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remembering old speed shops

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by matt Delio, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. rfraze
    Joined: May 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,003


    Hall's Speed Shop in Wichita. May still be there.
    little red 50 and els like this.
  2. Heavy Old Steel
    Joined: Feb 1, 2019
    Posts: 58

    Heavy Old Steel

    Was on Oahu HI in late 80's while in the Navy, remember going into a couple different speed shops on the island, valve covers and headers hanging from the ceiling, carbs and cams all lined up on the shelf and whatever manifold you wanted on display, the good old days, see it, feel it, pay for it and walk out of the place with part in hand, no clicking the mouse and waiting for UPS. kinda miss it.
    els and Cliff Ramsdell like this.
  3. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 3,559


    In the Chicago area we had Erickson’s Speed Service, VonEsser’s, Nickey Chevrolet (OEM and aftermarket speed parts) and the Chevy Shop on the North side.
    On the South side I remember Rich Clement’s on Archer Ave. Clement later built wheels for local guys and then hit the big leagues doing wheels for NASCAR and Indy cars in a large facility. Joe Bush (one of the Arizona Speed Sport gang) ran his Speed Sport shop on Western and later 111th St. and there was another shop on 111th in Worth but I can’t recall the name.
    Grand Automotive had a large presence in the suburbs and I bought a lot of stuff from George in Maywood. He had a great attitude, knew his stuff and always cut a good deal.
    Jim Urso ran Performance Auto Parts on S. Western, Kenny Safford did machine work there and later bought the shop when Urso passed away.
    The last one I remember is Gage Automotive on 59th St., later they moved to Pulaski Rd. Not really a speed shop but B&F Aircraft in Oak Lawn was good for AN fittings and braided stainless hose, neat hardware and 4130 material.
    No doubt there were more that I forgot, today it’s a different game altogether. Would I go back if I had a time machine? Hell yes, those were good times.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2019
    egads likes this.
  4. lumpy 63
    Joined: Aug 2, 2010
    Posts: 1,416

    lumpy 63

    Chrome Barn , University Ave San Diego CA , And 2 blocks west , Jacks muffler shop . Jack built custom headers for many years and ran a Willys gasser in the late 50s early 60s. He was actually arrested in the big San Diego hot rod riot in the late 50s for making a blast down El Cajon Blvd in his willys:cool:
    els and jnaki like this.
  5. Al G
    Joined: Feb 21, 2016
    Posts: 2,548

    Al G

    An old one in Melbourne Australia!.. 20190629_153344.jpg
    Lil32, rfraze, els and 4 others like this.
  6. Unfortunately I don't have any pics but one that comes to mind was Nicks Motor Wreckers on Dandenong Rd Dandenong a south eastern suburb of Melbourne, Victoria......I called in there a couple of times in the mid 1970's, whilst in Melbourne attending a couple of rod runs..........Nicks apparently used to buy up closing speed shops in the USA and bring in the was sited in a factory complex and I always remember walking in through the rolled up doorway and seeing a pair of finned flatheads to suit a straight 8....these heads were against the wall, looked brand new, were about 2foot long......I never did ask what they were for but I suppose...maybe Desoto/Chrysler/ Olds/Poncho/Packard........then of course there were the piles of Cal Custom gear, dummy Appletons in their original boxes, 59 Caddy taillights, shifters to suit god knows what, foot shaped accelerator pedals, door lock brother was building a 51 Chev Custom so a few pairs of the dummy Appletons & caddy taillights went north back to Sydney with me but that was all I got........I think the place closed in the late 70's or early 80's........Andy Douglas
    Lil32 and els like this.
  7. deucendude
    Joined: Oct 31, 2008
    Posts: 598

    from norcal

    Any one heard of Blairs. How about Mc Comes (sp) in Pomona. Later C&W in Pomona who had a beautiful Willy's gasser. Ed Taylor also had one in Pomona but I don't remember the name.
    els likes this.
  8. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,695

