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History This Is The Pioneer Hot Rodder Who Changed My Life...Who Changed Yours ?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jonnie King, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. Jonnie King
    Joined: Aug 12, 2007
    Posts: 2,077

    Jonnie King
    from St. Louis

    YOU MIGHT NOT READILY KNOW HIS NAME, but DON FERRARA was one of the earliest post-WWII Hot Rodders & Custom Car Builders in California.​

    Don built, raced, and, showed his own cars. He built one of the most-Legendary of all '29 Model A's, and, the '49 Ford Coupe he built was the car that started me on the path that I still follow everyday. Without Don Ferrara's influence in my life, you might not be reading these words today here at the H.A.M.B...and the HALL OF FAME LEGENDS SERIES & WebSite might never have existed.​

    PLEASE, take a few minutes and read my Very Special Tribute Page to DON FERRARA ...and you'll learn not only about his remarkable life and influence in the early days of the Industry, but also how he and his '49 Ford Custom had such a great impact on my life.

    AND, more importantly, you'll learn how -54 years later- I was finally able to thank him !

    BUT, what about Y-O-U ? Who got YOU here ? Who got YOU into Rods & Customs ?
    Let's talk about it...​

    (Below: Don's Model A Roadster, August, 1951, Hot Rod Cover; Don's '49 Ford, October, 1953, Honk Cover.)​

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 9, 2010
    Joined: Aug 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,259


    In the early 90's I was into the sport truck world and got a job working at Gaylords Kustom Trucks, not knowing much about their history. Turned out I was working for a legend, Gaylord is one of THE most humble persons I have ever met. I tried getting him to do some shows and promotions but he was just not interested. I am still in touch with his son and would love to write a book on him and his accomplishments but I know nothing about writing books. His is still alive and healthy so now is the time.
    Gaylord didnt get me into customs but he definately inspired me!
  3. buckeye_01
    Joined: Jun 20, 2005
    Posts: 1,441


    2 dad.
  4. Fordguy78
    Joined: Apr 2, 2009
    Posts: 558


    Easily Gene Winfield. I first saw his work on that episode of Monster Garage where they built the '54 Chevy.
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  5. 36el
    Joined: Apr 28, 2010
    Posts: 46

    from sweden

    John millner,watched the film in 1979 been hooked since then,
  6. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,911

    need louvers ?

    They may not be household names in our little slice of the world, but Frank Scheafer, Fred Adrian, and Lee Lebhart. These guys were just local area hot rodders in my neighborhood, but if they hadn't let me ask millions of questions, sweep up their shops, and drag me to every rod run and swap when I was a kid, I wouldn't be here today!
  7. Tommy R
    Joined: May 18, 2004
    Posts: 717

    Tommy R

    Honestly? No one.

    Out of a family who, for generations, have had no interest in anything automotive, I somehow got bit....hard. My older brother, as well. Although, his thing is little British cars and vintage motorcycles. For me, hot rods were always my favorite type of car, but until the early 2000's, I didn't even know people built traditional style rods. I thought it was just billet rods, which I never liked. So I built and raced modern cars for years and more recently got into offroading. But when I found out about vintage hot rodding's following and realized I could still build a vintage hot rod, it was like a light came on at the end of the tunnel.

    Now (after entirely too long) I'm finally building my dream car. And while I'm trying to enjoy the journey, I just want the damn thing finished so I can drive it!
  8. cruisin30
    Joined: Apr 13, 2005
    Posts: 120

    from Katy, TX

    I cant remember his name but I lived in Decatur, IL in 1960 and there was a builder there that built a 49/50 Ford that was the first really nice sectioned car I had ever seen done. It was covered by a lot of rod mags in the day 60 & 61. I cant remember his name for the life of me but then again lots of other memories have begun to fade as well. Pretty sure his last name started with a "K". Pretty stupid post huh. Maybe someone else remembers him.
  9. No brainer...Wally Parks
  10. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 9,712

    from Burton, MI

    Barney Navarro. Genius. Kills me inside that I never had a chance to meet him in person. One day, my friend.
  11. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 5,242


    Not to sound butt-kissy or anything but without this site I wouldn't know half of what I know. So, I guess Ryan was a big catalyst for me.

    I always liked the pre- and post-wartime eras (not just the cars) and certainly liked the mid to late 50's hot rods thanks to growing up near a place that hosted cruise nights as well as having a greasy-fingered dad. However, it was coming here that was the gateway to all the information, links, and mentions that fueled all my desire to know the history. As a kid, I never really wondered about those that were the innovators since I grew up around people that did it themselves.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2010
  12. brandon
    Joined: Jul 19, 2002
    Posts: 6,324


    some guy that had a yellow 32 woodie.....till the day i actually got to really check out that car , it was all just magazine stuff.....from that day forward , i realized you could own a hot rod that looked magazine quality , and be a guy from around the area......he also really set the bar as far as hot rod rake went............thanks ken:D
  13. bamabucket
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 67


    Norm Gabrowski - I wanted a T-bucket since I saw his in the 1957 issue of LIFE magazine and finally got one about 40 years later. I met him at a T-bukcet event once - he is a very colorful guy and talented artist.
  14. andreasklapp
    Joined: Jun 20, 2010
    Posts: 31


    my grandpa. i didn't get to see him in his heyday, but i got to see him do a lot of things, and i've heard stories about him from everybody in his area. i've even met people all over the country who know who he is. he worked on and drove semis for a while and was (is) one of if not the best mechanics in his area.
  15. Choptop
    Joined: Jun 19, 2001
    Posts: 3,303


