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History Who cruised Central Ave. Phoenix in the 1970's?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Hotweel, May 16, 2012.

  1. Hotweel
    Joined: Jun 23, 2010
    Posts: 66

    Hotweel
    Member

    I read the stuff on cruising Central Ave. in the 1960s, how about the 1970s? I was there practically every Friday and Saturday night till the cops pushed everyone to the Metro center circle which was just lame. We would cruise from Thomas Ave. to Bethany Home and back all night long. McDonalds, Arbys, DQ, were good food stops, we usually hung around the big lighting store. National High Performance was on Central, Loper's and Goosic on Indian School. I remember a guy named Cash that had one of the first and baddest V8 Vegas with a narrowed rear end, slicks, roll cage.
     
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  2. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,906

    need louvers ?
    Member

    I was there a few times in the late seventies with older friends, but not consistantly. I had my '35 running by mid '80, and even without a license to my name participated almost weekly from there!
     
  3. lanny haas
    Joined: Nov 1, 2008
    Posts: 560

    lanny haas
    Member
    from Phoenix AZ

    did a little in 1970 after I got out of the Army.
     
  4. Hotweel
    Joined: Jun 23, 2010
    Posts: 66

    Hotweel
    Member

    I'd like to see some old cruisin' pictures taken on Central Ave. in the '60s, 70's '80s. I remember one of the local news stations doing a story on Cruising Central around 1979, that footage would be priceless!
     

  5. river1
    Joined: May 12, 2001
    Posts: 855

    river1
    Member

    i did central in the late 70s till they shut it down and we moved to main st in mesa. till they shut it down and we moved to metro center. till they shut it down and we moved back to central.

    are you seeing a pattern here LOL

    later jim
     
  6. Sure! I 'lived' on Central after I got my license in '76. Shut down a '65 Chevelle my first night down there the day after my 16th birthday. We cruised Main St in Mesa too during this time.
    First drove a primer '69 GTO with a 'glass tilt front end ( still have it ).
    Then, a red '65 GTO conv, This GTO was totaled just south of Indian School by the DerWiener Schnizel. A Ranchero and a mustang were racing and the Rancharo slammed into the back of me doing about 70 in the summer of '77. How my girlfriend and I were not hurt bad, only God knows.
    Then a red '72 GTO 455HO my senior year. We were down there at least 5 nights a week to hang out, meet girls and street race.
    I remember things a little different than you do though.
    On the south end, we all would turn left at the library just above McDowell then 2 more lefts and a right to get back on Central. On the north side, we would turn left or right just north of Camelback either into the shopping mall or the DQ. We never drove up to Bethany.
    Below Camelback on the east side, the speed shop was called "Service Center". Later, a Super Shops store opened on Camelback just west of Central.
    Before I had my license, in the '72-'74 time frame, my brother ran an orange '69 GTO judge with the same glass tilt front end 428 roller cam and 4.88s. It was known for doing wheelstands on Central and one of the quicker cars there at that time.
    Do not remember seeing a Vega with a narrowed rear. The first car on Central I do remember with a narrowed rear was a '67 or '68 cougar.
    Also, McDs was on the west side of Central and Arbys on the east- in a strange move, they both swapped locations.
    By '85, I was cruising in my blue '72 GTO that was my first 11 second car. It was around that time, I remember Central getting shut down and people moving to Metro Center.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2012
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  7. MilesM
    Joined: May 28, 2002
    Posts: 1,206

    MilesM
    Member

    Missed the 70's here but I remember the early 80's a little differnt.

    My brother went to school at ASU 81-82.

    We were down checking out AZ in 81 and the Mesa cruise was huge. I had never seen any car cruise that big or out of control like that prior.
    Nothing big happening on central by then.

    By the time I moved here in 83 Mesa was closed down and Metro Center was the place only to be shut down not long after that.
     
  8. Hotweel
    Joined: Jun 23, 2010
    Posts: 66

    Hotweel
    Member

    By '81, I had sold the Nova and started building up a '56 Chevy 2 door wagon. Metro was a mystery to me, round and round, no food or gas stops, if you met any girls, by the time you got to an exit, the ugly fat friend would talk the rest of the honeys out it! Main Street in Mesa still was pretty good but Cruising Central was the best!
     
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  9. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,906

    need louvers ?
    Member


    Not sure what part of Central you were hitting in the early eighties, but it was going crazy then. It was always the jumping oof point to the other spots around town. We would always meet up at the Central Mcdonald's, then wheneverybody was all together head out to Metro, or Mesa. Or just stay on Central. Sometimes we'd head down to south side and go hang out with some lowrider buddies that I knew at the time. That was a trip! That was date night to that crew!!
     
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  10. MilesM
    Joined: May 28, 2002
    Posts: 1,206

    MilesM
    Member

    Central might have been happening but the size of Mesa was huge for a guy from a smaller town.

    As an out of towner at the time, cruising up Van Buren and back was quite entertaining!
     
