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History WWII's Massive Impact on Hot Rodding

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jive-Bomber, Jun 28, 2018.

  1. Jive-Bomber
    Joined: Aug 21, 2001
    Posts: 3,212


    Jive-Bomber submitted a new blog post:

    WWII's Massive Impact on Hot Rodding


    Continue reading the Original Blog Post
  2. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,823


    Working on 5 flathead Chrysler engines in a tank could get the blood flowing for a hot rodder.. 20180626_132835.jpeg
  3. And training! Young men and women with the aptitude for mechanics where offered all the schooling they could absorb as quickly as possible, and the motor pools, aircraft hangars and flight decks were generally farther back from combat, so their survival rates were improved. Those who made it through the war and either drove, flew or worked on these engineering gems of the day had a greater appreciation of them. Also, as I've pointed out to my son, combat jets are louder and faster by far than those corporate jets flying over because noise and fuel economy are far secondary to performance when the world may depend of their success. That's what hot rodders have always cherished, a biproduct of combat engineering.
  4. Curt Six
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 844

    Curt Six

    It also gave guys exposure to parts of our own country they'd never seen before...and exposure to hot rodding trends in those areas. There's an article I did in our latest issue (TRJ #78) on a group of guys from Ohio that were so blown away by the customs they saw while stationed in California that they began making annual trips back to So Cal in the late-'40s to take photos of cars and take those ideas back to Dayton and build their own versions. Spreading the gospel before the Internet, right?
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  5. Can you imagine the thoughts/feeling of some backwater farm boy getting his hand on the twin throttles of a pair of Allisons in a P-38? He instantly became a hot rodder for life!
  6. borderboy1971
    Joined: Oct 20, 2008
    Posts: 581

    from Canada

    Well, isn't this ironic. A thread about the effect of ww2 on hot rodding culture. I started a thread about this very same thing a couple years ago, only to have it shut down because it was deemed offensive. I said nothing about anything about the war and was pointing out the exact same things in this story yet mine wasn't allowed.
    tractorguy likes this.
  7. These young men were the pioneers of speed and innovation gleamed from their experiences with aircraft & the motor pool,Wally Parks was a great example of applying his war time job to the passion he loved.

    Today we still try to emulate the pre & post war types of cars these veterans were building when they returned to a normal life. HRP
    dana barlow likes this.
  8. It has happened to us all at one time or another,someone reported it as off topic and one of the moderators axed it,just enjoy reading this one and add to it. HRP
    saltracer219 likes this.
  9. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,573

    from Ioway

    Military service in general (without regard to some of the frankly stupid "adventures" around the world in the last 100 years or so) is an amazing thing for building confidence and competence skills in young men. I'm not aware of any other organization that places such levels of responsibility on 18 or 19 year olds. Within just a couple years or so of entering service they may be literally in charge of millions of dollars of highly complex equipment and associated tools and test equipment, and further they are held accountable for same. No college degree required. There is a tendency in today's society to coddle young people and deprive them of the skills they need to get by in life. Boys in particular are basically treated as defective girls these days, this does no favors for either boys or girls. The famous "Damn the Torpedos, Full Speed Ahead" quote in American history was uttered by a guy who commanded his first ship at age 15.
  10. deucetruck
    Joined: Jan 8, 2010
    Posts: 626

    from Missouri

    This little "hot rod" was put together by our boys while on Iwo Jima. An area collector now owns it.
    doodlebug - 4.jpg Mike's collection - doodlebug.jpg doodlebug - 2.jpg
    Satyr, superleggera, TagMan and 13 others like this.
  11. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 17,704

    from Michigan

    The other was the P-51D pony...:D
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  12. The G.I. Bill helped a lot of young returning soldiers and airmen get a jump start on life with educational help and V.A. loans for housing (preferably with a garage:D) . Their learned skills and these benefits helped to create the "middle class" in America where a hard working guy could raise a family and still have some disposable income to pursue racing, hot rod building or just owning a special car that the wife didn't necessarily need to haul groceries.:)
    osage orange and Stogy like this.
  13. ......................and may we never forget those brave souls who didn't return from war.:(
    chevy57dude, egads, TagMan and 13 others like this.
  14. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 5,452

    Bandit Billy

    Stogy likes this.
  15. 26hotrod
    Joined: Nov 28, 2009
    Posts: 826

    from landis n c

    While serving w/the 101st Airborne (1966-69) a lot of my fellow troopers were from California, I am from N.C. They would talk of their car culture (hot rods and muscle cars) and it only fueled my desire for automotive adventures. When American Grifitti came out that did it for me. I started my search for the hot rod I have now, a 26 Ford coupe built by the late Stan VanAmburg of Temple City, Ca. I bought it in 1997...……..
    catdad49, brett4christ and Stogy like this.
  16. A lot of military technology trickled down into the cars, Dzus fasteners, AN fittings and hardware were a couple of things. Surplus material like shoulder harnesses made it into race cars. The first low-riders used hydraulics from airplane flap actuators. The guys getting out of the service had the know how and California was one of the first places for them to use it on the dry lakes and other racing venues.
    Stogy likes this.
  17. SR100
    Joined: Nov 26, 2013
    Posts: 621


    Interestingly, Wally Parks is pictured with a Bantam BRC-40. Most of those went to Russia under Lend-Lease. I wonder if that was the 'Jeep' he swapped a V8-60 into (some say so, others say it was a Ford GP). Maybe he picked it because the Bantam was lighter than the Ford or Willys.
    Oddly, it has a civilian steering wheel.
    Stogy likes this.
  18. lowrd
    Joined: Oct 9, 2007
    Posts: 198


    Some of the influence may have come from Bill Mauldin's Willy and Joe adventures with Jeeps.
    I think there is a thread on here someplace. I recall a story about a hot rod Jeep among Mauldin's writing. Wally's Jeep has beauty rings!
    Stogy likes this.
  19. Nobey
    Joined: May 28, 2011
    Posts: 1,171


  20. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 8,994

    Rusty O'Toole

    One of the best dry lakes became Edwards Air Force Base and has been lost to hot rodders ever since.

