Jot went through that door thousands of times because he worked at the legendary speed shop for over 30 years, “and I loved every minute of it,” he says.
Drag it Out “I hung out at the Clock Drive In in Bell and I’d pick off guys to race or vice versa. I knew Stanley Drake and his brother (John), who were Dale Drake’s (Meyer-Drake) nephews. We boxed the engine up for him and he slipped us each $1 tip for cerveza,” Jot laughed.“We sold a lot of Ford Flathead V-8 parts after the war, Edelbrock being number one because of Vic’s success at the lakes and in Midgets using his heads and intake manifolds. We sold a lot of Isky cams, Harman and Collins cams, and Winfield cams …
I raced after dark mostly around the Bell/Maywood area and we used to go out to Turkey Valley (El Monte, where ranching was the core of its economy) to race on a real straight road. I got arrested when I couldn’t stop while racing, hit a fence, and knocked it over. We did some finish work on the Drake two-cylinder Midget engines. I passed Bell Auto Parts at 3633 East Gage Avenue in Bell hundreds of times when I was a kid and saw all that racing stuff in the window. When I first started at Bell, I worked in shipping then they put me on the counter.”Bell Auto was already legendary in 1946 when Jot hired on. pretty much those three, and a lot of Spalding ignitions.”Jot’s assignment behind the counter was made to order for this experienced hot rod builder. We had a counter loaded with used speed equipment, some on consignment.
Innovation was happening in quick succession at the dry lakes after the war.
There was Chet Herbert’s roller cam, Stu Hilborn’s fuel injection, and the Spalding Brother’s (Bill and Tom) torsion bar suspended roadster, yet many a hardened hot rod jaw dropped when Jot Horne unbolted the towbar from his Model T at the June ’48 SCTA meet at El Mirage.
I found a roadster body, took the coupe body off, and put the roadster body on the A. What a beautiful place to race, but shortly after the Army took it over.
That was common in those days because the bodies were easy to stumble on. Later, I put a Ford V-8 Flathead in the roadster that we called an A/V-8. I went to El Mirage a couple of times as a spectator before I went into the Navy, which I enlisted in when I was 17.”Dream Job “When I got out of the Navy in 1946 I went to work for the Drake brothers.
I bought a channeled ’32 roadster that had a Ford Flathead V-8. I replaced the Flathead with a Model J Duesenberg engine. He had a speed boat with two Duesenberg straight-eight, dual-overhead cam engines with four valves per cylinder in it.
I bought the one engine for 0 and I could have had the second one for 0.
I just took off, ditched the car in an abandoned barn, and the cops found it and impounded my roadster.”That was Jot’s wake-up call ending his racing on the street. I was never a qualified machinist but I did general machining for them. I went over there one day and I told Roy Richter I wanted a job. According to Jot, celebrities like Clark Gable would frequent Bell Auto to buy Cragar speed equipment back in the day.“Juan Manuel Fangio (five-time Formula 1 world champion) from Argentina walked in alone around 1954 and bought a racing Ford Model B four-cylinder engine with a Hal dual-overhead cam head on it. Cragar heads, racing engines, superchargers, even nose pieces off of Midgets for sale.