  11. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,906

    need louvers ?
    Member

    I lived in Tempe from about '83 on, so the drive down Van Bueren was the ride in to get to Central. It was almost as fun as Central itself! I have a picture I took of a "lady of the evening" in front of the old Arnold Pickles plant at 14th street that I cherish to this day. The Neon signs from the hotels along the route lit up the skies like fire works. Not nearly as much a fan of the Van since the cleanup about ten years ago! Nothing to see anymore.
     
  12. Hotweel
    Joined: Jun 23, 2010
    Posts: 66

    Hotweel
    Member

    I remember the very first time I cruised Central, it was 1974, a friend's older brother took us down, we were in one of those old school campers that extended over the cab of a pick-up. It was like watching American Graffiti live! I remember seeing a '55 Chevy, a few T-buckets, GTOs, and more Camaros that I had ever seen in my life. Back then it was really unusual to see any hot rods. As a kid, I would ride my Schwinn Stingray a few miles just to drool over a '57 Chevy or '34 Ford coupe that someone might have told me they spotted at a used car lot in town. The first Saturday night I got my drivers license, I stayed there till 3 in the morning. I would continue cruising Central religiously in my '62 Nova, even after dropping off a date, I'd swing on over to Central, always thought I might be missing something!
     

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  13. mechanickeith
    Joined: Mar 9, 2009
    Posts: 470

    mechanickeith
    Member

    Been there-done that!!! Ya know you were on central too much when you were on a first name basis with all the cops & a juvy court judge!!! Class of 73 central High!!!
     
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  15. MilesM
    Joined: May 28, 2002
    Posts: 1,206

    MilesM
    Member

    We had stopped at multiple Firecracker stands driving across country that summer. Well,,, we had some firecrackers in the car still and you can imagine what fun we had going down Van Buren tossing them out! Glad we did not get pulled over.


     
  16. Hotweel
    Joined: Jun 23, 2010
    Posts: 66

    Hotweel
    Member

    My friend Gary Mullins bought Cash's first car, a '65 Nova. It was black with flames, here's a pic of Gary with the car after he had it painted all black.
     

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  17. I don't remember the Nova, but I have slept since then! Your friend, Gary Mullins, name sure seem's familiar. That was a long time ago, must have been '70 or '71...
     
  18. Noitsnotagto
    Joined: Oct 28, 2013
    Posts: 1

    Noitsnotagto
    Member

    Newbie here, Old post but maybe I can spark a few more comments. Found this thread searching cruzin central ave in Phx. I cruised Central 85-87. From the storys seems the city has shut it down many times over a decades. I had 68 midnight blue Firebird and a yellow 71 Chevelle during those years. Sold the Chevelle to John Dixon from Mesa AZ. John you on here?? hehe
    Nobody mentioned the illegal drag spots? Anyone remember Deer Valley road next to BRE? Or West McDowell rd before Litchfield and Palm Valley. Thats back when Litchfield was a oasis. Moved there in 79.
     
  19. MOPAR 2 YA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2017
    Posts: 2

    MOPAR 2 YA

    1968 to 1974. Cruised from Camelback to Phx Library. People parked at different places with different people. Parked at Rayco. 1969 Hemi Roadrunner - Tripp Shoemake helped with the engine build. . Would run high 10s at Mel Larsons No nitro back then.
     
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  20. MOPAR 2 YA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2017
    Posts: 2

    MOPAR 2 YA

    Union Hill out east. Nothing there back then. Had a tree. Used to be about once a month.
     
  21. EdH
    Joined: Jan 13, 2018
    Posts: 4

    EdH

    This thread is one of the first things that pops up on googles when searching Cruising Phoenix. So I'll throw in my 2 cents worth. My dates will be off, but here goes. Cruised central starting 1980 (16 and in high school), starting at Arby's, think it closed around 1983. Then to the Mcdonalds just south of Indian School. Never liked Metro, to many cops and no place really to park. Liked Main, but to far of a drive at the time (plus I'm pretty sure it was just weds nights, someone correct me). I do remember a lot of waiting around till midnight, then off to the 1/4 mile races around phoenix. There were 3 or 4 favorite places everyone would meet. By the time I had a fast car, cruising was near dead. And the racing was going further and further out of town.
    Some of the names and cars I remember: TJ 67 Camaro (always with his wife/gf Laura?), Howie 68 Firebird, Rick 66 Charger, Steve 68ish GTO with a BBC borrowed from Howie, Big Dan 74ish Nova (hard to miss him in the parking lot), Jim 69 Roadrunner (think his brother had a 55ish Nomad), Frank 68 Roadrunner and Dodge with a 70 GTX. Don't remember their names, but a lot of first V8's stuffed in little cars like the primer black vega, red monza and mini truck (mazda maybe). Saw my first "pro street" looking early 70's Camaro. And if anyone car remember the very healthy dark colored 1967-68 fastback mustang (which was suppose to be one of the fastest cars on central). He never parked, just up and down central a couple times and disappeared. Also remember the ATF poured on street for the one legged burnouts. Favorite might be when someone left the nitrous flowing and starting their car and seeing valve covers flying up 30 feet (it might have been the hood, I can't remember that good). My best to all, the good old days.
     
