This is a brief “Bio” recounting some of the activities I have been fortunate enough to be involved in.  Some of it was recounted in the Discovery Channel/Jesse James special “History of the Chopper” broadcast in March 2006.  My roadster project and long involvement with Tom McMullen and his roadster are covered in articles in the  '32 Ford edition of “The Rodder's Journal”.

Jim Clark pic

     My life has been influenced heavily by my passion for all things automotive.  As a young man growing up in Syracuse, NY during the '40's and '50's I read the early hot rod magazines and dreamed of building a hot rod of my own.  At the time I had no idea that one day I would be creating, editing and publishing car, truck and automotive magazines.

     My first sighting of any real hot rods was from the backseat of a 1939 La Salle sedan.  My brother Ken and I, barely in our teens, were attending the 1952 Watkins Glen Grand Prix with a neighbor who collected antique cars.  While we were fueling up at a nearby gas station a deuce highboy roadster and deuce three-window highboy coupe, both Flathead powered, pulled into the station.  They were both jet-black and looked like the ones I had seen in the magazines.  That is when I decided that one day I would have a roadster like that.

Doug's rent-a-boatsmall
Soot City Plaquesmall

     Roadsters were not a practical choice as your only car in Syracuse, NY so I ended up buying a '53 Merc as my first car.  Many of my friends were from North Syracuse and members of the Road Knights but instead of joining their club my brother Ken, Doug Carr and about 30 other car lovers formed our own club in East Syracuse, called the Soot City Ramblers. 

The goofy name was inspired by the steam-engine repair facility located in the center of East Syracuse that regularly spewed coal soot across most of the town.  I drew the deuce highboy roadster that is centered in the club plaque, my first attempt at original artwork.

Merc w_JCsmall
Soot City card

     Six months after graduation I followed the lead of my friend Jim Carr and joined the Navy, serving aboard a Navy destroyer stationed in Long Beach, California.  That landed me right in the middle of all the hot rod activities taking place in Southern California.  I had no car at that time but continued reading hot rod magazines and occasionally attending the drag races in Santa Ana.
One day while riding the bus I spotted a deuce Cabriolet for sale at Martinez's upholstery shop in Lynwood, California.  I asked about the car and they directed me to a guy working on a roadster in the back of the shop.  It turned out to be Tom McMullen who was installing six-twos on the smallblock Chevy in the deuce highboy he had recently purchased.  He was selling the Cabriolet for fellow L.A. Roadster club member and co-founder Dick Scritchfield.  I was unable to purchase that deuce but Tom said he had a deuce Vicky that I could buy from him and make payments.  I wanted a roadster but took him up on the offer.


This photo shows my Deuce Vicky, Tom’s roadster and the basically stock ‘34 Ford 4 Door that we fitted with the V-8 Engine and Hydra-Matic from a ‘52 Olds as a transportation car while we worked on the other cars.  This is the house in Compton, CA behind the Rosecrans Drive-in theatre where we lived while Tom attended Compton College and I served my hitch in the U.S. Navy.

Pomona 61-small

Tom’s roadster and my Vicky in the pits at the ‘61 Winternationals drags in Pomona, CA.  This is the second car painted with this new metalflake paint, the first being the McGee/Scritchfield roadster owned by Dick Scritchfield co-founder, with Tex Smith, of the L.A. Roadster club in 1957.

         That weekend Tom was moving his family from his apartment next to George Barris' shop to a house in Compton, California.  I helped with the move and established a close friendship with Tom resulting in my residing at his place for the remainder of my Navy hitch.
     I  drove the Vicky and we continued to modify Tom's roadster while it served as his transportation and a street and strip drag race car.  The roadster went through a series of modifications including engines, transmissions, rearends and paint schemes before Tom and Ed Roth applied the now famous paintjob, black highboy with flames.  In addition to the drag races we also ran at the dry lakes setting street roadster class records, topping out at 167 mph..

     When discharged from active duty in 1962 I loaded my belongings into the Vicky and returned to Syracuse.  After three years of Syracuse winters and limited career advancement I drove the Vicky back to California, accompanied by my wife Freda and five-month-old daughter Susan.  My brother Dave, his wife Faye and six-month-old son Davey made the move with us, hauling our belongings in a trailer behind his '56 Merc hardtop

     By the mid ‘60's muscle cars were dominating the streets so Tom decided to install a blown 427cu. in. big-block Ford in place of the little Chevy V8.  The installation was covered in a series of articles in "Popular Hot Rodding" magazine in 1967.  The car was now competitive but not very street friendly due to the blower and cam timing.  It eventually got parked and then sold in 1971, minus the engine and trans.  Attempts to buy it back were unsuccessful so Tom built a higher-tech version in 1976 and some lookalike clones in the ‘80's.


