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Was Anyone Here Actually There?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Tony Bones, May 8, 2005.

  1. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 4,480


    I'm 66 and I was there, in Minnesota, what there was here. When I was in high school in the '50's, I had a '51 Ford 4-door inherited from my brother. Some where along the line, the engine was rebuilt and I had the heads shaved and added a Mallory dual-point conversion (it was all I could afford). Because just about everybody had a car that had a worn out engine, I was the guy to beat in those days (the 4.11 gears for the overdrive transmission helped a lot). After I graduated from high school in '60, I went to the University of Minnesota in the fall. At the same time, a buddy of mine and I decided to go drag racing. We bought a '36 5-window coupe and a '42 Merc engine from Carmichel's Auto Parts in Excelsior and started to work on it over the winter. We both dropped out of the "U" for the spring quarter, got our tuition refund, and used it buy a set of finned aluminum heads and a dual carb manifold. I set of "racing" points and a modified distributor top so we could run a "hot" coil completed the set up. We ran "D/Altered" for two years at Minnesota Dragways, and had a best ET of 16.44. Weren't much. but we had a hell of a good time. Plus, we were "heroes" in our home town, because we had the only real "race car".

    After two years of this, my buddy "had to get married" (remember how it was stated in those days?), and we sold the car. I then started to build a drag race "T-bucket" in the basement of my folks house. Got most of it done over the winter, took it apart and put it back to gether in the garage in the spring. The NHRA had made their rules a lot stricter after the '61 season, so I decided to make a Hot Rod instead of a drag car. It had a frame made out of 2" square tube (1/8" wall), a model "A" front axle, a 270" '55 Dodge hemi, a matching Mopar 3-speed transmission, and a 4.30 rear end out of a 6 cylinder Plymouth wagon with overdrive. I started with a solid mount rear end, but ended up changing it to quarter eliptics after seeing the Olds powered car that won A/SR in the '65 or '66 NHRA nationals. With the plow box and the rear-end, combined with a real good running 270" hemi, the car was a block to block monster.:D (I had a set of Ellingson reacap slicks that would turn to smoke with applying a little throttle in first gear). The car worked amazingly well (I drove it on an MSRA outing to "Donneybrooke" now "Brainerd International Raceway") in 1967 with no trouble. The only problem I had with it was that the frame started to sag after a year or two. We solved that by getting a couple of pieces of some 1 3/4" OD round tubing, and driving them up inside the original 2" tube rails from the back. Solved all of my problems.

    In the interim, I had gotten married and bought a brand new Corvette in June of 1967. That was the end of my rodding days until about 10 years ago. I'm now building a "T-Tub" that will be flathead powered, but I don't think it will be the same again.:rolleyes:
  2. rixrex
    Joined: Jun 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,433


    My Dad was souping up in the 30s, 40s, his last car before going to war was a 37 Ford convertable with Lincoln engine,painted dark maroon with dark blue fenders..the late 40s,50s were interrupted by WWII,Korea and me being born..He and I were building a 55 Chevy in 1965 when the ol Chevy was only ten years old..I had it on the dragstrip in 66 not completely with parents permission..Right now, He, 86 yrs. old drives around a 39 Chevy Kelly AFB olive drab staff car I built for him..I'm about ready to put my 104th? car on the road, a 48 Cadillac sedanette...
  3. thewildturkey46
    Joined: Dec 4, 2005
    Posts: 746

    from Rice, MN did you end your old stories in the Gazette/........thats the way I remember it or something like that.......LOL that was a long time ago to keep all the stories straight for me.
  4. terrarodder
    Joined: Sep 9, 2005
    Posts: 1,101

    from EASTERN PA

    [Was that Forty Fort in PA. Raced there once in '58' with a 50 Olds stick shift. Yea I'm one of the old guys, just turned 73, did some drag racing in 55 then in late 50's.

    quote=PoconoRat;3422497]I was there..................for Forty Fort airport drag races with only a snow fence between race cars and spectators.[/quote]
  5. My dad marched on that parade field after you by a couple years and I did 24 years later. Reading your line about "where you were" hit me hard. More so because FLW is deep in my heart after 2 summers there:eek:;):)
  6. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,606

    dana barlow
    from Miami Fla.

