Author(s): Robert Genat
Description: Subtitled: The Story of the Dry Lakes Era. In the garages, shops, and fertile minds of 1920s car buffs in search of more power and speed, the hot rodding movement was born. A hot bed of this early quest for speed sprang up when the first Southern California hot rod builder hauled his creation over the ridge of mountains and opened up the throttle on the Mojave Desert's dry lakes. The salt beds of the desert provided the common denominator, the measuring stick against which all hot rod builders would judge their modified machines. These open salt beds, the dry lakes, were in secluded spots where this creative breed of car folk could come together to share ideas, learn from the masters, and compete to be the fastest for the weekend. These wide open havens for speed and freedom nestled within the mountains east of Los Angeles provided nature's perfect racing surface: perfectly flat, free of obstacles, with miles to go in any direction. Places like Muroc, El Mirage, and Harper were transformed from ancient prehistoric no-man's-land to the weekend testing grounds of speed.