    Same here... my Dad. ChopPop. Art Galbraith. You wont find his name or picture in any of the early hot rodding books, but he was there, just out of frame. Ran with all the big names. Passed his love of hot rods on to me.
  16. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 12,968

    Jeff Norwell
    Staff Member

    My Good buddy Duke Brown.....A great man.
  17. edweird
    Joined: Jan 4, 2009
    Posts: 3,188


  18. Actually for me it was a guy by the name of 'Richard Nixon' he sent me a Greeting letter my senior year in high school. Offered me a job with lousy pay and food and a never to be forgotten senior class trip to a little country in southeast Asia. Really made me appreciate everything I had left behind from old car parts to a stack of car magazines. And spent many an idle moment building my dream cars on paper and in thoughts.So when the job ran out I threw myself back into all my old passions and have never looked back. Thank you Tricky Dick believe it or not you helped me focus on the important things in life.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2010
  19. Gotgas
    Joined: Jul 22, 2004
    Posts: 6,839

    from DFW USA

    My dad got me into hot rods. And, silver jackets, tight jeans, and moustaches. :rolleyes:

  20. ScottV
    Joined: Jul 18, 2009
    Posts: 818


    John Henry Stout He raced several dirt track cars the most sucessful being '57 Chevy with the number 7-11 Loved GTOs and had a '66 that was pretty quick. And he was my Grandfather.
  21. No doubt my uncle Hershel he owned a wrecking yard in Rainier Oregon there I learned hard work fair pay for the job and the meaning of the word hand shake and
    honest dealing. great man
  22. 3rd Gen Hot Rodder
    Joined: Jan 8, 2009
    Posts: 405

    3rd Gen Hot Rodder
    from Indiana

    Two men are responsible (see my avatar for a hint). First off was a man who I barely remember, but who left me a legacy for which I will forever be late Grandfather (and my namesake) Bill Bronson. He passed away just before my 3rd birthday in 1973. Had he not followed his dream of owning that 32 Ford roadster he fell in love with while in attendence at the 1951 Indianpolis Auto Show (he would finally purchase it in October of 1953 and I am now its curator) and his other dream of drag racing (see link in my signature below), then my late Father Larry might not have gotten the 'bug'. Secondly would be Dad. Although we only got to spend a very short 23 years together on this earth, he tought me more than anyone about this wonderful hobby.



    Miss you both and look forward to the time when we can ride together again.
    Joined: Jul 19, 2006
    Posts: 1,297

    from Lampe,Mo.

    1957 ,, I was 15 ,,from Iowa with my Folks on vacation to So Cal ,,,,,Ed Roth ,,he taught me how to pin stripe and gave me my first set of brushes ,,
    taught me how to air brush "Weirdo Shirts" ,,,i took that teaching home to Iowa and started my own custom paint shop in my folks' garage ,,did that 'till '61 when i went into the Air Force ,,
  24. 296ardun
    Joined: Feb 11, 2009
    Posts: 4,213


    Great tribute to Don Ferrera, maybe my mind is fading, but I seem to remember a red '27 roadster with a flathead built by Don Ferrera and another guy (forgot his name)...same guy? Also, there was a blown Cad-powered Crosley altered coupe running in the mid-50s owned by Bader and Ferrera, again, wonder if it was the same Don Ferrera?

    The guy who influence me the most? Don Blair. I was in his shop so much he finally asked me to watch the front, and that let to odd jobs, gophering for parts, dissambling motors and stuff, painting the engine shop, and ultimately sponsoring my racing...He was a tough task master, and if you screwed up, he let you know...but he also took care of us young and inexperienced hot rodders, encouraging us on, and helping us correct our mistakes....lots of us passed though his shop, and I think we were all much better for the experience.
  25. Don Steurnagel... One Eye to most people... Gone 4 years now.:(
  26. Two guys hooked me, Bill Hines and Striper Paul Hatton in Detroit. Watching them work was great stuff for me in the fifties.
  27. Jonnie King
    Joined: Aug 12, 2007
    Posts: 2,077

    Jonnie King
    from St. Louis


    "The circle is small", DON FERRARA worked for Gaylord at one time and learned how to do his own upholstery there ! He upholstered his own cars, and also did the Asteroid '63 Corvette upholstery for his brother in law, after Barris customized it. Gaylord: Another Pioneer/Legend !

    Last edited: Jul 9, 2010
    Joined: Jul 19, 2006
    Posts: 1,297

    from Lampe,Mo.

    TONY NANCY ,,,loved everything he did ,,,met him a couple times in person ,,no B S ,,just a down to earth guy ,,,,,,,,,,,,,then there was Mickey Thompson ,,
    met him when i was a friend of Don Aronow ,,the Scarrab/Off Shore Power Boat Racer ,/ Inventor.,,Mickey was getting his boats from Don ,,Don was getting his Hi-Perf Engines from Mickey ,,then the Drug Cartel Killed Both Of Em ,,a sad day in Hot Rodding and Off Shore Power Boat History ,,
  29. PackardV8
    Joined: Jun 7, 2007
    Posts: 888


    Back in the '60s, out at the end of the world, in Mud Creek, Alabama, Bo Fields would work a day shift at the county maintenance shop and then come home and work til 10 P.M. in his home shop. He built race cars, street cars and gave shop space to Bobby Allison. Bobby went on to become National Modified Champion and eventually became the #3 all-time NASCAR Grand National/Winston/Sprint Cup winner.

    Just being around those two guys, I learned anything could be made out of anything and put together right can outrun anything and sleep is for those who don't want to win enough. Just knowing it can be done money can't buy.

    jack vines
  30. Frankie Von Dell
    Joined: Feb 6, 2007
    Posts: 45

    Frankie Von Dell

    My parents!

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