Tag: Pat Ganahl’s Rod and Custom

ONE OLD PROOF SHEET – Pat Ganahl’s Rod and Custom

Advertisements

I think it’s time for something old. Really old. Like 1930s and pre-War ’40s old. We’re talking Muroc dry lake and the birth of hot rodding–though not by that name, yet. The Southern California Timing Association (SCTA), the first “umbrella” organization gathering dozens of already existing roadster clubs, was formed in early 1938.

Also, for me, it’s time for something a little simpler. It just is. So what I decided to do was another “one proof sheet” column. That is, all the photos you see here today came from one roll of 35mm film, in this case 35 exposures, contact-printed (actual film size) on one 8 x 10 sheet of photo paper. These are analogous to thumbnails on your computer. They’re about an inch wide, and you really need a loupe magnifier to see them clearly.

So I went to my files, opened a drawer marked B&W Negs, and then selected a file marked “Early Lakes.” There were about 100 proof sheets in it. But I know what most of them are, and what I was looking for–an old one with notes written on the back. I’m really not into doing research this week.

I found it quickly, and the first note on the back said, “All photos ’39-’40.”

But a quick scan through them showed me that wasn’t quite correct, since the photo above was listed as “Strokers club from Whittier/La Habra at Irvine Park ’47(?). All cars raced lakes, too.” That’s probably correct. You’ll note all are A and ’32 Ford roadsters. There were more in other shots. And I’m pretty sure this was Frank Currie’s club, and also pretty sure that’s who had all these photos and let me copy them with my camera. Besides building 9-inch Ford rearends, Frank was a consummate hot rodder all his life.

I should also explain that (a) I shot this roll of film, developed it, printed the proof sheet, and wrote the notes on the back 45 years ago. Wish I had a loupe that would sharpen my memory. And (b) not only are some of the notes hard to read, but some photos don’t have any. But given those caveats, let’s just dive in. This will be primarily a picture show, and I’ll relate what I know (or don’t) as we go.

Read on

THE ONCE-REVERED ANTIQUE NATIONALS – Pat Ganahl’s Rod and Custom

Advertisements

I only did a tiny rant last time. I held most of it in, so to speak. My plan was to let ‘er rip this week. But you know what? We’ve had enough negativity this past year, and I don’t really want to add to that.  My beef, as reflected in the title, is that the Antique Nationals–i.e., nostalgia–aint’ what it used to be. If it weren’t so personally painful, it’d actually be funny. They, and similar current nostalgia drag events, won’t let my historic vintage dragster run down the track because it’s too vintage, too antique! How ironic. If it were obviously unsafe like the dragsters I showed last time, I’d understand. But it’s not. Neither was Chrisman’s Hustler I. But once I calmed down, I realized that the two tracks that most rudely ejected and banned me, Famoso and “Fontana,” are both sponsored by AAA, an insurance company. So more rules, more cost, more hassle, far fewer participants.

This year would have been the 50th Annual Antique Nationals, of course cancelled by Covid. I have to admit I didn’t miss it, and haven’t been the last couple of years. But this used to be one of those once-a-year car events nobody missed, especially if you were into hot rod history–like the L.A. Roadster Show, Old Timers’ Night in Boston, Vintage Night at Ascot, or the first Hot Rod Reunions at Bakersfield and Bowling Green. My memory seems to differ a bit from the official website, but the Antique Nats has definitely outlived four tracks here in SoCal. It started as the Bonnie & Clyde–or “999”–Drags at Lions. Then a small club (about 20 members) dedicated to Model T, A, B, and C Ford engines, Four-Ever-Four, founded the Antique Nationals at Irwindale (I think), in 1970. This was open to ’34 and earlier vehicles only. But soon they included pre-’49 models as long as they ran ’48 and earlier-style engines. This included any Ford flathead V8s, and Chevy/GMC sixes through ’62, so my old ’48 Chevy bomb qualified, and I raced it every year, starting in Irwindale ’til it closed in ’77, then to Orange County (OCIR) ’til it closed in ’83, then to Palmdale until it closed in ’07, thence to “Auto Club Raceway” in Fontana. I am very proud to say I won my class (Inliners) four times, with a special trophy shelf for my four engraved mugs. But perhaps even more prestigious are the special T-shirts with “WINNER” and the year in big letters under the usual logo. You can’t get one unless you win.  I’m saving the three I have left because I wore one completely out.

Read on