    Member Emeritus

    Jim Green's Performance Center (of Green Elephant funny car fame) in Lynnwood, Wa. and later moved to Monroe, Wa. He just recently passed on at 81 years old, but had already closed the business within the last year or two. The Lynnwood location was in an old firehouse made of brick. Also had a machine shop. The former firetruck area of two bays was his personal shop and always had one of his many cars/projects in it, such as the 34 Ford Phunny Pheaton with SOHC power, his 30 (?) black, Ford sedan with a SOHC Ford engine, and the car had aluminum slot rims that were GOLD plated, several dragsters before the funny car, HEMI engines in the display area, along with more SOHC engines, along with SBC/BBC engine, and a HUGE performance parts display in the same area as those engines. He also got into truck/tractor pulling, and the list goes on and on. The original flag pole at the fire station was made of galvanized plumbing pipe starting with 6 inch tapering to 2 inch. One of the shops employees was using the flag pole to get to the roof top, it broke at one of the poles connections and down he went, breaking an ankle; I only bring it up because I X-Rayed him. I'm sure I've forgotten a lot about that speed shop, and I'd like to have all the money I spent there back. I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
  9. In my once sleepy little town of Malta NY...we had this place...long gone and replaced with Mobil Mart...Len Bosely built some crazy fast hot rods back in the 1960's and right up into the 1980's.... 14317325_1800987310145314_581159813330595096_n.jpg
    I grew up watching the best NASCAR modified drivers in the North East do battle every Friday night...lots of fabricating going on all week long in this shop to keep these heaps alive for the weekend.
  10. shivasdad
    Joined: May 27, 2007
    Posts: 562

    from Texas

    Does anyone remember Racer's Automotive in Fort Worth? My dad owned it but it didn't last long. I think it was in '68.
  11. big john d
    Joined: Nov 24, 2011
    Posts: 220

    big john d
    from ma

    speed city in east providence ri with bill fontaine at the counter lot of fun hanging out there
  12. Wise Speed Shop on Hampton Avenue in
    St. Louis, Mo. One of the counterman was Donnie Barron, he raced a very wicked 55 Chevy at Gateway International Raceway. I was 21 years old at the time and racing my O/T Nova, Donnie took me under his wing and helped out immensely. Sadly, Wise closed about 10 years ago, I guess a victim of the internet. There was something magical about the place, all of the cool stuff on the walls, the engines for sale, being able to touch, feel, and get your stuff instantly.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  13. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,808


    WOW… 102 replies and not one mention of So Cal’S Famous REATH AUTOMOTIVE in Long Beach.

    Besides being in our hometown, it was the stop over for all traveling drag racers and hot rod guys when touring all of the west coast drag strips. It did not matter where the racers were coming from, they were made to feel at home, stopping in the Reath Automotive lot at 10th and Cherry Ave. If we were lucky, the lot usually had a ton of hot rods and trucks with trailers/race cars in tow. It was a virtual candy store for hot rod builds and speed parts for drag racers.
    Cherry Avenue and 10th St.


    My recollection of driving up to Reath Automotive’s original shop on the corner of Cherry Avenue and 10th Street was amazing. There were all kinds of hot rods in the lot and inside was a treasure trove of cool speed parts, motors and of course, plenty of advice from the old master, big, Joe Reath. We were just little kids (teen and pre teen) but Joe Reath always took the time to show us the latest stuff or give suggestions on a build or part.

    It was a fun place to drive up to the building as the workers got to look at what just rolled into the corner lot. First, it was the 1951 Olds, the 1958 Chevy Impala, then the biggest impression was the 1940 Willys 671 SBC coupe, and finally the 1940 Ford Sedan Delivery. We were like old friends, as the years rolled on into the teenage/20 something years. That old speed shop was like home.

    When they moved to the big corner lot in Signal Hill area of Long Beach (still on Cherry Avenue) that same old homey feeling was waning. (But, the new, big corner store was a couple of miles to the famous Bixby Knolls, Cherry Avenue drags location…that was handy.)

