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A QuickTricker with a blast from the past!

Every once in a while, we all meet someone who just comes across as really special and we want to share that person with others we care about.  This section is about one of those people, Jim Bradbury!

We often see beautiful stories and vehicle builds, but this story is about a kind soul with a great passion that we all share and his vehicles.

I (Tess aka Ms QuickTrick) am no Pulitzer Prize writer, so I will leave the majority here in Jim’s words. 

I am pleased to introduce another QuickTrick family member, Jim Bradbury.  Jim is one of the founding fathers of all that we love today and we should all pay tribute to the spirit of the Godfathers of this wallet draining hobby we all love. This may be a bit more lengthy than your average weekly hot rodders newsletter, but take a few minutes and enjoy the history.

Jim ordered one of our first sets of turn plates on the first run in November.  As most of you know, we send out a welcome letter and ask where you heard of us.  The following is an excerpt of Jim’s reply:

Anyone who would like to send a thank you for sharing or reach out to Jim, can reach him here:  bradburyj@cox.net  Or just post here and I will get them to him.  I am sure he would love to hear from any of his QuickTrick family.


Quick Trick:

 I am a previous customer. I purchased your Heavy Dual Pro V 13- 18” alignment kit on August 29, 2013 for $247.35, order number 20245. At the time I wished I had the new platforms you are now offering as part of the kit. So when I got your recent email about it I decided to order a set. I believe I first saw your product on Velocity TV where it was demonstrated on one of the programs.

 I am an “old” hotrodder. I am 82 years old and have had a variety of cars starting with my first, a chopped 32, five window coupe in 1952. It was body off build with a 21 stud 34 flathead, Eddie Meyer heads, high rise Edelbrock manifold 2 Stromberg carbs, Belond headers. It turned about 88 mph at the Paradise Mesa Drag strip in San Diego. After a couple of years we channeled it down over the frame so it was only 39” tall. It had a 42 Merc engine, 3 carbs and was an original rat rod that we called “The Bug”. When the engine was in a drag ‘31 roadster it had turned 104 mph on alcohol.

I retired this car and planned to use it strictly for drags or lakes with a streamlined 40 hood similar to Art Christman’s. My next car was a full fendered 32 five window with the same engine. In 1955 we drove it to Bonneville. It was painted 1955 Buick Galway Green. It was very straight and a very nice little coupe that featured Kinmont disc brakes on all four wheels.



My next car was a ‘28 A roadster PU on 32 frame. The front and rear cross members were flattened, the cowl filled. Plain smoothed dash, chopped tinted windshield, shortened bed. I got a 331 ‘51 hemi out of a wrecked Chrysler and had the bell housing shortened with a welded on adapter plate drilled to a ‘39 Ford pattern. It had an all chrome front end, split wishbones, and chrome rear end housings with Hallibrand quick change center section. (I traded the first 32 chopped/channeled coupe for it.) The engine had an Isky #2 track cam, a 4 carb Wiend log manifold and Vertex Mag. It had Mag wheels on the rear with Mickey Thompson slicks. I traded a ‘31 A 2 door tub for a 671 blower.

 I also had a red 56 Ford that I bought new. After 15K miles we took the engine out and installed a 55 Chrysler Hemi. It had a #1 Isky track cam with a three carb (Bendix-Stromberg) set up with Vertex Mag. It matched up to the Ford overdrive transmission and was a real blast to drive. In one race I wound it up to 90 in low overdrive. We went to Bonneville in it as well. It also featured 2 1/2 inch chrome pipes that came out from under the cab up to the bed rail and then to the back of the bed. They were kind of like chrome cannons. It was a very fast street truck that never lost a race.


I worked my way through college and then I had a corporate career with a large Fortune 250 company and ended up in NYC for almost 20 years, 30 years with the company. When I came back to California in 1981 I eventually got into the swimming pool service and repair business. In 2003 I had the opportunity to purchase a 29 A roadster pickup. It was on the original frame and had a flathead in it. It looked good and had a lot done to it, but the frame and some of the things done were not the highest quality. So we started to do a bunch of things and ended up taking the body off the frame, boxed it, and had Dutchman build a winter’s quick change with 9 inch axles and positraction.


