Prowlers Historical Perspective

Editorial on Today’s Trendy Rods by Jim Reid

For the last several years there has been a resurgent style in the rodder community worldwide. The quest to recapture the original experience of rodding from it’s heyday in the late 40s and early 50s in itself is commendable. We all know the primer look now often recaptured in flattened black polyurethane or even faux aged paint layers and rusty rivets meticulously painted on new fiberglass bodies and also the cars that test the limits of safety.

That “heyday” period was a time of some social change and hot rods were a part of it. The media was hysterical about illegal drag racing, death jalopies, hot rod hell, juvenile delinquents and put the blame on the cars themselves.

The car clubs that survived decided they could eliminate everything the detractors could point to. The hotrods were chromed, fitted with roll bars, seat belts, big brakes, shiney paint and pinstriped detail. They survived. The primered or rusty and unsafe “death wagons” went extinct.

To this day the SD Prowlers require a member’s car be painted and upholstered and have quality detailing. The like-minded L.A.Roadsters even refused their member Gray Baskerville entrance to their annual Father’s Day show because of a fender still primered after a dent repair, albeit after a couple years.

The L.A.Roadster bylaws even require their members to wear slacks to any public event where they are seen as a club to elevate their preceived status in the community and protect their hobby.

So for my friends that want the suede look for their ride just realize that style only lasted a scant ten years. True traditional hot rods have had shiney paint, upholstered interiors and have been safe for a solid 55 years.  They have a respectable legacy for which we have fought hard in the courts of law and courts of public opinion so we all have the right to drive hot rods today.


President San Diego Prowlers