and hot rod.
Photo is from around 1959 in Bakersfield, CA. 1929 Ford Roadster pickup.
was my first car, it was completely stock when my grandfather
gave it to me, I was 14. Over the next 4 years I built and
rebuilt this car 3 times, first with a hopped up 4 banger,
later with a Chevy 265 and then…Unfortunately I crashed
the car at the beginning my senior year in High School - only
the body and the pick up bed (and me) survived. No problem,
a quick channel job, shorten the bed, apply some paint and
we were back on the road again. With a hopped up Chevy 283,
Duntov cam and dual four barrels this cut down 29 ran 102 at
Famosa in street trim - this thing was an absolute death trap,
but we did have a lot of fun with it. I sold it less the engine,
which I put into my next project, a big safe car, a 55 Chevy,
of course. [TOP]
My First Ride
Somewhere in Nebraska.
The car is a thirty-something Willys, and that's Ruth in the center, the baby
in white, along with her mother and two brothers. Wouldn't you love to have
that car in good condition today?
"Years Gone By"
by Don as told to Jan
of the reasons the movie classic " American Grafitti" will
still be popular years from now is because the era of the 50's
and 60's was so magic that even those born a decade earlier
or later find it appealing. Most of us in the Roamin Angels
were lucky enough to have lived it, loved it and can still
recall it as if it were yesterday. This is one of those "flashbacks"!
Don grew up in the San Fernando Valley during the 50's. Naturally,
he belonged to a car club. It was called the "Chi-Lons" (spelled in Asian symbols)
and roughly translated to "Wolf". Supposedly there was another rough
translation in Spanish that was VERY rough and couldn't be dragged out of Don
with a Hemi. There were about 30 or so in the Chi-Lons, mostly from San Fernando
High. The weekends were routinely spent cruising to one of the many "Bob's
Big Boy" drive-ins so popular back then. All the cars from all the clubs
stuffed with kids from the valley would spend Friday and Saturday nights partying
at Bob's Big Boy (and a drive-in or two). To this day there are still two of
these restaurants left...one in Tuluca Lake and one in Burbank.
The Chi-Lons found a ‘32 Ford 3-window coupe and decided to rebuild
it for drag strip racing. (The photo shows a Scotts Blower on top the
engine.) They took turns racing and that little coupe took a whole
bunch of trophies at the San Fernando drag strip (which is long gone)
and the Bakersfield drag strip. Eventually they decided to sell raffle
tickets on the coupe and gave it away. Maybe you can find Don in the
picture because he won't tell me which one he is.
Don has some great history on the San Fernando Raceway. It was in operation
from 1955 to 1970. Gates opened at 9 a.m. Unmuffled cars couldn't run until
12:30 p.m. and the featured 8-car Top Fuel and Top Gas shows, along with all
time trials and eliminations in open-header classes, had to be completed between
12:30 and 3:30 p.m. because it was close to residential neighborhoods and proved
to be the eventual downfall of the dragstrip in 1970. One popular attraction
was the "Bustle Bomb".
Here is its history: George Smith pulled the cadillac engine out of
his record-setting pickup and mounted it in the rear. Harvey Goldberg
put his Oldsmobile engine in front. The Caddy ran gas and the Olds
ran on Alky and Nitro. Having clocked 140 MPH on it's maiden run in
1953 at the Santa Ana Raceway but on that run the rear engine would
not shut down at the end. Driver (Lloyd Scott) had to steer with one
hand and reach around back with the other and pull the plug wires out
of the ignition, one by one, until he got the engine shut down. By
then, he had traveled a half mile from the dragstrip, across a bean
field and wound up by a hangar at the Orange County Airport (now known
at John Wayne International Airport). In 1955, at the first NHRA national
meet, the "Bomb" set
the top time at 151 MPH over a field of dragsters from all over the country.
They lost their elimination race to the eventual 1955 Champion, Calvin Rice.
Don has some special memories from a half century ago, and like most of us,
wouldn't trade a day of it. I am left to wonder if those guys ever figured
out how to shut off the rear engine.
A Father’s Day Story by Cindy
was born into a family of car lovers so it's in the blood.
I am the oldest of three and the only girl. My father was a
car salesman for Chase Chevrolet in Stockton Ca. In the early
years when my dad wasn't working my parents participated in
sports car ralleys with their MGs. By the time I was 5 years
old I went everywhere with my dad. My mom had my two baby brothers
to take care of, so she didn't get to go much.
One day we were out in my dad’s 1956 green chevy truck and my dad backed
into a mail box and put a dent in the truck. This was a mortal sin and the
earth shook. My dad didn't have just an ordinary truck it was a show piece!
Of course dad said ‘don't tell mommy’. Well, I bet you can quess
the first words out of my mouth when we got home. "Mom dad wrecked the
Every friday night during racing season, my dad and I were at the 99
speedway watching my favorite car Jack Gordon in the purple #7. Through
the years my love of cars grew because of my dad. My dad was very proud
of how nice and clean his vehicles were...you didn't touch windows;
didn't touch the dash; didn't wrinkle the seat belts; never lean up
against a car-not just our cars, anybody’s car. It goes without
saying that you never ate in the car! Other people just could not understand
why my dad was so particular , but they didn't place as much value
or most importantly didn't have this love of cars.
In 1973, I got my drivers permit and was coming home from a company
picnic with my dad in the 1969 chevy truck. I was driving and dad said
punch it! So I did. Dad said ‘I mean punch it!’ He reached his foot over to
the gas peddle and buried it. I was going down I80 (no traffic) doing over
100mph! My dad turned to me and said "you’ve done it now so don't
ever let me catch you doing it again." He knew me too well.
To my surprise, the next month I got my first car, a red 1965 Nova SS 283,
all original with 33000 miles,with the original monroney in the glove box.
The original owner was a little old lady that lived on Pasadena St. No joke!
I grew up as my dad's lil partner. December 7, 1995, unfortunately, I lost
my dad to a heart attack. One year ago my mom finally decided to sell my dad's
69 truck tome and my husband. Even though we own the pickup, it will always
be my Dad's truck. [TOP]
first hot rod.
Photo is from around 1957 in Fullerton, CA. ‘29 Ford Roadster with 241
Dodge Red Ram ‘Hemi”
is not my first car, but it is my first attempt at a hot rod.
In 1955, I built the car with a flathead engine while I was
a junior in high school. That engine froze up so about 1957
or ‘58, I put this 241 Dodge Red Ram in it. I don’t
know why I went with the Hemi Dodge. I started going to the
drag races at Santa Ana with a friend of mine. Hemi’s
were just getting popular in race cars. I guess I was impressed
with them so that’s why I chose it.
The car was a ‘29 Ford roadster channeled over the frame.
It had a ‘39
Ford tranny and rear end. I couldn’t keep gears in the tranny and ended
up fixing it so many times that I could change the gears in a Saturday morning.
I had great fun in this car. I am also lucky to be alive considering the things
i did with it. It was really unsafe. I eventually traded it to a friend of
mine for a ‘40 Ford coupe. I wish I still had that roadster. [TOP]