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Folks Of Interest Was Your Dad a Hot Rodder?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Black_Sheep, Feb 6, 2021.

  1. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,226


    upload_2021-2-22_4-29-32.png in 1938, a used 1936 Dodge Sedan

    Our dad was a college student that wanted a car, but needed the money to finish school. So, he waited until he had enough saved to buy a used car. A 1936 Dodge Sedan was chosen with what he had saved. Then his sports abilities allowed him to go overseas and play baseball with his So Cal traveling team. So much for first time purchases. Then that sedan got lots of use in So Cal after the tour overseas.

    When my brother and I were on the family scene as little toddlers, my dad had purchased a 1941 Buick Fastback and that started his long affiliation of Buick sedans until he was no longer with us in the modern times. The fascination with Buick Sedans was cool, as he was one of those guys that found a reliable car and stuck with it until he no longer could drive. He traded in his old Buicks around a 4 year mark. He had put on plenty of miles daily and they all ran great. So, he stuck to what he knew and was proud when he drove home in a new Buick for the family.

    He wasn’t a hot rodder, but loved the noises he heard from Lion’s Dragstrip almost every Saturday from 1955 to our involvement ending phase. He did not know how to build a hot rod or drag racing car, but he supported our involvement as most dad’s like to do for the brothers. Our limited budget allowed us to buy parts and accessories for our cars. He never helped in that realm as he knew it was our own choices as to what we did with our lives. Of course, he wanted both of us to go to college and do something relevant.

    He knew that hot rodding and drag racing were tops on our teenage lists and he liked being a part of any form of contributions. If he had a choice, he would have purchased “more stuff” for the both of us. But, our mom did not like hot rods or drag racing, so she put a clamp on our dad’s involvement supporting us. Sometimes family rules actually rule. When we were little, he used to stomp on the gas pedal and make those huge Buicks fly, as if...

    One day, he came home from Los Angeles with a surprise in the trunk of his big Buick sedan. It was a fairly new large hydraulic jack that he had gotten from his friend in L.A. Wow, that made our day, for sure. Now, we were the only one of our friends with a hydraulic jack, so it got a lot of use for our friends needs when they came over to our house for a visit to work or just for a visit. We also put that hydraulic jack to good use in all of our hot rod/drag racing/engine building projects.

    He stayed involved during our movie film part of the timeline. He loved taking photos and shooting movies. But, the editing portion of the movie making was tedious and tiring for his old eyes. So, he hired me to do the editing and become his projectionist. No payment was discussed, but it was understood I could use his 16mm color, point and shoot movie camera anytime without question. Boy, did I ever use that movie camera. So, thank you, dad.

    He took movies of drag racing and his sneaky undercover trips to the Orange County beaches when we were starting to move along in our surfing episodes. Yes, we had to endure the daily comments on the water of: "Hey Nak, your dad is up on the pier watching us surf and taking movies again..." It was disheartening at first, but my brother and I became good or better than 95% of those in the water. So, a week later, (each time) we were able to see how we were doing on the developed film and what was needed to get better the next time out in the waves.

    At the time, we thought it was silly to have our dad filming us in our favorite activity. But, years later, that was an important part of our family history and my brother's drag racing accident recovery. So, thanks dad...

    1958 last family road trip to Mammoth Mountain Lakes, CA, in the 57 Buick Roadmaster.
    In thinking back to our own family of cars, my wife’s family had a 36 Plymouth Sedan versus my dad’s 36 Dodge. So there are/were eerie similarities that led to us meeting/getting together in college and as we have all heard, the rest is history. 50 plus years worth...
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
  2. vinny harms
    Joined: Nov 23, 2019
    Posts: 285

    vinny harms
    from Texas

  3. Mine wasn't when I was growing up but he told me stories of the 34 Ford coupe he had as a teenager. He said his uncle was a mechanic and he rebuilt the engine with so much compression that it would climb a local steep hill in high gear. He was proud of it.
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  4. modagger
    Joined: Jul 2, 2013
    Posts: 292


    My dad was more of a stoic depression era disciplinarian. We did though do one “car” project together that still elicits fond memories. He and I built a soap box derby car for the local qualifier when I was about ten.

    I remember being amazed at seeing a skill set and side of him that I never knew about. During that build he was patient and explained everything we were doing and why. I won my first two heats on race day and we celebrated the wins forgetting about the loss. Then he went back to being “Disciplinarian Dad”.

    He passed away a week before my twenty first birthday while I was in Vietnam. My brothers and I often wonder how it would have been had he lived and we were fortunate enough to know him as adults that he didn’t have to discipline any longer. He did pass along to us his wickedly funny sense of humor.

