Sunday, July 17, 2011

SCRAPBOOK - From The Rodder's Journal

Since its inception, The Rodder’s Journal has prominently featured historic photographs that give a sense of time and place and provide real historical context to the cars, people and events that make up our collective legacy. Our only regret has been that on occasion these great photos have taken on a supporting role and we wanted to give these images a place of their own where there would be room to showcase them at their very best and tell the stories that surrounded them.

The result is the The Rodder's Journal Scrapbook. It is a hardbound book that we have been working on for quite some time. It features a format and size very similar to our Deuce book, measuring nearly one foot tall and opening to a full 21-inches in width. With a total number of pages exceeding 450, it has been designed to be a companion piece to the Deuce book. And like the Deuce book, it weighs in at nearly ten pounds.

We have spent months compiling what we feel is the best collection of historic hot rod and custom car snapshots from around the country, and literally around the world. In addition to telling the story of much of the history of early hot rodding and customizing, we feel that they are an assortment of just plain bitchin’ images.

The book has been organized into nearly two-dozen chapters where we tell the story behind each group of photos. We have included everything from early Bonneville and dry lakes racing action to indoor car shows, drag racing’s early days and road trips that took place before there was an Interstate Highway system. 
The book covers the very earliest days of hot rodding up through the beginning of the street rod renaissance and the very first Street Rod Nationals, which took place more than 40 years ago.

Once we started beating the bushes we were truly amazed at how much good material turned up. We have been given access to innumerable shoeboxes full of snapshots, personal scrapbooks that have only been shared with family and close friends, and boxes of Kodachrome slides that have been in storage for more than half a century. Most of these photos have never before been published.

Each one of these groups of photos has a story to tell. We have been contemplating doing this book for quite some time now, but what made us "green-light" the project now was the article in TRJ #50 we did on Jim Semon’s high school graduation trip to Barris’ shop from Ohio, back in 1958. It has turned out to be one of the most popular articles we have ever published. Scrapbook is full of similar adventures of young hot rodders from days gone by. We’ve got the story of a young enthusiast who drove his shoebox Ford from South Dakota to Denver and back just to get his hood louvered. And while there are plenty of roadtrips to the west coast, we also have more than one California rodder’s story about their first trip “back east” to attend the National Drags or simply test the metal of their newly completed hot rod. We’ve got early indoor photos from across the country and a great batch of slides of an outdoor show in the St. Louis area that shows that the one-day outdoor car shows that were so popular in the ‘50s and early ‘60s were not exclusively a west coast phenomenon.

Included are photos of Garlits at Bakersfield before adding the blower to his dragster and we have photos of the So-Cal Speed Shop coupe at the drags painted bright orange in one of its later and rarely if ever seen iterations. We’ve found slides depicting Keith Black and Don Prudhomme working on the Greer-Black-Prudhomme dragster in the pits of San Fernando.

This book has been a lot of work, but it has been a truly enjoyable experience. Our goal has been to deliver, in the finished book, as much of the same excitement and sense of discovery as we had when we were sifting through old scrapbooks and stacks of snapshots and viewing slides that hadn’t seen the light of day in literally decades.
The quality and packaging are nothing less than you have come to expect of The Rodder’s Journal. First rate quality reproduction and art-book style paper gives that unique TRJ tactile feel. We also have done far more than just publish neat old photos. Extensive interviews and thorough research result in text that is as interesting as the photos.

Release is due sometime around Christmas 2011. We will keep you posted on that. 

Expected Price will be around $120.00NZ