    Joe Reath Legend of Lions display

    We were impressed that Joe Reath was so big and tall. He reminded us of being a professional football player. Obviously, he always looked downward when he was talking to us. But, as we grew, he still looked big compared to the others in the shop. Our eye levels were getting close, but he still remained the taller of all of us.


    We weren’t the famous drag racers that were sponsored by Reath, but Joe took the time to nurture our love of hot rods and drag racing so we would become long standing customers. He was a great businessman and old time hot rodder. The place was full of drag racers that we always saw at Lions in the pits and around the drag race cars. It also helped that we knew a couple of guys who worked part time at Reath Auto. As we were approaching the C/Gas class National Record in our 671 SBC, 1940 Willys Coupe, my brother was already in talks about a sponsorship with Joe. He mentioned that the Reath logo would look good on the rear trunk lid.

    The three most popular cars we liked in the Reath Automotive stable were: the Dosser/Reath/Sundin/Koenig 29 Altered Sedan, the Ratican, Jackson, Stearns Fiat Altered and the Rasner, Reath, McEwen Fiat A/Altered. There were other Long Beach locals with Reath sponsored drag race cars, too. To us and many others, the place was an institution for all drag racers.
    upload_2019-7-1_3-53-47.png Rasner, Reath, McEwen

    Dosser-Reath Auto 29 sedan

    upload_2019-7-1_3-56-29.png Ratican, Jackson, Stearns
    112 inch version

    The huge corner store on Cherry Ave and 33rd had everything, a large showroom, multiple machine shops/ working garages, tons of ready to buy motors, parts, and the displays were like a museum, all laid out in an orderly fashion for every hot rod/drag racer. They had hit the big time and outgrew that original small store on the corner of 10th and Cherry Ave.

    After moving to the huge corner store on Cherry Ave and 33rd and staying for several years, they finally moved to a small industrial building on 28th St. in the Signal Hill area of Long Beach.

    Then it happened…it closed. A sad day in drag racing history, for sure.

    els, misigis and Sky Six like this.
  14. Mayfair was a popular speed shop and engine builder in its day...lots of fast cars came out of that shop on Van Born in Taylor, Mi 35A92CE1-32E9-47D9-A20F-242130F4C517.jpeg
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
  15. egads
    Joined: Aug 23, 2011
    Posts: 1,025


    Bud Richter (spl) Automotive in Elgin ,then Carpentersville IL. Also Teter automotive ( Larry Teter, famous for his 32 Ford Vickie gasser ) in Elgin IL.[​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
  16. I was a high schooler back in the eighties. There were a few speed shops around town. Racers Exchange, was the one i remember well, but, then there was also M.A.S., They had an old fad t in the shop, with a chromed frame/chassis. The Big wheel on lake street had deep pockets apparently, they always had new aluminum intakes, tunnel rams, valve covers, carbs, even super chargers-IN STOCK!! That was something to do after cruising for girls around the lake
  17. quick85
    Joined: Feb 23, 2014
    Posts: 2,604


    I first saw Bill Sontag race at Oswego Drag Raceway, Oswego, Illinois in either '68 or '69.
    His "TURNCOAT" Cougar funny cars were impressive as hell. There were many cars that
    ran with the "Sontag Speed Supply" sponsor logo on the side. His shop is still in business
    in Crest Hill, Il.

    06-02-2015 091.JPG

    VINTAGE Re-edits1.jpg
    427 sleeper and Fordors like this.
  18. quick85
    Joined: Feb 23, 2014
    Posts: 2,604


    Dan Gurney's Checkpoint America...Downers Grove, Illinois. Mid 1970s.

