Here at The Rodder’s Journal, we pride ourselves on our extensive photo archive. The envelopes, stacks and folders of transparencies and B&W negatives span several decades, and although we dig into them every once and awhile, we realize that we don’t give them the attention they deserve. In an effort to change that, let’s take a look at some of Publisher Steve Coonan’s photos from his pre-TRJ days.
Texan Jay Leak’s ’40 Ford features an abundance of 1950s rodding cues including a raked stance and tasteful flames. Wide whites, red wheels and a louvered hood compliment the look.
In 1993, Steve shot the late Don Olson’s full-fendered Deuce for American Rodder as the leaves changed in rural Vermont. Olson, a longtime hot rodder, attended the First Street Rod Nationals in Peoria, Illinois, with his family in their ’36 Ford three-window. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree: his son, Kevin, continues to build hot rods professionally at Viking Hot Rods.
Artist Thom Taylor’s 1934 Ford fordor sedan is seen here at the Street Rod Drags in 1982 at Orange County International Raceway in Irvine, California. Taylor, a longtime TRJ contributor, is now an editor at Hot Rod Magazine. In the background, you can see Dennis Wile’s 1932 three-window, which he still owns and is best known for its bumper dragging wheelstands and low 10-second time slips.
After his chopped Model A sedan graced the June 1978 Street Rodder cover, Prowlers Danny Brent continued to drive it to rod runs across California. In this 1980 photo from the Kernville Rod Run, the San Diego, California-based tudor has had its red steelies swapped for Tru Spoke wires. The signature bigs-and-littles, however, remained. Four years prior, Brent built a similarly styled, bright red ’34 Ford sedan.
Originally built by Barris Kustoms, the Freddie Rowe Mercury starred in the 1955 movie Running Wild. More than two decades later, Bill Layman of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, restored the car. Steve shot it alongside Layman’s tribute to the “Moonglow” ’54 Chevy for the February 1991 issue of Rod & Custom. The Rowe Mercury will be making an appearance at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and Layman has recently completed a traditional 1939 Mercury coupe.
Steve photographed Roger Brinkley’s 1932 Ford sedan at the July 1980 Kernville Rod Run in Kernville, California. The sanitary Deuce remained relatively unchanged since its appearance on the memorable June 1967 Rod & Custom cover, which featured more than a dozen Early Times members’ cars in formation. We chronicled the club’s storied history in TRJ #25.
Powered by a supercharged Cadillac V12, Joe Panek’s chopped ’34 Ford has been a Southern California racing fixture for decades. Panek built the car in 1964 to promote his Roto-Faze distributors at the lakes, drags and on the salt. Here the coupe is pictured at a Muroc dry lakes reunion back in the 1990s.
We hope you enjoyed looking through these photos as much as we have. Stay tuned for more from the archives both here, on Instagram as well as on www.roddersjournal.com.