    Born in 42,built my first rod mid 50's,ran around to many shows with my cars ,airbrushed "T"'s at many of them,and raced a lot too. I spell real bad so writing stuff takes me a lot longer then most,but try to put an idea were it will help from time to time.:cool:
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  7. In 62 I was working after school at a Mobile station doing flat repair and lube jobs in 66 I was drag racing in Pensylvania on weekends while in the Army.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  8. Moonglow2
    Joined: Feb 4, 2007
    Posts: 658


    I saw my first "jalopy" as they were called at age 13 in 1955. It was a stripped down Model A with a hopped up flathead and no hood. About the same time I bought my first 45 rpm record for 87 cts by Elvis Presley (Heartbreak Hotel). And bought my first "little pages" mags at age 16. I still have them all and even managed to collect the older issues back to volume 1 issue 1.

    I would not trade the time I have been alive for anything. I still love the cars and stay involved with them. I am 67.
  9. alleyoop
    Joined: Jan 2, 2007
    Posts: 274


    Yep from 1949 on to today alley
  10. David Totten
    Joined: Nov 21, 2005
    Posts: 248

    David Totten

    I too have been into this car thing way to long . Moved to Bellflower CAl when I was about 14 oneof may best friends was Steve Steck brother of Duane used to help detail the Moonglow for shows back then . Lived a few houses down the street from Larry Watson that whole area was a hot bed of modified autos. My first car was a lighty customized 54 Chevy Bel Air Post. White tuck and roll (from south of the border) rose mist paint and lowered. Second car I bought form Bones Noteboom 53 Chev business coupe. Lots of custom work . Got into body and paint work early in my life .Wanted to be the Next Barris lol. Then Customs really died out in so cal. Got into hiperformance cars and Drag Racing. Did lots of street racing cruzing Bellflower Blvd A&W Harveys the Clock , Hodys etc Got into legalized drag racing Lions, Irwindale, Orange county(still have the program from opening night at OC) Raced Dand E Gas with Steve Steck Jack Norton and Shig Shimizu went to Indy for the Nationals and set a couple records.
    Found out how much of a drain on finances Drag racing can be and finally oppted out .
    Worked collision shops ntill Nam called (was a motor sgt and combat engineer) got out went to work on mostly Corvettes untill I opend by on shop next to S&R Race cars in Bellflower Painted a lot of funny cars in the 70s then moved to Orange County and had a restoration /rod shop for 30 some years done some Pebble Beach winners.and had the chance to work on some of the finest cars in the world.
    Still at it although most of the cars I do today seems to be 50s and 60s cars.
    Was a great time to be growing up wish I could do it all over again it was that much fun.
  11. Won the first national 1/4 midget championship in '57, ran 152 at El Mirage Oct. '61, cover of Hot Rod Jan. '62, graduated high school '62, won B/SR at the Winternationals '62 through '67, won street eliminator Hot Rod magazine championship drags, Riverside '65, won class at the March Meet '63 through '66, married Oct. '65, first kid born '67, second '70.

    Yeah, I guess you could say I was "actually there". Would not trade the '60's for any other decade in history. Best years of my life.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  12. propwash
    Joined: Jul 25, 2005
    Posts: 3,858

    from Las Vegas

    My first car (age 14+) in 1958 (8th grade - but I was not allowed to drive to school, obviously) was a 47 Merc coupe I bought from an 'older' couple (probably in their 40s) at church. The husband was buying a new Mercury T/Cruiser. I paid $250 for the car. Went through many cars in the ensuing years of HS, and spent a lot of time "cruising the gut" and sitting in/or idling through the one or two drive-in restaurants we had. I stayed with cars right up until today, although there were some forays into other venues besides hot rods (SCCA racing, CalClub, CouncilClub, etc), but hotrodding is what I returned to and remain truly ensconced in - well, a little bit of flying from time to time, too.

