T-TIMERS

(The World's Largest Hot Rod Club)

(Click on any thumbnail below to enlarge the photo)

Founded by Hal Hild in the 1950's, the T-Timers were a large West Coast club that had many chapters throughout California. Each club used the same basic plaque shown above, believed to be cast at the Koehler Foundry in Bell, CA. The chapters below also added a "topper" to show where they were based.

Arcadia    Bellflower    El Monte    Inglewood

Riverside    San Gabriel Valley    Santa Monica    South Gate    Victorville

 

Other California chapters were in Burbank, Covina, Culver City, Fresno, Fullerton, Glendale, Highland Park, Hollywood, Lancaster, Lodi, Madera, Menlo Park, Modesto, Newhall, Paramount, Pasadena, Pomona, Redding, Redlands, Sacramento, San Fernando Valley, Santa Ana, Santa Barbara/Goleta, South Bay, Torrance, Tujunga, Tulare, Venice, Visalia, West Hollywood, Westchester and Whittier. In the later part of the 1960's, membership was declining and the Culver City, Venice and Westchester chapters were merged and called the Marina chapter. If you have knowledge of other chapters, please let us know so they can be added here.

 

 

One story, heard several times over the years, was about the original T-Timers plaque above. Gary Bricken was a member and wrote "The T-Timers as we know them today, were a clean cut bunch of young men held in line by Hal Hild. The charter was acquired by Hild from the original T-Timers, who basically were marijuana runners until they all got caught. A charter in California at the time was costly but Hild was able to get one for the T-Timers for almost nothing. He then redid the plaque to take out the smoke. Notice that the top of the T on the original plaque looks like a cigarette." 

 

Bob Freeman lived in Culver City and was a member of the Kerb Krushers in West Los Angeles. He remembers the T-Timers hanging out at Scriveners in Inglewood. He also mentioned the cigarette as the top of the “T” on their plaque, and how the local cops made them grind it off. 

 

Here are some comments I've received about some of the T-Timer Chapters from (and about) former members:

 

Arcadia

Dick Sappington - To the best of my knowledge, this chapter was in operation from sometime in '63 through sometime in '69.  Edwin (Goldie) Goldsberry was our local police rep and we met at the Elks Lodge on Colorado Blvd across from the Park on Santa Anita Ave. We mostly hung out at both the Bob's Big Boys in Pasadena, and occasionally at Henry's by the horse track (killer wet fries). Other members I can recall were Lenny Ardagna, Dave Duffy, Allan Lennaberg, Dick Miller, Skip McConnel, Bob Petry, Tom Petry, Andy Seidner, and a guy named Johnson. We just called him Johnson and I don't recall his first name. Dick Miller's sister Sue was among the girl's aux and Art Carr was an honorary member.

Tom Petry and I were drafted in '66, and didn't really get back into it when we got out in '68, so there're a few years at the end that we're rather sketchy on.  When I got back, my brother had sold off everything I had except my club jacket, plaque and one of my pool cues, and the jacket & plaque were later lost during a move. 

T-Timers - So Cal

I'm a ceramic pattern/mold maker and a few years ago I borrowed Tom's plaque to make a pattern for the above plaque. It has an added feather at the top of the wings, as well as So Cal at the bottom as clear differentiations from the original since this club and my chapter are long gone. I gave Tom one and I fly these on my street & race cars strictly in commemoration.

Bob McIntosh - I was a member from 1965 until the chapter folded in 1968.

Bellflower

Larry Messick - I joined the Bellflower chapter when I was 16 and a sophomore at St. Anthony's H.S. in Long Beach. At the time I had received a beautiful black 47 Ford club coupe from my mom & dad for my 16th birthday. I was only in the Bellflower chapter a short time before the Paramount chapter was formed. 

Wonder if this was his shirt, or if it belonged to another Larry .....

