Our Annual Picnic
Hello to our website visitors. The San Diego Prowlers are in our 72nd year. It is March and San Diego is already seeing signs of Spring. The carshow and event calendar is filling up.
Ken and Swede have been to both Yuma and Imperial this month. We have designated the TrueLine show next Sunday as a club event and are looking forward to the Del Mar GoodGuys event April 5-7.
We are still the unchallenged "oldest hot rod club" continuously corrupting young men since 1947 so please dig in to our webpages and visit the hot rod club that has been there the whole time. See the men, cars and their hobby from post WWII to the present that was the laboratory of power and style that helped shape today’s automobile.
Want to Become a Member?
Are you interested in becoming a member but still have some questions? For more information, use our contact form or just email us. We look forward to hearing from you!
Welcome to our new / updated website.
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
In February of 1964, Ed Thompson (member #38) consented to have his beautiful 'Blown' 1927 T roadster on the cover. What a great car!
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".
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!
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.
Thanks American Rodder. We really appreciated this article.
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.
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!
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.
Great article from 2006 July Rod and Custom
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 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