A Folder from Bob
Last weekend I found myself standing in The Rodder’s Journal booth at the Grand National Roadster Show swept up in a flurry of activity. Customers here, cars there and a seemingly never-ending vortex of questions and answers flying at a never-before-seen pace. Sell this. ’Gram that. It was an information overload. My head was spinning.
Anyone who has ever sold anything can tell you that there’s nothing better than a busy booth. I agree with that 100%, but in my book one thing tops it—and that’s catching up with old friends you haven’t seen in months. Over in Building Four in Pomona, I got the opportunity to hang out with my old friend Bob Galbraith.
You see, Bob’s a longtime hot rodder best known for founding New Port Engineering in Washington, Missouri. I’ve called him a “Diehard Model A Fan” in print before, so it’s only natural that he contacted me a few weeks prior to the show with his list of all-time favorite Model A’s that should be considered for their 90th anniversary display at the Roadster Show. He lives and breathes this stuff, and he assembled one hell of a list.
I’ve known Bob for several years now, and we always like shooting the breeze about everything from early Fords and Triumph motorcycles to the neon signs of Columbia, Missouri. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of vintage Midgets and Halibrand componentry, and I enjoy hearing his stories about road tripping to the early Street Rod Nationals in vintage tin. He’s one of those people with an infectious enthusiasm for whatever he’s working on, whether it’s an early quickchange or the bodywork on his ’29 Model A panel truck. If you’ve ever met him, you know what I’m talking about.
Bob knows I’m an early Ford fanatic too, so this time he brought a folder to the booth filled with photos he thought I would appreciate. We’re not talking some manila envelope here—this was a vintage Ted Brown Chassis catalog-turned-folder (which is a story for another day). Opening it up, I knew I was in for a treat.
Inside, I found snapshots of plenty of cars I recognized and a handful of cars I didn’t. These were the hot rods that inspired Bob’s projects in the ’70s and continue to influence him to this day. He took some of these photos more than 40 years ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed looking through them and taking mental notes. This is an often-overlooked chapter of hot rodding history, and I’m thankful I have a friend like Bob to fill in the details.
Photos from the Bob Galbraith collection, captions by Bob