T-Timers-Larry.jpg (118684 bytes)

Burbank

Bob Foster - I joined the Hollywood chapter in 1966. We held our meetings at LeCount Junior HS for about a year before Hal Hild informed us we had to procure a sponsor to remain an active chapter. Most of our members lived in the Valley at the time so we looked for a sponsor there. We met Wayne Jones, owner of Burbank Chrysler Plymouth and brother-in-law of Cal Worthington, and he became our sponsor. The chapter name was changed to Burbank and we met at the dealership. We were allowed to use the work bays on occasion and had access to his mechanics. Some of our members were Bob Briggs, Don Collins, Chuck Dames, John Dean, Craig Esterridge, Rick Gulbranson, Keith Kelsey, Chuck Mason, Bill Paar and Eric (Vibertonsils). Our members hung out at Bob's Big Boy in Glendale, Van Nuys and Toluca Lake, as well as Van De Camps in Glendale and Mel's in Hollywood. Our favorite streets to cruise were Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards and Van Nuys Boulevard in the Valley.

The T-Timers held a Presidents and Vice-presidents meeting during the winter of 65-66 in Big Bear Lake, with Hal and the governing board, and we stayed at Elk's Lodge in Big Bear. 

Covina

Gary McAdam - I was a member of the Covina, CA chapter in the late 50's - 60's. We had joint poker runs with other T-Timer chapters in the area.

Culver City

Don Harris - I was a member of the T-Timers in Culver City before our chapter was merged with the Venice and Westchester chapters, and renamed the Marina chapter.

Fullerton

Roy Simmons - There was also a Fullerton chapter of the club back in the 50's and early 60's. My father, "Judy" Simmons, was vice-president of the club for a few years. He was good friends with Hal Hild.

Mike Thompson - I belonged to the T-Timers, Fullerton chapter, in my senior year of high school. I recall that we had about 20 members with a Fullerton cop as our sponsor. Our cars included a 48 Ford ragtop (mine), a 48 Plymouth coupe, a Chevy powered 40 Ford coupe, a 56 Chevy Delray (283 4 speed), a 58 Impala (348 tri-power 3 speed), a 41 Ford coupe, a 53 Bel Air hardtop (283 4 speed), a 57 Olds 88 hardtop (J-2) and a 52 Ford coupe with a Cad engine, among others. Insurance was the big expense and we had a deal for club members with 20th Century insurance (which was a lot of why I joined). We raced at the old Santa Ana Airport on Sundays, and on the street as well whenever the opportunity arose. Friday and Saturday nights, we either went to Hillside in Fullerton, Bob's in Whittier or Harvey's in Downey.

Marc Minnis - I was the president of the Fullerton, CA T-Timers car club, as a senior in high school in 1963-64.

Highland Park

Tom Allen - I was a member of the Highland Park "T-Timers" in 1963/64 and our rival club was the "Protesters". 

Charlie Lapham - I was president of the Highland Park T Timers in the 60's. I still have the gavel and my club jacket and plaque. I also have a large "T Timer" banner that a lady made for us because we helped her get her car running when she was stuck on the side of the road one night.

Inglewood

Danny Velderrain - I was a member (see his membership card below). A couple of other members I remember were Steve Jenkins and Ray Lawson.

Richard Hanson - Richard's widow wrote to say that she had his plaque on display at his funeral. He belonged to the Inglewood T-Timers in the early 60's and was the president at one time. Some of his fellow members were Bill Biscoe, Bill (Willie) Young and Danny Judd.

Madera

Al Donnelly sent a link to an article published in the 02/17/58 issue of the Madera Tribune. It was titled "Teen Safety Club Slated" and it read ..... 

A Madera branch of the T-Timers Club, whose main object is to promote highway safety will be organized at a meeting Wednesday evening at 7:30 in the Elks Club. Frank Reilly, exalted ruler of the Elks Lodge, has announced that boys over 15, who have drivers licenses are qualified to join this Hot Rod Club, said to be the world's largest, with branches in 46 cities and a membership of 1,600. According to Les Milligan, chairman of the organizing group, one of the special benefits of this organization will be that all qualifying members with good driving records will be able to get insurance for their automobiles at 30% less than bureau rates. He stated that in view of the high insurance rates he felt that this would be of special interest to the parents of teenage boy drivers. Hal J. Hild, chief field executive of the T-Timers, will be the speaker for the Wednesday night meeting. He will explain the aims and purposes of the organization.

Marina

Don Harris - I was a member of the T-Timers in Culver City before our chapter was merged with the Venice and Westchester chapters, and renamed the Marina chapter. Tim O' Neal was President and I was Vice-President. During the 1967-1969 period, we only had 10 members in our chapter, mainly due to the Vietnam war. In the beginning we were meeting at the club's headquarters on Redwood Ave in Venice. Later the meetings were moved to the Ford dealership in Culver City. I have great memories of my time in the T-Timers.