    D G C A.jpg
  19. dln1949
    Joined: Nov 30, 2012
    Posts: 40


    How about Mt. Vernon Speed Center, San Bernardino, Calif. Middle 60's owned and operated by none other than Dave Hough of Nanook fame. Shop's been gone for a long time, but understand dave, his son and now grandson are still at it. Howdy from Berdoo Dave, keep on keeping on.
  20. Hollywood Speed Shop...Detroit, than Dearborn, and another store in Livonia for a while... 35353C0D-BB74-4C14-A1E6-932342998714.jpeg
  21. Back in the late 60's after I got out of the army I worked at Avon Motor Clinic in Avon, Connecticut. Harry Kulak the owner originally had a speed shop in West Hartford Connecticut and sometime in the early 60s moved to a new building in Avon.It was promoted as being the largest speed shops in New England at the time with five lifts in the back and one of the first chassis dynos in Connecticut. We had a service where you could rent a lift and work on your own car on Thusrday evenings. In the front of the building was a speed shop with a huge selection of speed parts from that era! The building was on the north side of route 44 across from Plaza 44 Shopping Center.In the early days the shop ran a 1963 Pontiac Tempest drag car, Papoose One, out of the shop at the Colchester dragstrip. The car originally was owned by Arlin Vanke. It was changed to a T10 trans & ran in AFX against the Tasca Thunderbolts of the day! Here are a couple of pictures of what the building looks like today which is a far cry from its glory days.

    Motor Clinic.jpg MC2.jpg
    Unique Rustorations likes this.
  22. Unique Rustorations
    Joined: Nov 15, 2018
    Posts: 623

    Unique Rustorations

    Wow! This it?


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.[/QUOTE]
    themoose likes this.
  23. Frank's Speed Shop Fly Creek N.Y. just outside of Cooperstown owned by Frank Trinkaus. Lots of fast N.A.S.C.A.R. Sportsman and latter Modifieds where build there.
    The Speed shop building is now a tire shop.

    Steve Danish with Frank Trinkaus #62 and Miss America 1958, Marilyn Van Derbur at Fonda
    upload_2019-7-7_12-27-26.png upload_2019-7-7_12-27-54.png
    Lee Millington in Frank Trinkaus #62.
    upload_2019-7-7_12-28-16.png upload_2019-7-7_12-29-0.png
  24. I would say that's it!!!:D
  25. skipperman
    Joined: Dec 24, 2002
    Posts: 1,837


    Eastern Speed in Camden, NJ ... Bought a LOTTA' stuff out of there in the early 60's ..........
  26. Mallory's Speed Shop, Richmond, VA
  27. Splitbudaba
    Joined: Dec 30, 2014
    Posts: 474


    Back in the mid to late 70’s, my best friend, George Kramer and I would make the trip from Reading, Pa down to S&W Speedshop, located in Spring City, Pa. every Friday after work. We would hangout there till they closed. On the trip back to Reading, we would cruise Pottstown or Penn Street in Reading in my El Camino, see pic. I was building my 57 Chevy, 331 sbc, Doug Nash magnesium case 5 speed racing trans, which I bought from S&W Speedshop. Best place ever. George, ran S&W Speedshop, had a million stories. My friend was building a 68 Chevelle big block, 400 turbo car. We ran brackets at Maple Grove for years. We always got great advice and help from those guys. I loved that 5 speed racing trans!! Those were some of the best times. Sure miss those days!! PICT1007.JPG
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  28. krylon32
    Joined: Jan 29, 2006
    Posts: 7,298

    Alliance Vendor
    from Nebraska

    Early 60's, going to state basketball tournament and walking down to Speedway Motors to see the latest hot rod parts. The counter men were Bill Franklin and Gary Pense. Pense was fairly nice but Franklin was a bear. That was in the day when it was a full service speed shop, Doing dual exhaust, motor work and general speed shop type work and selling parts. Times have changed.
  29. Hombre
    Joined: Aug 22, 2008
    Posts: 1,052


    While Custom Automotive were the big guys in Dallas, there was another shop over on Industrial Blvd "Hot Rod Exchange"
  30. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,954


    For Muskogee, Oklahoma, it was Simpson’s Speed Shop on Court street. Was going in the sixties and seventies, not sure of the date it closed.


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