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!

A $25 Hot Rod

Sometimes even I forget how cheap a car could be in the good old bad days. In February, 1952 I bought a complete, running 1929 Ford roadster for only $25.00!

It was a straight and solid body mounted on a 1937 Willys chassis and powered by a Jeep engine. It was someone's idea of neat transportation and it had a radio, heater, top and reworked fenders. It even had those things that some of us never got put back on a car, such as the emergency brake, horn, license plate, light and windshield wipers.

As soon as I could, I took all those things off. I also got rid of the grille, hood and headlights. I was determined to make the car into a stripped-down California hot rod such as the examples I'd seen in magazines. I had no money to do anything to the car, but it cost nothing to remove parts. Mostly I drove it. The car lacked license plates and insurance, but cops were seen infrequently, which was one reason that time was called the good old bad days. After school I drove it all around the neighborhood and beyond, keeping mostly to the side streets, taking corners at speed. I would have continued in that way except that one of those infrequently seen cops came around the corner and gave me a ticket. He also said he never wanted to see that car again. (See Fifties Flashback for a fuller version of this story.)
Copyright 2008, Albert Drake and Flat Out Press.
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