31 Ford Model A Coupe Hot Rod 31 Ford Model A Coupe Hot Rod Henry Gregor Felsen
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Henry Gregor Felsen,

Way back in 1956 or so when my Mom was a single working mother and was pregnant with my brother Dan she was looking around for something to keep me quiet and occupied.

Not sure how she got the idea but she surprised me with an AMT model car kit. This is where the long downward slide in fiscall responsiblity began in my life.

Anyhow, the kit did get my attention and did keep me occupied, especially since I was the sensitive quiet type to begin with.

Unfortunately it awakened a lifetime passion and calling in my life for all things automotive related.

It also resulted in the requirements for and expense of the tools of the trade, testors tubes of glue, little testors bottles of enamel paint and paint brushes and eventually little spray cans of paint along with the need for Xacto knives, sand paper and even little tubes of body putty.

I'm sure Mom didn't expect this all consuming passion to happen, but such is life. For ever more the smell of the house would now be the oder of glue and drying paint overwhelming even the newborn Dan's diaper odors.

As life went on and the number of models built increased funds were limited for the all consuming desire for more model kits, also there was a limited number of AMT model kits available for building.

So I branched out into Planes and ships and eventually a very large Revell 1/96 scale Cutty Sark Scale Model, complete with rigging thread. Aww, a model tour de force.

I actually got it built but I still ran out of things to do and with a lack of funds to buy even more model kits Mom had to find something a little less expensive for me to do, especially during the summer vacations.

Mom had noticed that I did have a bit of an interest in reading, so she got me a library card and introduced me to the local branch library.

I then began my reading adventures. Read all the 'classics', Ivanhoe, Two Years Before The Mast, The Black Stallion, Bambi, SF authors Bradbury, Asimov, Burroughs, Clarke, Heinlein, Herbert, even Willy Ley and Werner Von Braun.

Then having read all the titles at the Branch I had to head downtown to the main Wichita Library and peruse through the many books there which was always an enjoyable experience. Great place for meeting girls, NOT! Heh, heh, would you believe when I was in college I spent all my holidays in the WSU library? Kinda wonder why I never became a librarian.

Ooops, getting a bit far afield for this story.

As time went by I managed to make it to Jardine Junior High and began to checkout the school library. There I found the books that gave me my lifes avocation.

The titles 'Hot Rod' , 'Street Rod' and 'Crash Club'. by Henry Gregor Felsen, Reading these were almost a religious awakening for me. I already liked cars but these stories really touched me.

Then came the 'Hot Rod', 'Car Craft' and 'Rod and Custom' magazines that pretty much sealed my fate. I was ruined..

So, Henry Gregor Felsen gave me my direction in life, I kinda owe it all to him.


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George Carnut McDowell
est. 1996