Hot Rod Cover Cars
Take to the Show Field of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
Norm Grabowski’s Kookie Car and Tommy Ivo’s Roadster will be Reunited
Hot Rod builder Norm Grabowski came home to see “Lightnin’ Bug,” his 1955 T-Bucket hot rod sitting safely in the driveway, yet was alarmed to see a pair of feet sticking out from under it.
The car was already legendary. It had just been featured in the April 1957 edition of LIFE Magazine and was soon to appear in the opening sequence of the upcoming TV series, 77 Sunset Strip. Plenty of people had taken an interest in the car.
But Grabowski did not remembered the boyish young man who has approached him the night he parked the car under the bright lights at Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank, didn’t recall the kid saying he’d like to build one just like it, plenty of kids told him that. And he certainly did not remember saying, “Sure, kid; go ahead.”
Pictured above: At left is Norm Grabowski’s 1922 Ford Roadster pickup, often called “Kookie’s Kar,” which appeared on the cover of Hot Rod Magazine and Car Craft Magazine.
At right is the 1925 Ford Roadster Pickup built by Tommy Ivo, which was modeled on Grabowski’s car and also appeared on Hot Rod‘s cover.
Bob Petersen & the Start of Hot Rod Magazine
Hot Rodders have always yearned to have their home-built, stripped-down, souped-up cars featured on the cover of a magazine especially one published just for them.
That magazine has long been Hot Rod, founded in January 1948 through the vision of one determined young man who understood this burgeoning sport was much more than thrill-seeking young men streaking across the dry lakebeds of the high desert and racing one another on the streets of Los Angeles.
This year at the Pebble Beach Classic Car Forum presented by AIG and BridgePoint, join us for a discussion about “How Hot Rod Magazines Spread the Sport Across the Country” with Bruce Meyer, Drew Hardin, Jim Miller, and Thom Taylor, moderated by Ken Gross.
Also Among the Eight Iconic Hot Rods Headed Our Way
In 1950, Eddie Dye commissioned Gil’s Auto Body Works in Los Angeles to build this unique roadster.
After Gil and Al Ayala finished it, the car raced at the 1951 Bonneville Nationals and was featured in the film The Lively Set.
It 1st appeared on the cover of Hop Up Magazine in March 1952 and then on the cover of Auto Craftsman in 1957.
In 1951, when he was just 15, Jim Govro set about building this bright yellow 1932 Ford-based hot rod roadster, now famously called “Tweety Bird.”
It was photographed 1st for Hot Rod Magazine and later appeared on the cover of Rodding & Re-styling Magazine.
After winning several drag races, Jim sold the car but he was able to buy it back a few years ago, and is excited to be showing it here himself.