Hot Rodding in Ventura County (Images of America)
Stretching from Ventura to Santa Maria, California, a vibrant and colorful community of hot rod clubs bloomed throughout the middle of the 20th century. Hot Rodding in Ventura County takes a look at the people, places, and, above all, the cars that made up this historic period in automotive culture. Take a look into the golden years of hot rodding through vintage images of the first national championship drag races; visit long-lost drag strips such as Goleta, Saugus, and Santa Maria; and gain access to hot rodding's paramount clubs like the Motor Monarchs, the Kustomeers, and the Pharaohs.
blower’s whine. The car is seen here late one afternoon on Main Street in front of Mission San Buenaventura, all decked out for a wedding. (Courtesy of Richard Martinez.) This rail, pictured at Santa Maria in 1957, shows some of the technological advancements that took place in dragster design over just a few years. An engineered frame of welded steel tube has replaced the Model A frame rails. The radiator has been eliminated to save weight, and the fuel tank has been moved ahead of the engine.
lower down for a cooler look. The car is equipped with wire wheels, as were most early cars. Steel wheels were not generally available until the late 1940s. The car is powered by a flathead engine with a single open carburetor. (Courtesy of Edwin Marks.) Whistler member Earl Pape stands behind his unfinished flathead-powered 1932 Ford five-window coupe. He has channeled the body, chopped about three inches off the top, and blanked out the quarter windows with steel plate. The headlamps and the
is a rare photograph of the Southern California Timing Association tower at El Mirage. The racers were timed using the equipment just visible on the left side of the tower. It must have been uncomfortable for the timing officials to sit all day exposed to the desert sun. Left of the tower is the coupe belonging to Ed Mark’s father, who was officiating that day. (Courtesy of Edwin Marks.) Tank racers were a common sight at the postwar El Mirage meets. Built from aviation fuel tanks bought as war
lid read “Cam Cracker.” Note the old-fashioned water tank at left. (Courtesy of Bob Richardson.) Bob Richardson of the Silent Knights was a prodigious hot rod builder, completing nine in less than five years. He is seen here behind the wheel of a flathead-powered 1930 Ford roadster. The car’s body is still pretty stock, sitting high on its frame and retaining all four fenders. It belonged to a member of the Throttle Stompers of Thermal, California. (Courtesy of Bob Richardson.) The Silent
strip co-owner. (Courtesy of Bob Richardson.) Well-known hot rod personality Jack Chrisman showed up at the Saugus strip in 1954 driving this wild metallic-purple 1929 Ford Tudor sedan. It was powered by a hot flathead. The pin-striping was done by Von Dutch, whose eyeball logo is visible on the lower panel between the rear fenders in the above photograph. The top has a mild two-inch chop, and Chrisman has had it covered in white vinyl. Other additions include bullet headlamps from a Chevrolet,