With Father's Day only a couple of weeks away, I want to start a thread that honors our fathers. Even though L.A. Roadsters aren’t able to observe Father’s Day with their traditional show again this year, we still can. Many of us have fathers who were paramount in our involvement in the hot rod hobby. To help preserve the history and foundations of hotrodding and what this forum is all about, I'm starting a thread to that end. I am going to post some stories and photos about my dad, and I think it would be great for everyone to join in. Tell us about your dads and how they influenced you. Show pictures of their cars, memorabilia, anything you have that reflects who they were, what they did, and what it meant to you. Ryan has told many stories about his father and his influence on him. Let us pick up on that and build a huge thread about the roots of this great movement. My dad, Vic Sullivan, was actively involved in the post-war hot rodding movement in Southern California. He raced on the streets of So Cal (usually after meeting up with other racers at “Pic’s”—Piccadilly Drive-In— and deciding which spot to head to), at El Mirage dry lake, and at the early drag strips in Santa Ana and Saugus (which he hated because of its notoriously short shut-down area), and probably other venues I'm not aware of. Even though he held his own and rubbed shoulders with many of the early pioneers, many of whom are still well-known, he didn't remain in the fray, and so he isn't well-known now. Dad wasn't a native to Southern California. He grew up in Topeka, Kansas, and was drafted into the navy in WWII. During the war, he was trained as an aviation bombardier but never made it overseas. While he was in the navy, his mother and sister moved to Venice, CA, so that's where he settled after he was discharged at the end of the war. That put him right in a hotbed of post-war hot rodding in the Culver City/Venice area. Members of the “Floaters” car club he helped found included Ron Hier and Hank Bender (of later Hier and Bender drag racing fame) and the partner in his race car, Bill (Zeke) Adair. Big Hank introduced Dad to my mom, and Ron was best man at their wedding. Early post-war at El Mirage. Dad's on the right. Dad's still in his navy dungarees. Amazing how young they all looked. I don't recognize this coupe, although it's similar to the Pierson Bros. and SoCal coupes. After spending a lot of weekends at El Mirage and eventually racing his daily driver, he decided to build a dedicated dry lakes race car . He built the chassis and body, and his partner in the car, Zeke Adair, provided the engine. I’m not sure how many times he ran it at El Mirage, before organized drag racing got going, but drag racing was where he ended up racing it most often, flat-towing it all over Southern California. Chopped, channelled, and blown '36 making a pass at Santa Drags. The car was a '36 Ford three-window coupe. (Dad always called it that, but to me the sides of the cowl make it look more like a '35, without the deep embossed "X" for stiffening. Either way, without the stock hood and grille, it doesn't matter.) The car's most identifiable and remarkable feature is the chopped top. Dad with '36 race car. Daily driver Merc behind. The aviation surplus water tank was later ditched, because it didn't let the engine run warm enough. Arguably, of all the '30's Fords, the '35/'36 is probably the hardest to chop and make it look good. After '32, the problem of "sectioning a cone" was introduced, but the '33/'34 could get by fairly simply with laying the windshield posts back. Starting in '35 and after, the rear pillars typically needed to be sliced and diced to align the upper and lower parts, and filler material needed to be added to the middle of the top to stretch it. At least that was how it was usually done. Another thing with '35/'36's is that Henry made them with such a pretty profile to begin with that the roofline curve is hard to beat, but very easy to mess up, kind of like the '40. Dad chopped his three-window in a unique way. This method may have been done by others, but I've never seen another, or a picture of, or heard of any other done this way. Instead of lengthening the top, he shortened the floorpan. He did this by taking advantage of the difference in width between 3-window and 5-window doors. He used doors from a five-window coupe to make it happen. (Front doors from a four-door sedan would also work.) Five-window coupe doors are narrower than the ones on a three-window by about six inches. He first cut the top off at the upper cut-line. Then he cut the floorpan transversely between the door sills and removed sheetmetal the length of the difference between the door widths of the two models. After welding the front and rear halves of the floor back together, he installed the narrower doors, with their square-cornered tops cut