President's Message

It is March 2022. The SD Prowlers are doing well. We are excited to see things open up in the hot rod world. We have cautiously ventured to the Grand Nationsl Roadster Show and most recently the Early Times Mid- Winter Run. I heard today that Escondido's Cruisn' Grand event has been permitted and will commence on April 1...Hooray!!


The Prowlers are preparing to host our 75th Anniversary Picnic on Saturday June 4 at El Monte Park. We will have a live band (The Ideas) playing favorite oldies. Big Dev will be there with his famous BBQ truck. We will have event t-shirts and free dash plaques for participant cars while they last.

This event will cost $3 per car (for the park)


As many businesses discovered adapting to pandemic restrictions there were new ways to do things. We had to give up meeting in our comfortable indoor restaurant and chose the outdoor setting at El Monte County Park in Lakeside, CA. Attesting to So Cal reputation for nice weather, we have not missed a meeting and at least half the members drive their hot rods. As of our meeting tomorrow March 3, 2022 we will have met 43 times outside with no rain. 


We will keep you posted here. Until then, Keep the Shiney Side Up!

Want to Become a Member?

Are you interested in becoming a member but still have some questions? For more information, just email us at . We look forward to hearing from you!



Upcoming Events Short List !

Labor Day  Swap @ Santee Drive-in

Apr 1-3     Del mar Good Guys

May 5      Freddy Castro Remembrance

May 11    Cajon Cruise 

June 4     Prowler 75th Anniversary

Magazines Feature the Prowler's Cars

The Prowlers like their hot rods.  Everyone knows that, but others must too because the San Diego Prowlers had their cars on the cover of most every major Hot Rod magazine in America during the 1950's and 60's. Unfortunately, most cover cars today are the pro-built, mega buck varities that are sometimes hammered into a hardly recognizable form - that's if it's a metal car. Something has been lost forever, we fear. Here are a few of the memorable ones.





While not on the cover, in March 1951 Frank Marsh was the first Prowler in a long series to appear in Hot Rod magazine. Frank had a flathead powered (What else!) 32 Vicky



We miss Frank.  He was quite a guy and one that I fondly remember.  When I was at San Diego High School I remember sitting at a desk in my history class that Frank had carved his name in!
Jim Bradbury #28 comment Aug 28, 2013

Hot Rod magazine was first published in 1948. Judging from this cover it's obvious that Robert Petersen was heralding a whirlwind phenomena overtaking the country.


Cover of March 1951 issue of Hot Rod magazine




Here's Bob Urquart (#65) and brother Norm (#58) on the front cover of the 1962 October issue of Hot Rod Magazine showing off his DeSoto powered "T". 

In February of 1964, Ed Thompson (member #38) consented to have his beautiful 'Blown' 1927 T roadster on the cover.  What a great car!



A First!! 4 Prowler cars on the of the 1968 December issue of Rod and Custom Magazine.  From top to bottom, Bruce Hamliton (#87), active member Bob Wolin (#86), Curt Holmquest (#72) and R&C's best appearing car trophy winner member #84 Gary Rickles.

This is a special article from the 1999 issue of American Rodder regarding the fantastic turn out of over 281 hot rodders and their rides for the Lee Bright Memorial Run to honor Lee after he passed away in 1998.  Lee had been a member of the Prowlers for over 36 years and was well known for his various low ride'n fast run'n rods.  Everything from High Boys, Tubs and sedan deliveries such as the famous "Mother Trucker".  Lee was also known as the "Muffler Man" for his great muffler shop with the logo of "No Muff Too Tuff".



Ed Thompson's (#38) '27 "T" roadster with flat head engine shows up on the cover of July 1958 issue of Car Craft magazine.  Fellow members seated are Rusty Case and standing is Dave Butlemer member # 36.




Member Bob McCoy (#25) the famous artist, race car driver and cartoonist has his flamed '40 Ford sedan on the front cover of the 1956 October issue of Car Craft magazine.  Bob's '40 sedan may well be the most photographed car in magazine history.



This is Andy Bekech's (#32) '32 Ford Victoria which he only sold a couple years ago.  If you look in some of our other history info you'll see this ride when it was being raced on the flats.  Andy is still an active  member of the Prowlers and is our club historian.  Thanks to Andy we have all these great shots and information  from the past.

