The Bob Roddick Story: Part 3

The Bob Roddick Story: Part 3

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(Editor’s Note: This article is part 3 of a 4 part series. Part 1, 2, 3, & 4.)

It’s 1951 and Bob Roddick sits in his driveway with his pops by his side. The two work a torch and heat the flathead block that lay victim to an accident Bob had a year prior. Amazingly, these two fellas aim to weld up the cracked block and prep it to go back in Bob’s ’32 roadster that was overhauled as well. Even more amazing is the fact that the two succeeded.

Before long, Bob had his roadster back on the road and the race track. Freshly lettered with a new number (109c), the hot rod ran as fast as 131 mph at El Mirage. Unfortunately, it’s unclear what happened to the car from this point forward. Bob was drafted into the marines in 1952 and all traces of the car seem to vanish from that point forward.

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However, by 1954 Bob was back at home and back working with Ray Brown. During the day he played the part of an engineering collegiate, but at night he helped Ray in the innovation and manufacturing process of passenger car seat belts. In 1955, Bob married his girlfriend Betty and took the path that many of us do – the path of security for the family’s sake. He graduated from Berkeley in 1958 and then spent the next 10 years working in the aerospace industry.

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Sometime around 1970, Bob stumbled into the swimming pool business and spent the rest of his life as an entrepreneur of sorts. He passed in November of 2007. He was 76 years old.

Up until just a few weeks ago, I thought that this is where the story ended. I was sitting in Phoenix, AZ at the Fiesta Bowl (watching my beloved Sooners play) when I felt my iPhone buzz. The game wasn’t going exactly as planned, so I decided to take my mind of things for a bit and check my email. That’s when I read Dave Clark’s note titled, “Wait, there’s more!”

Dave and Gwynn had been at their father’s house organizing and cleaning when they stumbled upon yet another bundle of unprocessed film. After a few restless days waiting for development, it instantly became clear that the Bob Roddick story was going to take more than two or three installments.

Like the other photos featured in this series, these images have never been seen outside of the Roddick family – much less published. The time frame runs from around 1950 to 1952.

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And that’s that… But, that’s not all. Next week we will wrap up the Bob Roddick series and show off all of the “take-out” images that we didn’t show while trying our best to tell a linear story. Ironically, these are some of my favorite images and I think you’ll dig them as much as I do. Until then, enjoy studying the images of part 3.

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