I am sending you this photograph that I took at a one-day car show at Montebello High School in August, 1957. At the time this photograph was taken, the roadster was owned by a friend, Dave Hanson. We lived in Whittier and Dave worked for Advance Muffler in East Whittier. The '32 five-window was owned by John Collins of Modern Auto Trim in Whittier. The guy on the right is a mutual friend, Ron Myers.
I first saw this car for sale in 1955. I think it was at a trim shop in Norwalk, California. The price was $2,200, I think. I really wanted this roadster, but on $0.50/hr it couldn't happen for this high schooler.
It took another 40 years before I started my '32 in 1995. I was going to send this picture last year, but it got lost in move from San Jose to Lincoln, California. Recently, it showed up again, so I am sending it so the next story on Tom's car will have one more piece of the puzzle.Earl PrenticeLincoln, CA
The "Tom" that is referred to in his letter is none other than Tom McMullen, our founder. Note the distinctive split wishbones. We felt it only fitting to run this in the 30th Anniversary issue of STREET RODDER. Memories such as this are the very fibers that make our hobby unlike so many others. The staff of SRM would like to personally thank Earl for sharing this piece of history with us. In the "it's a small world category" Editor Brennan lived across from Montebello High in 1956 and would have gone there had it not been for his parent's moving the next year. (I was a pre-high schooler then but do remember the weekend car shows and how they fascinated me so much.)
What's Rodding All About
I am of the age where my collection of STREET RODDER goes back to the days when there were vans and Volkswagens on the cover. Over the years, I have drifted in and out of the street rod scene. For a while it was Vettes and then circle track racing, now it's back to street rodding, where I feel at home.
The growth and maturation of STREET RODDER is truly remarkable when compared to other magazines in the automotive entertainment field; it stands alone, and above all others. Sure, there are some that are older and some that are glossier, but the versatility of the magazine and its staff are, well, commendable and extraordinary. From the superb standards of grammatically correct articles to the in-depth tech material, your staff exhibits the passion we, the readers, have for these "old cars."
I appreciate your advertisers. Without these advertisements building a street rod would be a more formidable and defeating task for many. Having built three cars in the last three years, I appreciate the technical skill and knowledge exercised by the people answering the phones at these businesses. These are some exemplary people who understand the products they manufacture and sell and want you to be satisfied with their products.
Being a member of a car club, North Florida Street Rod Association, I come into contact with a variety of automotive art. Each car is an expression of the level of the owner's passion for the avocation we call street rodding. Notice that I said owner-not builder. It doesn't make any difference if you spent the last 5 years building your rod or if you just bought it last week. You are a part of the street rod heritage. Welcome, no matter how you got here.
'Glass or steel-big deal! I've built both. Who cares? A year ago you printed a picture of my friend Dave Venski's '26 T roadster built in the '50s style. The front of the car is steel and the back is a 'glass deck glued on. Where do you classify that? Who cares? The car is flat cool!
Our hobby is always going to have some nitpickers and egomaniacs. Let 'em be. Just keep on doin' what yer doin'.Granville "Granny" Taylor Orange Park, FL
Well, Granny, thanks for your words and perspective which appears to be right on, and you also appear to be having more fun than should be allowable for any rodder with three cars in three years!
I had a very interesting Monday; it's something you might look into for one of your articles. I received a call from the Department of Motor Vehicles in Sacramento, California, in regards to my personalized license plate.
They wanted to know if I still had them and what was I using on my car since I had given them up. What! I'm still using them; they are still on my car in the garage. This is my baby not a daily driver, so I had to go out and look under the cover.
The plates were there but no new tag. I suddenly realized I hadn't received this year's renewal notices. I was advised to go to my DMV and talk to them. A quick 2 hours of lines, forms, and three clerks later, I found that someone last year wanted my plate. When he found it was being used, he simply filled out a form stating I had given them to him and presto! His car was registered with my plate.
When I told this story to my sister, she related a similar story about a guy in her club. When he showed his car in Northern California, someone copied his license number, then sent in a change of address, received a new registration, and proceeded to sell a car with his registration. He found out about this when he questioned the DMV as to why he didn't receive a renewal notice.
In closing, I think the word needs to get out. "Look at your tags and make sure you are getting your renewal notices." Thank you for letting me vent.
Via the Internet
Paul, you have a right to both vent and be pissed off. In the May '02 issue we addressed a number of legislative items that are occurring all across the country. It is imperative that each and every rodder take a vested interests in our hobby, otherwise others, who care little for our passion, will! Thanks for the heads up-we all need this wakeup call.
Givin' Recognition Where It's DueI just received my March issue. The first thing I read is your editorial "Easy There...." Thank you for your honesty and for putting in writing what most of us that enjoy the hobby have felt for years.
I really feel that it is the vocal minority that truly take issue with trailer queen verses daily driver or 'glass over steel. Yes, I am envious and even a little jealous when I see that flawless, high-dollar rod sitting next to my probably-never-to-be-completed '41 Chevy pickup. No, I don't have the talent it takes to build a rod like that, or the money to have one built, but who am I to diminish another's accomplishments just because I am feeling inferior? A great car is a great car. It doesn't matter the year, make, color or structural makeup.
