RIGHT: My 1937 PT Cruiser- a 1937 Ford Tudor Flat Back. The first car I ever bought.
Right: Play the video of the famed DC-3 and it's history. When designed it had to fly over the Sandia with one engine before it was approved for flight.
I had purchased a 1942 Dodge 4 door with only 28,000 miles on it from a widow in San Angelo Texas . Her husband had died shortly after buying the car (it was one of the last made in 1942 with chrome bumpers and trim) and it had rested quietly in the garage for a number of years. See it (below left) right after I removed it from storage. It had the original seat covers (you always did that in those days) and when I removed them the car looked like new inside and out. Leo entered his 39 Mercury and I the 42 Dodge and we both won trophies. I proudly carried my first son Gary home from the hospital in that car. The picture is old and of course faded after 54 years in the shoebox. The picture is just after I drove it home, dusted it off. Everything original and only a small dent in the chrome on one fender.
The 40's perhaps started the trend in good looking cars but the 50's put the finishing touches on the trend. I am not even sure that today's automobiles have the futuristic look as those of the sixties. That was just a time when about anything went and actually did. The look was a far cry from the 40's, prior to the war. After the war was over the guys coming home wanted automobiles - automobiles and good looking ones. I was one of them. Our moms and dads were the ones that could afford them, however.
My Dad bought a 1956 DeSoto four door, pink and white. What wild colors. Had rear air-conditioning and one had to put a towel around the back of your neck to keep from freezing it. He bought a 56 Plymouth with the fins, yellow and tan and later a more conservative car, A 64 Buick Wildcat, (see below left) 425 cubic inch V8 - four barrel carb, leather interior. A true hot rod and a gas drinker. I had previously driven my Dad to visit his Dad in the DeSoto. It took about five hours. Several years later, his Dad passed away, we needed to get there fast. I drove him again, this time in the Buick. I passed everything on the road, however, it took seven hours. The Buick was fast, however, it would pass few gas stations without a fill up.
Hot Rods -- Dragsters -- Custom Cars The Small Block V/8 Was Born -- One Of The First was the 1955 Chevy Bel Air With It's 265 cu in. Rated At 180hp @4500 rpm. That Set The Drag Strips On Fire -- Started A Manufacturer Hot Rod War If you aren't interested in the past you can cop out here. You can find out what a bunch of young kids (and older kids) did in the 1 950's that changed a city. But -- don't ask "what did they ever do" if you leave. Love to have you stay and reminisce with us though. If you haven't visited "1950's Drag Strip" or "1957 NHRA Drag Races" please do so in this site. If you are here via a link - Go to www.hdeshazo.com Meanwhile, I was not sitting idly by. My interest grew and I stayed as close to the automobile as I could. I moved several times but I always joined a local car club. I did that when moving to Big Spring, Texas. (Hard to find on the map.) The National Hot Rod Association® had already been formed by a man by the name of Wally Parks. (Google - "Wally Parks") The association had already had one national drag competition in Caddo Mills, Texas. This was 1954 and the top speed eliminator did the quarter mile in an astounding 98.8 MPH. Man, that was fast? I remembered that drag competition and right away I wanted more than ever to get involved with drag racing.
Two and a half years later I was managing the only drag strip in the western part of Texas. Not only that, I was now a NHRA Advisor for that area. (See "1950 Drag Strip" in this site.)
Although I had an interest in Planes and Trains - the Automobile was what was dear to my heart from the first 1928 Model A my Grandfather taught me to drive. (Please read "Me n' That Old Car." I inherited that car and the love affair never ceased - it only went on to the next, next and next one that I owned. The Planes and Trains were hobbies and served to teach the boys the exciting art of hobby craft. We flew free-flight planes in good weather and built them in bad. The AUTOMOBILES OF THE 50'S caught my eye. My old Model A, my 1937 Ford Flatback and my 1940 Ford Business Coupe were great but the 1950's cars were beginning to become exciting. Along with the new futuristic looks came the horsepower of the V8's. Out of California came the "Drag Racing" mania and the spread eastward. Also, "customizing" became popular in California and also spread. They used some of the new looks in the 50's and added their own style. Everything was changing.
Everyone was in love with the automobile in the 1950's. The manufacturers took notice of this and pleased the public with newer models each year. Each automobile dealer had a showing of the new models when they came out. The cars were delivered to the dealer in the dead of night and anticipation grew until the day of the showing. I worked for a company that financed automobiles (the Banks still wasn't sure the automobile was a good risk) and we were sure to have each employee go by the dealership on show date. Sometimes the shows were elaborate and had TV coverage and flowers were sent rivaling a wedding.
Right: Play the video and see it in action as I drove away with my new wife in 1951.
RIGHT: 1951 Chrysler Thunderbolt