Pat Ganahl, A Nostalgic Look at Hot Rodding’s Golden Years: 1930-1960. Memories and photos from the Pat Ganahl Collection

CarTech has been publisching a number of really interesting books for us Custom Car and Hot Rod enthusiast in the last couple of years. Their formula really works very well, the price-quality on their offerings is excellent. It appears the audience really appreciates what they are doing, and the amount of sales on their books enables them to continue coming out with great books like Pat Ganhal’s lates book, Hot Rod Gallery.

Pat Ganahl’s definition of Hot Rodding has has always included custom cars, dragsters, Bonneville racers, etc. So don’t let the title of the book fool you. There is plenty more to see in this book than just pure Hot Rods. A large portion of the book concentrates on the Hot Rod and Drag Racing, however the Custom Car people sure get a lot of very neat material to see and read about it this book as well.

I had seen this book as a digital version the moment it was available in May, 2014, and was very impressed right away. But it was not until I received my hard copy that I started to really appreciated the book for what it was. Digital files are nice, but there is just nothing that can compare to the actual paper printed book hold in your hand, reading it with a good cup of coffee in your favorite chair.


I have the feeling Pat really wanted to make this book one of his best books he ever did. The selection of photos is excellent, the amount of writing is just perfect. The text is not as detailed as some of Pat’s other books, but the reason for that is very well explained, and fully understood. that is just not what this book is about. The book is as if you are browsing thru some scrapbooks from the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s and as if the owner of the book tells you little stories about the time he took the photos.  Pat tells about the time he got started with collecting Hot Rod and Custom Car photos, how lucky he was finding some of the photos, how he copied them using his camera, and all those other small little details that make this book come alive. The book is called a Gallery, which it is, but its the nice stories and details Pat remembers about the photos that makes this book so special.

The reason why I say Pat has been trying to create one of his best ever done books is because some of the photos – and then I’m talking especially about the Custom Car sections of the book – have been seen before in some of his other published articles or books. For this book, I think Pat decided he wanted to show only the best material he has in his collection, all combined in one book, and not spread out over multiple publications. And I have to say it really works the selected photos tell a story, show a time line of the Hot Rod and Custom Car history. My own personal favorite Pat Ganahl book, The American Custom Car, has a very strong follow up with the Hot Rod Gallery book. I actually have two copies of the American Custom Car… After reading my first copy so many times, it got al worn out, and I have a strong feeling the Hot Rod Gallery book will be spending more time on my desk and coffee table than on de book shelves.


That said, I have to admit that when I browsed thru the book for the very first time I felt a little disappointed seeing some previous published Custom Car photos in the book. I guess I had expected to see nothing but new, never before published material when I read the announcements for this book about Pat’s personal Photo Collection. But after a while I did see why Pat had decided to use the photos he did, and as a book it makes totally sense now. I do hope that Hot Rod Gallery will be a big success and we will be able to see a sequel on the book, and then in the second book we will see nothing but never before published material from the Pat Ganahl personal Collection. Because, as Pat mentioned it in his book his collection is HUGE containing about 30 to 40,000 photos, slides or negatives.
My advise to CarTech and Pat Ganahl is to do at least two more of these Gallery books… a year.


Pros: A book filled with a huge amount of photos of which a lot have never before been published. Great stories in Pat Ganahl’s usual personal and very enthusiastic wrting style.

Cons: Some photos have been seen before in previous publications.

Highly recommended!



There are nine chapters in the book

  1. Hop-Ups, Gow Jobs and Modifieds
  2. On the Street
  3. The First Car Shows
  4. The First Drag Strips
  5. The Early Customs
  6. Early Hot Rod Shops and Speed Parts
  7. Car Shows, Angel Hair and Tiki Heads
  8. 1950s Hot Rods in Color
  9. 1950’s Customs in Color



Hot Rod Gallery A Nostalgic Look at Hot Rodding’s Golden Years: 1930-1960
By Pat Ganahl, Published by CarTech in May, 2014

Hardcover 192 pages
Language English
Illustrations: 357 of which 79 are in color.
ISBN-10: 1613251157
ISBN-13: 978-1613251157
Dimensions 11.1 x 8.8 x 0.8 inches


Read/see more about Pat Ganahl’s Hot Rod Gallery book, or order the book.





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About the Author

Rik Hoving
Rik is the CCC editor in chief. As a custom car historian he is researching custom car history for many years. In 2004 he started the Custom Car Photo Archive that has become a place of joy for many custom car enthousiasts. Here at CCC Rik will bring you inspiring articles on the history of custom cars and builders. Like a true photo detective he will show us what's going on in all those amazing photos. He will write stories about everything you want to know in the realm of customizing. In daily life Rik is a Graphic Designer. He is married to the CCC webmaster and the father of a 10 year old son (they are both very happy with his excellent cooking skills)