Relics 'n' Rust face the camera

Relics ‘n’ Rust: Two Generations of Americana-Obsessed Manc

Cars Bikes

Out in Hyde, a Cheshire town in the eastern reaches of Greater Manchester, there is a little corner of the county that is forever California. Relics ‘n’ Rust is a multilayered ‘lifestyle store’ run by Howard Pedder and his son Sam. As well as making a home for the hulking, rusty relics that signal the hillside store where they have been for the last six years or so, there’s one of the most sought after barber shops in the North West – as well as a tattoo parlour, a vintage clothing emporium – and probably the most eclectic mix of car and bike culture memorabilia you’ll find anywhere this side of the Manchester Ship Canal. We sat down with the father and son team to shoot the breeze on what the hell is going on here.

Two members of the Relics 'n' Rust team in a photo

 Plaid out: The Pedders are a fixture in the car culture of Greater Manchester

Sam Pedder (SP): Manchester is a massive area, with 30 odd boroughs or something like that. But you can’t whitewash everything the same, we are all different. You have Lancastrians, and the Cheshire lot – it just reaches so far out. From little industrial towns, to the city, which is one of the biggest and quickest expanding cities in Europe. We are about 15 minutes out on the train, 10 miles into the city. But if we go out the other way, we are into open land for miles on end. We are in a pretty ideal location. And Manchester has always been a melting pot for so many different cultures.

Howard Pedder back in his rock days

Howard: Deeply rock

Howard Pedder (HP): I was pretty much into the rock ‘n’ roll scene in Manchester from about 1978 onwards. And I was involved in the bike scene. At the time there was a massive lack of people who could manufacture seats for custom bikes. They weren’t available in the marketplace, people made custom ones, and I tended to get into leather work and recovering, manufacturing seats. Then in the later years I got more involved in classic car parts, and British motorbike parts, and worked out on the shows around the North West. Then, as things progressed, we ended up with the garage and working on old cars, breaking old cars for parts. Then it just progressed from there, really. 

The inside of the Rust 'n' Relics' store

From Skate, BMX, to hot rod drag and choppers – Rust ‘n’ Relics is a mecca for Americana.

I remember skateboarding when it kicked off over here in about 76. Everybody had skateboards, and then that sort of died off and everyone got into BMXing. It was just keeping that culture alive as much as anything else. We just did that stuff. My first American car I got when I was 21, and I have always had something floating around, whether it be old motorbikes, or old cars. I like cars that are usable, I’m not into all the shiny stuff. It has got to be used, I have got to go to the building site and buy cement, and go to the tip, I can’t be bothered polishing it. If you can’t use it, it is pointless having it.

A row of American style motorbike helmets

Alt. bike and car culture touches down in Hyde, Tameside.

It is just our lifestyle, what I have always done and what my boys have picked up on as well. When they were young, they used to come out and work on the shows with me, coming along to jumbles and lugging all the boxes of junk around. They just seem to have fallen in. In later years they got more involved in it, when we set up business.

SP: It has just gone on and on. I think it has got to the point now where all the stuff we were into and have grown up with, more people appreciate it now. You are getting more younger guys on the scene who can go out and buy the more expensive cars, the Harley Davidsons, and it has created a good little scene. 

HP: When I was a young guy, I always wanted to go to America. Especially growing up in the 60s, it was pretty bleak in our area, very industrial. We were part of the industrial northern heartlands, cotton mills were still working, and it was just gloomy. I would listen to the radio, I always had one playing in my house, and you would hear the Beach Boys, and later on the Eagles, The Mamas & the Papas, all those Southern sounds. I really love rock ‘n’ roll,  and the Southern California sounds has a really cool vibe, and is so far removed from my industrial Northern England upbringing. And luckily we managed to get out there and as they say, go and live that dream. It was cool. And more so for Sam who got to live there and sample all the stuff that was on the doorstep around LA.

Father, son and Ford Anglia

Father, son and Ford Anglia

SP: It is quite strange how many people in the area have got interesting cars. A good friend of ours lives up the road, and he has got a Hot Rod that probably pushes 900 BHP.  He will come down here, have a coffee, then do a sweet burnout in front of the shop. When you are sort of 18/19, you can’t afford an American car, so you go straight into a VW, and you put your banded seals on there, getting a cherry bomb exhaust from somewhere and putting that on. And then you get to the point when you can start affording the American stuff, and it just grew from there. I think people travel here because of social media. It is so powerful nowadays, and it doesn’t matter whether you live two hours away or 5,000 miles away, people can see what we are doing. 

Sam and Rat Rod

There are a lot of people that come and visit us that might show an interest in American cars, or like the style of the shop, but then there are the guys that are committed to that scene. A few of us rode over to Belgium a few years ago, and then you are just in this field with a load of like-minded people, but then you see the same people at a show in Surrey or Suffolk. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you can bump into these same people.

My first time at a trip out was 2014, and there are guys now that I won’t see for a couple of years, but then I will bump into at another show. You give each other a hug, and have a drink together. It is such a good scene to be in. Some car scenes, especially your classic kind of stuff, can be quite cliquey, and they are judging you because of what you drive or how clean your car is, or what you have done to it. But I think with the Hot Rod scene, the Chopper scene, everyone is very chilled out.

They don’t judge your bikes, they don’t judge your cars. Everyone turns up, and sometimes it isn’t even about the car show, or showing your bike, it is about meeting up with these guys and having a beer.

HP: There has been a massive transformation of the customs and culture of the car scene, and motorbike scene. Whereas for quite a few years, it didn’t attract any new comers. The first time we went over to the Chopperbash, it blew my box. The amount of young guys who looked really cool, looked like they had just come from LA, but they had come from Bradford or wherever. They rocked up with their traditional old-school Choppers and Bobbers, dressed really cool. And these guys were probably mid to late-20s, and they were just living that dream, weren’t they?

Tinkering with a rusty relic in the shape of a motorbike

Tinkering with a rusty relic in the shape of a motorbike.