Our Annual Picnic
Hello to our website visitors. The San Diego Prowlers are now well into our 71st year. It is August and it's hot even in San Diego. This was our first Summer since the early '70s that we haven't staged our annual
"Picnic and Ol' Timers Reunion". It really feels good to relax a little and have time to drive our hot rods and maybe even work on them a little.
As promised we are reinventing ourselves back into "doing whatever we want" for a change and leave the event planning to promoters who enjoy that stuff!
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.
Bill Larson - Active Prowler Member
Secretary 2004 - 2008
President 2009 - 2011
My interest in hot rods began many years ago. Early Ford hot rods caught my attention, especially the 1932 model. I grew up in the small central California town of Santa Maria. The early 60's was my first exposure to the Prowlers through magazine cover cars. It was also when I spotted what would become my first hot rod, a 1932 Ford 3-window coupe, (you know the one that God inspired Henry Ford to build after resting on the seventh day). The fellow who owned the coupe lived down the street from where I grew up. I remember watching the TV series '77 Sunset Strip on Friday evenings and hearing the coupe outside at the stop sign (See photo below for the stop sign.)
It was powered by a 1956 Buick nailhead 322 cubic inch motor. The camshaft and aluminum flywheel were Weber and the ignition system was a Mallory unit. The running gear was the usual for the day, 39 trans with Lincoln-Zephyr gears, 32 rear end with a 3.78 ratio.
I'd race to the front door just to watch the car drive down the street. A couple of years later, I learned the coupe was for sale as the fellow had married and family commitments started ... you know the rest. After buying and selling a couple of cars, I had enough money to buy the coupe. What a day that was! I can still feel the excitement 40 plus years later.
The photo below was taken at a local car show in 1967. I had up-dated the tires, removed the hood and installed 6 Stromberg 97 carbs. Boy, did it ever fly. Later, I opted for an easier-to-tune, better idling single Holley carb.
Santa Maria had their own "Oscars" cruise spot. It was called Leo's Drive-In, complete with car hops and bright neon signs. It was the place to meet friends and was also the turn around spot for the cruisers. A new Mexican fast food restaurant, Taco Bell, was coming to town and the owner of Leo's thought it should be built where the drive-in was. Everyone was sad to see Leo's go to make room for the Taco Bell.
As things turned out, it was one of the best things that could have happened to me. The new owner, retired from the LAPD, had a daughter I had my eye on. I can remember coming home one evening and telling my parents "I just met the girl I'm going to marry". We had our first date, (Dr. Zhivago at the Park Aire Drive-In), in that '32 coupe. This photo was taken Easter Sunday, 1968. Unfortunately, I no longer have the original '32, but I am still happily married to my original sweetheart and we're still dating in our current 1932 Ford 3-window coupe on a regular basis.
Our current '32 is powered by a GM Performance Parts ZZ3 - 350 cubic inch, 355 horse power motor. The transmission is a Bow-Tie Overdrive 700 R4 and the rear end is a 9 inch Ford, 3.50 ratio. Performance and economy - while it's not a race car, it is exciting to drive yet routinely gets 20 mpg on the highway, despite our federally mandated boutique fuels. It has all the comforts of a modern car, heat & a/c, power windows, and a TCI frame. Completed, (July 08), a major under-car suspension up-grade with a different look, sans fenders, boards and bumpers - photos to follow time permitting.