If you remember when Earl Sheep painted cars for $29.95 — “any car, any color, no ups, no extras” — and gas was 31 cents a gallon, remember those bad boys from high school.
They had black combs stuck in the back pockets of their skinny jeans, a few drops of Brylcreem in their thick heads of hair, and the coolest cars ever to roam Van Nuys Street in the 1950s and 1960s.
Their combs and Brylcreem with their hair disappeared in the ’80s, but their cars never left them. These bad boys from high school are still driving the coolest cars in the San Fernando Valley 65 years later.
“My Ford 57 sold for $2,300 new, and now it’s $45,000 restored,” says Steve Boskovitch, who graduated from Canoga Park High School in 1958 and organized the Thursday morning cruise terminal at Earl’s Donuts in Chatsworth. completely.”
It started slow with only three or four cars six years ago, but took off by word of mouth. Now, the average Thursday morning has 15 to 20 cars showing up from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. — the bad boys of carburetor and alternator are talking in high school just as they did at the auto shop and morning vacation.
They’re all in their 70s and 80s now, so the holiday lasts all day. They park their Fords, Chevys, Studebakers, and Dodges outside Earls, and walk for a donut and a cup of coffee. None of them thought as a teenager that they would be hanging out with their cars as elderly citizens.
“I’m going to be 83 in two weeks,” Boskovitch told Ernie Bailey, who graduated from Canoga Park High School in 1968, ten years after Boskovitch. He is 65 years old, and he is one of the young men in the group. He’s the president of the local Ford club, but he drove a black Dodge 55 to Earls last Thursday.
“It’s cool, really cool, and a huge part of my life now, I hang out with these guys for a few hours every week,” says Bailey. “I am back full circle. I almost felt like a teenager back in high school.”
Their cars are not a novelty that they get out of the garage once a week. Not an expensive game to show off. They work with cars, says Joe de Fata, there every day when the weather is right.
“If it’s 102 degrees, forget it,” he says. Many cars in the 1950s didn’t have air conditioners.
They are all mechanics of their own. They get their hands dirty by changing spark plugs and oil. Nothing is computerized in their cars, so they don’t have to pay a second mortgage on their home to get a steady taillight.
Their wives carry them and know whether it’s Thursday or Hell or High Water, their bad boys will be in Earl’s talking cars. Unlike their husbands, they drive Toyotas and Teslas.
The truth is, nobody blows their horn and gives a thumbs up to a Toyota, but a turquoise and white ’57 Chevy ’57? Come on, that’s Khaled.
“We get a ‘hello’ sign all the time,” Boskovitch says. “People appreciate that these old cars are still on the road and how we restore and care for them.”
A reminder to the rest of us of America in the 50s and 60s when anything was possible and we were leading the way for the rest of the world. When Earl Ship was painting cars for $29.95 and gas was 31 cents a gallon.
If you own a classic car or just love to talk about it, an open invitation to drop in on Earl any Thursday morning and meet these old bad boys from high school. Earl’s is located at 20429 Devonshire St. in Chatsworth.
Dennis McCarthy’s column is published on Sunday. He can be reached at [email protected]