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SO-CAL Speed Shop Hardcover – November 3, 2005
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Classic American (UK), Winter 2006
“This stunning 196-page hardback is effectively the story of Alex, So-Cal and the guys who helped to shape an underground hobby into a worldwide movement and thriving industry … There have been many books about early hot rodding, but none has captured the atmosphere quite like this one.”
About the Author
Mark Christensen has written several books, including The Sweeps: Behind the Scenes in Network TV and Build the Perfect Beast, as well as two novels, Mortal Belladaywic and Aloha. He is a former media columnist for Rolling Stone and his feature stories have appeared in The Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, Playboy, and Wired. Christensen lives in Long Beach, California, near the heart of the original hot rod movement.
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Hardbound, 10x10", 192 pages, 75 color and 100 B&W images.
ISBN 13 978-0-7603-2263-5
ISBN 10 0-7603-2263-5
There is little question that this book's subject, the hot-rod culture of the early 1950s, shaped the lives of many a baby boomer. If you are a fan of hot rods, custom cars, drag racing, or American muscle cars, even one too young to have experienced that time in American history, this book is a delightful chronicle of the early-postwar period in the car hobby. To read this book is to understand an important part of the ancestry of cars like the Chevrolet Corvette, Pontiac GTO or the Dodge Charger because, had it not been for the hot rodders of the So-Cal Speed Shop period, the Corvette might have never made it past the 1955 model year and the GTO and the Charger might never have been.
In Fall of 1946, on the day he was discharged from the Army Air Force, Alex Xydias, former B-29 mechanic, hot rodder and entrapneurial spirit, opened what was then a new kind of business, a "speed shop" where car enthusiasts could purchase aftermarket performance parts for their hot rods. Xydias' "So-Cal Speedshop" was not the first to sell parts to rodders and racers but it pioneered some business practices the performance aftermarket still uses today. Xydias was also the first to see the value of using professional race team, with well-built cars, sharp looking crews and winning achievements to market the So-Cal Speedshop's products, enhance its reputation and attract national attention to hot rodding as a business and a credible motorsport. The So-Cal racing team, headlined for a time by the famed "So-Cal Speedshop Special" streamliner, set countless records and was on the cover of Hot Rod magazine five times between 1950 to 1953.
The original So-Cal Speedshop closed in 1961 but, in it's 15 years, it had a phenomenal influence on the hot rod movement. Mark Christensen's <u>SO-CAL Speed Shop</u> is a book, rich in imagery, both actual pictures and what perception Christensen's prose creates with the reader. It explains in what it was like to have been a hot rod enthusiasts, dry lakes racer and Bonneville competitor in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The reader is left with a clear understanding of the events which drove some of the circumstances by which the Corvette, as we know it today-a high-performance sports car powered by the most powerful production V8 engine in any car in its class-came to be.
I really enjoyed reading this book! <u>SO-CAL Speed Shop</u> is a great read and belongs in the book collection of any Corvette enthusiast who wants to both correctly understand the car's ancestry and enjoy a story about a wonderful time in the car hobby.