The Early Times car club formed 43 years ago the Los Angeles-adjacent city of Compton. Although it wasn't the first hot rod club, and it isn't the oldest existing one, it is definitely one of the most historically significant.
The mid-'60s wasn't an especially glorious period in the history of hot rodding, at least not compared to the postwar era that created an explosion of interest. By the time the Early Times was formed in 1965, the generation gap had seeped into the car world. Nostalgia was out, and the hot rods of the '40s and '50s were losing their appeal among a lot of younger guys, who were more interested in buying brand-new musclecars than in building prewar iron. The Early Times club bucked that trend. These were young guys building old cars-but not the old way. They refused to be bound by tradition or the rigid rules of period correctness. Instead of following "the way they used to do it," these hot rodders dared to inject their own fresh ideas into their time-honored hobby.
The original Early Times members are older guys themselves now, but despite gray hair and a lot more memories, they've managed to keep thinking young. They've also managed to maintain one of the earliest club events: the famous Early Times picnic. This year marked the 41st annual Long Beach Early Times picnic. Gary Robinson and his son, Grant, were at the Compton Rod & Gun Club for the event and sent us these photos from the day. Enjoy.