The Thermal Club |
A Historic Hot Rod Still Ready to Cruise
By A.J. Baime
Original Article: Wall Street Journal
Twanna Rogers, 75, from Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., and co-owner of the Thermal Club, on her 1932 Ford three-window coupe hot rod, as told to A.J. Baime.
When I was growing up, I remember seeing hot rods in movies. I loved those cars. I was the oldest of eight kids and my mother did not drive. My father needed help driving, so by 13, I was already driving our Pontiac station wagon.
Last year, I was at a party at the house of a man who had a collection of cars. There were Porsches and Ferraris, and in the corner of his garage, under a spotlight, he had this 1932 Ford hot rod. I must have circled the car for an hour. I swear it was talking to me. It said, “Twanna, take me home.”
I asked the owner if he would sell it and it took three days for him to get back to me. As soon as he said yes, the money was in his bank account.
What is a hot rod? People have debated that question for years, but basically, it is a car built out for speed. And it has to be loud. Decades ago, the 1932 Ford like mine became a favorite car for hot rodders. [The Beach Boys famously eulogized the 1932 Ford hot rod with their song “Little Deuce Coupe,” the deuce standing for the two in 1932.]
My car has a 350-cubic-inch, high-performance Chevrolet V-8 capable of 385 horsepower and a five-speed manual transmission. It is not the easiest car to drive, as there is no power steering. But it is very comfortable. The interior is built so it feels like new Mercedes-quality. When you get in, you feel like you’re wearing this car. It is classy, but it does have attitude, the way it rumbles.
At the Thermal Club, a motor racing club that I co-own with my husband, Tim Rogers, there are all kinds of fast cars. But this one stands out. It is not a track car. It is for cruising. I often have my Labradoodle, Jasper, in it with me.
When I pull up, people turn their heads. I get thumbs up everywhere. People are surprised to see a woman driving this car. I can see it in their faces.
My husband and I have many cars. But this one, for me, is extra special. I call it Twanna’s Baby.