    Fortunately for me, his younger brother who I’ve written about here, was the best inspiration any kid could hope for.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
  5. jeepster
    Joined: Nov 17, 2005
    Posts: 598

    from wisconsin

    My Dad was not a Hot Rodder nor a car guy. What he was, was a hard working guy who raised 5 boys on a single income job(mom did not work outside of the home). He taught his boys how to take care of what we had, to respect others and their property. He taught us to be self sufficient, how to use tools safely, and do minor home repairs.
    When the auto bug bit my older brother and myself, he gave us his one car garage as our car storage and work area.
    He was not a hot rodder, and as such had no input on the construction of our first "hot rod" build. That would have been my Uncle Wayne who lead us down the path of ruination!
  6. modagger
    Joined: Jul 2, 2013
    Posts: 292


    “Non taxed liquor business”. Hah! What an eloquent way of saying what you meant.
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  7. Frankie47
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 1,878

    from omaha ne.

    No, unfortunately Father was more of a point A to point B man. As a mechanical engineer cars were just another tool for him, a way to get the job done. Thank goodness for my Gramps and my Uncle Norman.
  8. Jack Rice
    Joined: Dec 2, 2020
    Posts: 139

    Jack Rice

    My Dad wasn't a typical hot rodder by HAMB standards but yes, he definitely was always at the cutting edge of the technology of his time. A depression era opportunist , at age 9 he and a buddy built a motorbike using a bicycle and his pal's unimpressed mom's Maytag washing machine engine. In high school he drove a Studebaker coupe with a bigger Oldsmobile engine, the proverbial "Studemobile". Upon his return from WWII he got into dirt track stock car racing with a 35 Pontiac coupe. He' s no longer with us to elaborate but there's much more I wish I knew the details of. Like the Henderson motorcycle 4 cylinder in the airplane frame while in high school, or his work on the Fort Peck Dam under Roosevelt's CCC.
  9. modagger
    Joined: Jul 2, 2013
    Posts: 292


    Kudos Mr. Sheep!

    “You’ve started a thread......., that started the whole world, (H.A.M.B. World), talking!”.
    My apologies to The Bee Gees.

    You’ve elicited so many great remembrances with your query. Thanks!
  10. tdog
    Joined: Nov 15, 2009
    Posts: 409

    from Omaha, NE

    Great photo ! Was that photo from Playland park by chance ?
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  11. paul55
    Joined: Dec 1, 2010
    Posts: 3,490

    from michigan

    Yep, mine was and still is at 83. He grew up hanging around the local garage and dirt track in KY. He drag raced in the 60's with a straight axle 34 Chevy 3w coupe. He has had a 30's era hot rod of some kind, since the late 50's and has always had a 55-57 Chevy in the drive. He joined NSRA in 1971 and our family hit all the Nats in the 70's and 80's. He and Burns Berryman, current owner of the Larry Ernst, Barris-built '51 Chevy, started the Early Iron Street Rods in approx. 1973. Our house was also the hub for the neighborhood rods, as dad was "the elder" for a lot of the younger guys. One of our old neighbors that I went to school with, recently posted on FB, that in the summer, every weekend was like a mini car show at our house. Was a great time growing up and I would love to turn the clock back. The nomad I have was one of our daily cars in the 70's. I remember seeing AG at the drive-in, in about '74, sitting on the tailgate of the nomad. My parents now live right behind me and we still help each other on projects. Hell, last summer I walked over and he had his '56 Olds up in the air, laying under it, installing lowering blocks! Told him to call me when he's doing a bigger job like that. lol BTW, he still has a '31 Chevy roadster and a '52 Olds convert. and sold his last '55 Chevy just a few years ago. I am blessed!
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  12. hkestes
    Joined: May 19, 2007
    Posts: 571


    My dad was absolutely a hot rodder. Unfortunately due to divorce I did not have nearly enough contact with him in my formative years.
  13. 47streetrodder
    Joined: Oct 27, 2007
    Posts: 102


    My dad, while still in High School had a cut down model T roadster (Gow Job?) before WWII. He used to ask neighborhood ladies for their used naptha cleaning fluid and put it in his gas tank. Said that model T would run so hot that the exhaust manifold would glow. When WWII broke out, he joined the Army Air Corp and was trained as an aircraft mechanic. Out of necessity, he kept the family vehicles running strong and did a few side repair jobs for others. He would enjoy sourcing many of his parts from the wrecking yards and many times would take me and my older brother along and in doing so, passed this sickness onto the two of us. Around 1962, when my older brother was about 13 they brought home an abandoned 32 Ford 5 window coupe and began passing skills onto my brother. Go carts were getting quite popular then and he made one out of surplus parts. It was my first gasoline driven vehicle. A few years later, he bought a used 54 Mercury hard top with a bad automatic transmission and converted it to a 3 speed on the floor. My brother would speed shift that Mercury and keep Dad busy replacing broken gears. The one project that impresses me the most was a home built garden tractor that used a Wisconsin 4 cylinder, a ford top loader three speed and a car rear end. With only a hand drill, a hack saw and a buzz box welder, he trimmed the bell housing and fabricated the transmission adapter. How he cut a straight line with the hack saw amazes me. The tractor ran quite well and shifted fine. I have a segment of an old 8mm home movie with him tooling around the back yard. Besides teaching me how to rebuild an engine, I learned from him how to think outside the box.
  14. hallrods
    Joined: Feb 21, 2012
    Posts: 1,228