Menlo Park

John Kunkel - My 76 year old neighbor, Earl Pampayan, was in the T-Timers of Menlo Park in the Northern California Bay Area. He still has his plaque but the background is painted orange.

Paramount

Larry Messick - I was in the Bellflower chapter before the Paramount chapter was formed. I transferred my membership because it was closer to my home in Lakewood. Our chapter had club outings and we would take our cars to Irwindale Raceway and race the 1/4 mile. I remember my '47 Ford turned 64 miles per hour .... WOW! When I turned 18, my dad bought me a beautiful '40 Ford Deluxe coupe for my birthday. I was still in the T-Timers in Paramount, but a friend of mine (Lynn Graham) had a sister who was dating Gary Thornton, the President of the Cut Outs car club in Long Beach. While visiting Lynn one day, Gary invited me to a meeting of his club. The Cut Outs were more of a car show kind of club, rather than drag racers. I left the T-Timers and became a member of the Cut Outs when I was a freshman at Long Beach City College.

Pasadena

Bobby Hubbard - My dad, Bob Hubbard, and his friends, Doug Happ and Don Kremers, were members of the Pasadena chapter. My dad was a hot rodding nut and over the years I heard many great stories from those days!

Don Herman - Our chapter met at Perlly’s Muffler Shop on the corner of Colorado Blvd & Madre St in East Pasadena. I could not afford a T Timers jacket, but did have a plaque.  I left that club shortly thereafter, as a bunch of us formed the “Midniters Car Club” in Pasadena,

Pomona

Marcel "Pete" Anderson - I was a T-Timer in Pomona, CA in 1958. The T-Timers were largely sponsored by a social club, I think it was called the Elks. We met at the Elks Club and played pool there before our meetings.

Redding

Pat Sandbloom - I was a member of the Tujunga chapter before I moved to Redding in 1965. Several Tujunga members moved with me and we started the Redding branch of the club in 1967.

Sacramento

John Leymaster - I was once a T-Timer in Sacramento, or possibly the suburb of Carmichael, many years ago. I believe the only other chapters anywhere near there were in Modesto and somewhere in the San Francisco Bay area.

Santa Ana

Pete Peterson - I was a member of the T-Timers in Tustin, CA in 1953-1956. I believe it was listed as a Santa Ana club, due to the Santa Ana CHP being the sponsor. Our coordinator was motor officer Chuck Pollard. Most of the members went to Tustin HS but some had graduated. We had poker runs and car shows and some cars in the club were customs and some were stock.

Santa Monica

Russ Aves - I was a member of the Santa Monica chapter. I remember casting some plaques in our University HS shop. Other area clubs were the Coilers of West LA, the Clockers from Culver City and the Road Romers of Poker City near by. I still have my first high school car, a 1932 Ford 3 Window Coupe.

Dale Hebert - I belonged to the Santa Monica Chapter in the late 1950's and spent a lot of after school time at "The Shed". My memory was that most of the so-called headquarters was an open shop area where the members could work on their cars. I'm sure some knew what they were doing while others, like me, couldn't get much past changing spark plugs. The reality was that whatever we were doing at the shop was a lot better than what we might have been doing otherwise, which was pretty much Hal's overall goal for the club itself.

Gary Bricken - I was also a member of the Santa Monica club from 1959 to 1963. We had a few wannabe hot rodders, and few real hot rods compared to some of the other clubs. Hal's vision was for a club that had police oversight or adult supervision so that the members could learn how to do things right, and that's a tribute of its own to Hal. This was a car club; anybody could join if they followed the rules and the rules included not having your plaque on chains below the rear bumper. It taught us how to stay out of trouble, rather than get into trouble. And getting in trouble with the law didn't earn you any status in the T Timers. Very few of us had jackets in those days. About the only thing I ever saw with our logo were our plaques. Being a T Timer for me was a lifetime experience.

Tom Allen - I was a member of the Santa Monica T-Timers in 1961 & 1962 and still have my plaque hanging in my man cave. I remember all the help I got keeping my 53 Ford running and all the poker runs we had – great fun. I also remember the one gallon red gas cans you had to put in your rear window say things like “I got a ticket for speeding”.