    I think that period (50s to the 70s) actually defines hotrodding. Sure, guys were stripping down cars and scaring the neighbors long before these baby blues saw the light of day, but the advent of what we enjoyed (and continue to replicate) began just after WWII when guys came home, flush with new experiences and skills learned in the military, an industrial nation that had been transformed during that war along with the availability of good-paying (relative to the times) jobs. Shiny new cars being manufactured and offered on credit terms made the older cars much more available. Folks had been forced to "make do" with their old flivvers during the shortages created by the war, and they were discarding pre-42 lumps like bags of barber hair. And there were the young aircraft mechanics....looking for an extension of the excitement from which they had just been discharged, but with a bit less mortal danger. Man (the MALE creature) is naturally competitive. What better way to provide some competition than the use of mechanical devices that were readily available and lent themselves to all kinds of 'personalization'. That's how it got started on the streets and ultimately the plethora of drag strips that sprang up around the country as more people saw races, saw hot rods in their own town. Young kids (such as myself) growing up in the early 50s were absolutely enamored with what the 'big kids' were doing to and with their cars. By then, fins and gaudy crap was in and even more cars become available as the older folks eschewed their 2yr old cars for the latest trends being puked out of Dearborn and Detroit. We gleefully acquired their 331 cu in used engines from the scrap yard and did whatever was necessary to wedge those behemoths into our small engine compartment. Companies were born from the experiences learned in those early efforts. Adaptor companies, intake manifold companies, exhaust extraction companies, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

    I've rambled on sufficiently. If you were part of the early years of this culture you are truly blessed with some great memories, if you were not - scour the books and magazines, talk to those of us that enjoyed it while we're still sufficiently in control of our faculties to provide accurate recollection (with some personal embellishment allowed, of course).

    Thanks for reading this far, if you did.

  13. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,333

    from Colorado

    There's a common thread running through a lot of these posts. Note how many guys were hot rodding or customizing cars that were less then five years old. For my high school ride, I bought a 1953 Plymouth wagon in 1957 and did a rattle can scallops over an Earl Schieb $29.95 paint job. Custom interior, Moon discs, split exhausts with glass paks, etc.

    I'm sure that there are a few HAMB'ers out there that remember the "drag strip riots" on El Cajon Blvd after Paradise Mesa was shut down. It was a great time to be in the car culture of SoCal, but you can never go back.
  14. My first buggy was a 49 Ford, shaved and lowered her @ss, I'll be 60 this april, wish I could do it all again, even some of the bad stuff. :cool:
    I had 3 uncles that turned wrenchs for a livin'.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  15. 40StudeDude
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 9,380

    Member was (is): "At least, that's the way I remember it."

    ...and if you're still reading the Gazette, I'm going to have some stories in my column coming up about Denver after I moved here...and cruising 15th & 16th, the Scotchman, drag racing and street racing and the nutty things we got into...stay tuned...

    Last edited: Dec 26, 2008
  16. I was there, I'm 68. No one in my family was into cars. I moved to Franklin Twsp. (now Somerset) NJ in 1948. There I met the people who got me started, the Grbac family. They had a body shop, used car lot, junk yard, and race cars, Tommy promoted races and owned the cars. Tom jr (Butch), Cookie (Mike),and Jimmy were who I grew up with. Anything we could get running we could drive in the fields.

    Now to my cars, First a wrecked 34 ford sedan, told about on another post. First legal car was a 46 Ford four door sedan, on this I learned not to overfill the holes, where I removed the chrome, with bondo and drive for a week before I tried to sand it smooth. I bought the car for $65, and had to carry brake fluid with me, cheaper than fixing the brakes. I didn't have a spare until I had to get my dad out of bed to bring my brothers spare to me one night, thats another story!! Car was raised 6" in the rear and painted Matador red and Ice box white like a stock car.
    Had a lot of good times and would never have wished to change a thing, the late fourties and the fifties were a perfect time to grow up and be around cars!! We didn't have to put up with people who would tell us what we were doing was not traditional!! Never had a camera to take picture either, wish I had.
  17. ;) I turned 60 5 months ago, my brother is 7 years older than me, so I guess you could say that I was associated with the So Cal car culture as early as '57. Directly participated since '62. 1st car at 15yo and 1st Harley at 16yo. Yea, I was there. :cool:
  18. gas4blood
    Joined: Nov 19, 2005
    Posts: 787

    from Kansas


    Ha! I remember some old ladies rolling up their windows and locking their doors at a stoplight when I pulled up next to them on my '57 pan chopper. That was about '69 or '70. My buds and I lived in a beat old house in a college town, the neighbors were very suspicious at first. Later they realized that while furry and noisy, we were actually OK, and some became friends. It helped out when they realized we were helping elderly folks in the neighborhood do things they couldn't handle any more.

