A feature story in the August 1960 issue of Hot Rod showed off two “sharp Fords” that had been customized by “lucky owner” Ron Coleman. The ’32 five-window coupe and the ’51 coupe provide a nice snapshot of styling trends that were popular in the late ’50s and early ’60s.
Utterly Improbable chads Fri, 04/01/2022 - 10:35
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Sixty years ago, what we know now as the Rolex 24 at Daytona began as the three-hour Daytona Continental. It was the brainchild of NASCAR’s Bill France, Sr., and was intended to bring the world’s best sports and road-race cars to his Daytona Speedway.Big Al Takes the Checkered chads Tue, 03/01/2022 - 12:37
Less than a year after the death of his older brother Bobby, Alfred “Al” Unser Sr. succumbed to his years-long battle with cancer in December. He was 82.Flatheads at Bonneville—Timeless chads Tue, 02/01/2022 - 10:43
The 1968 running of the Southern California Timing Association’s (SCTA) Speed Week at Bonneville marked the 20th time hot rodders had gathered at the Salt Flats to see just how fast their roadsters, lakesters, streamliners and other wheeled creations could go. Hot Rod dispatched Photo Editor Eric Rickman, himself a 20-year Salt Flat veteran, to cover the event. He opened his story in the January 1969 issue with this timeless image of Bob Westbrook swapping Flathead engines right on the lakebed.
By the end of the ’60s, Parnelli Jones had earned an enviable driving record across multiple forms of motorsports. From Indianapolis to Pikes Peak and midgets to Trans Am, he had won races, set records and earned championships. About the only place his take-no-prisoners driving style didn’t result in trophies was in the desert.
Just three years after its humble beginnings at Dodger Stadium, the SEMA Show in 1970 was making the most of its home in the spacious Anaheim Convention Center. According to a post-Show report in the March 1970 issue of Hot Rod Industry News, more than 7,100 people attended the Show, not including 1,500 VIP guests. The count of exhibitor booths had risen to 481, making the Show the “greatest of all time” in the magazine’s eyes.
If you are a fan of the historic photos that appear in the SEMA Heritage department of SEMA News, you have Bob D’Olivo to thank—in more ways than one. D’Olivo, who passed away in July at age 94, shot many of those photos during his 40-plus-year career at Petersen Publishing Company.
A lot was at stake when drag racers from around the country converged at the brand-new Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP) for the NHRA’s seventh annual National Championship Drags in 1961. More than 900 competitors from some 40 states turned out to win races, set records, cement championships and build reputations during that humid Labor Day weekend.
In late 1958, the multi-talented illustrator and cartoonist Pete Millar created just the thing for racers who wanted to record their victories like a fighter pilot. These “easy-to-apply” Drag Decals, advertised in the “What’s New” department of the June 1959 issue of Hot Rod, were available in a choice of 15 different domestic cars “plus a new one for karts.” (A close look at the photo reveals a karting magazine in the back pocket of Millar’s trousers.)
Whenever the words “Unser” and “Pikes Peak” are spoken, the word “dynasty” is never far behind. A member of the Unser family has been the overall winner in a quarter of the nearly 100 times that the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has run. Bobby Unser, who passed away in early May at age 87, earned 10 of those overall wins, eight of which set course records. His first was in 1956, in only his second start up the mountain. He won six times in a row between 1958 and 1963, then won again in 1966. (His brother, Al, won in 1964 and 1965.) Unser finished his two-decade streak with a win in 1968, setting a course record that wouldn’t be broken for 11 years. He returned to the Peak in 1986 to earn his final win and course record, a run that made him the winningest Unser on the Peak.