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When there were far fewer people around, far fewer laws and regulations, when the legal speed limit was 75 mph, when gas was cheap, when driving was a pleasure, if you owned a hot machine you could point the grill down an empty road and go!

Portland Mayor Terry Shrunk on Hot Rodding - 1955


An excerpt from a letter from Portland Mayor Terry Shrunk to the Portland Hot Rod Clubs of 1955. The text reads:
"A special meeting of the representatives of all interested Hot Rod Clubs in the metropolitan area will be held February 1, 1955, at 8 PM in the Classroom of the Uniform Division, Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, on the 8th Floor of the Multnomah County Court House. (Those attending meeting please enter on 5th Street Side of the Court House and take Jail Elevator to 8th Floor). Registration (no costs) to start at 7:30 P.M. Your Club is invited to have two or three representatives present at that meeting.
The general purpose of this meeting is threefold:
1. To discuss the development of a drag strip or strips in this general area and to receive a progress report on the proposed Vanport strip.
2. To discuss proposed traffic safety plans in which the various Hot Rod Clubs can compete with each other on competitive basis for a suitable trophy and suitable safety awards.
3. To discuss the problem of public relations programs of the various Hot Rod Clubs in this general area, and to devise means of bringing to the public's attention the fact that most Hot Rod Clubs are made up of responsible young men and women of this community who have built up a good driving record in this community, and further that members of these clubs have developed at considerable expense and a lot of hard work on their part, some fine automobiles and have in fact contributed materially to the automotive industry in the field of safety and mechanical advancement.
It is my personal feeling that there is not enough attention given to our various Hot Rod Clubs and that the general public far too often misunderstands the activities of these organizations and in fact maligns their driving record on our streets and highways. This problem cannot be clarified by the various clubs."

Excerpted from Jacket & Plaque: Portland Rod & Custom Clubs of the 'Fifties