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  22. Topspeed
    Joined: Mar 5, 2014
    Posts: 17

    Topspeed
    Member
    from Peoria, Az

    You have it pretty straight EdH, the Blue '67 Ford Mustang Fastback you are referring to was owned by Billy Hall. It was indeed one of the quickest on Central at the time. Billy was one of a group of Central Ave Cruisers that were pretty much on Central every Friday and Saturday night from the early 70's until the latter 1980's and into the 1990's.
    Billy's Mustang was maintained by Sunny Slope Automotive and in particular Don Woodard the proprietor of the business. It used a number of different combinations over the years but was essentially built around a dual quad 427 medium riser engine. Billy worked for the Salt River Project as a Lineman which paid him very well and allowed Billy to afford some very exotic equipment on his Mustang.
    We have a FB page dedicated to Cruising Central Ave named, "Central Ave Cruisers" if you would like to see some pictures and articles about Central Ave. as well as comments from many of the people who used to Cruise this infamous boulevard during its heyday.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/187039351725350/
     
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  23. Topspeed
    Joined: Mar 5, 2014
    Posts: 17

    Topspeed
    Member
    from Peoria, Az

    There are several of the people you mentioned that I knew personally based on your descriptions. Rick with the '66 Charger (smh), Pat Dennison with the V-8 mini truck (It was a Datsun) Steve with the Chevy powered GTO, and of course Billy Hall. I probably know the others as well, many of the folks on Central are remembered by their cars not their names, so if I were to see them I probably would remember them.
     
  24. I attended Central High.
    I was a loner who played raquetball at lunch.
    I was on Coach Tietz's cross country team.
    Loved a girl named Jill Hamner ? who skied Aspen & wouldn't even look at me.

    Had an early yellow VW Baja Bug & would cruise Central from time to time
    in the late 70's.

    My best friend who attended Central was Carl " Buddy " Brandt.
    He died when the car he was in was t boned by a Phoenix cop
    responding to a hot traffic call with his lights off ran a red light
    at Central & Indian School.

    We had plans to drive across the US on bicycles ....

    I think about Carl from time to time.


    Jim
     
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  25. A Seabee
    Joined: May 9, 2017
    Posts: 26

    A Seabee

    I was there just about every Friday and Saturday from 77 to 80, had a white 69 Roadrunner. Good times!
     
  26. A Seabee
    Joined: May 9, 2017
    Posts: 26

    A Seabee

    He'd park at the Firestone every so often. never opened his hood though
    I just googled Billy Hall and see where he passed in 2008. RIP Billy!
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2020
  27. ENUF 41
    Joined: Dec 24, 2016
    Posts: 201

    ENUF 41
    Member

    Was your friends accident in a VW at Central and Indian School about 4 to 5am?
     
  28. Bob Lowry
    Joined: Jan 19, 2020
    Posts: 913

    Bob Lowry

    Yep, cruised Central in the 60's and 70's!! Went with my older brother whenever he let me in the early '60's,
    and then own my own as soon as I got my license in 1964. Got kicked out of the house when I was 17 for
    being a wise, know-it-all teenager, so Central Ave. become my second home and meeting place. Keep in mind
    that in those days there were no cell phones, pagers or answering machines. All the car guys meet on Central
    Ave.. Any night of the week, but a must on Friday and Saturday nights. Cool cars, street races, grudge matches,
    and cool girls. I cruised from Camelback down to McDowell, turning around in the library parking lot. Not a
    lot of money, so ate at McDonalds, Weinerschnitzel or on payday, Bob's Big Boy. Top of the line, double-decker
    cheeseburgers for .55 cents! Here is what I ran up and down Central. Good times, just like in American Graffiti.

    pumpkin (2).jpg
     
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  29. Bob Lowry
    Joined: Jan 19, 2020
    Posts: 913

    Bob Lowry

    Another fun story, my good friend still to this day, had a gorgeous '61 dual-quad, black Corvette with FACTORY installed A/C!, and polished Halibrand Sprint rims. He arranged to have it stolen to get the insurance money, and
    bought a brand new, 1968 Z28 Camaro. The 302's were still pretty new, and not many knew what he had under
    the hood. He would race for money, letting the guy win the first race by about a 1 1/2 car lengths, then go for
    double or nothing on a second race. On the second race he gave it full throttle and was always 4-5 car lengths
    ahead, doubling his money. Fun to see it develop when you knew how it was going to end. Good times!
    (P.S. He traced down the owner of the Vette and bought it back, without the A/C parts. The kid's dad got
    tired of seeing that box of "junk" on the storage room shelf and threw it out. Still has the Z28 which went
    through a 100pt restoration.) It was fun to be part of it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021
    moparboy440 likes this.
  30. I don’t remember - that over 40 years ago.

    They were t-boned by a cop at night with his lights off that ran a red light responding to a call.

    His name was Carl “ Buddy “ Brandt.

    Jim
     

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