Rocco and Cheater's Speed Shop
January 2006
Pictures By Butch Pate
2 Pages

One of the guys in our club is in Huntsville, Alabama and has been friends with the owners of Rocco and Cheater's Speed Shop for more years than he can remember. He got the Poor Boys set up with a free run of the shop a few weeks ago. Here's a short story and some pictures by Butch Pate.

The Shop started in 1944 as a garage. In 1946 brothers Rocco and Cheater Sanflippo Incorporated and started the speed shop known as Rocco and Cheaters. In 1954, younger brother Dominic joined the company after returning from the navy. They were friends to all the big names in all types of racing. Many Grand National, now Cup racers, were their customers. Lots of drag racers too. They knew how to market and buy parts AND they also had connections to all the manufacturers of the 40's thru the 60's. With this being the case they always had lots of stock. You can't sell from an empty wagon. In the late 70's, second generation (Rocco and Cheaters' nephew and Dominic's son) Sam took over the company and now he is grooming HIS son Anthony for the helm. They had a machine and fabrication shop in the back of the speed shop and also had a garage up the street from the present location. Bobby aka K9 racer has been friends of these guys for many years. Thanks to Bobby, the Poor boys were allowed to come in and scour over the many, many parts in the 100x100 building. This truly is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences you only hear about or read in magazines. Imagine seeing 250 complete exhaust systems for cars of the 30's, 40's and 50's leaning in the back of a speed shop, along with shelf after shelf of brand new stock that hasn't been touched in years. Wheels still brand new in the box stacked everywhere. I could go on and on about what we saw and there's more I've already forgotten than what I can remember. The history of Rocco and Cheaters has been well documented and is a story that NEEDS to be told.


Poor Boy Jonathan was first on the hunt for a shifter for his old Chevy. Much to our surprise there were plenty to choose from..... I hope you guys can see the good selection of shifters on this shelf. There were more in other areas to choose from as well.




Imagine walking into a Speed Shop and the original shop truck from the late 50's and thru the 60's is parked right in the center of the building. We were drawn to it like flys on a............well, you get what I mean.....




These guys have been supplying parts for the circle track guys for a number of years....


There's no way I could get a picture of all the shelves along this wall but there where 26 all together and every one was fully loaded with parts!!!!






A few shots from the top of the stairs. It's still hard to see the actual size of this enormous building


Just incase you were wondering what was in the boxes to the left in the next to last's kinda blurry but this proves the age of the parts we were looking at.









100_0042 about an air compressor from 1948 and a lathe from no telling when....




Back in the fab area we see drill presses from the late 30's and there's a workbench under there somewhere....


Here's Sam helping Sparky find what he's looking for. It looks like a tornado went through this building but the truth is Sam can go right to most of the parts they have cataloged!!!!


















Sam right where you'll usually find him...















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