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!

The Dukes Club

The Dukes club of Portland wins the prize for the most beautiful plaque. It is a reproduction of a Ford flathead cylinder head, scaled down to about a quarter as large as the actual head. Like a racing head it's finned. It's also more substantial than most plaques, being over 1" thick (and 10 1/4" wide and 5 1/2" high).

The design of the head led to some problems. A member tapped and threaded the area for spark plugs, and added actual spark plugs. A couple other members followed suit. Then one guy added red wires to his spark plugs.

The club, like all clubs, wanted the plaques to be uniform, but at first changes were accepted, even encouraged. I have a copy of the club minutes of April 14, 1954, when "Freddie Krecklow moved that it does not make any difference whether the sparkplug holes are tapped or not. Motion carried." But when members began adding plug wires the club tried to get the plaques back to their original condition.
The Dukes did not evolve from the Mobileers, but it got some of the earlier club's members. Don Krueger had been a Mobileer, and he became a leading member of the Dukes. Krueger told me: "We met in the meeting room at the north end of Montavilla Park, which was convenient because most of the members were from the Montavilla area. The meeting room had cooking utensils, silverware, dishes, every-thing. We didn't eat there but we could.

"I think we met there once a month, but if something was coming up, like the Portland Roadster Show we might have another meeting, twice a month. Sometimes we met at different members' homes. Lots of times. We met at Steve Weber's house, at 128th and East Burnside. And at Jimmy Davis' house at 150th and Prescott--that's when he had that 1956 corvette.

"We had our club banquets in different places. One year we had it at Top O Scott golf course. We had music and all that. We also had them at Amato's Supper Club on Broadway, and one year in the banquet room at East Side Bowling."
Excerpted from Jacket & Plaque: Portland Rod & Custom Clubs of the 'Fifties
Copyright 2008, Albert Drake and Flat Out Press.