There’s nothing more fascinating than local hot rod history. As a person who’s passionate about the past, I love thinking back to a different time in this same place. What kind of cars were getting built? Who was building them? Recently, I’ve been chipping away at a San Francisco-based Jalopy Journal feature that I’m really excited to share with you in the coming weeks.
That article has me thinking about local hot rodders. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t encountered too many in the past seven years. I’ve crossed paths with plenty from surrounding areas, but the ones who have actually built and driven hot rods within the city limits are few and far between. I did, however, meet one while buying 1932 Ford axle bell jack stands during the early stages of my Model A build. Here’s how it went down.
“I spotted these jack stands on Craigslist a couple months ago and tonight I finally got them. I bought them from a gentleman named Nick who lives in the Monterey Heights neighborhood. The story goes that back in the 1950s and early-’60s he was a member of the Pitmen (?) car club here in San Francisco. In those days, he drove a heavily channeled, pink Deuce roadster with a 59AB flathead. I asked him if he had any photos and he shook his head. ‘We just didn’t take a lot of pictures of stuff back then.’”
I’m not a betting man, but I’d wager that there weren’t too many pink ’32 Fords running around Northern California during that era. The more I research, the more I think he may have owned the Johnny Weston roadster but didn’t know it by that name. It checks all the boxes. It’s heavily channeled, it’s flathead powered—and it’s pink (Tropical Rose, according to Andy Southard’s Hot Rods of the 1950s book). Johnny was based out of Richmond, California, which isn’t far from San Francisco.
Although I have no answers to offer you at this time, I do have a trio of photos from the late Rudy Perez. I’m not sure when I’ll see Nick again but, when I do, I’ll show him this car and maybe it’ll stir up some memories. I can only hope so.
Photos from the Perez thread, which is loaded with history.