  15. hallrods
    Joined: Feb 21, 2012
    Posts: 1,228


    He is the guy in the Dark shirt the picture is from 67.
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  16. hallrods
    Joined: Feb 21, 2012
    Posts: 1,228


  17. hotrodrhp
    Joined: Sep 19, 2008
    Posts: 342

    from Wisconsin

    Love reading all the shared memories and heart felt stories in this post. Brings back such warm and comforting memories of my dad, the sacrifices and hardships he endured to provide for me and my six brothers and sisters. Hardest working man I've ever came across in my lifetime. Strict as hell and got my share of discipline dealt out and I know I deserved it! Miss my dad immensely every day. Lost him to cancer about 20 years ago.
    Dad was born poor to German immigrants but lost both at an early age so life was never easy for him and his brothers, especially during the great depression. He was raised in what he called a boys home. He was never a hot rodder and cars were merely a way to work .
    However he possessed amazing intellect and virtual total recall. Life long craftsman ,seemed he could repair or build anything and took great pride in whatever he did. Always said "do it right the first time won't have to do again"
    Had me tinkering on things and taking things apart at an early age. Encouraged me to find out how things worked on my own.
    Loved his Packards and later Buicks said cars need big trunks to haul his tools around. One of the proudest car moments I have of him when he finally let me tune up his car for the first time. Think I was about 16 and he said the car never ran so smooth and was proud of me. He wasn't one for giving out praise so that meant a lot to me. I know he died proud of his family and grand children for they inherited his work ethic and maybe just a piece of his intellect. Well maybe not the intellect part for me! Love you Dad
  18. My Dad was not a Hot Rodder but he loved cars and always kept his cars well maintained and clean. He raised 6 kids and for many years was the sole breadwinner- so having a ‘fun car’ was not an option for him. But he enjoyed watching his son’s (4 of us) buy cars bring them home and modify or personalize them whether for looks or performance or both. He bought mostly used cars over the years and always had a good eye when it came to helping his kids find a good used car for themselves
  19. Dad said it was the horse track at the fair grounds.
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  20. hallrods
    Joined: Feb 21, 2012
    Posts: 1,228


    539F40A6-67CF-4B5A-98BD-EBBBECE928AA.jpeg 539F40A6-67CF-4B5A-98BD-EBBBECE928AA.jpeg

    Attached Files:

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  21. devilleish
    Joined: Jan 15, 2007
    Posts: 254

    from Tampa, FL

    Not a hot rodder, but a restoration freak and an aerospace engineer that fits the perfectionist stereotype. I grew up with a '61 Falcon two door wagon, '55 GMC, two '56 Bel Air sedans, '55 Chevy truck, and a few early Datsuns, all as stock as Dad could make them. To him, modifying a car is adding something the factory offered, like the OT Ford hatchback he added a back seat to about 25 years ago. Many years later, he is now restoring a 1938 Cadillac (my current avatar). I got my love of cars from him, but his sister bought me my first subscription to Hot Rod when I was 10 in 1984, and that kicked me onto that path.
  22. JimNNN
    Joined: Jun 11, 2020
    Posts: 5


    To Black_Sheep, I also send condolences for your loss. It isn't easy, even when you've been blessed to have your Dad as long as you have. My Dad passed away in 2018, at age 98. He wasn't a hot rodder, but in 1939 - at age 19 - he bought a 1937 Indian Chief. I think he kept it until he went into the Navy right before the US entered the war. I always got the impression he was pretty proud of that bike. I have a picture of him and his bike somewhere.
  23. No, but he was a car guy and always had fast convertibles.
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  24. Bullet Nose
    Joined: Nov 20, 2001
    Posts: 2,091

    Bullet Nose

    I've seen those fingers before.
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  25. GreMac
    Joined: Feb 11, 2008
    Posts: 10

    from Colorado

    Great thread
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  26. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 6,431


    All, what beautiful remembrances of your fathers. I can't say I'm not jealous.

    Stories and experiences, such as these, make me want to be that type of father for my own kids. I love when they come in the shop or climb into a project. I hope they can pass on stories like all of you.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
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  27. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 9,982

    jimmy six

    I posted earlier but without my dads car. 29 roadster chopped, Crager overhead conversion, Chrysler grille shell, chopped/bobbed fenders etc.. This is 1938. 0B1AEAD0-47C4-42EC-9289-FCC3BCACD7E8.jpeg
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  28. gbones32coupe
    Joined: Jan 1, 2007
    Posts: 725


    loudbang, Lil32 and Tony Martino like this.
  29. My step dad wasn't, he had some cool cars well before I met him, but was what I would call more of an 'owner' than a hot rod guy that would hop up or modify his vehicles. He hated, or at least severely disliked, me sinking all of my money and time into cars.
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