Custom Car Chronicle
Early Custom CarsEd Jenson Collectionhot rods

A day at the Races


Ed Jenson’s photo collection gives us a really great feel how the young Nor-Car Hot Rodder’s raced their cars on the back roads of Sacramento.

We have been sharing some of the amazing photos of the Ed Jenson Collection before when we highlighted George Barris and Gene Garrett’s 1936 Fords. For this photo-report we like to focus on some of the Hot Rod related photos of Ed’s amazing photo collection. Most of the photos in this article were made during one of the many races Hot Rodder’s organized in the early 1940’s. This was before there were any official drag strips and guys wanted to race against each other to show who had the most powerful engine. These photos were taken somewhere “close” to Sacramento at some back-road. Many Hot Rods competed against each other on this long and empty road. We can see both Hot Rods as well as mild Custom Cars competing against each other.

The first couple of photos are of some of the guys getting ready for action, leaving their homes for a race trip into the hills.


CCC-Jenson-Day-at-Races-03-WThe tag on the license plate of this stripped down 32 Ford reads 1942.





CCC-Jenson-Day-at-Races-11-WThis very interesting photo shows an early version of the Jack Calori Model A Roadster. Most likely shortly after Jack bought it from Jack Davis. In the back on the right we can see the Harry Westergard-built Max Ferris / Vern Simon’s 1936 Ford roadster with Packard grille. And sitting next to it an 1936 Ford Phaeton with LaSalle grille.


And then on to the rendezvous point up in the hills where the race could start. The photos below show how close cars were parked next to the “drag strip”. It also shows that the spectators made way when the cars were coming and would go on the roads to watch the racing cars disappear in the distance.



Two full fendered cars racing. The 1936 Ford on the left looks to have a narrowed stock grille. Right now the heavier 1941 Ford coupe is taking the lead. Perhaps the white truck in the back was blocking off other traffic while the race was going. Notice the smoothed and skirted 1941 Ford sedan parked on the left.


CCC-Jenson-Day-at-Races-05-WTwo 1932 Ford Roadsters at full speed.



CCC-Jenson-Day-at-Races-06-WLooks like not everything went according to plan.


CCC-Jenson-Day-at-Races-08-WThese photos show that the race was held both ways. Or perhaps these photos were taken on different days.


CCC-Jenson-Day-at-Races-09-WCustomized 1932 Ford roadster on the left with custom bumpers and hubcaps, and what looks like a padded top.


CCC-Jenson-Day-at-Races-14-Wand into the distance…

Special thanks to Ed Jenson and Tim Cunha for sharing this amazing collection.


CCC-Sponsor-KKB -602-01


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)

One thought on “A day at the Races

  • Check out the treadless tires in the first photo. I remember hearing my dad and grandpa talk about buying used tires off of anything they could find, because the War had rationed everything over here in the States.

Leave a Reply