People need to appreciate our hobby for what it is and the people who enjoy it. If your rod is broken on the highway, you can damn well bet the first person to help is a fellow rodder. Whether it's a trailer queen owner or an average Joe, they will do all they can. In what other hobby will a total stranger spot you a couple hundred to get you to a run with just your word and a handshake as collateral? Those are some of the stories I'd like to read in the Rodder Mail section!
As for promoting the advertisers, all I can say is that without them there would be no mag. I'd much rather peruse the ads in your magazine than the cigarette ads found in other rags. I bought my radiator from Walker, and if every company treated a person like they do, this world would be a much kinder place.
All of you that have the time to bitch about everyone else's cars go right ahead. I'll just keep enjoying the rides and hope you don't laugh too hard about mine. For the majority who are just happy to see the hobby stay alive, keep a smile on your face, the wind in your hair, and your ride on the road!
It's that kind of attitude that makes the vast majority of rodders fun to be with. Keep having fun with your pickup; you are already way ahead of the curve.
More Credit Where Credit Is DueJust read the "For Starters" in the March '02 issue. Couldn't agree more. "Let's just have fun." I read in Rodders Mail about "too many of this or that car or too many of this or that motor."
Hey, "do what ever makes you happy." If you can't afford to have someone build you a car, build it yourself. If you are unable to build it, then buy one that's already built....there are many out there that are for sale in all price ranges and makes.
I couldn't afford to have someone build me a car, so I made my own. It's made on a frame that I welded together myself using simple suspension methods, split wishbones front and rear with a swap meet dropped axle, buggy sprung at both ends. The body is handmade out of a modified '29 Chevy firewall mated to a modified '30 Ford cowl, and the rest of the body is made out of a '72 Dodge Tradesman van.
I had someone tell me, "You can't make a body out of that pile of junk." I had to prove them wrong. It even has doors! I used the sides of the van for doorskins. Power comes from the old tried-and-true 350/350 combo back to an 8-inch Ford. I used the KISS method of building... keep it simple stupid! I'm sure that if it were included in your mag, someone would find something wrong with it. I find it just right! You need not have to include my e-mail in your column. My feelings will not be hurt.William "Fishfoot" MunzStoughton, WI
Well, we happen to agree with your opinion and we dare say many others rodders do as well. By the way, with a nickname like "Fishfoot" we just had to run your letter.
Thanks for the editorial "For Starters" in the January '02 issue. I always like to read your page when I get my copy of STREET RODDER in the mail. My boys started a subscription for me on my birthday last year. I had only looked at your magazine once before that.
As you stated in the article, our lives have changed since September 11th. There have been some twists and turns since I saw those horrible scenes. It was also a hard week at work, and I was fortunate to be passed by as the company I work for laid off some of my co-workers. (We make airplane parts.)
The editorial you wrote brightened my day. I had heard the poem "Don't Quit" from my Mom a longtime ago and had forgotten about it until you included it in the editorial. I was encouraged as I was reminded again of those words, "Don't you quit!" Thanks for the good words.
I have a project in the garage, but it's hard to get the dollars to put it together. It is mostly just in the idea stages. That's why I started getting your magazine. There have been several articles that have given me more ideas for my project.
Again, thanks for the kind words. As for the project-we all start out dreaming and in time it will happen. Here's wishing you the best.
Just wanted to drop you a line to tell you how much I like the Four Pack. I'd have to say it is the best one yet. Every magazine runs the 2x3-inch pictures of these heavy haulers, and I've even seen a tech article about installing door handles featuring one of them. But to step up a notch and run mini features is a step, I feel, in a great direction. Now we just have to get you to run full features on these mammoths.
Rest easy knowing I'm not the only one out there that loves these big trucks. As evident by the increasing numbers of them at shows and on the road, they are becoming a big part of the rod scene. I scour through every page of your magazine in search of the little morsels of COE's you throw out each month. I, myself, have one of these trucks. I bought it from the original owner (a farmer) and will someday rod it. I use these pictures for ideas and inspiration, as I live in the Midwest and rarely see any of them up close. My plans include a frame swap from a '79 Chevy 1-ton, small-block Chevy 700-R4 combo, and power everything. I'm going use a custom bed setup like a pickup bed instead of a car hauler, as this truck is planned to be my daily driver. I've already acquired all the major pieces, now I'm just waiting for the time to do it.Matt BurdittVia the Internet
Our pleasure. Technical Editor Ron Ceridono has a COE stashed away and someday, with a bit of luck, it will see the light of day and highway.
Two thumbs up for the article on Peter Flaven's "wicked pissah" '30 Chevy coupe from Eastern Massachusetts written in the January '02 issue.
I've been a rodder since 1962, starting with a 303-inch Olds-powered '40 Pontiac coupe. I've also run through a bunch of Corvettes and musclecars and presently drive a '36 Ford five-window coupe. I've always loved the high-tech rides but low-buck, primer, and wide whites really spin my crank.