off. He then cut off the pillars on the body an appropriate amount and set the top right back onto the body. No slicing or dicing of the roof. Lastly he cut the rounded tops off the three-window doors and pieced them onto the installed five-window doors. I asked him once how he knew how much to cut off of the pillars, and he said he just measured it all and then cut off just enough so it would set back down on the shortened body. He said he only had to cut it once, and it fit perfectly. There are several benefits to this method. First, it's a much easier process than the traditional chop. Second, Henry's beautiful profile isn't disturbed. Third, shrinking down the greenhouse vertically and longitudinally gives the car a more beautiful and also sinister look. I'm partial, having grown up with pictures of it, but I think it's the best looking chopped '36 three-window ever. The pieces all fit together quite well, and Dad, who was a master with a torch and hammer, hammer-welded it all into a smooth finish. Even though that was before plastic filler was reliable, he refused to use lead too. Dad channelled the body over a ’35 Chevy frame, which had a shorter wheelbase, to fit the shortened body. The firewall was notched out to set the engine back considerably. A '40 hood was shortened at the rear to fit the '36 cowl. The grille was made from two side grilles off a '41. The center edges of the grilles were cut off and the two grilles welded together. The unit was then flipped upside down (with its flat side down and rounded side up)and then installed in hand-formed sheetmetal joining the front fenders and hood, giving it kind of a Willys look. The flathead was topped with a McCulloch supercharger, Y-adapter and two 97's, with fuel lines running to a fuel block on the cowl. Engle Cams was nearby in Santa Monica and sponsored the race car. Basically, that meant Jack ground them a hot cam for gratis. Getting power to the rear Kelsey-Hayes bent spoke wheels was done through a '39 top-loader followed by a Columbia two-speed, which survived all the drag races because of the running starts at that time. The rolling starts allowed him to start out in 2nd gear also, which he said was the best pulling gear. Once he was rolling, he pre-selected overdrive, and when 2nd peaked out, all he had to do was momentarily let off the throttle and the Columbia would shift into overdrive. He said never shifting the transmission helped him beat a lot of other cars. The drag strip at what is now John Wayne Airport officially opened on July 2, 1950. Dad raced his '36 there that day. He was always proud of the fact that he not only raced on opening day, but he was one of a handful of racers who were there the previous weekend to test out the track, before it became the first commercial drag strip. He said word spread through the grapevine that racing was going to be going on that day, so that's where he headed. Dad raced there as frequently as he could and won two races, in the "full-fendered modified coupe" class. His wins on August 12 and September 9, 1951, are documented in the self-published book by Leslie Long and Don Tuttle that collated all the news clippings from the Orange County Register on the races. His trophies, which I still have, were never engraved with his name and class and date, but they do have the "Orange County Airport Drag Races" nameplate. I also have his "first anniversary" lapel pin that was given out by the track officials to all the racers on July 1, 1951 (two days before I was born). His top speed wasn't recorded, but he said he ran in the low 90's. Top speed for all cars at the track then was around 120 mph. The car never was finished before it was sold. The bodywork was smoothed out, but it never got out of gray primer. The whole time it was raced, it never had floorboards. Not too long after my twin brother and I were born, Mom kind of gave Dad an ultimatum: either the race car or the family. Can't really blame her. Dad hadn't yet become the master machinist that he ultimately was, and they were living on a shoestring. So Dad sold it in late '51 and said he only ever saw it once after that, sitting on a used car lot in Downey in the late '50's. It had been painted, and made streetable with lights added, but otherwise was pretty much the same. Even though I wasn’t old enough to remember ever seeing it, it made an influence on me my entire life. An 8 x 10 photo taken of it while making a pass at Santa Ana hung on my bedroom bulletin board the whole time growing up. I built a model of it when I was a kid, using the AMT '36 kit. My first car at age nineteen was a '36 three-window. I've often thought of building a replica of the race car, but sadly, it's never become a priority. It would be cool to see someone else do it. I have more pictures from back in the day to post, but let’s see what the rest of you have.