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!

Ford 5-Window

Here’s all you needed to do to a 1936 Ford 5-window in 1950 to have a deluxe cruiser. Car has 1941 Ford bumper, dual spot lights, bull nose strip, reworked sheet metal around stock grille, two extra chrome strips on hood side panels, WSWs and single bar Hollywood hub caps. 14 year old car might have original paint.
Copyright 2010, Albert Drake and Flat Out Press.

Peterson's Roadster

Bill Peterson and Bob Knowles were buddies and members of the Road Knights club. Peterson’s red ’32 roadster (left) was featured on the cover of Hot Rod Magazine. Knowles’ blue ’32 was what guys today call a highboy (although we did not use that term then.) Both cars ran hopped up flatheads. They were outstanding examples of hot rods, especially in the late 1950s when such cars were disappearing. Both cars are still in the area, and Knowles is still building neat cars. Pete Sukalac took this photo in 1958 at the site of the future Lloyd Center.
Copyright 2010, Albert Drake and Flat Out Press.

Christmas at Ed's Richfield - Second Printing

Stores seem to be getting ready for Christmas earlier and earlier these days.

In a similar way we here at Flat Out Press are getting ready with a second printing of "Christmas at Ed's Richfield & Other Holiday Stories for Guys", a collection Christmas stories, with cars.

Do you remember Christmas when you were a kid, a teenager, a young man, a newlywed? Albert Drake has a story for each situation, capturing the nostalgia and anticipation of the holidays as well as some disappointments and adventures.

This book is great to read before Christmas, or as a holiday gift for the "old-timer" on your shopping list.

Christmas at Ed's Richfield & Other Holiday Stories for Guys
60 pages, perfect-bound (November 2009)
Flat Out Press; ISBN: 0-936892-23-4; Signed copy...$10.95 + shipping.

X-51 in Miniature

In the mid-1950s Ron Courtney, a bodyman at a little shop in a little town in Oregon, built the X-51, a sectioned and restyled 1951 Ford that appeared on the cover of Hot Rod Magazine as “the Ford of the future”. In the 1980s the late Dale Poore built a model of the X-51 and created this diorama. He later sold it to John Corno, who owned the X-51. Dale later got the diorama back when it was found in a yard sale. I don’t know where it is today, but the X-51 exists in California, in perfect condition, owned, I believe, by Bob Page.
Copyright 2010, Albert Drake and Flat Out Press.

Made in Detroit

I took this photo in 1985 at the union parking lot in Lansing, Michigan, where the Mid-Michigan Street Rod Association held its meetings. In those days there were strong feelings against foreign machines. Fortunately, I was driving this 1977 Ford pickup, which was totally Made in Detroit.
Copyright 2010, Albert Drake and Flat Out Press.
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The Lincoln Cadillac

Proof that not all the ideas applied to custom cars worked out. It’s impossible to tell what the builder began with, but we can be certain that the car was built before 1950. Front end is from a 1942 Lincoln, and rear is from a 1946-47 Cadillac. The front fenders and hood have been lengthened. Split windshield has curved glass at sides.
Copyright 2010, Albert Drake and Flat Out Press.
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Matranga’s 1940 Mercury

Nick Matranga’s 1940 Mercury was a stunning example of custom bodywork when it was introduced in 1950. The chassis was lowered front and rear, and the top was severely chopped. The quarter windows slid in and out on channels. The car created a style that is still being copied today, although it was destroyed in an accident a mere six months after it hit the road.
Copyright 2010, Albert Drake and Flat Out Press.
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Garlits T-Bucket

In 1989 I went to the Nostalgia Nationals in Michigan. I parked, got in the gate and walked around a building. As I turned a corner a T-bucket hot rod came toward me. In a flash I snapped this photo. The camera was totally manual and I had no time to focus or adjust it, but the photo came out well. The guy is "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, and he’s driving a clone of his first hot rod, a ’27 T bucket with a hot flathead. He was towing his Swamp Rat I.
Copyright 2010, Albert Drake and Flat Out Press.

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Roadster Racing Association of Oregon Timing Tag

This is a loyal reproduction of the Roadster Racing Association of Oregon (RRAO) Timing Tag from the 40s and 50s.

Bob Winters told me he made this tag in 1938, but RRAO, which governed track roadsters, was not formed until 1946 and lasted until early 1950s.

Black on aluminum, with some relief, this tag measures 1 1/2" x 2 2/1" and comes pre-drilled for mounting to your dash.

Reproduction Roadster Racing Association of Oregon Timing Tag...$10 (free shipping in the US).

Columbia Timing Association Timing Tag

The Columbia Timing Association (CTA) was an Oregon / Northwest organization that timed drag races and straightaway runs. It existed from September 1951 until the 1960s.

This is a reproduction of the original timing tags. Screw or affix to dash or firewall for the finishing touch on era rods or customs. Give as a gift to a rodding buddy!

Like the original, this tag is red on aluminum, measuring 3 3/4" x 2 1/2". Undrilled.

Reproduction CTA Timing Tag...$10 (free shipping in the US).

Portland Pictorial Review

There's also nice review of Portland Pictorial by Richard Parks at HotRodHotLine.com.
"The photos and their captioned stories provide us with a great deal of history. It’s just that the readers have to dig it out for themselves, bit by bit. The format of Portland Pictorial, The 1950s is similar to benchracing with the gang on Saturday night, thumbing through the local hot rod club’s photo album and relishing the memories."
 He also has reviewed Hot Rodder!, mentioning that it's not a slick book, but it
"...more than make(s) up for it in the quality of the text, research, photographs and sheer exuberance in loving the sport of hot rodding and land speed racing. Drake is first and foremost a fan of motorsports and it is his love and loyalty that shines through loud and clear."
Thanks Richard!

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Dick Larrowe's '34 Chev Coupe

In 1952 Dick Larrowe cruised around Portland, Oregon in this 1934 Chevrolet coupe. It was lowered, had home-made fender skirts, painted WSW and a cut-down spare. A few months later Dick cut the top off, made it into a roadster with home-made cloth top.
In the 1980s Dick started Stovebolt Engineering. He currently has a couple hot rods with in-line Chev/GMC engines.
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Making It Fit!

In 1949 Stan Blinco had a '27 T roadster that had been a circle track car now converted to street. It had a grille shell and an aluminum hood from a Franklin car and looked striking.
This inspired Don Krueger and a friend who had a '29 Ford roadster that they were building into a hot rod. They also had a complete, running 1930 Franklin sedan -- a nice 18 year old car. The Franklin was air-cooled; Don and his friend took the hood and grille shell to use on their '29. After some cutting, fitting and pounding, it was clear that the hood would not fit. A nice, complete Franklin sedan went to the scrap yard! I don't know what happened to the '29.
Here's a photo of the '29 roadster with the Franklin front end.
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Russetta Timing Association Timing Tag

Now you can own a reproduction of the timing tags given by the Russetta Timing Association (RTA).

Russetta held speed meets at various southern California dry lakes, beginning in 1939 and continuing until the 1960s. It was an independent association, owned by Ray Ingram, who also owned the clocks. It flourished in part because SCTA did not allow coupes or sedans until 1951, and RTA did.

Like the original, this tag measures 3 3/8" by 2 1/8", and is red on aluminum. It can be affixed to the dashboard or the corners can be drilled for screws.

The perfect finishing touch for your era rod or custom.

Reproduction Russetta Timing Tag...$10 (free shipping in the US).

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