Hot Rodding in Santa Barbara County (Images of America)
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Californias central coast was fertile ground for hot rodding, and all motor sports in general, during the 1940s and 1950s. Hot Rodding in Santa Barbara County takes the reader back in time with a collection of remarkable photographs from the earliest days of the hot rod movement. This book includes images of the first drag strips in the country, rough-and-tumble jalopy racing, early road-racing action, and lots of great hot rods and customs. Follow local hot-rodders as they take trips to El Mirage dry lake and the world-famous salt flats at Bonneville, Utah, and visit a long-lost world as seen through photographs taken from the personal albums of people who contributed to the birth of a culture that would spread across the nation.
sold in the late 1950s, and not much is known of its history until it was discovered on the streets of Los Angeles in the 1970s by automotive artist Baron Margo. It has been restored and is now owned by Hannsen’s son, race car driver Stu Hannsen. (Courtesy of Stu Hannsen.) The last of the Baldwin specials was a departure from the way Willis Baldwin had been making race cars. Instead of being constructed of a salvaged Ford chassis, the frame was built up from three-inch exhaust tube stock. Some
(Courtesy of Lee Hammock.) This shot, looking down on the pit area from the grandstands, shows Lee Hammock (next to the flagman) being rewarded by Buellton’s trophy girl for winning yet another race. He was driving the 1934 Ford Tudor belonging to his friend and fellow driver Rip Erickson of Santa Barbara. In the background are the rolling hills of the Santa Inez Valley. (Courtesy of Lee Hammock.) Here is the pit area at Buellton Speedway around high noon on a race day. This view is looking
with a Deuce grill shell, and a radically chopped 1934 Ford Coupe. Note that each is equipped with a blower. (Courtesy of Hunter Self and Betty Roach.) In this action shot, pit crew chief Marshall Solis rushes out to give Jack Mendenhall some last-minute instructions as Don Doeckle prepares to start the race at San Luis Obispo. Mendenhall, a member of the Bonneville 200 MPH Club, would later take this coupe up to 151 miles per hour on the salt flats. (Courtesy of Mark Mendenhall.) Two blown
shell from another make, possibly Chrysler or DeSoto. This was a not uncommon practice among hot rod builders in the early days, with Packard grills also being a popular substitute for the usual Deuce or Model A shells. The Ford was powered by a 21-stud flathead V-8 equipped with dual carburetors, most likely the one it left the factory with. The hinged windshield is a modified unit from a 1937 Ford. (Both, courtesy of Jack Chard.) Jack McNally examines the flathead on his hot rod. Note how the
overhead conversion and a twin Zenith carburetor setup. (Courtesy of Frank Viera.) Here is another view of Frank Viera’s Phaeton, this time at a 1958 Santa Barbara High School car show at Peabody Stadium. The Alexander overhead conversion can be seen to a better advantage here. Legendary hot rod builder Sam Foose did some of the bodywork on the canary yellow touring car. This big tub could be filled up with friends for Saturday-night cruising, or driven up to Santa Maria for the drags. (Courtesy