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Hot Rod History


Jim & Nick Harrell


Photography: xx

New biography chronicles careers of hot rodding pioneers Jim and Nick Harrell
The early dry lakes racing that gave birth to American hot rodding involved hundreds of industrious, innovative and daring young men and women, only a fraction of whom have ever been recognized for their efforts and for their achievements. Not as if these racers knew that someday they’d be lauded; all they wanted was to open up the throttle and see what their cars could do. But many more deserve to have their stories told than the few who already have, and that’s what Roger Harrell, Richard Harrell and Alec Harrell Carlson set out to do with their recently published book, Harrell Engines & Racing Equipment: Jim (White) Harrell & Nick Harrell. (Roger and Richard are nephews of the two subjects of the book, while Alec is a great-grandnephew.) As one of the founding members of the Albata hot rod club (and thus of the SCTA), Jim Harrell — also occasionally known as Jim White — was a pioneer hot rodder who owned a speed shop in L.A., built many a Ford and Chevrolet four-cylinder before helping to introduce straight-eights and later V-8s to hot rodding. Nick, Jim’s brother, joined him after the war to run the shop and help expand his business and interests into producing aftermarket speed parts, into circle-track racing and into drag racing. Through research and interviews from a variety of sources, Roger, Richard and Alec Harrell are able to compose a nearly complete portrait of two lesser-known, but still important, figures in hot-rodding history. Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, California, has scheduled a book signing with the authors for May 30. The book is available through Autobooks-Aerobooks for $15.99. For more information, visit
- By Daniel Strohl

1953 America's Most Beautiful Roadster

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