SEMA News - January 2010
By Drew Hardin
Photo Courtesy Source Interlink Media Archives
The old familiar sight of several roadsters at a Southern California drive-in is fast fading away,” wrote Tex Smith in the July 1959 Hot Rod magazine. That’s right. As long as 50 years ago, rodders were concerned about changes in the car hobby. “The car that wrote hot-rodding history is giving ground to its newer cousins from Detroit,” said Smith.
He pointed out, though, that there were plenty of hot roadsters still to be found in SoCal, including a group that “banded together under the title of ‘Roadsters of L.A.’ to see to it that the beloved little rods are preserved in all their dignity.” Founded in 1957, the club was open (and still is) to roadsters from ’36 or older and had already adopted its signature uniform of red shirts and white pants. In 1960, the L.A. Roadsters held its first roadster show and swap meet, a tradition that continues every Father’s Day.
In April 1959, Smith accompanied the L.A. Roadsters on a rod run from the Columbia Records building in Hollywood to the Griffith Park Observatory. When the club’s members stopped at the Tiny Naylor’s restaurant along the way, they became an instant car show, and Smith captured the scene.