in and out of sleep. My vintage black couch not be the coziest thing ever but it's too gorgeous to complain about comfort. So the night before, I obviously had more of that cheap whiskey than my body wanted. My cell phone rings and I reluctantly answered. Well, it's a good thing I did because it's Viko Baumritter saying, "Grab a couple small bills, come get me, AND I'M ALL YOURS!". 

Okay, so it wasn't anyone named Viko Baumritter. Turns out, it was one of my lovely neighbors. Knowing how much I am into vintage stuff, she was calling to tell me that another neighbor had some neat old chairs out as part of her yard sale. Even though I felt like death, I couldn't pass this up since all I had to do was walk across the street. I slipped on some shoes and out the door I went. The neighbor who called me was still at the yard sale waiting to show me what she found. To my surprise there were two, mint condition Viko Baumritter chairs with a round Viko coffee table. I was stunned. This was really in a house across the street all my life? I happily gave the asking price even though there was a little kid jumping up and down on the bright orange chair like it was a trampoline. Coming through, once again, my neighbor told the kid to get off because it was now MINE! It took me three trips and all of four minutes to get both chairs and the table home. I'd say this had to be one of my best 'scores' in which I had to do almost nothing.

  I knew it was Viko from the minute I laid eyes on it. It was confirmed once I flipped one of the chairs over and saw these.

 The details of these are so awesome. From the stripes on the seats to the tilting motion of the back on the tan chair.

As I was cruising St. Louis craigslist one day, I stumbled across a couch with a really bad picture. Even though the picture was bad, I could still tell it was another Viko piece. The price was right so I drove about an hour to get it. I think It matches the chairs nicely.
Since we are on the subject...I also found this wonderful turquoise set of furniture on craigslist. I was surprised that it hadn't been bought already considering the price and the 3 week old posting date. I picked it up as soon as I could. It looks like it might be Viko Baumritter but I am having some doubts. There are no markings or tags on it and the legs aren't that copper color that Viko legs usually are. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Introduction: Nick

If you read our first post on the blog you already know that it is something that’s been bouncing around in my head for quite a while. Since you are kind enough to check it out, it’s only fair that we introduce you to the people behind it. 

Me and my '67 BSA

It's me,
Nick. I have had an interest in old stuff for as long as I can remember.  I can tell you that it certainly started because of my dad and his involvement in the street rod scene. Growing up he was always building, fixing, driving and enjoying old cars. The mainstay through my childhood was his 1939 Oldsmobile street rod. It was exciting to be able to ride in that car all of the time. We would go to places like the Frog Follies in Evansville, In., Southern Illinois Street Rod Associations Father’s Day Rod Run and even get dropped off or picked up from school in “The Coupe”, as we called it.

Dad and the coupe sometime in the late 70's

 I can still recall peeking out the car window and admiring certain buildings. As I grew older my interest in all things vintage continued to grow. I was up to my ears in hot rods, street rods and customs into my early 20's. Throughout high school, my dad and I built a 1932 Ford Victoria that I was lucky enough to call my own. I eventually sold it and got interested in vintage choppers and bought myself a BSA motorcycle. That whole time I had been gradually gaining an interest in midcentury furniture and architecture. 

My dad's old '41 Ford and my old '32 Ford

I guess that puts us here: Atomic Age Alchemy. I wanted a place to showcase everything cool that I come across and has to do with the atomic era. Luckily, I was able to find Joey, a very talented writer and like-minded individual, to co-host this blog with me. We are going to loosely follow the time period of the mid 1940's to the mid 1960's for our focus and content. We may stray a little bit from those years but not a whole lot. We hope you will join us along for the ride while we feature spectacular vintage content like hot rods, customs, choppers, bobbers, midcentury modern furniture, homes, the people who lived in the time period, people who are living it today, and much more! 

We all know that old adage, "A picture is worth a thousand words," so I'll end here with the words and show you some photos of what I am all about.

Atomic Age Alchemy
Kate hanging out in the 50's T.V. clubhouse I made.
'56 Buick my dad and I are building.
Me and Godzilla
"The Cockroach" '31 Ford Roadster
Part of my "Live Like Lucy" (seriously, that's how it was advertised!) bedroom set
Having some fun in The Cockroach roadster
Garage shot

Monday, August 12, 2013

Welcome Aboard

 Atomic Age Alchemy is the brainchild of Nick Giacalone. For months, or even years, he’s been brewing up an idea for a website dedicated to not only hot rods, custom cars, dragsters and motorcycles but also the furniture, fixtures and architecture that defined the Atomic Age. Although we weren’t around to experience the chrome, teak and streamlined structures the first time around, we’ve done our homework and invite you along on exploration of the finest era in design history.  

-Joey Ukrop,
Contributor, Atomic Age Alchemy