This month we want to congratulate American Hot Rod Foundation friend and contributor, Tony Baker, on being chosen as our AHRF member of the month. A lifelong resident of southern California, Tony went from being another car-crazy kid to developing an interest in the history of the hot rod scene that was around him at an early age. This lead him to develop friendships with the more seasoned and senior hot rodders that were there,” back in the day”, and he loved nothing more than to listen to first-hand accounts from when hot rodding was an overwhelming cultural force. Although he would soon find himself joining the workforce as an R-n-D technician at a hi-tech manufacturing firm, Baker never let his love of hot rodding drift too far from him and stayed in constant contact with his older hot rod buddies. It was in the 1990s that Tony relocated to Ventura, California, and decided to try his hand at writing for hot rod-based publications. With a focus on hot rod history (our kind of guy!), he would soon find his byline in Hot Rod Deluxe and Hot Rod Magazine. This gave him the confidence to begin assembling material for what would become his first book published by Arcadia,” Hot Rodding in Ventura County.” With many of the old car clubs like the Motor Monarchs, The Vultures, The Pharaohs, and the Kustomeers still active around the Ventura County area, and with Baker having befriended many of their original members, he was trusted with many historic photographs and automobilia from these clubs for the purposes of telling their stories. It was the perfect situation for a guy who had always been curious about the history and origin stories of these clubs and their members.
Before long, Tony Baker had amassed an archive that covered everything from hot rodding in and around Ventura to the Santa Barbara/Goleta area and beyond and had met and befriended more and more hot rod legends. He now had a bullpen of serious “I was there” guys to talk with and help him with his research. And not just about hot rodding, but post-war sports car racing as well… hence his Arcadia work,” Southern California Road Racing.”
For those of us who are interested in hot rod history, Tony Baker’s books provide a beautiful look at the way it was. His access to thousands of historic images makes each book valuable just from that aspect, but the first-hand accounts from all of his more senior hot rod friends truly bring them to life.
His works include:
Hot Rodding in Ventura County
Hot Rodding in Santa Barbara County
Southern California Road Racing
Ventura County Motorsports
Central Coast Motorsports
Motorcycling in Santa Barbara County
We thank Tony Baker for the work he is doing to preserve and promote the history of hot rodding and for being such a generous contributor to the American Hot Rod Foundation. Tony is currently working on his seventh book for Arcadia Publishing, titled, “Hot Rodding in the San Fernando Valley.”
You can buy Tony’s books through any of these fine sellers:
- Arcadia Publishing