Marshfield’s Hot Rod Club 1954

My head was spinning with cars, girls & rollerskating.

I just got my first car on the road.

Saturday night was date night.

A buck got you 5 gallons of gas.  50¢  each  to roller-skate.
A burger, drink and fries for 2 at Tassy’s in Kingston, about 75¢ each.
So, a buck for gas, a buck for 2 to skate, burgers & fries for 2,  $1.50.
That was $3.50 for a night out with a date!

Hot Rod  magazine cost 25¢ and would have my attention for hours.

Hot rods were few and far apart in Marshfield then. There were no gathering places, no cruise nights, no car clubs.
It was time to get a few of these young car enthusiasts together.

A few friends with the same interest in cars agreed on starting a club.

A club was established by a few motor heads with a common interest for the automobile, hot rodding and customizing the car to their taste.
In the early 50s, the general public looked upon hot rodders as just another    menace on the roads.

I arranged  a meeting  at my folks home. The original club consisted of eight members from Marshfield, Duxbury and Pembroke.
These new members elected a president, yours truly.
Picked a club name, “Tappets”.
Put together by-laws and helped design an identification plate.

The “Tappets” plate was attached to the rear bumper

Monthly meetings  were held to discuss club rules & regulations, and document any assistance they provided to other motorists.

Meetings were held at different members homes and, unknowingly, creating their own cruise night.

The record of 1954, showed 15 assists to needy driver’s. The assists included jump starts, changing a tire, opening a locked door, getting a car unstuck, and helping catch a run away dog.

A card would be given to anyone assisted by a Tappets member.

The “Tappets” I.D. card

Poker and fun runs were a long time favorite gathering of motorcycle clubs on weekends. A motorcycle  friend suggested we have a poker run.
November 14th, 1954, the Tappets had their first run.

However it was not a poker run, in which you collect playing cards for the best hand, just a 26 mile “fun run” through four towns without. This run was to drive the 26 miles maintaining the speed limit or a safe driving speed.
Winning was  pretty-much a matter of luck. The closest to a predetermined time won the “fun run”.

I had  previously made 3 trips to establish an average time and used it as the winning factor, closest time wins.
At 1 PM Nov. 14, 1954, a map was presented to the six members that showed up at the North River roadside rest area on Rte. 3A, Scituate, adjoining the 3A bridge.

The FUN RUN map

They were instructed to drive at a safe speed and not to exceed the speed limit. The trip would be just under an hour, terminating at the starting point.  Their time was recorded upon start and calculated upon finishing.
The closest time and winner was Jack P. of Marshfield, driving a ’48 Austin, hardly a “Hot Rod” but it didn’t matter, he had wheels!

My 1932 Ford “Duce” Coupe

My first registered car was a ’32 Ford, model “B”, 5 window coupe.
The Ford “Duce Coupe” became extremely popular with the “hot rod” enthusiasts after WW2 and became known as high boy’s or low boy’s, which were featured on the letter head.

The “Tappets” letterhead

Featuring a Highboy & a Lowboy.

They were plenty around and could be bought cheap. And, many later model Ford parts were  interchangeable. Adding speed equipment, “hopping-up”, the Ford V-8 motor was easy and inexpensive.
I bought the coupe for $60 in 1952. A V-8 engine for $35. Lots of other parts to update the running gear & two years work. Total cost was about $300.
Today, an original 1932 Ford 5 window body could bring 50K or more.

On December 26th, 1954, I ventured a 1200 mile trip to Florida. At that time, gas was 19¢ a gallon. Cost for fuel & tolls to was under $30.

Two days before my trip

Florida, New Years Day, 1955.

Hollywood, FL

After a five week stay in the Miami area and running out of money, it was time for the trip home.

On the way, a detour to the Daytona  Beach Race Track was in order.  This was a week before the well known Daytona Beach Races.

An aerial view of the North turn, leaving the beach, then onto Rte. 101.

Driving my “Duce Coupe” around the North turn before the races.

As for The Club, it was dissolved in the early 60s.

This song by the “Beach Boy’s” came out October 27, 1963… 9 years later.

“Little Deuce Coupe”
Little deuce Coupe
You don’t know what I got
Little deuce Coupe
You don’t know what I got
Well I’m not braggin’ babe so don’t put me down
But I’ve got the fastest set of wheels in town
When something comes up to me he don’t even try
Cause if I had a set of wings man I know she could fly
She’s my little deuce coupe
You don’t know what I got
(My little deuce coupe)
(You don’t know what I got)
Just a little deuce coupe with a flat head mill
But she’ll walk a Thunderbird like (she’s) it’s standin’ still
She’s ported and relieved and she’s stroked and bored.
She’ll do a hundred and forty with the top end floored
She’s my little deuce coupe
You don’t know what I got
(My little deuce coupe)
(You don’t know what I got)

No-No, mine didn’t do 140 —- 85, maybe!

I used to love fast cars.

Marriage, a family, a business, and getting older, all slowed me down.

Ray Freden
Seaview/Marshfield, 70 years
“Down East” Maine, 14 years.

6 Replies to “Marshfield’s Hot Rod Club 1954”

  1. Wow! Look at you in Hollywood, FL. I love these stories, Ray. You’re a little older than I am, but a lot in your stories is close enough for me to feel at home reading them.

  2. Ray, a terrific story which many of us can relate to. We could have a car and gas to run it for little dough and great enjoyment. Ray – lookin’ good with the bow tie.
    Keep on trucking.
    Ed H

  3. My “very” cool brother!!
    I remember nothing but big heavy chains pulling engines out & putting engines in cars in dad & mom’s garage as a young girl!
    Priceless stories! Deborah

  4. Made me think about the trip Sonny Oxner took to Alaska with his family in an old school bus that he converted to a mobile home . Knights of the Road when it was still affordable and fixable, Barbarabsullivantaylor2GMAIL.COM

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