It's great to see a young guy with low four digits invested and loads of blood and sweat have a crack at being recognized by a leading national (make that international) magazine.
I know the billet group is already protesting..."why not me?" I'm not taking sides but Peter and the rest of the Alter Boys, Jim Gove and Tony Dower, really deserve their 15 minutes of fame. These boys are very knowledgeable and talented builders and deserve to be admired and watched in the future. These boys are what hot rodding will become in the next generation, with our encouragement and willingness to share some graybeard advice. They might even teach you and I something.
The hot rodding hobby is not about power parkers, lawn chairs, plastic or steel, trailers, or billet. Our hobby is about camaraderie, working on our skills, and sharing with other rodders.
Keep on involving and encouraging our younger hot rodders. The dividend returns are huge!
Dominators Hot Rod Club
Via the Internet
We like your outlook! And, we also believe Peter and the rest of the Alter Boys, Jim Gove and Tony Dower, will receive more than 15 minutes of fame given their rides and their talent.
Kudos For The Fe
Great job on the FE engine buildup. It's always good to see what's out there for an install into today's street rods. This engine may be one of those untapped sources of what has become quite an array of junkyard jewels. They are just sitting there waiting for a serious rebuild and an install into your street machine.
This is definitely not one of those me-too engines that you see under the hoods of so many rods. While this exercise shows it wasn't a good performer in stock trim, if taken to the next level, would make a fine street machine/rod engine. I was surprised at the weight of this engine. The article states that with aluminum heads and intake this behemoth would weigh less than an all iron small-block Chevy.
Richard G. Jones
Via the Internet
The wheels are turning as we have a list of unusual-but doable-engines for the future that will make equally interesting powerplants for any street rod. Just stay tuned.
Scolding From Abroad
I do not usually write to a magazine, but I was slightly incensed by your coverage of our UK Euronats. What upset me was that all the photos were in black and white, while the Australian Nats were in color-why was this?
I feel that we in the UK now build cars of the same quality as you guys and the color coverage would have been good for the hobby in the UK. Or is it maybe that we now build better cars than you guys do and you just cannot stand to see our cars shining in a top American magazine.
I would like to add that I find that not only your magazine but also other top car mags in the states seem to have the same outlook on UK cars.
Your comments are eagerly awaited and I will be surprised if this letter is printed in your readers letter page. I hope you will accept this letter as constructive criticism and be assured of my continuing support for your magazine.Steve Lang
UK NSRA Member
Via the Internet
Surprise! I have been in this business too long to take anything personal, and, maybe, it's all of those years as a football official that has toughened my sensibilities. Anyway, sorry we didn't give your event color but the Australian event was in-house and ready to go first, hence it was placed on the color pages-and that was that! Hey, we like your cars as much as anybody's. Although we do believe you place the steering wheel on the wrong side.
I just want to voice my opinion on your choice for the STREET RODDER Street Rod of the Year. I know this has always been a "what came first" argument, but I think if a car is getting a Street Rod of the Year award it should be a street rod, not a trailer rod! That is about the same as Major League Baseball giving the MVP award to someone who doesn't play ball! But your mag is still the best and I realize that it is a tough choice to pick one car, so why don't you have a "readers pick" where you can vote on-line or something.
Also what's with all the" foreign" show coverage? One thing I like about you mag is that you usually cover shows on both coasts and between. But who give a rats butt about British, Australian, or Euro Nats! What happened to your coverage of Worcester, or the Rock-a-billy Rumble? By far the best display of cars ever!Jim ValentinoVia the Internet
Whew, we have lots of issues here. As for our selection of the Street Rod of the Year, we stand behind, in front of, or inside of Jim Fountain's nifty ride. And, we might add it really is a driver and as fine an example of a street rod that anyone will ever come across.
As for the foreign coverage. Take a close look at the cover of STREET RODDER and you will note that we proclaim ourselves, "The World's Street Rodding Authority." The way we look at it is-we aren't the only ones with street rods. And, as far as covering events from coast to coast, we do. Look closely, you will see Rock-A-Billy Rumble and any number of other right coast events.
A Little Help Here
I would like to add my support for Joe Nemo and add some of my own comments. You say you are a street rod magazine, and yet most of the time you pick a show car as Street Rod of the Year. A street rod is a car that is driven on the street-not to a trailer around the corner.
I think you and the NSRA and Goodguys should start putting these show cars in the right place, in a show with their peers and not with a driven street rods. It's an unfair world and you and the clubs are part of that unfair world and also promote it. Maybe you should start a new magazine for show cars and leave this one for the real street rodders.Grumpy Ray GillotteVia the Internet
Grumpy, hey we have nothing to do with the NSRA or Goodguys as to the types of cars they select. As for SRM picking show cars-that's not quite true. Back in '98 it's true that particular car was a trailer queen. This past year Jim Fountain's Model A sedan (sort of) was a street rod and a street rodder's dream in every sense of the word, given the fact it was both a driver and he did the work himself. Aside from our own award, we try and stay out of the award business.