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!

Peter Sukalac: Photo Journalist


Peter “Pete” Sukalac was a professional photographer who made a career of photographing machines: hot rods, custom cars, race cars, boats, go karts. He appreciated style and craftsmanship. His photos appeared in the pages and on the covers of the slick magazines of the day: Hot Rod Magazine, Rod & Custom, Boating, and Auto Mechanics. He eventually founded, financed and contributed to his own publication, Northwest Rods.

There was such an abundance of material during the 1950s and 1960s, and Pete sought out the best, the cream of the crop. In doing so, he put Northwest builders and machines on display, and they measured up to the best from California, the Mecca of hot rodding and racing.
“If Sukalac had not documented cars and people in the Northwest, it might seem as if nothing had happened in this area.”

Excerpt from Peter Sukalac: Photo Journalist

Portland has always bred a lot of genius thinking. Carry that all the way back a step before 1940, during the 1930s where Beaverton Gateway Mall now stands was an airport. It functioned up until the 1960s, until they built the mall. That was the hotbed for the development of home-built aircraft in the entire United States. Wisconsin is now, with the EAA. But at that time, there were more aircraft out here than you can imagine. So Oregon has always had some unusual minds. Engineering, engines, mechanics and so on. It’s a state where there’s been a lot of mavericks.

 I truly started running around with Bob when I became sales manager for what was then the Northwest Light Car Company. Owned by J. Kendall Hockensmith, sounds great, but he was just a Kansas farm boy. It was in Portland, across from the stadium on 18th, and we had Jags, Austins, MGs, Crosleys, Simcas, you name it. Bob Hegge hung around mostly because I could buy him a meal. He was virtually starving, trying to freelance. Then one day he met Tom Story and did a feature on his car. He must have had four magazine covers and I don’t know how many features he did on it. Got him really going, plus it got him in trouble because he sold the same story at the same time to four different national magazines. He had Mechanix Illustrated, Popular Science, Road and Track, Motor Trend.

Peter Sukalac: Photo Journalist collects interviews, essays and a showcase of Sukalac's photos into a fascinating snapshot of one photographer's career. Highlights include

  • Photographer for Hot Rod, Car Craft, Rod and Custom, Street Rod and more!
  • Publisher of Northwest Rods
  • Previously unpublished photos from the 50s & 60s
  • Bios & anecdotes
  • 1950s Nostalgia

132 pages, 103 b/w & color photos, $24.95 + $5 shipping (in the US).
Order from Flat Out Press, 

or order from Amazon.