South Bay

Jerry White was a member of the South Bay chapter that included Southern California beach cities like Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach. Their club project was a jalopy that they raced at Gardena Stadium and Carrell Speedway. Jerry provided this photo of their race car.

T-Timers' Jalopy

Torrance

Jerry Vandenberg - Our chapter met at Pat's Brake & Wheel on Hawthorne Blvd. We had a 34 Ford coupe that we raced at Santa Ana, Wilmington and a few other drag strips in So. Calif.

Tujunga

Pat Sandbloom - The Tujunga chapter was started in December of 1963 and was sponsored by Welman Ford in Tujunga. The members were from Sunland, Tujunga, La Crescenta, and La Canada. I was elected vice president of the club when it started, and later president. Some of the Tujunga members were Steve Hillard, Mel Dorrow and Mike & Bob Hepburn.

West Hollywood

Ron Gilbert - There was a T-Timers chapter at Fairfax High in West Hollywood in the late 50's to mid 60's. I was a member and still have some old club brothers I talk to. I went to work for Carroll Shelby in 1966 and became a member of the LA Roadsters in 1970.

 

Here is additional information and photos that were sent.

 

Hal Hild and FriendsIn this photo, Hal Hild is sitting at his desk in the Santa Monica Headquarters of the T-Timers. Gary Bricken said "The club house was actually a tin shed garage with the front converted into an office." Standing on the left and right are Mr. & Mrs. Osterhaus, the owners of a local trophy shop who supported the club, and in the middle is Mr. Koontz, who was part of the A or C Altered team of McCellan, Jamison & Koontz, that raced a Chevy powered Fiat Topolino.

 

The cover of the T-Timers Car Show program on the right shows a date of 1958. Although it doesn't show a location, I've been told it was held in the "new" Santa Monica Auditorium.

T-Timers Car Show Program

These two photos were taken at a  T-Timers car show also held in the Santa Monica Auditorium in 1959 or 1960.

Note that the Willys coupe belonged to Fred Stone & Leonard Woods Jr. before Doug Cook joined their team.

Stone & Woods Willys (Before Doug Cook)

Santa Monica Car Show

This Burbank jacket belonged to Bob Foster.

T-Timers -Burbank Jacket

"Howard" wore this Culver City jacket.

T-Timers Jacket - Culver City

Danny Velderrain sent these scans of his membership card for the Inglewood Chapter dated Jan 9, 1962. It has #4993 stamped on the front and claims that the "T" Timers, Inc. are "The World's Largest Hot Rod Club".

T-Timers Membership Card

Back of T-Timers Membership Card

Danny recently had the jacket on the left made for himself, using the design from the plaque. On the right is what is believed to be an original jacket for the Inglewood chapter.

Jacket-T-Timers_Inglewood.jpg (78816 bytes)         

Ron Cooper joined the San Fernando Valley T-Timers late in 1962 and was given this metal "Dash Plaque" engraved with his name and the date he joined. He had it on the dash of his 1930 Model A Coupe.

Note that on this item, the T-Timers are called "The Worlds Largest Youth Car Club", instead of a Hot Rod Club. 

Ron Cooper - 12-26-62

T-Timers Key Ring

Mike Thompson sent this picture of his T-Timers Key Ring.

 

Most T-Timers chapters were concerned about their image within the communities where they were based. The headline on the left was in the January 17, 1959 issue of the Lodi (CA) News-Sentinel and the article detailed the upcoming safety check of member's cars. The article stated "Members who fail to have their cars checked will be asked to turn in their T-Timers plaque, which identifies them as members of the world's largest hotrod organization". They had a scoring system and gave each of the 30 plus members 425 points to start. Included in the 25 items to be checked were lights, brakes and windshield wipers and points would be deducted for any item failing the inspection. A passing score of 350 was required. 

 

 

Plaque collecting has become a hobby of sorts and because the T-Timers had so many members, bogus plaques have been seen for sale on places like eBay and Craigslist. The four plaques below are examples of having things added to real plaques and then being sold on-line. The plaque on the left has smoke added to look like the original plaque and they also added the number 13 (for marijuana?). SO CA was added to the next plaque so it would appeal to anyone from the Southern California area. The last two are for El Monte and Inglewood. Real versions of these two plaques are shown at the top of this page.

 

T-Timers - 13   T-Timers - So Ca   T-Timers - El Monte   T-Timers - Inglewood

To read more about these types of plaques ..... Click Here



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