Here at The Rodder’s Journal, we thought now would be a great time to give you an inside look at some vintage photos that we have collected. From show rods to slingshot dragsters, these images help paint an accurate picture of our hobby during some of its best years.
We pride ourselves on bringing you some of the best historical hot rod content from around the world. When we choose to run a photo—whether it’s online or in print—we study, analyze and research the images. It’s fun, time consuming and just the way things work atTRJ.
If you have a photo or collection that you’d like to see featured in one of our projects sometime down the road, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at (800) 750-9550 in the U.S., (877) 479-2627 in Canada or (650) 246-8920 internationally to let us know what you have.
Dave Potillo was a Phoenix, Arizona, hot rodder who made his first trip to Bonneville as a teenager in 1950. He went on to build a number of clean early Fords, including a straight-six powered T pickup and this nicely detailed Deuce. The Olds-powered five-window achieved its low slung stance via a Z-ed frame and dropped axle located by split wishbones. Note the liberal chrome plating in the engine compartment. Dave’s friend Duane Parham notified us about Potillo’s hot rodding activities.
Longtime hot rodder Ray Tognarelli was one of the first to answer our call for vintage photos. We especially like this image from a show at Chicago’s Navy Pier where Ray was displaying his ’32 Ford Gasser. Not only is it a great shot of Ed Roth’s twin-engined “Mysterion,” but also because it has the Alexander Brothers’ “Golden Indian” Pontiac in the background. Check out the kid’s “Hillbilly Crash Helmet”—another “Big Daddy” original. Ray, who now lives in Arizona, tells a great story about being offered a jet engine in trade for his car.
Don Eisner’s “Ultimate” ’33 Willys was designed to stretch the limitations of AA/Gas racing. Powered by a supercharged Chevy smallblock, the ultra-light coupe was built by Don Long and featured unusual axle placement and an abundance of fiberglass components. This photo came from the collection of Southern California drag racing photographer Mike Ditty. We took a closer look at his work in TRJ #62.
John and Linda Valentine have owned their chopped ’33 Ford for more than four decades. A Detroit hot rod all its life, the car was originally built by Dwight Fackender in Lincoln Park, Michigan, in 1953. Although the coupe has changed engines, paint jobs and owners through the years, it has managed to maintain its sinister, strictly business appearance. It currently looks exactly as it did in this mid-’70s photo.
There are few cars in the history of drag racing as storied as John Peters’ “Freight Train.” The twin-engined rail was known for its stellar performance in the Gas dragster ranks throughout the ’60s and into the ’70s. Bob Owens sent us this classic image of the Freight Train’s “engineers” servicing the pair of smallblocks in this 1966 photo.