• The ’50s were almost cartoonish in the development of inventions meant to predict or create the future. Flying cars? Check. Hovercars? Sure. Witness the Aerocar, developed in 1949 by Moulton Taylor and tested here […]

  • This Bonneville Salt Flats racer in 1958 is rebuilding a Chrysler Hemi in the parking lot of the hotel in Wendover, Utah. It was not at all uncommon. If you have not seen the movie “World’s Fastest Indian,” you […]

  • Because it wasn’t good enough to only invent one hobby, Duffy Livingstone’s Go-Kart Manufacturing Company also popularized the minibike, which was first known as the Go-Kart Cycle. Many imitators popped up, the […]

  • Nathan Ostrich was a doctor in Whittier, California, who decided in 1959 that he needed to build a jet-powered car to set the ultimate land-speed record. So he did that, all in his one-car garage. The Flying […]

  • We keep bringing up Kurtis Kraft, the shop that made winning Indy race cars, quarter midgets, and road-going sports cars. Another invention out of that shop was the go-kart, created by fabricator Art Ingels in […]

  • This is among the greatest stories in hot rodding. Back in the late ’50s, Duffy Livingstone decided that road-racing (then called sporty-car racing) was turning him on more than the dry lakes and drag racing […]

  • Someone has to be the first to try the crazy stuff, but does it seem so crazy that a military-surplus parachute could be used to stop a car? The first to try that on a drag strip was reportedly safety pioneer Jim […]

  • We had to include this to prove that we’re not the only ones with problems flat-towing, which was the predominant method of moving around race cars and even show cars of the ’50s. In this case, the truck being […]

  • Think twin turbos are special? In 1956, twin centrifugal superchargers were the fast way to crazytown. This is a ’55 Chevy built by Howards Cams with two McCulloch blowers, which brings us to Robert Paxton […]

  • The hot rodders’ challenge has always been to observe a set of rules or circumstances and overcome them with creativity. In the ’50s there were no sand cars or dune buggies. Solution 1: Get an old truck, and whack […]

  • Bud Coons was a member of the original Drag Safari, a crew sent on the road by the National Hot Rod Association in 1954 to show local clubs how to organize a safe drag race. It was a thrash with four guys in a […]

  • Long before ROADKILL ran over a Prius with a tank, car-mag guys have been fascinated with them. Tanks, we mean, not Priuses. In ’56, Motor Trend “tested” a Renault FT-17 WWI French tank, seemingly in the […]

  • It’s not just about driving garbage. It’s about making a personal statement. “Forget paint, I’m gonna make this thing work.” Sometimes work is going fast. Other times it means just becoming functional rather than […]

  • This radical ’57 Plymouth was one of Hot Rod’s first project cars. It was called “Suddenly,” a tribute to Plymouth’s ’57 ad campaign: “Suddenly, It’s 1960,” referring to a leap ahead in styling. Audaciously […]

  • The ’50s were a time of experimentation, and one of the most popular ideas—and one that Chrysler fiddled with extensively—was turbine power for cars. The first turbine car on the cover of Hot Rod (June 1955) was […]

  • In 1956, there wasn’t any professional drag racing. Even here at the NHRA Nationals in Kansas City, which was the top race in the country, guys worked it like this, with surplus tents as accommodations. Even the […]

  • In 1958, Don Clarkson was a drag racer in SoCal’s San Fernando Valley with a novel idea for running a supercharger in his ’35 Willys coupe that was powered by a 331ci Chrysler Hemi. A GMC-style roots supercharger […]

  • It’s hard to imagine being the one guy who invented a whole new style of car that became a craze for two decades, but Norm Grabowski was that guy.

    He invented the T-bucket, creating an all-new look and a […]

  • Some you love, some you hate, some you kick to the curb and then wish you hadn’t. It’s a cycle for every car sicko who buys and sells whole fleets of project cars every year, and we’re the Typhoid Marys of […]

  • The Daytona Speedway you know as a NASCAR superspeedway was opened in 1959. Before then, they had this great idea: Race down the paved costal highway then hang a high-speed left onto the soft, sandy beach. No one […]

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