It now has a ladder bar set up with Bilstein coil overs in the rear. A custom rear bumper [fabricated out of 2” X 1” tubing that looks similar to the front stock bumper with ovals and end pins], a custom polished aluminum gas tank that is located under the bed, four bar set up in front with all chrome components, Mustang steering, a tilt steering column, T 5 Chevy S 10  tranny. We installed a custom center cross member, with another removable cross member for the rear ladder bars. It has an all stainless exhaust system. The flathead was completely rebuilt with stainless valves, Isky cam, Offy heads and two carb manifold. It has a Hunt look a like electronic ignition and fluid damper and the chrome 97 Speedway carbs. The frame has been powder coated and everything is shiny black, polished aluminum, stainless steel or chrome.


My son Mike, teaches welding at San Diego City College so he takes care of things that I design and he builds. We have designed and built a lot of custom parts, brackets, hangers that are on the car. I designed a drop down battery box that is behind the rear end and in front of the gas tank. It is all polished stainless frame attached to the back of a cast aluminum battery box. We are building a grill out of stainless steel that has vertical bars like a 32 but it will sit inside the filled 29 custom shell. We are actually making a new deeper shell out of two shells that will be about an inch deeper than stock. Teak boards are in the bed with the center board able to be tilted to an upright position for access to the gas cap. We built a front tube that sits between the front frame horns that has a custom stainless bracket that holds an original 1929 license plate. I have 4 new Brookville steel fenders for it. We have designed and are fabricating custom rear oval led tail lights.


I have two sets of tires. One set is [Coker] Firestone 5.50 15 ribbed tires in front and 8.90 16 grooved track tires in the rear. Then the other set is Goodrich radials with matching treads. Front: P 155 80 R 15 83 S and Rear:  P 285 70 R 15 115 S.  I will use the radials for driving around and the others for shows. The front brakes are 40 Ford and the rear are the big Ford drum brakes. I am thinking of getting the Kinmont brakes for the front from that guy in Texas that is remaking them for rods.  As soon as I get the front all aligned the body and fenders will be painted and we’ll put everything on the frame. It will be a shiny black 29 A roadster pick up.


In closing, I like the quality and practicality of your products. If I have any problems or questions I will surely give you a call.


Tess – Needless to say, we knew we had a special person here and a kindred spirit.  So, we wanted to send Jim that upgrade system as a gift. So, we did!


We have continued to be penpals with Jim and asked him could we share his story and some pictures.


Jim was happy to oblige and sent some additional information on their Thanksgiving dinner as a family.  I will include his email here for everyone to enjoy:


We went away to Pleasanton CA where my daughter lives for Thanksgiving. It is a trip of about 470 miles from El Cajon. We left at 5:00 a m and arrived around 12:45 pm on the 20th. Your shipment was received by my neighbor I believe the 23rd. 

Our middle daughter, Susan, had Thanksgiving dinner for 27 people. She prepared a 25 lb turkey, with all the trimmings, a full ham and made 7 homemade pies. Cherry, [2] Apple, [2] pumpkin, chocolate crème, and coconut crème. The mix of people included family and friends from their church, and was composed of diverse races: white, black, and Asian and several nationalities. Three were international students from China. It was very interesting, educational and fun.

This is how I picture Jim’s Daughters Table

My son in law, Ron, is a white pastor of a large diverse church in Fremont. His worship pastor, Harry, is a black fellow from St Louis who is married to a Hispanic. He plays the drums and plays the piano. One of the guys in the band is an exchange student from China that plays the guitar. The latter fellow was invited to come the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving. He asked if he could bring a couple of friends from China as they wanted to experience celebrating the event in an American home. So when the three guests from China had not arrived on time, Ron asked Harry to “text” them to check to see if they were on their way or were lost. They were on their way and arrived about a half an hour later.

