Just received the 40th anniversary issue and had quite a trip down memory lane. I was in Detroit and attended the NSRA Nats in 1972. By a series of strange events I met Gary and Rosemary Will and his brother and sister-in-law, Richard and Terri, from East Aurora, New York. Having grown up just north of there in Lockport we bonded very quickly. This year we celebrated 40 years of friendship at the Syracuse Nats in New York. We have been best friends all these years because of our passion for automobiles.
Brian, I believe I met you in 1976 in Tulsa. Tex was using my stuff in Rod Action and said if I could get there he would give me enough work to pay for the trip, I did and he did. I seem to remember a bunch of us shooting cars in a field and you introduced yourself. I had never met any of the magazine guys before and so was duly impressed.
Thanks for using my stuff for these many moons; it is a gas to say the least.
Dale, many years have passed but the people, the cars, and the work is still fun and I enjoy every day. Say, it’s about time you broke out the old black box and shot a feature or two for STREET RODDER.
Disappointed in the L.A. Roadsters Show
After 20 some years of reading about the L.A. Roadsters Show, I became hooked. I just had to make the 3,054-mile round-trip to experience it in person. What a letdown!
Did STREET RODDER actually attend or just publish a press release? The club initially claimed 800 roadsters; you guys teased 750 in a previous issue and then reported 650 in your article. Who did the counting? Unless you count each roadster each day, there is no way there were 650 roadsters there. I was there both days and have pictures of all of the areas ... not 650 ... probably 325 would be a good number. And 1,500 cars in the specialty area? Who are you kidding?
The swap area was a chief target. I was sure I could find some needed parts in the huge swap area. Not! There were hundreds and hundreds of vacant booth spaces. You had to decide if it was worth the trip to walk down some rows to see a vendor off in the distance. Many vendors moved in closer to try to get some traffic. I had lunch with a couple of swap vendors who had been attending for years. They said the swap area used to be busy but this was “horrible”.
I know you don’t want to print negative stories showing that the hobby is in decline, but please let the stories reflect the truth. I keep thinking I was at the wrong show!
Charlie, we have no problem with telling it like it is, but we differ with the absolutes you present.
Several of us on staff drove our roadsters to the show; we believe the club when they say there were 650-plus cars. It appears that way to us. All of us on staff have taken enough photos at enough car shows to the point we have a very good idea of how many cars are in an area. The bigger issue is there were very few new cars. The majority of roadsters present have been there for years—mine included! That’s the way it has been and probably will be in the future. Guys like going back each year, there is something about seeing how many of the headlight stickers you can maintain that’s become a “badge”.
The 1,500 cars in preferred parking, this is determined by the number of tickets sold to park in this area. Even if they missed by 20 percent it would still leave 1,200 cars. That’s still impressive. Also, the Fairplex monitors the number of cars that come onto the grounds separate from what the roadster club claims.
Swap Meet. You should have been there on Thursday. Now it’s not an official day and neither is Friday but that’s when the serious guys get there and do the swapping. According to Bob Barnes, who I have known for 40 years, who is in charge of the swap meet section, he tells me 1,500 booths were sold. Now, many took double-size booths, so, maybe 1,000 individual swappers were present, but still impressive. And, yes, the swap area is getting less and less material. The Internet has made it much easier for guys to sell parts so I see swap meets will continue on a downward spiral. (In the interests of full disclosure Charlie did write back and noted that he spoke to vendors who did say that Thursday evening and Friday were busy but they aren’t official show days.)
Charlie, I’ve been to the L.A. Roadsters Show since the ’70s and I’ve seen it go up and down. I don’t believe that it is “off” but rather in a “holding” pattern. But I also believe that the new normal going forward will be different than what we are used to seeing in the past. Life changes our lives.
As for being at the wrong show. No, you were at the right show. I look at it as appreciating the current show and the history the show has and what it represents to our hobby. But then that’s me. As for the data in the story we will stick with what’s printed. No problem on our end.
I was just reading my new issue of STREET RODDER when I ran into this month’s article on Sport Rods. Sport Rods have been around as long as anything else out there and the majority of them are a hell of a lot older than a new aftermarket chassis with a fiberglass replica body bolted on.
I do recall a lot of guys in the early to mid ’50s pulling their Model T–based hot rods apart to put an aftermarket fiberglass sports car–type body on their existing chassis of paying some guy to hammer out an aluminum body for that same chassis. This was not a rare occurrence back in the mid ’50s and it was just a continuance of Sidney Allard’s idea of combining an English chassis with an American powerplant, much like Carroll Shelby did with the AC Ace when creating the Cobra. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that half of the British sports cars still on the road from the ’50s and ’60s have American V-8s in them. There are a hell of a lot of them on the road. My ’56 Healey has a narrowed ’58 Olds rearend, a full manual, reverse pattern Turbo 350, and a balanced and blueprinted 355 small-block Chevy with dual-quads, and it’s been my only car for about the last nine years. Keep the shiny side up.
Via the Internet
Rod, reminds me of the time we put a small-block Chevy into a bug-eyed Sprite. Necessitated a trans and rearend swap followed by brakes once we realized we couldn’t stop. And that was by the time we arrived at the end of the first block.
Thought you’d get a kick out of what Gary, my friend and neighbor, builds out of discarded La France fire engines. Here’s his latest one.
Gary found and bought the old Hudson truck from the movie Grapes of Wrath many years after the truck was lost and stored. He used the undercarriage and created this.
Via the Internet
John, you are correct, all of us in the office got a kick out of the homemade fire truck. While all of us have seen the movie Grapes of Wrath the current iteration of the truck reminds us of something we would have seen from the movie The Great Race starring Tony Curtis as “The Great Leslie” and Jack Lemon as “Professor Fate”. Ah, the good ol’ days of movie making. We’ve included two of his efforts.