Heres "Sailor Bob" Smith with beautiful wife Bonnie on the front cover of the 1958 March issue of Hot Rod Magazine.  Bob, member #102 had this '27 "T"  Roadster which had also been owned by Hoot Gibson and Carl Burnett.  Bob is still an active member today and has another '27 "T" and a '32 roadster. See Prowler history from the 1950's. Fast-forward almost 50 years. Today, the proud owner of this hot rod is Prowler member, John LaBarre who is committed to having this historic roadster on the road soon after a thorough rebuild. Can't wait, John!






Tom Madruga's (#53) 1929 Ford Roadster in the 1961 issue on pages 34 and 35.  In this Article it mentions " 3 years and $3,400 has been invested".  That was the good ol days!



Marty Moore has a great showing on this 1959 issue of Car Craft magazine.  Marty owns 3 '39/'40 Fords.  A convertible, Sedan Delivery and this '40 "Shop" pickup.  All his cars are outstanding and he still owns all three today. See Prowler history from the 1950's.





John Dougherty (#73) with his rare '29 Ford Cabriolet.  John is a retired school teacher and he still returns to the yearly reunions !






Middle row first car on the left is Pete Morrow's '29 Ford Roadster on the 1960 June issue of  Car Craft magazine. Pete is an active member to this day  ====>

The article reads as follows;Pete Morrow, an active member of the San Diego,  California Prowlers is the owner of this '29 Ford roadster painted in brilliant Huntsman Red lacquer finish. black pleated, rolled Naugahyde with white trim graces the interior bucket seats. Dashboard was constructed from the center grille bar of a '57 Chevrolet pickup truck.Lowering of sleek rod includes, zeed frame of 10", dearched springs-2", dropped axle and 8" channeling.  Pontiac taillights and wire wheels added.The power plant for Morrow's '29 is a hopped up '57 Chevy 283" mill with triple carbs and Corvette cam.  Extensive use of chrome on engine,  firewall is enhanced, adds show points. Small headlights are motorcycle lamps mounted to the deuce radiator shell. Wheels give unusual appeal.  '32 Ford chassis has '40 Ford rear end, brakes and spindles, stock steering. Shocks are Monroe. $3,500 is invested.














Details of Pete's '27





Glenn Tuttles '32 Ford roadster as a cover car. This is the roadster that Monte Hale later owned when he joined the Prowlers on his first tour.

Article follows:






1997 was the Prowlers 50 year anniversary.  American Rodder Magazine gave us a great 6 page spread in their 1997 May issue. 

Thanks American Rodder. We really appreciated this article.






It was a real honor for the club to share the same issue with the famous artist/hot rodder/race car driver and former Prowler,  Bob McCoy.

In this picture we have one of his great oval track drawings which I'm sure was drawn from memory of the experience. There is also a picture of his '40 Ford sedan and his 217 mph track "T" roadster.


What a rodders history this gentleman has.  What's so fantastic about this guy is he can not only really do the racing and rodding but he can put it on canvas so it can be saved for history.



This is a great shot of Andy Bekech the clubs historian standing next to Bob McCoys great lakes runner the "Red Hawk" from the '90's.  If you look in some of our history sections youl'll see where this is not an unsual place to find Andy.  He's spent his time behind the wheel of his own out at the Paradise Mesa Drag strip. Thanks again for the shot Andy!









Terry Coe "TC" had a great article in the 1974 February issue of Street Rodder on the '36 Ford Coupe below:












Lee Bright and Danny Brent showing off their '29 Ford Sedan Deliveries.  This was an article from 1001 Custom and Rod Ideas magazine.

Just like Lee this is just one of many of the rods that Danny has built.









Heres another one of Lee Bright's Sedan Deliveries, a '40 Ford.  This was an article in one of Street Rodder magazines.








This was a great write up in the Oct. 1977 issue of Custom and Rod Ideas on Marty Simonides'  '27 T pickup which he still owns today and looks just as beautiful as the day he finished it.





This is the cover for the April 1955 Hot Rod Mag.  At the bottom there's a great shot, left to right are two roadsters: Joaquin Arnett, of the "Bean Bandits" Club and our own Ed "Axel" Stewart at Paradise Mesa drag strip. We don't know who the coupe is but it sure is great look'n!


Great cover shot of Danny Brent's '34 Ford 2dr. Sedan. This was in the 1976 May issue of "1001 Custom and Rod Ideas" magazine.






