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Upcoming Events Short List !
May 5 Freddy Castro remembrance
June 9 Early Times picnic
Johnny had always been a car junky. He raced anything with wheels. Jalopies, dune buggies, drag cars, anything! He saw a local need for auto parts, speed related parts and a specialized engine machine shop catering to the speed addict. Starting small, Johnny opened his first store in the late 50s. In the early 60s he had to move to a larger location because of the increase of his business. This was south of market St. on 47th St.
His store was always busy! He also employed a Prowler member at that location. Johnny always gave a discount to club members. That helped us guys to return with another “want list”.
As his business increased again, Johnny was forced to open a second location. He chose the old Western Auto building in East San Diego. This was just west of Palisade Gardens roller rink on University Ave.
Because of his interest in the Prowlers Hot Rod Club we voted Johnny Jones an Honorary member of our “family”. He was always an outstanding person and a good friend!
Andy Bekech, Historian
Honorary Prowler Johnny Jones owned Action Auto Parts on Market Street when I knew him. Yeah, he sold your normal auto parts but specialized in speed equipment and had a machine shop in back.
A “machine shop in back” was typical for the average auto parts store for the time but Action Auto could build the engine of your dreams. They did balancing and headwork, would install a Crower-Schneider cam or build you a blower motor.
Nowhere else could you just walk in and buy an adapter to mate a late model Caddy, Hemi, Olds, Ford T-Bird or even a Chevy engine to an early Ford transmission, get your multi-carb Eelco linkage kits, Hurst Shifters, multiple carb manifolds, etc. off the shelf?
There were cross town rivalries between speed shops. I remember the guy in Don’s Speed Shop one morning that owned of an XKE Jag that Don had “tuned” complaining that a gold Corvette I’d seen in the Action Auto garage had beat him the night before.
In those days if you were into cars you had a hot rod or a custom. Customs were given a pass unless they wanted to race but if you built a hot rod YOU WERE RACING IT. Street Rods (big buck race car look-alikes) hadn’t been conceived yet and hot rods were all about going fast. Johnny Jones was there to help.
Johnny picked up early on the dune buggy craze way before someone took his VW to the desert. Those are the only pictures we can find.