Media Coverage on Specialty Cars

Media Coverage

Race-car looking street rods has had an extreme impact on street rod styling. A stripped-down Henry Ford model T spawned a new generation of clones. Norm Brabowski's "Kookie Kar," which was nothing more than a likes modified in street trim, led to the T-bucket phase. The early '30s road races at Mines Field (now LAX) featured '32-'34 fender-free roadsters driven by circle track greats wilbur shaw, Rex Mays, Ted Horn, and Ralph Hepburn and spawned similar highboys throughout Southern California. And the appearance of the late '40s and early '50s '23-'27 T-bodied track roadsters has also been a viable part of the street scene for 50 years.

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One of the most prominent examples of the genre occupied a portion of the cover as well as four pages in HRM's August '58 "roto" section. Of the "Roadster Classic." the editor wrote, "the body that made roadsters famous: never more handsome, never more inspiring than Jack Thompson's '27 T."

Unfortunately, like so many rods of that era, Thompson's T was eventually deemed expendable and soon regulated to the used rod lot. For 30 years his trackster went from owner to owner, rising occasionally for a movie part, but essentially let out-doors to gather funk of the elements. Five years ago a chance meeting between striper Tom Otis, Champion Spark Plug representative Randy Scoville, chassis builder (Tri-C Engineering) Rick Creese, and race car component manufacturer Gary Schroeder led to the purchase of Thompson's T and its ensuing restoration. According to Creese, its former owner commissioned street rod builder Dick "Magoo" Megugorac to upgrade it but retain the original hardware.

Creese and Schroeder returned the roadster to its 1958 condition by selling off the new stuff while refurbishing its old parts. They even contracted builder Claude Hampson, and had Ron Fletcher finish its ancient body panels. As indicated by the imposing collections of Bruce Meyer, Don Orosco, and Reggie Jackson, a significant new trend in hot-rodding is preserving the past. One only has to look at the " never more inspiring" Jack Thompson '27 T to understand why retro rodding is attracting allot of attention.