The Birth and rebirth of a dragster: A time capsule from 1958


We recently came into (hell, “Bob” our mole sent us this) a neat old publication called Cars and Clubs from 1958 that was written and edited by none other than “Bob’s” dad John Hall.

You think you’re glossy fancy paged magazines are spiffy now? Just take a look at one of the projects they had back in “the day” or in this case, 1958. We are keen on the idea that rebuilding a car is a relatively new concept because so many cars need freshening up these days, but this tradition goes well beyond the last 20 or so years. Check out this amazing rebuilding of a 1935 Ford Touring car turned dragster.

Bob tells the story thus:

“This was truly a family project.  Dad was the publisher, took all the photos and wrote most of the articles.  Mom (Eva Nell) helped with the editing and page layout.  She was the school secretary, so was able to enlist some of the girls that helped her in the office to come to the house once a month to type mailing labels and stick them on the magazines.  I helped too, but was pretty young.”

Bob, who is no longer a young person recalls fond memories…

“I spent many Saturdays in this store with dad.  Pretty much had the run of the place.  I remember Arvey Mack’s dad always had a dollar heater going in the ash tray in his office. I liked the smell of a cigar.”

Man, we can picture it now… no health and safety laws… an open lit cigar in the presence of a torch. Men and women pitching in … What an era to be alive!

Bob goes on to give us some background on the car

“The car is a 1935 Ford Touring.  It was originally an Army Payroll Staff car assigned to the Rock Island Arsenal in Rock Island Illinois.

It had 1/2″ armor plating on the fire wall and floor pan.  A brass plaque on the glove box door identified it as an army vehicle.  Since the car was so valuable, dad kept the original drive train, but installed a 283 sbc with 3 deuces, 1937 Packard transmission and a Columbia 2 speed rear end.  He had Duane Schmidt at the Big Wheel store custom build a dual exhaust system with dumps hidden under the front fenders. It was painted the original Washington Blue with a red pin stripe around the body.  Last I heard it was restored to its original condition and is in a museum in Omaha.”

Check out the original articles.

image005image006image014 image0162 image0172 image0182The articles continues in the next feature…

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