     In the early ‘60's Tom produced a few magazine articles for various hot rod magazines with the aid of Tex Smith.  When I got back to California and resumed my friendship with Tom I assisted him with the magazine photography and articles in addition to working on the cars.  Creating chopper motorcycle features for "Cycle Guide" magazine led to our doing a book on Suzuki models and our building Tom's first Chopper.  We did a small how-to book called "Outlaw Chopper" showing construction of that bike and included an offer of a catalog for chopper parts in the book ad in "Cycle Guide".
     Chopper parts were not readily available at the time so the orders came in from all over the country.  We soon outgrew Tom's two-car garage in '67, moving to a small shop, then 10,000-ft. building and eventually 64,000 feet of buildings by 1971.  In 1969 Tex Smith helped Tom start "Street Chopper Magazine".  In January 1970 I joined them in producing "Street Chopper" for the newsstand.  That same year we added "Chopper Guide" and "Hot Bike Magazines", the Guide being a 200-page quarterly A.E.E. Choppers catalog and magazine combined.

Array of magazinessmall

     In 1972 we launched "Street Rodder Magazine", which I was lucky enough to be the first Editor of.  Tex moved on to "Rod Action Magazine" leaving Tom and I to run the publishing company.  Tom's divorce split the companies and Rose closed A.E.E. Choppers in 1974.  We expanded the publishing company adding "Truckin' Magazine" in 1974, "VW Trends" in 1976 and a couple of non-automotive magazines that had short lives


     I left the company in late '78 and managed some trucking business publications (“Heavy Duty Trucking”, “Transportation Engineer” and “National Waste News”), shared ownership in "Horse Illustrated Magazine" and finished a how-to book on building the Ford F-100 pickup for Jack Ries at So Cal Pickups.

     In 1980 we launched "Mini-Truck Magazine" for Jack, publishing it for one year before selling it to Wright Publishing.  In 1982 I purchased "Vans & Trucks Magazine" and partnered with Todd Kaho who had done the mini-truck book with me.  We published it until 1988 when we could no longer compete with the giants that had taken control of the space on the newsstand.

Tex & XR-6small

Tex Smith in a “Hot Rod Magazine” photo shoot with the XR-6.  The car was a “Hot Rod Magazine” project car built by Managing Editor Tex Smith and won the 9 foot high “Americas Most Beautiful Roadster” trophy at the Oakland Roadster Show in 1963. Tex was our friend, mentor and business partner in many ventures since we first met in the 50’s.

JC Roadster-2small

Tom’s roadster in a Tex Smith 1964photo shoot for the cover of “Popular Hotrodding Magazine”. The Ed Roth/ Tom McMullen applied flames became the trademark for the car and is the pain scheme chosen for the restoration done recently by Brizio.

     I still have the deuce roadster that I began as a project in "Street Rodder Magazine" in the early '70s while I was the Editor.  Circumstances have turned it into the longest running magazine project but it will be completed soon in time for the planned Deuce celebrations next year.
     In the '90s I wrote a how-to book on building "Hot Rod Trucks" for Tex Smith plus contributions to some other titles and joined Tex and Ron Ceridono as co-owners of Tex Smith's Hot Rod Library in 1999.  Tex has been producing his line of hot rod books since 1986

     Four decades of involvement with the building of custom and hot rod cars, bikes, and trucks; plus photographing and writing about them has force-fed to me a lot of knowledge about the process.  Hopefully, by providing this information in Hot Rod MD I can share a little bit of this knowledge with people trying to build a hot rod.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: All content in the articles in this section are the property of the author of the article and all advice and instructions are intended to be just basic guidelines for the undertaking of any project, and not intended for use by individuals who are not experienced in the particular field. We advise that you contact the manufacturer of any product or tool you are using for complete instructions. We also advise you to always use the appropriate safety equipment for the tools and products you are using. and its contributors disclaim any responsibility for the consequences of using the articles or procedures described in any of the articles in this section and by using this site you agree to these terms. No portion of any of these articles may be used without the written permission of and the Author.

Copyright 2007-2011   All Rights Reserved
No Portion may be used without our written permission
Contact Us:    877-700-2468   or   208-562-0470
230 S. Cole Rd, Boise, ID  83709