 My daughter had name tag in front of each plate and had arranged them accordingly to form very compatible groups that would relate to one another and who would be able to converse comfortably. My wife and I sat at a table of six in the living room. Harry sat across from her and his wife, Eva sat across from me. My daughter, Sue sat between my wife and I and Xavier, Harry and Eva’s 11 month old son sat in a high chair between them.  So why is that so cool?

Some months ago Eva was on her way to see her family in Texas. She had come South from Fremont and was going East when her car experienced a breakdown in Yucaipa, CA. Sue’s cousin Ruthie, [my niece] lives there. Ruthie’s husband Jack is a retired Lt from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. They have a Large home and are active working and training dogs with Guide Dogs of the Desert, located in Palm Springs. Eva called Sue and told her of her car problem. She was pregnant, and had three young children with her. She was stranded, distraught and didn’t know what to do. So Sue called Ruthie and Jack. They went to her aid, brought them home put Eva and the kids up for the night. Eva’s two teenage daughters got a room of their own for the night. Jack got a new battery for her car and then in the morning the car was ready for them to continue with their trip. [Eva was not informed about what Jack had done.] She just told us that miraculously her car started in the morning and talked about the experience with a lot of excitement.

Ruthie was my first niece. She was born when I was only 18. Her Dad was a graduate from the Naval Academy, and was out to sea on a deployment. My sister lived with us during this time and Ruthie and I have a very special relationship. When she was a teenager, just out of High School, her parents sent her to stay with us in New Jersey as they were concerned about her choice in a boyfriend. They wanted to give her a break and felt a long distance separation would help. So she was scheduled to spend the summer with us. About two weeks later her boyfriend showed up at our door. We worked things out and allowed them a little space. He stayed downstairs while she was in an upstairs bedroom. They were respectful and when they went out, told us where they were going and were home on time. He left about a week later without our having any problems. While with us, she met another young man and was attracted to him. She decided to apply to go to college in the East and chose Kings College in Ossining, NY. We took her up there and acted as surrogate parents when she enrolled. This is where she met Jack. She would come down to NYC where I was working at the time and I would meet her at Grand Central Station. We approved of Jack and they were later married in San Diego. Her Dad, who became a prof at San Diego State, and I had a very good relationship. He always told me how much he appreciated our assistance with Ruthie and marveled at the transformation we had made with her.

So that is why I have so much gratitude today. I am so proud of my three kids, their mates and their accomplishments. I am equally proud of Ruthie and Jack and their generosity to total strangers in a time of need. They have never told me what they did. They just did it and have not called attention to it or sought recognition for this kind deed. I say that is cool!

I will try to get some pictures to you of the present build on the 29 A roadster PU. Also I have a picture of five of my Hot Rods that I had at one time that was taken in about 1956. There are about 8 or nine cars in the picture which includes 3 of my friend Carl Burnett’s cars. One was his 27 T roadster on 32 frame that appeared in Hot Rod Magazine. Carl was working on the T and I was working on the 28 A Roadster PU that got the 51 Chrysler Hemi. I had the green full fendered 32 5 window coupe, and he had a silver 31 Model A Cabriolet coupe that was a record setter and weekly trophy winner at the local drag strip. We never raced the 32 and 31 coupes for some reason but it would have been a pretty good race.

 I just received a book on computers that I bought to help make me a whiz kid. One of these days I‘m going to be really smart!


Tess:  I believe Jim may have covered stories that have touched us all at some point in our life in just those few paragraphs!



