THE WAY IT WAS,
Nostalgic Tales of Hot Rods and Romance
by Chuck Klein
with Illustrations by Bill Lutz
and Introduction by Al Drake


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CLASS:  Short Fiction.

ISBN: 1-888725-86-9

Price: $14.95 + $4.00 S&H (Contact the publisher for quantity discounts)

LENGTH: 19 Stories, 40 Illustrations

SIZE: 5" x 8" format, Soft Cover, 202 pages

The Way It Was-Nostalgic Tales of HotRods and Romance- by Chuck Klein ISBN: 1-888725-86-9  The Way It Was-Nostalgic Tales of HotRods and Romance- by Chuck Klein,Regular size print edition.  $14.95

The Way It Was-Nostalgic Tales of HotRods and Romance- by Chuck Klein, large print edition. ISBN: 1-888725-87-7  The Way It Was-Nostalgic Tales of HotRods and Romance- by Chuck Klein, MacroPrintBooks large print edition.   $24.95
 


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See also the
Growing Up on Route 66 
Series by Michael Lund

 

OUTLINE: A historically and technically correct collection of ILLUSTRATED stories, most of which are set in or connected to the 1950s. Though they are car intensive, many are love stories with hot rods as the props. All of the stories are void of graphic sex or explicit language. See below for excerpts of two of the stories.

REVIEWS:

"Chuck Klein's writing call you back to a time when all the little ones would gather around Grand Dad for some great story telling. Lightly seasoned with a pinch of fantasy and a dash of nostalgia, this collection of thoughts is a classic recipe for hours of delightful entertainment.

"The readers of Cruisin¹ Style Magazine have long enjoyed these light hearted musings and anxiously await the next installments. If this is your first time reading Chuck Klein, it¹s just like eating chocolate. Once you have the first bite, you know you¹ll be coming back for more." Carl Cartisano, Cruisin' Style Magazine, 2003

"Chuck Klein's chronicle of teenage lifestyle in the nostalgic fifties is a delightful mix of anecdote, observation, and social history. A book so masterfully written, you can almost smell new upholstery on the street rod. This is definitely the best read for those who get an adrenaline rush when remembering the years of rock and roll, back seat love affairs, and drag racing." Paul Taylor, Publisher, Route 66 Magazine, 2003

"If you enjoyed Chuck Klein's Circa 1957, you'll love THE WAY IT WAS, Nostaligic Tales of Hot Rods and Romance. Each story in this collection (with illustrations by Bill Lutz) is a new American classic, conjuring up images of good, clean fun for the "hot-rodders" of yesterday and today. Technically - and politically - correct, the stories recall a much simpler time in our history. Get off your computer, make a bowl of popcorn, and get ready for a fun, fast read that appeals to the kid in all of us." -- Aaron Lasky, Hot Rod DeLuxe, CK DeLuxe, & Kingpin Magazines
 

"Your book is great. You have captured the feel and texture of the 'fifties in each story. It's a wonderful read made better by the fascinating way you recall the cars and music we knew and loved. Thanks so much for creating a book which accurately portrays and preserves the magic of the era". ---Dusty Rhodes, WSAI Radio, Cincinnati ---
 

AUTHORS COMMENT: " Henry Gregor Felsen was among the first to write, circa 1952, about the then new phenomena, hot rodding. His books, HOT ROD, STREET ROD, et. al., not only inspired young car aficionados, but more importantly they opened the door of reading to the youth of the era. As a teen-ager, I thought reading was for squares - until I discovered Felsen's male-oriented, car- intensive novels.

Recently, I wrote Hank asking if he would write the introduction to this book. Over a period of about a year we corresponded, bonding on our mutual interest in reading and cars. He agreed to pen an introduction. When I hadn't heard from him after a few months, I wrote again. I was not prepared for the response - a missive from his widow! Hank, in his 80th year, had passed away a few weeks before. One of the greatest compliments I have ever received came from the editor of Street Rod Action who has run a number of the stories in their magazine. The editor told me: "If Hank Felsen was still writing, this (my stories) is what he would be writing."

Some of my Walter Mitty/Felsen style scenarios are based on actual happenings and events. The other only-in-America yarns most likely did happen...or should have. The story, LAST KNIGHT, is factual inasmuch as there was a Knights hot rod club, they did hold a reunion in the mid 1980's and they do have a tontine. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, SUMMER 1957 and TEXAS/NEW MEXICO, 1961 are true accounts of personal experiences. My description of American the Beautiful in the story, AMERICA, has been honored with publication in the United States Congressional Record (Vol. 138, No. 104, Page 2220). All of these historically and technically correct stories are void of graphic sex and explicit language.

The illustrations are by the most talented, Bill Lutz. Bill's unique ability to transform my stories into pictures and his deep knowledge of hot rods made for a satisfying and complete package.

My hope is the youth of the next generation - the ones who think reading is uncool - will find this work in their school library and discover "inner cool" thus perpetuating the legacy of Hank Felsen.

