James "Jim" Stewart of Long Beach, California. Jim and his identical twin brother, William, were born on November 19, 1926. He grew up in the Belmont Shore area and attended Wilson High School. At the age of 12, Jim and William acquired an automobile engine to educate themselves on its structure and functionality. Unfortunately, at the age of 14, his father died leaving a wife and five children. Jim was awarded a hardship driver’s license at that age so that he could transport his mother who was a head registered nurse to work at Long Beach Community Hospital. Consequently, Jim’s relationship with automobiles began at an early age.
Long Beach Dolphins Car Club
After Jim served in the Marine Corps in World War II, he returned to his family’s home where he resumed his passion for working on his 1931 Ford roadster. In 1946, Jim joined the local car club named the Long Beach Dolphins with a few of his friends. El Mirage was the main location for official racing, however, that did not prevent the car owners from testing their cars’ speed on the streets. The club drivers were aware that the Bellflower police cars did not have the horsepower nor the speed that could match the Dolphins’ cars. The drivers would often challenge and outrun the police cars for some weekend excitement. Jim was so proud of his roadster he would often tell the story of receiving 3 speeding tickets in one evening from 3 different cities.
By 1949, Jim had met the love of his life and wanted to start a family, so, he chose to resign from the club. However, he continued to find joy in working on the family cars over several years. He insisted that his daughters learn how to change a tire, the oil, and pump gasoline into the car before they could acquire a driver’s license. Also, as the grand kids became of age he enjoyed teaching them a thing or two about cars and how to handle them. One of Jim’s last responsibilities working for the City of Long Beach was as a defensive driving teacher for other city employees.
James Stewart's Cars
James Stewart's 1931 Ford Model A Roadster
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