December '18

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24 THE SHOP DECEMBER 2018 ler's Nucar Prep Center just east on Slauson in Santa Fe Springs. The plant processed about 60,000 cars for local Chrysler dealers. Both Hopes were avid racers; it's what boys did back then. In 1963, when he was just 15, Steve's school friend, Tom Hutchinson, purchased a '34 Ford 3-window coupe. They worked on it all the time, pow- ering it with a S.C.o.T.-blown flathead built by Hutchinson. It took two years to get rolling, but eventually they ran it in primer at the first-ever event at the new Irwindale drag strip on Oct. 30-31, 1965. Steve got his first taste of the strip in 1963 when he took Stan Johnson's '57 Chevy to Riverside for the SCTA 1/2-mile drags. His next race, a year later, was behind the wheel of a '62 Corvette fuelie 4-speed. "The guy was a customer of Ak's," says 24 THE SHOP DECEMBER 2018 HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL The family that races together stays together. By Tony Thacker S ure, there are numerous well-known American racing families such as the Andrettis, the Earnhardts, the Forces, the Unsers. But, for every high- profile clan there are hundreds—probably thousands—of families now with three or four generations that race together on a regular basis. One such family is the Hopes. Brothers Ron and Steve Hope were raised in Whittier, California to non-automotive parents; however, they have more than made up for that. In the 1950s and '60s the Whittier area was home to hot rod luminaries such as Earl Evans, Dean Moon and, of course, the infamous Ak Miller, who did it all from the flats of Bonneville to Pikes Peak to the Carrera Panamericana. His shop, located at 9225 Slauson Ave., Pico Rivera, was a magnet for kids like Ron who hung out there whenever he could with lifelong friends such as Jack Lufkin and Jerry Kugel. And, when Miller needed a new shop sweeper, it was only natural that Ron's younger brother Steve would take up the broom. Steve pushed dust for three years until he graduated and joined his brother at Chrys- The Hope family visited Bonneville in 2018. Steve (left) and Ron Hope have been building cars and racing since the 1950s.

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