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History The Birth Of Outlaw Hot Rodding

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Ryan, Oct 18, 2017.

  1. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 18,850

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    Ryan submitted a new blog post:


    The Birth Of Outlaw Hot Rodding

    Continue reading the Original Blog Post
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
  2. Interesting read and family history.Dangerous days back then
  3. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 5,253


    Man, that's one hell of a family story!
    He was playing both sides, looked like he was a tough dude.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  4. Amazing......

    Brother, some day you should publish a book.
    XxMikexX, Stogy, vetteguy402 and 2 others like this.
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  5. Great read, great history lesson.
    Stogy and HEMI32 like this.
  6. Bravo Mr. Cochran. Every damn one of 'ya.
    loudbang and lothiandon1940 like this.
  7. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 10,333

    from Zoar, Ohio

    Very interesting. I bet you about shit. Colorful story.
    Just goes to show, you can pick your neighbors but not your relatives. :)
    Looks like Frank was no more than a man who loved to make cars run fast and make good money for his family doing it.
    He was not a robber or murderer. Those guys just happened to be at the back door with loads of money in hand.
    Cool story. Thanks for sharing.
  8. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 18,850

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    If you read those books I linked, you'll see that Frank was actually a really bad guy. At one point, Nelson was on the run in one of his Hudsons after murdering a federal agent and went to Frank's house to hide out. Frank hid the Hudson in his basement and then gave Nelson his family Buick to continue his escape with. The Hudson was full of guns and ammo... And Nelson only left after telling Frank the story of his murder.

    Speaking of Ammo, the FBI couldn't figure out how the gang was getting so much ammunition. Years later, they figured out that Frank was supplying it through a connection in the military.

    How the dude only did a year... and then got pardoned by Harry Truman at the protest of Hoover is a mystery to me.
  9. Holy shit! Look at that nose...he looks like you...........alot!
    The only "famous" family member in our family is written into history because in the civil war his horse was shot in the nose, blowing blood all over my great, great uncle or cousin of something. They carted his ass to the medical tent to find he was unhurt.
    I like the story of your uncle Frank a lot better. Brings to mind a certain Mickey Rooney movie where his 40 ford was "hopped up" for a bank job in the next town. In court, his defense was his 40 ford couldn't possibly have been at the bank robbery because 22 minutes [or however minutes it was] Rooney's car was seen in a town 25 [or however many] miles away with a winding, skinny road connecting the two locations. Don't remember the ending.
    Tman and lothiandon1940 like this.
  10. GordonC
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,769


    Great story Ryan! Many of us never know what things are buried deep in our pasts. Your fortunate to get a glimpse into yours, colorful as it was.
  11. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 3,865


    Thanks for sharing some of your family history. I've read about such shops on the east coast doing like things during and after the prohibition years, but this seems to be a little closer to home. I wonder if any of these hot cars were restored and anyone had any idea about the various modifications. Great read, feel free to share more anytime.
  12. Great story Ryan.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  13. Tuck
    Joined: May 14, 2001
    Posts: 5,627

    Tech Editor
    from MINNESOTA
    1. Early Hemi Tech

    Genetics and family history always amaze me. So cool man- :) You look like a clone of your grand father-
    Fantastic writing.

  14. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 18,850

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    What I didn't really write a lot about was the connection between prominent hot rodders of the time and Frank. I know Frank was buddies with one in particular, but I believe he might have worked for Frank as well and helped prepare cars for the gang. What I don't have, however, is concrete evidence... and I don't want to throw someone's name out there without it.

    But I do know that Frank was working a lot with McCulloch Superchargers and much of what he used on the gang's cars turned up at Bonneville both with independent hot rodders and with Hudson.

    As it stands, I very much believe that the things that guys like Frank learned while building cars for outlaws were passed on to motorsports in much the same way that drug smugglers in the 1980's passed on their knowledge of off shore powerboats to that sport. It's a weird path to speed...
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
    Tman, catdad49, Stogy and 6 others like this.
  15. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,270

    Gearhead Graphics
    from Denver Co

    One could say necessity is the mother of invention. Very interesting story.
  16. NoSurf
    Joined: Jul 26, 2002
    Posts: 4,104


    Give a shot at a screenplay....
  17. 48fordnut
    Joined: Nov 4, 2005
    Posts: 3,628