In 2005 Ken and Wendy Polesky's '33 Ford Sedan Delivery came forward to take "Best Homebuilt" at the 2005 Del Mar Goodguys show. Ken's '33 Delivery then entered the running for "Homebuilt Heaven" at the Del Mar Nationals and competed against a year's worth of "Best Homebuilt" award finalist's. The winner was chosen by online voter's and Ken walked away with that honor as well.  Members are truly proud to have Ken's award winning Delivery in the Prowlers.  This just goes to show that there are still a few of us still putting rods together in our own garage's. Below are some of the articles on Ken's great award.





This article was in the 2006 GoodGuys Yearbook.




Great article from 2006 July Rod and Custom





This article was in the 2006 July issue of Street Rodder. 




Rod & Custom March 2014

This March 2014 Rod and Custom magazine features Les Hilgers '33 3-window. The article titled "Orange Once Crushed" is a reference to it's color (obviously) and a history of bad luck.

Les has had this retired gasser for 14 years. It still has the '57 354" hemi but the pushbutton Torqueflite is replaced with a 700-R4 and a Currie Ford 9" replaced the Olds rear. He has upgraded the  front end with a Pete and Jakes dropped axle and disc brakes. 




Les is keeping it period old school...he found a '33 bench seat, Sun tach, original dash and instruments with some Stewart Warner's hung below, banjo steering wheel, you get where this is going.




Aparently the battle scars will remain evident to enhance this coupe's "edgy" look.



The engine was running so well there was no reason to tear it apart. It did get shiney new repop valve covers and a new intake system.

Les Hilgers' '34

By Robert Genat


Les Hilgers has been a hot rodder all his life. He’s a member of the San Diego Prowlers, a hot rod club that dates back to the 40s and prefers finding and restoring/rebuilding old hot rods instead of building new ones. His latest car is one of those cars we’d all love to find---a ’33 Ford 3 window coupe that was once a Gasser.

               Fourteen years ago, Les got wind of a guy in the Los Angeles area who had a ’33 coupe he wanted to trade for a ‘T’ roadster. Les had a ‘T’ roadster he was willing to part with, so he thought he’d take a look at the coupe. What he found was a former Gasser that hadn’t been driven or raced in years. The then owner only drove it once since he purchased it in 1964—right into a chain link fence, scaring the crap out him—and never drove it again, but he started the engine on a regular basis. And then there was the damage to the driver side door and roof when a truck hit it while parked. The coupe’s drag racing pedigree was obvious with the set back hemi engine, push-button TorqueFlite transmission, rollbar, and 5.12:1 Olds rearend.  The car had potential, but the owner wasn’t interested in Les’ ‘T’ roadster. Les made him a cash offer which he accepted. Les brought the ’33 home, knowing it needed work to make it ready for the street.

               Les used a local bodyman to replace the firewall and repair the floor. The driver door was too badly damaged to repair so Les began a hunt for a new one and ended up finding a pair. He shipped the car up to Dave Philips, in Oregon, for the bodywork. “I’ve known Philips for a long time and trusted him to correctly repair the bent roof and install the new door,” Les says. The repairs were painted in the same shade of what he calls Competition Orange as the rest of the car. In vintage hot rod fashion, the firewall, underside of the fenders, and much of the suspension is painted white.

               The ’57 vintage 354ci Chrysler hemi engine is just as Les bought it, with the exception of the polished valve covers and intake. “Because it ran so well, I didn’t see any need to tear it apart,” he says. Bob Butler at Richard’s Performance Muffler built the custom headers and exhaust system. A Lokar-shifted 700-R4, by Vista Transmission, replaced the push-button TorqueFlite. Les replaced the Olds rearend with a Currie 9-inch Ford unit with a 3:70:1 gears. The chassis was upgraded with a Pete & Jakes frontend with a 3-inch dropped I-beam axle and disc brakes.  Adam’s Hot Rod Rubber delivered a set of reproduction 8-inch-wide pie-crust slicks mounted on vintage 6.5-inch Americans to set off the rear while 4.5-inch Americans are on the front, also running tires from Adams.

               With a little horse trading, Les obtained a ’33 bench seat that Howard McGee upholstered on orange and white vinyl. The original instrument panel is painted white with a set of four Stewart-Warner gauges hung beneath in a vintage panel. The steering column is ’39 Ford and the banjo wheel is from a ’36. Keeping with the ‘50s hot rod theme, Les added an old-school 8,000-rpm Sun tach to the column.

The changes Les made to his coupe took this once-damaged drag racer and gave it a new life as a street-driven snapshot of hot rod history. The few dents and scrapes keep it real and the lack of billet anything is, of course, refreshing.

Ray Gauthier's Enthusiastic A STREETRODDER Magazine December 1974 Pg 15