Hot Rod Gang (1958)

American International Pictures led by cigar chomping Hollywood stereotype Samuel Z. Arkoff produced lots of these teen exploitation B Movies in the 50’s and 60’s and Hot Rod Gang is one of them. The formula was simple, hot rods, fights, drag racing, girls and rock and roll music. This film has all of that plus Gene Vincent! The story is about John Abernathy III played by Elvis sound alike John Ashley who is part of society’s upper crust who has to keep his “hot rod gang” a secret from his family. He meets Lois Cavendish played by Jody Fair who also played the heroin junkie in “High School Confidential” and helps keep his secret safe and enjoys his hot rod gang. The ’32 Ford roadster Ashley drives is the Bob McGee/Dick Sritchfield roadster. The ’32 Ford roadster that Ashley’s nemesis Steve Drexel drives is actually the famous Pete Hendersen roadster which is the car that had the famous race with a quarter horse that set the blueprint for quarter mile drag racing. These two have a “curb race” in the beginning of the film that will make any car buff cringe! By the way, the opening sequence was filmed on Santa Monica blvd in Hollywood. The other ’32 Ford in this movie is Tony LaMasa’s chopped and channeled green roadster that was the same car that was featured in an episode of Ozzie and Harriet where Ozzie raced it in a Model T. Gene Vincent plays himself and sings 2 songs and tries to help Ashley’s singing career but Ashley declines because he can’t risk a public appearance because the police(Russ Bender)are looking for Ashley for splashing the stodgy old man in the beginning of the film with his hot rod while racing through a puddle…for reals!!! If anything, it’s worth seeing this just to see Maureen Arthur sing one of the corniest songs ever “Choo Choo Cha Poochie” in the pointiest bra known to man. The Ala-Kart, a show winning hot rod built by George Barris is also in the film but only in 2 scenes and for some reason, hardly noticeable.