    The funniest thing to me now is all the "traditional" stuff in magazines that looks nothing like things were back when. I was too young to participate in the '50's, but I remember the cars that folks had. Not a lot of show stuff, but never rusted out ditch bodies one inch off the ground. Of course, the good stuff was much cheaper and more available back then.
  19. Last years HAMB DRAGS were my first but they won't be the last. It was, as if I had stepped back in time! The smells, the sounds took me back to Fontana, Pomona & Irwindale. You are right about it not being the same, I don't remember seeing all those old folks, back then! :confused::confused:
  20. rick finch
    Joined: May 26, 2008
    Posts: 2,004

    rick finch

    Damn tootin'!!! Born in '46, graduated from high school in '64. I grew up in the Puyallup, Wa. area (actually Orting) cruised Pacific Ave. in Tacoma every Fri. & Sat. night. "American Graffiti" absolutely nailed the vibe and the times!! I did a tour in tropical S.E. Asia in '68 thru '69, raced dragsters all through the '70's & early '80's, have always had a hot rod of some sort, I've had a hell of a good time through it all!!:D
  21. I was there....................when you could buy a Lyndwood Welding "Eliminator" dragster chassis from Pat Bilbow in Wilkes-Barre PA for about $100.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  22. Kind of, not really, sort of. My heart and my head were there. Tons of car magazines, models and slot cars in the 60's for sure. Rode my bicycle around Brooklyn to the dealerships every September in the 60's to see all the new cars. First car in 70 ($20 57 Chevy)
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  23. pan-dragger
    Joined: Sep 13, 2006
    Posts: 3,187


    nope not me, wasn't born till '75.
  24. Bob K
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 5,774

    Bob K
    Member Emeritus
    from Antigo Wi.

    Yeah I was there all right started building this in 1954



    Drove it til 1957 but like the guy from Ohio said, there was no crusing in Milwaukee at that time. Did some drag racing on the brand new 4 lane Hyw 16 in Pewaukee with the permissinon and oversight of the State Patrol. I remember one sunday there were 2 taildragger customs there with Cali plates, I still have those pics somewhere, wish I knew where.

    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  25. bruce hylton
    Joined: Dec 12, 2008
    Posts: 194

    bruce hylton
    from toledo wa

    Bob K; I think I have that radiator in my attic.
  26. My dad gave me a subscription to Hot Rod Magazine for my birthday when I was 13 years old in 1952. (I'm 69 now). I've kept the subscription active ever since!
    I've had some kind of a 'hot rod' im my garage all my life. Sometimes it was a dune-buggy, 4X4, motorcycle, race car, or a boat, Corvette, or street rod, but nevertheless, some kind of a modified vehicle.
    Probably not a bad thing, overall. Many times, one of my main motivations for going to work in the morning was to get money to pay for my latest project. Never spent even one day on the unemployed list as a result.
    Now retired and still can't seem to get it out of my system!

    What's a 'hot rod' if it isn't HOT???

  27. This was the car I drove to high school in 1956 -'57. It had a hot 286" flathead at the time. After getting beat by the first "#@&$#-Stovebolt" in 1957, I pulled the flathead out and put a Hemi in it in 1958.

    Attached Files:

  28. pigpen
    Joined: Aug 30, 2004
    Posts: 1,624

    from TX USA

    In '63 I had a girlfriend that looked like this, only with darker hair,


    and drove around in a car that looked like this, except it was a 2Dr post. We drank Red Mountain wine, not Old Harper. PHS, Antelope Valley, Ca. That's all I'm gonna tell! pigpen

  29. Yeah, I was there when minimum wage was $1.25 an hour. Day late dollar short.

  30. my first garage i worked at as a mechanic at a dealership in Moorhead MN paid $60 a week then went to $1.45 hour for a local Ford dealer, they would not give me a raise as i droped out of high school :rolleyes: , what a stigma then....

    a vehicle for $1600 could just as well been 2 million in those days

    was just talking to a friend today about all the good cars we bought for $25 and drove them home and junked them lots of 57 chevs those days

    and after getting parts today I just cant believe what stuff costs now and those weird colored washers and dryers look space age, this world has left me behind like warp speed:eek:

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