The Business of Speed: The Hot Rod Industry in America, 1915–1990

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JHU Press, Oct 7, 2008 - Business & Economics - 343 pages
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Since the mass production of Henry Ford’s Model T, car enthusiasts have been redesigning, rebuilding, and reengineering their vehicles for increased speed and technical efficiency. They purchase aftermarket parts, reconstruct engines, and enhance body designs, all in an effort to personalize and improve their vehicles. Why do these car enthusiasts modify their cars and where do they get their aftermarket parts? Here, David N. Lucsko provides the first scholarly history of America’s hot rod business.

Lucsko examines the evolution of performance tuning through the lens of the $34-billion speed equipment industry that supports it. As early as 1910, dozens of small shops across the United States designed, manufactured, and sold add-on parts to consumers eager to employ new technologies as they tinkered with their cars. Operating for much of the twentieth century in the shadow of the Big Three automobile manufacturers—General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler—these businesses grew at an impressive rate, supplying young and old hot rodders with thousands of performance-boosting gadgets.

Lucsko offers a rich and heretofore untold account of the culture and technology of the high-performance automotive aftermarket in the United States, offering a fresh perspective on the history of the automobile in America.

  

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Contents

Introduction
1
Faster Flivvers 19151927
13
Westward Ho 19281942
40
From Hot Rods to Hot Rodding 19451955
65
The California Hot Rod Industry 19451955
85
Factory Muscle 19551970
103
Bolton Power 19551970
123
The Speed Equipment Manufacturers Association
144
This Dreadful Conspiracy 19661984
182
The Best of Times the Worst of Times 19701990
209
Conclusion
235
Notes
247
Glossary
317
Essay on Sources
327
Index
335
Copyright

InkHappy DoGooders 19601978
160

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About the author (2008)

David N. Lucsko is managing editor of Technology and Culture and an instructor of technological history at the University of Detroit Mercy.

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