A bit shorter than my usual stories but fun non the less. All photos and captions from here:http://customrodder.forumactif.org/t447p175-1928-29-ford-hot-rod Never be afraid to ask questions, folks. You never know where the answers will lead. On the opening Menu page in our Sept. '14 issue of Hot Rod, we ran a photo of the Beach Boys, circa 1963, posed around a hot roadster in front of the Capitol Records building. We didn't know anything about the car and asked for help in the photo's caption. Boy, did we get it. We heard from Sam Conrad, who owned the car when the photo was taken, and from Dick Scritchfield, a friend of Sam's who was among several fellow L.A. Roadster club members who helped him build the car. We published those letters and others in the Nov. '14 issue, but realized that his car deserved a closer look. Turns out Sam's roadster appeared in a half-dozen different stories in HRM in 1963 and '64, but for some reason never got a feature article. That didn't happen until another of Sam's L.A. Roadster club buddies, LeRoi "Tex" Smith, wrote about it for Popular Hot Rodding —after writing all of the articles about the car in HRM. (this photo has been posted several times on HAMB ) Sam was one of the L.A. Roadsters' original members. He joined the club in 1957 "right out of high school," he says. "The guys were great, and hot rodding gave me camaraderie and friendships that I really enjoyed." In those days he owned a basket-case '32, "but I gave up on that when I bought the 1929 Ford Model A highboy in 1959." He found it sitting in a garage, a dormant project car that had been parked for a dozen years. It took some sorting out, but he turned it into a sharp hot rod, with a 296-inch, 3⁄8x3⁄8 flathead sitting in front of a mahogany firewall fashioned by Carlos Smith, Tex Smith's father. Sam drove the roadster like this for two years, but as the flathead grew tired, Sam started looking for a more potent mill. He found one: a 483-inch Olds mated to a B&M automatic, originally built by Hugh Tucker for his A/Street roadster. Putting that much motor into the car was going to require other changes, so Sam tore the car down to rebuild it from the ground up. Tex, recognizing the car as good story fodder for HRM, got out his camera and documented some of the major steps. In "Boxing the Rails" (HRM Mar. '63), there's Sam with Carlos Smith, reinforcing the car's '32 frame with boxing plates and new crossmembers. The May '63 HRM showed how you could build "Custom Radius Rods for Under $15." A month later, the car got a set of "Wild Outdoor Headers" made from bent tubing, rolled sheetmetal, and a flange kit from C-T Automotive. In "Hang 'Em Handy" in the Nov. '63 HRM, Sam's car was among several shot by Tex to illustrate various ways to mount a license plate to the front of a hot rod. (Other notable rods that appeared in that story included Norm Grabowski's T-bucket, Scritch's Deuce, and the Dick Flint roadster, at that point owned by Duane Kofoed.) The last how-to Tex wrote about the car for HRM was "Bolt-In Bars" in June '64, showing how a roadster could be fitted with a rollbar that bolts in for the strip and then unbolts for the street. #154 has @Dean Lowe looking collectors) If there's a common thread running through these stories, it's their low-buck, everyman nature. Sam's car was not a mega-dollar show car, but a good-looking, well-built hot rod HRM readers could aspire to build. Then again, thanks to his club pals, Sam got help building the car from some of rodding's guiding lights. And in those days, he enjoyed opportunities that don't exist anymore. For example, for a time he and Scritch lived across the street from Phil Weiand's shop. They got to know the guys there and were able to borrow the keys to work in the machine shop after hours. In a similar vein, Scritch's relationship with a local auto dealer (he was a claims adjuster for the SoCal AAA) allowed him access to that dealer's paint booth when he and Sam painted—and repainted—the roadster. It's ironic that, while coverage of Sam's car started with HRM, the most comprehensive stories written about the roadster appeared in rival Popular Hot Rodding. Scritchfield showed much of the car's assembly in the June '63 "Building a Street Roadster," and Tex, who had become a freelancer, wrote a full feature called "Strategy for a Street Roadster" in the Nov. '65 issue. It's clear that Sam loved his car, and loved running with the L.A. Roadsters. But by 1968, Sam's career and the demands of raising a family altered his priorities, and he sold the car to Bob Gorby, who would remain its caretaker for the next 44 years. And really, Sam still loves his car. He was eager to help us with this story, generously digging into his albums, scanning old photos, chasing down magazines where his car appeared, and reliving those days when a bunch of like-minded guys helped each other build what would become iconic and much-loved hot rods. That's all Folks hope you enjoy it as much as I did.