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Book Review - Hot Rodding in Ventura County

Book Review - Hot Rodding in Ventura County


Ventura might seem like an odd choice for a book about hot rodding activities during the decades from the 1930s to the 1960s. It is only 65-miles west of Los Angeles on the California coast but at that time was just a small rural area not connected to LA by freeways. The population was just a shadow of the current numbers. However, it was a hot bed of hot rodding activities.

A number of large car clubs with their own club racers flourished at the time. Competing in dry lakes events at El Mirage, street and early area drag racing and even won some top honors at the first two NHRA National Championship drag races in Kansas in 1955 and 1956.

They also traveled into the LA basin to compete at early drag racing Mecca’s like Lions in Long Beach and had cars featured in the early hot rodding magazines. However, with all of these successes they still retained their small town way of life.

The book is light on written material to read, instead choosing to tell the story in the more than 200 period-photos from a number of collections, liberally captioned to explain who and what is shown in them. It illustrates what hot rodding was like during that era without the usual stereotypes seen in so many other works.

Hot Rodding in Ventura County 
By Tony Baker
Images of America Series
128 pages / softcover

Available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at (888) 313-2665 or online at