It occurred to me that there are some pictures you might be interested in. They can be found on the internet. They are on the website for the San Diego Prowlers.  (http://www.san-diego-prowlers-hot-rod-club.com/history/in-the-1950-s/ ) **They have Jim’s last name spelled Bradberry**

  This is the car club that I joined in the early 50’s. While I was a member and President I designed the Prowler Logo that featured a T roadster PU with Hemi engine and big headers. If you go there you can click on “History” and then go to the Fifties. Some of my cars and pictures are in this era. I mentioned Carl Burnett before. Then there is Andy Bekech. He is the Prowler’s historian. Scrolling down through the pictures you will see my name mentioned several times. There is one picture of my 5 window coupe, [no fenders Bug II] with Carl, me, and Andy when we had won a trophy for going over 98 mph that day. Then the next picture is the 3 of us in the same order 50 years later. We are sitting on the front bumper of my current project shortly after I had purchased it in 2003 and before I had started doing anything to it. There other pictures of all three of our cars. Carl’s Roadster and his A coupe.  Andy bought Bob Stewart’s 32 Vicky and owned it for 55 years. It was sold at a Barrett Jackson auction for almost $90K several years ago.  You may be able to download some of them but I don’t know how to do that and I am not sure of the quality.


There is a lot of interesting Hot Rod History on the site. For example Ed and Bob Stewart the inventor and first supplier of the “Dropped Axle” which became known and popularly referred to as the “Dago” axle were early members. Also Bob McCoy a famous Hot Rodder and Artist is mentioned. He became a member of the 200 mph club at Bonneville with his 23 T roadster.


I realize you are very busy and probably don’t have a lot of time to spend messing around on the internet before you meet your deadline but this site maybe of interest to those that are interested in some Southern California Hot Rod History.


Tess:  pffffftttt.. Never too busy for a fellow enthusiast with a great history.


Jim:  Recently my church celebrated a 75th anniversary for being in the the College Area of San Diego near San Diego State. My wife and I both grew up there and I am now the member with the longest tenure. [I started going there in 1943.]  We were interviewed and featured in a video that was presented during the celebration. During the interview I mentioned that I used to spin donuts and conduct demonstrations in my hot rod in the parking lot of the church which happened to be behind my wife’s home. The interviewer asked for pictures of my cars so he could include them in the video. I sent this to my son Mike and am sharing it with you so you can see my first three cars.

These are the pictures I sent for inclusion in the video. They chose the lower two.


The upper car was my first hot rod coupe. It had a 34 21 stud V8. Later on I got a later engine that had the 3 carbs on it. It was a very strong engine that had been in a model A roadster that had turned 104 at the Paradise Mesa drag strip. I got it from a friend named Tommy Tobin who was a classmate of mine at SDSU.


In about 1954 we channeled it down to the lower left version. It was only 39” tall and obviously very close to the ground. I had to go across crests in the road on an angle to keep from scraping. I sat on the floor boards and had a board for a backrest that was leaning against the gas tank. I painted the car after that picture a bright red primer and painted the white sidewalls with a special paint. I never took any pictures of it when it was in this condition. We also had to modify the rear wheels so they would have clearance. We cut off the rivets in the wheels with a cold chisel, punched out the rivets and and turned the center section around and welded the center section back in using a very hot flame with an oxy-acetylene  torch. The body was welded to the frame. It was called “The Bug”.


It attracted a lot of attention especially cops.  One who stopped me actually crawled into the car and sat behind the wheel and mashed the brakes. He lectured me about sitting in an “unnatural position” and sent me to driving school. But it was really a hot little car and a lot of fun to drive. Coming back from Julian with three of us in the car I passed six cars, went through a dip and went airborne with all four wheels off the ground. That shows you what you learn in driving school at the police department.


We were thinking about making it race car and put a forty hood on the front to see how it would look. Other projects became a priority and the engine went into the green 32 which we drove to Bonneville. I gave up on that project and finally traded it to a guy for a Hallibrand Quick-change rearend. This rearend went under my 28 roadster pick-up on 32 frame that had the Chrysler Hemi in it.




Jim was able to send a few other pictures, compliments of his tech savvy son, Mike.


Thank you Jim for sharing your wonderful stories and travels.  We look forward to hearing more in the future and seeing you on the Prowlers website.


Anyone who would like to send a thank you for sharing or reach out to Jim, can reach him here:  bradburyj@cox.net  Or just post here and I will get them to him.  I am sure he would love to hear from any of his QuickTrick family.     




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