Chuck Klein, 2003
 

*************************************************
Excerpt from "LAST KNIGHT":

In the beginning was Elvis and Smokey
the Everlys Richie and Fats
four-on-the-floor or three-on-the-tree
and DARLING COME SOFTLY TO ME....<

The old timer knew cars. He had studied, and in some cases rubbed shoulders with, the best of the early engineers, customizers and racers. Men with the immortalized names of Iskenderian, Duntov, Barris, Fangio, Vukovich....

As recollections of events, forever melded to the sentimental portions of his mind, were forced to the present, the great grandfather's eyes soon began refocusing to a new intensity. "Get a couple of glasses and some ice, Sonny - and call your Dad in here. I've got a story to tell you."

"Moonie, that's what they called me because I was the first to have Moon wheel covers on my rod, a '34 roadster that I had stuffed a Caddy engine into. It had a dropped front axle, chopped windshield and sported three-duces on the engine. Though I never got it completely finished it ran one-oh-three point six in the quarter mile. Not that this was the fastest in the club, but still very respectable. I didn't drive the roadster on the street much because something was always breaking so I kept a stock '39 Ford as my everyday car. The '39 was battered and shabby and second gear was stripped but, it ran quite reliably - those old flatheads would just run forever. The only thing I hated about that old relic was the hot, scratchy mohair seats. I got my share of carpet burns on my elbow trying to put my arm around a girl.

"Ah...the girls. It seems that we built and raced the cars to impress the girls and then whenever one of the guys had made enough of an impression she'd up and marry him and that would be the end of his hot rodding. Brides and all the 'comes-with' things associated with marriage probably contributed more to the demise of hot rodders and their clubs than anything else.

"You boys should have seen my bride! She was just about the prettiest thing that ever rode shotgun in an open roadster. I met her at a club dance - a sock hop we called it.

...Big Bopper and Ben E. King and LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDORED THING

Excerpt from "THE HERO":

He spun gravel all the way to the blacktop, turned east and got on it hard getting just a piece of third gear before having to shut down for the first set of 'S' bends. Today, he realized, would be the test of his handiwork as he set the little coupe into the first sweeping turn. At the apex, inside front tire on the dirt berm, he poured the coal to the mighty Mercury flathead. The rear tires howled in protest as the power curve of the Clay- Smith cam let in all the fuel the over-sized pistons could suck through the polished ports.

There was no traffic and he used all the roadway he dared. For the next few minutes his concentration was so intense that he hadn't had time to check his gauges much less the condition of his passenger. Just ahead loomed the narrow chicane, the right followed by a hard left at the Mulhouser farm, that led to the only section of completed interstate in Spartan County. There he would have a chance to check everything.

Tires baying in dissent, young Carl brought his primer-red rod down to just under thirty-five from well above seventy for the first bend. He powered out of the final curve, tires squealing and engine screaming, to catch a glimpse of old mister Mulhouser out of the corner of his eye. The third generation farmer displayed his disgust at the speeding hot rod by shaking his fist at Carl from atop his John Deere.

Within minutes he was slamming the gear shift into third for the longest straight stretch of the run. Pleased at the sound of the three Stromberg ninety-sevens whooshing air through wide open butterflies he took the time to check the gauges. Oil, eighty pounds; temp, almost 200; fuel, cresting the empty mark; tach, 4200 and climbing slowly; speedometer, mounting steadily at 105. He looked to the little lady. Clutching her blood soaked towels, she forced a cringing smile that mocked her vacant stare.

One hundred and fifteen -- one-twenty -- one-twenty-two. The steering felt light and there was a pronounced vibration.

LIST OF STORIES:

THE PICK-UP
LAST KNIGHT
GO-CARTERS
SPIRIT OF THANKSGIVING
THE IDOL
MY GIRL
TRAIN RUN
DAYDREAMS
THE HERO
AMERICA
THE VETTE
THE ANNOUNCER
SECOND LOVE
SUMMER OF '57
CHRISTMAS MIRACLE
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS
THE DETECTIVE
THE ALUMNI
TEXAS/NEW MEXICO, 1961

Page design by Chuck Klein





The Way It Was-Nostalgic Tales of HotRods and Romance- by Chuck Klein ISBN: 1-888725-86-9  The Way It Was-Nostalgic Tales of HotRods and Romance- by Chuck Klein,Regular size print edition.  $14.95

The Way It Was-Nostalgic Tales of HotRods and Romance- by Chuck Klein, large print edition. ISBN: 1-888725-87-7  The Way It Was-Nostalgic Tales of HotRods and Romance- by Chuck Klein, MacroPrintBooks large print edition.   $24.95
check cart /check out
Rather use an order blank and send a check?   Click and print order blank
See also the
Growing Up on Route 66
Series by Michael Lund
BeachHouse Books
P.O. Box 7151
Chesterfield, MO 63006-7151
636-394-4950
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