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History A Win for the Little Guys

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by J.Ukrop, Sep 20, 2019.

  1. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,934

    Staff Member

    J.Ukrop submitted a new blog post:

    A Win for the Little Guys


    Continue reading the Original Blog Post
    Pat, catdad49, HEMI32 and 5 others like this.
  2. typo41
    Joined: Jul 8, 2011
    Posts: 2,572

    Member Emeritus

    They really followed the 'Play Book' with all the right parts and chrome, I am sure the build was a mucho pretty penny. It would look good in my shop and going down Eagle Field.
    loudbang and HunterYJ like this.
  3. ididntdoit1960
    Joined: Dec 13, 2011
    Posts: 1,016

    from Western MA

    Its cars like this that inspired my avatar
    loudbang likes this.
  4. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,401


    Hey J,
    Great story on those "Little Guys." As charter members of the "little guy club" from back in those very old days, nothing could be said to point out the fact that those were people who were the core of hot rod and drag racing. My brother was always on the look out for some sponsors for our hot rod/drag race build. But, who wouldn't want free parts or parts as a supreme lowest cost? Sure, we all started that way and with connections and sponsors, some became more advanced in their builds and racing.

    With the Mickey Thompson, Joe Mailliard, Clay Smith Cams and a bunch of other shops all around us in the Westside of Long Beach, we had access to all of them. But, money talks and there was very little of it, other than some "Nakamura Family Scholarships" for getting good grades. (My mom's big thing... AND...those Auto shop/Metal shop class grades sure helped the overall G.P.A.) My brother's after school job also pitched in for the drag race upgrades that we needed.

    At the time of our build, there were very few big name, sponsored, hot rodders and drag racers. We all knew who they were by the number of advertisements on the side of the cars and the number of trophy wins they earned. The ads were not on the daily driver street hot rods, but at the drags, to be seen by the thousands of spectators attending every week.

    Towards the end, we had lined up Reath Automotive and our local, down the street auto parts store for major door and trunk sponsorship. (meaning the lowest cost for any parts and some for free) Our close friend, Atts Ono, had already started his 1940 Willys Coupe build. By the time several years rolled by, he had some sponsors to help defray the costs. He did all of the machining and designing. The sponsors contributed to the small parts when needed. Then as it was immaculately finished, appeared in the PHR magazine cover.

    This topic has always stayed with us over time. It was something we were looking forward to, so it would help defray the costs of our ideas and build of our 1940 Willys Coupe.
    upload_2019-9-20_7-51-10.png possible variations
    upload_2019-9-20_7-53-13.png Long live the little guys as...They are the core...

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019

  5. 42˚18'N 83˚09'W
    Joined: Jul 29, 2008
    Posts: 159

    42˚18'N 83˚09'W

    A few years ago Ed recreated his Altered as a Cackle car which if you look in the archives of the "Hot Rod Reunions" held in Epping you will see it in the "Cacklefest". But that is not the end of the story. Ed is now building a real recreation of the altered and plans to run it again...
    Can't wait!!!
    catdad49, HEMI32, loudbang and 2 others like this.
  6. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,695

    Member Emeritus

    Pretty cool little Bantam. That's a heavy duty shifter! squirrel, check out the shifter! I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
  7. BrerHair
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 4,744


    Bitching hot rod, love it!
  8. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,401




    Even if you were not a big name in drag racing or a car salesman for the local car dealers, one way to get your name out there was to purchase a factory hot rod. These factory hot rods had what it took to win at the local So Cal dragstrips. Just fire up the newly purchased sedan and off to the races on Saturday morning. By 1964, the factory “stock” car wars were in the middle of their battles.

    In the ads, the parts put on the factory “stock” cars sounded like a Saturday night build in someone’s backyard garage. Racing extras for a special order, just in time for the first round of stock car eliminations at the local So Cal dragstrips or elsewhere in the USA. In California, the two big Ford dealers with ties to the drag racing world were Downtown Ford in L.A. and Broadway Ford in the SF Bay area.

    Who wouldn’t want a factory built up Ford Falcon or Ford Falcon Sprint? Why stop at the High Performance 289, why not order one with a big 427? Oh… now it would creep up on the factory Ford Thunderbolts’ world. But, for the cost, anyone would be right in the middle of the battles for the stock car bragging rights and trophies.

    This was still in the era that the NHRA did not dissolve those popular classes like street roadsters or gas coupes/sedans. The competition was tough for the spectators. They were getting real factory hot rods and drag racing vehicles racing right in front of them. If they had the money, one could be right in the middle of the fray.


    It was a big change from the excitement of the factory stock cars that looked like real family cars racing against each other. These factory “stock” cars were built up race cars that just happened to be from the big three or four. Who puts stickers and sponsorship names on the sides of the daily drivers to work or school?

    Even the little guy could get in on the drag racing action at the local dragstrips.

    Everyone could see the end of an era coming to an abrupt close. “MONEY TALKS…WHILE THE LITTLE GUYS WALK…”

    Just Gary likes this.

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