Can you track back your interest in hot rod to someone in particular? I can. At ten years old in the mid-fifties I was interested in cars but it took a encounter with a real car guy to cement my interest. In the summer of 1957, a friend of my father had purchased a new Thunderbird. I was impressed with it in silver paint with a black and white interior. It seemed the height of performance in my young mind. Until I met Rudy Smith and his Corvette. Rudy was visiting a girl friend who worked at the ranch where I lived. The hood was up as I approached the black '57 Corvette. The owner, a young man in his 20's, was busy working on the engine. I proceeded to tell him about the T-bird and it's performance. He replied that although a nice car his Vette would run circles around it. In a short time he completed the under hood duties and fired it up. The solid lifter, dual fours equipped small block sounded unlike anything I had experienced. He offered to take me for a ride and needless to say I was impressed. The next few years he was always gracious enough to talk cars with a kid on his bicycle. He took some friends and I to our first drag races. Always a good guy, he helped introduce us to hot rodding. Rudy recently died and I am reminded how his generosity effected me. I'll always stop to talk cars to an interested kid.