    But, there was a flood of war surplus aircraft parts, aluminum and other parts that came in handy for building hot rods in the forties and fifties.
    Stogy and Deuces like this.
  21. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 13,358



    The story about the ole Hotrod I am caretaker of went like this...An Aviation Repairman came back from WWll and bought an old car and made a Hotrod out of it.

    At the time it was flathead powered but as the years went by a known hot chevy engine came available in the early sixties and the rear end and the engine were swapped out and that is the way it remains to this very day...and I carry the torch lit by the serviceman forward head held high every day.

    Yes they had met with much tougher times than me...I thank them always for the freedom I enjoy today...

    And yes it certainly did influence the hobby in many ways...

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
  22. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 25,544


    Two things right there that were huge contributors, Exposure to the outside world beyond 56th street, the city limits or the county line. Many of those guys had never been out of their home region before they entered the service. The skills they learned, what they had seen in their travels or where they were stationed in the states and what they learned or the home they bought with the GI bill when they came home and got out of the service. Many also decided to move to areas with a lot more industry going on and higher paying jobs that were offered at home after the war.
    No doubt there were a number of them who came home and started a service station or garage that became a go to place for local hot rod enthusiasts.
    You have to think that in someone's dad's or granddads or great granddad's papers or note book that he kept during WWII that there were some drawings of race cars using a belly tank for a body long before the first one hit the lakes or the salt. There were probably plans for aircraft engine powered race cars in other note books.

    Dad told stories about different Army air corps buddies cars clear into his 80's. The influence from other guys with similar likes. He bought his 41 Ford Convert in California while still in the service and had steel packs put on it the first week he had it. He would rack the pipes going down the narrow street between the bank where my mom worked and the newspaper office across the street and everyone in the bank would turn and look at her (so she says) because they knew that was my dad's car out on the street. Dad even bought a gas station on the GI bill but bought it in a town that didn't take to outsiders even they came from 30 miles away and didn't keep it that long.
    lothiandon1940 and Stogy like this.
  23. Jive-Bomber
    Joined: Aug 21, 2001
    Posts: 3,212


    Stogy likes this.
  24. deucetruck
    Joined: Jan 8, 2010
    Posts: 626

    from Missouri

    Well, the collector IS a huge MoPAR guy!
  25. egads
    Joined: Aug 23, 2011
    Posts: 498


    Look's like a Denso. (Newer but still Japanese, so that's ok ,right:D) That thing is cool as hell
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
  26. Don't forget, GIs learned how roots blowers worked on diesel engines from 1 to 24 cylinders. They are a necessity on a 2-cycle diesel engine since they don't have the 'suck' cycle of a 4-stroke to get air into the cylinder. There they are not a power booster, they are necessary to get the engine to work at all. But GIs figured out they could be used to blow air and fuel into a V8 under pressure and achieve massive power gains. The inline 6 cylinder blower happens to fit on top of a passenger car V8 engine and the right capacity to provide the extra air required for max power. The rest is history.
    Deuces, chevy57dude and egads like this.
  27. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,290

    from Colorado

    I had the good fortune to work with a lot of WWII vets in the speed equipment industry starting in the early sixties. They really were the greatest generation. This was only 15-20 years after the end of the war. The availability of war surplus machinery for cheap money in SoCal was a real plus for industry pioneers. Palley’s surplus in LA and Goodrich on Main in San Diego sold AN fittings by the pound. SoCal Speed Shop was founded by a vet, Alex Xydias, in 1946.
  28. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 4,448

    anthony myrick
    from al

  29. Relating back to Wally Parks and his jeep, this is from a Bio on Chuck Spurgin written by Chuck's daughter Karin

    While in the service Chuck often wrote to his friend Wally Parks. He realized his letters were being delivered within a few days which was very unusual during the war. He found out from the postman that Wally was stationed just a few miles away on the same island, Bougainville. So every so often they would get together. During that time they “souped” up a Navy jeep and continued to race.

    Whether this is the same Jeep that Wally is pictured with I am unsure.
  30. rwrj
    Joined: Jan 30, 2009
    Posts: 430

    from SW Ga

    I've been thinking about this a lot lately. As many of you pointed out, the end of the war brought a flood of highly trained mechanics and machinists back to the states. What hasn't been mentioned is the financial boom that followed the war. Remember, the Great Depression lasted for most people right up to our involvement in the war. I'm too young to have any direct experience in all of this, but it seems to me that the pre-war hot rod culture was much more amateur, for lack of a better term, than the post-war. Average young guys had more knowledge and disposable income afterwards. Don't get me wrong, I know there was plenty of expertise around during (and before) the depression, just look at the Indy cars from that era, but I don't think that the average Joe souping up his car had the advanced knowledge, machinery, or funds to do what the post-war guys were doing. I also realize it wasn't like a switch got flipped and Bam, every hot rod was a highly engineered, precision instrument, but I think that process started after the boys came home. Personally, I'm drawn to the Depression era, just like figuring out ways to fix stuff with what I have and what I can do. "Grapes of Wrath", and all of that. All this is just my rambling opinion, feel free to contradict any of it.

    Truck64, I like your post on the military. I have a daughter at Annapolis, so I would point out that military service has provided those benefits to a whole bunch of females, as well.

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