Prowlers Car Club History
San Diego Prowlers making Hot Rod History – The 1950’s
See page 21 “A day with the Prowlers”.
The Nov. ’53 issue of Drag Magazine chronicles the Prowlers’ transition from racing at the dry lakes to drag racing. Face it! it was racing without the mandatory 150 mile drive each way.
Carl Burnett’s 1927 “T” roadster being shown in 1957 at a San Diego High School car show. San Diego High School was and still is next to the Balboa Stadium and is the stadium where the San Diego Chargers football team first played pro ball in San Diego. Unfortunately, due to California earth quake standards enacted, most of the stadium has been dismantled today.
Carl Burnett (member #21 / 2) with his 1927 Ford T-roadster. This car was owned by no less than 4 Prowler members (Chuck ‘Hoot’ Gibson, Carl Burnett, Bob Smith). It was the cover car of Hot Rod magazine in March 1958 and Rod & Custom magazine in June 1959. Currently, this hot rod is owned by Prowler member, John LaBarre.
Andy Bekech’s (#32) picture taken in east San Diego in 1957. The picture and article appeared in the Union-Tribune newspaper. Andy is the club historian and supplies the web site with all these great flashes to the past. Keep’m come’n Andy – great job. The other great thing about this car is Andy still has her and shes look’n unbelievable. Check out our members listing to get the full story.
Heres a great shot of the Prowlers in ’53 outside of Flo Millers Garage. Members included, George Venice, Jean Schffer, Marty Moore, Bud Fleetwood, Bernie McNaulty, Bud Henry, George Sotier, Flo Miller, Carl Burnett, Jim Bradberry, Jim Smith, Danny Mryrick, Bob Stewart and Jack Sercranic. The ’39 convertible to the right is the one that was sitting outside Ed and Bob Stewart’s Speed Shop above.
A Saturday afternoon at Flo Millers Sea Side Gas Station. This was Located at 8th and University in San Diego. A total of 22 club cars some were project cars and some were drivers. The ’32 Ford Victoria was built by Bob (Lil Axle) Stewart. Some great Saturdays get together. Circa early 1953.
Just love all those great rows of louvers. Imagine what it took to do those back then!
Check out the rear tire…. notice the cross cut “Track Roadster” design? Thats the same club plaque as donated to the club in the license frame.
Above is an article out of the 1953 July issue of “Hop Up” at the bottom middle with club members Marty Moore (#1-2) and Burnie McNulty (#22-2) with their ’34 5 window coupe “M&M” Special at the El Mirage Dry Lakes. This picture is before the car was chopped. Moore and McNulty won the high point for the Prowlers in Dec. 1953. This would have been the third time they had won the clubs perpetual trophy. Marty still has this trophy today.
The next five photos have just surfaced (Feb 2014) from the heydays of the Paradise Mesa dragstrip in the 1950s.
This shot is looking east. A beautiful composition actually of the entire venue: an open wheel belly tank racing (see blowup below), the line up waiting to race, spectators, spectator parking and beautiful San Diego weather.
This was an auxillary Navy airfield about a half mile in length. Drag racing displaced air traffic on the weekends and continued until 1959. The urban sprawl swallowed up this countryside and beyond in the early 60s.
These were the trophy winners for the year from the dinner above. We still do this today recognizing some of our members.
This picture of Ed “Axel ” Stewart was in the program above. As you can read Ed was running his ’32 Ford Roadster with a Merc engine turning 93.07.
A letter from the National City Chief of Police (Paradise Mesa) thanking the San Diego Timing Assn and the SD Sports Car Assn for their contribution to safe motoring….from a simpler and non litigating era.
This is Willie Clarks 1927 T roadster at the Electric Building Car Show venue in Balboa Park in San Diego. The picture was taken 60 years ago. Check out a couple nice trophies on the running board. The car was purchased from Willie by Oakley O’Strander who later sold it to his uncle. Prowler Mike Hemus bought it from Oakley’s uncle and owned it in the 70s and then Roger Honey in Santee, Ca. bought it from him. As a kid walking the streets Roger saw this car a lot and remembers dropping in at least once a week at Red Watson’s Body Shop on 8th street in National City to watch employee Willie put the chromed Caddy engine together
Here is Willie’s car at the old Balboa Stadium between Jalopy races advertising an upcoming Rod and Custom show at the Electric Building. Oakley who owned it then is driving and Ron Muller’s sister Louise is the presiding beauty queen. Louise was one of Bob Hardee’s favorite models. This is a Bob Hardee photograph.
Finding and providing this and the previous pictures for our website are credited to current owner Roger Honey and Greg Sharp (NHRA Museum).
According to historian Andy Bekech, “On the Paradise Mesa cars, that is Paul Schiefer’s roadster, but it was loaned to the Bean Bandits to put one of their engines in it to run. It did run a few times, but Joaquin turned it into a rear engine car, without Paul knowing it! Oh shit, did Paul have a fit!! Could have killed him, That beautiful red roadster was gone. The story changed over time, to say that wasn’t the same car, that Schiefer owned. BUT IT WAS!!!!!”