Old Cars and Old Songs Rule

April 2, 2013

At the beginning of the week it was sort more film and scan, scan, scan.

The rolls of 2 1/4 film that were being scanned had been cut into strips of four exposures and stored in glassine sleeves. The only problem was there were about 25 in each sleeve and they were all mixed up. We sorted them into groups of like images the best we could. One particular group of shots was what i’ll call from the dark ages. That means they weren’t old and they weren’t new but in-betweeners.

There are usually clues in the photos that help us sort them so lets have a look at two of them so you can see what we mean by clues and the dark ages. First up is DBC_411. A look at the sign in the rear tells us instantly about the event and even gives us a date. It the L. A. Roadster Clubs Annual car show. The location is the Great Western Showgrounds where the old Winternationals car shows use to be held. Fixing a year was also easy in that a few cars in the other shots were sporting 1974 tags on their plates. As for the ride were still stumped as to ownership but there are more clues right in front of ones eyes in the form of stickers on the windshield. On the left we see a NSRA (National Street Rod Association) member sticker flanked by a CHP (California Highway Patrol) inspected sticker and one sporting the saying “have a great day”. On the right there is a Bay Area Roadster sticker next to a little Mooneyes decal. If one were to wage a little i’d say the roadster was from up San Francisco way. We’ll see if any of our friends up north might remember the ride.

DBC_416 is from the same group of negs and fits my definition of dark ages to a tee. The rides in the early ‘70’s were a little strange and this Corvair powered T fits the bill perfectly. And so does the interesting front end. Could it be that owner/builder Don Kendall from Norwalk had the same idea and had the car up for sale.

After scanning a bunch of these weird car negs it was time for a little something different so it was dive into one of the many boxes I have filled with goodies from before the dark ages. JMC_4069 is one of them. The shot was taken at the Los Angeles Sports Arena back in the early ‘60’s when I was the proud owner of a Kodak Brownie camera. Needless to say the exposure wasn’t the best so some adjustments were in order. When I enlarged the scan to do a little fixing my gut said I know this car. A trip to the bookshelf confirmed that this was Neal East’s Gold Deuce that was on the cover of the first “Big” Rod & Custom issue dating from August 1961. How weird, last weekend at the Hot Rod 65th Birthday party Car Show I saw Neal and blurted out something about remembering his Gold Deuce and three days later I run across a neg of the very car. Some stats on the car reveal it ran a 265” Chevy V8 under the hood with three two’s on an Offenhauser manifold, had the running gear chromed and was fitted with a ‘58 Chevy steering wheel. On the same strip of film is George Barris’s air car and a bubble-top Vette so keep a look out for them.

Things get even weirder. Thursday morning a package arrives from Doug Rasmussen filled with 4” x 4” prints dated June, July and August ‘61 and August ‘62. Doug took them with his parents Kodak Camera at a place called Omaha Dragway when he was just out of high school. Needless to say the shots are fantastic and here are two for your approval. Nothing is known about the cars as of now but Sherlock Holmes will figure it all out for us. DRC_003 is from July ‘61 and shows a Chevy powered railjob right out of the Kent Fuller school of good looks. Are those Hilborn’s? It sports a Jahns Piston and maybe Isky 5-Cycle decals, and a readable Perrin Brothers next to the driver’s seat. DRC_001 was shot in August ‘61 and shows a Model A Cabriolet that’s been slightly modified. It runs a flattie that’s been slid under the cowl topped with three two’s and contests Class C Street Roadster. Thanks to Doug we’ve got lots more work to do.

If that wasn’t enough Friday was road trip day to take in the Viva Las Vegas Car Show and Concert.Pesty ol Mr. Camera went along too. Here ar just a few of the way to many shots taken. JMC_4084 shows a wicked looking ‘34 Ford that’s had its lid lowered among other mods. It was on a car hauler but a little computer magic put it on the ground the way it should be. Those with eagle eyes will note the belt driven supercharger on what looks like a disguised flat motor.

Next up is JMC_4075. Take one 1952 through ’54 Ford Customliner and follow its name by loosing some chrome, lowering the lid and slamming it lower than weed height. Then add a ’54 Merc bumper with repositioned dagmars and you end up with one cool ride. The owner is unknown but we can say it was captured in the Orleans parking lot during the 2013 edition of the Viva Las Vegas car show.

Ok, what’s a car show without a little entertainment. On Saturday afternoon the King of the Surf Guitars showed up and wowed the crowd with his gold-painted Strat. It was like turning back the clock. Wish I had my ‘41 Merc Woodie back along with the Dewey Weber Balsa board. Oh well!

Later that evening after the Rockats played and one more lap of the car show was made the big kahuna hisself Little Richard did his thing on stage. Being the groupie type I hung around for it with the excuse that one must get a shot of the doings. It seems in this modern world of cell phones cameras, tablet cameras and whatever else you call all the modern photo stuff it’s almost impossible to get a clear shot. JMC_4093 is the best I could do for you. Little is kinda seen pounding the ivories just below the airborne screen and between two arms in the center of the shot. Wish I had my ‘56 Ford Ranch Wagon back with its AM radio so I could sing along. Oh well!

Jim’s Hot Rodding News

You can contact Jim Miller at (818) 846-5139.