- NSRA Nationals in Memphis, TN circa 1980. All pictures from family archives, words and errors by: Chris Breeden

Say Cheese!

A look through 40+ years of U.S. Hot Rod shows

Late 1970s.

Late 1970s.

Setting on a shelf and tucked into a old dresser drawer at my parents house I recently found all of the old car show pictures that had been taken by my family. While some are faded, out of focus and off center (a side effect my father and brother assure me was from a bad camera design) they offer a glimpse into the early days of the NSRA (National Street Rod Association) and the 2nd wave of Hot Rods, called Street Rods.

Late 1970s.

Late 1970s.

Here we see a heavily chromed SBC (small block Chevy) in a '33/'34 Ford. Notice the use of highlight pinstriping, something very rarely seen since the late '70s.

Late 1970s.

Late 1970s.

Really this is a fairly normal looking '32 Ford touring car. Other than the odd looking wire wheels, that I strongly suspect are really hubcaps, this car would look good cruisin' down the road today.

Early / Mid 1990s.

Early / Mid 1990s.

This '33/'34 Ford has had its headlights removed. Night light comes via the two small high intensity bulbs that have been frenched into the fenders.

1980s.

1980s.

This coupe, complete with true wire spoke Kelsey-Hayes wheels and louvered deck lid is a great looking Rod. The 5 window has even had a slight top chop and smoothed hood sides. Notice the roof insert is still present. I'm sure the owner wishes he could have filled it in.

Late 1970s.

Late 1970s.

This '39 Ford is a pretty wild car. Notice the quad headlights and large 6-71 GMC blower. This would have been one bad car in the late 1970s. Heck, it's a pretty nice car now! A note about the quality of this picture. You can see it is fairly faded. In truth, I had to use my computer to try and clean the image up a little. If you have any old pictures like this around, you might want to think about scanning them in before they get too faded to see.

Late 1970s.

Late 1970s.

This is one neat little car. The picture was captured in Stone Mountain, GA in 1980. It is a T-Bucket frame, a cut down '32 Ford grille shell, the cowl off of a late '20s Chevy and a body made of wood. If this car still exists I would be amazed. Rot and termites probably claimed it long ago.

This guy is caught in the picture.

This guy is caught in the picture.

With digital photography you can instantly see if you've gotten a good picture. If something is a miss you can quickly take another one and get a better image. With a film camera you can't do that. In order to take good film images you have to be very aware of what is in the viewfinder. As a result, a lot of pictures from this time would be deleted today. That's a funny thing to think about, if you are like me and enjoy seeing what is in the background, just as much as what the photographer was trying to show you.

A new daily post from Custom & Hot Rod Life!

Starting last week I've been posting these pictures, one at a time, to the C&HRL tribe. Every day at 1100 UTC or 0600 Central U.S. time one will be published. Take some time and stop by to see them!

Do you guys have any pictures of car shows from a bygone era? See anything in these that remind you of the past? Let me know in the comments below and, as always, Keep on Cruisin'!

Thanks for reading and remember...

Art by: Chris Breeden

Art by: Chris Breeden

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Comments (2)

  • You have inspired me to go hunt up old photos with cars in them! Thanks Chris!

      1 year ago
    • That's great, Dave. I was surprised how many of them were starting to deteriorate. Scan them in now and save them.

        1 year ago
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