    Thanks for sharing a incredible back ground .Gives me more appreciation of who you are.
  18. Reno that many years ago was a whistle stop for people going from East to West and West to East. The once rich mines of the Comstock were fading. The famous Bill Harrah had just a bingo parlor, downtown ended at the railroad tracks, and not yet 'The Biggest Little City'. Just a gritty town on the edge of the Sierras. When I moved into the area in 72, the feel of the West still walked the streets, pawn shops lined the other side of the tracks where loosers hocked the last of their lives for a bus ride home, and I bet your uncle was a friend of Joe Conforte, and his famous mobile Mustang Ranch.
    Did the apple fall far from the tree?
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  19. This is one of the more interesting blogs I have read in quiet some time,maybe it's the gangster aspect and hearing story's relayed by my uncle Charles who started out as a motorcycle cop here in the South and later on worked with the FBI. HRP
    catdad49 and dana barlow like this.
  20. UNSHINED 2
    Joined: Oct 30, 2006
    Posts: 953


    Cool article....price of early Hudsons just went up.
    vetteguy402 and lothiandon1940 like this.
  21. flamingokid
    Joined: Jan 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,199


    No shame in having relatives who built fast cars for gangsters,it's all part of the American tapestry.I have a great,great uncle who was speaker of the U.S. House,great grandfathers who were District Attorneys and Federal judges,and my grandmothers first cousin,who was a girlfriend of Legs Diamond.Funny thing is,they all loved fast cars.I guess I come by it honestly.
    williebill likes this.
  22. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 12,865

    Jeff Norwell
    Staff Member

    That's fucking cool.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  23. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 24,177

    Jalopy Joker

    Thanks for the a look at the truly wild side
    Stogy likes this.
  24. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 10,333

    from Zoar, Ohio

    That would be a good start.
    I think it would make a better movie.

    Oh my Ryan,,,
    I guess He was a character!

    It’s fun looking into our ancestry ain’t it.
    Got hooked a few years ago and lived on Ancestry for three months non stop.
    It even ended up taking me to Germany to actually walk the streets of my ancestors.
    Funny story.
    I also did my wife’s family. German also.
    Here her family and my family lived in separate villages 5 miles from one another.
    Hired a German professor who dealt with ancestry after hitting dead ends.
    He found my last name in her family’s chart!
    Kissing cousins.
    catdad49 and Stogy like this.
  25. If you're on the run through Texas and you see
    ATOMIC on a shop, kill your lights,
    honk twice, he'll help you out.
  26. This has very little to do with fast cars per se, or Ryan's exceptionally interesting blog, but if you are ever in Las Vegas and looking for something to do besides losing your money, go to the Mob Museum.
    I was there last month and it is well worth your time if you have any interest in gangster history.

    catdad49 and 48fordnut like this.
  27. Is that where they have the wall from Capone's St. Valentine's Day Massacre? I heard it was somewhere in Vegas.
  28. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 14,879


    1. a person who engages in crime and violence; a hooligan or gangster.
      synonyms: thug, lout, delinquent, vandal, ruffian, hooligan, lowlife;
      gangster, crook,mobster, criminal;
      informaltough,bruiser, hardman, goon, hood, punk,rowdy
      "he was roughed up by a bunch of hoodlums"

    Hoodlum...We joke about this here but there is always a sinister side to reality.

    Many elements of Hotrodding had sinister sides it seems.

    Cutting that hole for the clear path for the gun to shoot could have contributed to death just as manipulating any mechanical element in a competitor's car in race to enable another to win could have and no doubt did.

    Pretty dark shit and I know this has went thru your mind but these people weren't doing the robbing and shooting...they were assisting in a way.

    When one gets involved in criminal activity some times backing out has repercussions as well such as...death so getting involved per say was a choice and it helped put the meat and potatoes on the table and many times it is played out till the end as turning back is not a good option.

    It is a reality of family and it ain't always rosy.

    You have to shake your head sometimes and look up to the sky and say Wow...

    Thanks for sharing that @Ryan and the old photos are as priceless as the stories that go with them.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
    Sancho likes this.
  29. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,796


    Thanks for the read and history lesson. I also thank you for not glorifying the mobster's, as this happens way too much. They were killers, plain and simple and not worthy of praise or emulation.
    John Starr likes this.
  30. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 9,577

    from Burton, MI

    Wow...My ancestors came from Scotland and lived a quiet life as farmers in Canada before realizing Michigan is the place to be. No hot rods, no gangsters. But I'm still here!
    NHdriver likes this.

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