SCTA Clubs… 1948
It was September 19, 1948 and the SCTA was taking steps to improve the reputation of their membership. On this day, they gathered just over 300 members from 36 clubs at the Lincoln-Mercury plant in Maywood, California. While their race cars and street driven hot rods were displayed, the young fellas joined the National Safety Council in what must have been some kind of a formal presentation of sorts.
The photo above (and again below – click to enlarge) was a public relations shot taken by the SCTA. It’s one of my favorite hot rod photos of all time primarily because of the environment it captures. Imagine, if you will, being perched on top of a ladder with a heavy ass medium-format camera. You struggle to balance yourself as you try to frame the scene in your viewfinder. Meanwhile, some schmuck behind you is yelling, screaming… doing anything he can to get the attention of the bored 18 to 25 year olds in front of you in an attempt to create a professional looking PR shot.
“Fellas! Fellas! Fellas! Please hold up your club signs and look at the camera!”
“You there in the white coveralls. Can we borrow your smiling face just for a minute? Look into the camera!”
“Can we move some of those tow cars back there? They are in the shot!”
“Damnit! White coverall boy, over here again please!”
“Signs high! Prove your dedication to safety! Signs high boys!”
“Awe… Fuck it. Just take the shot!”
It’s an incredible photo when you think in those terms – isn’t it? Sometimes when I look at vintage photos of my heroes I forget they that were all just kids. Photos like this bring it all back into perspective for me. Many of them went on to lead ordinary average lives. Others went on to do extraordinary things. But for that seemingly split second in time, they were all heroes… now… to me… I love old cars gentlemen.
Side bar: I should know this, but what’s the story on the 28/29 roadster with the aluminum hood and chin music? And finally, does anyone have any more shots taken that sunny day in Maywood?