Strokers of Saginaw

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A Strokers group photo taken at an indoor car show. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Russell.
Established in 1955, the Strokers of Saginaw are one of the original NHRA charter clubs. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Russell.
An early iteration of Ed Kartz's 1951 Ford photographed in the mid-1950s. Photo from The Strokers of Saginaw Collection.
This channeled 1934 Ford Tudor Sedan belonged to Dave Alcorn. Dave was a Strokers until he passed away in 2015. Photo from The Strokers of Saginaw Collection.
According to Al Benaway, it wasn't much going on in Michigan back in the mid-1950s. Al was a single car fanatic that was just out of high school. Back then, you would usually find him in his garage, working on his car until three or four in the morning. He went to the Detroit Dragway once, but he recalled it wasn't much of a dragstrip. Photo from The Strokers of Saginaw Collection.
Part of a national movement, the Strokers was one of the original NHRA charter clubs. There were no drag strips in the area when Al and his buddies formed the club. "Nobody even knew what we were talking about," Al told Kustomrama. Photo from The Strokers of Saginaw Collection.
Members of the Strokers having a meeting about the construction of a drag strip in July of 1957. Local auto racing promoter Bob George told the newspaper that if there was enough interest shown in their second race, held July 28, 1957, the airstrip track would be paved. Bob estimated that it would cost $36,000 to pave the Edmore track. Photo from The Strokers of Saginaw Collection.
The Strokers decided to form the Saginaw Valley Timing Association to join forces with the other clubs in the area. Photo from The Strokers of Saginaw Collection.
Competiton Coupe. A grey primered iteration of Al Benaway's 1930 Ford Model A Coupe displayed at an indoor car show. Al bought the Coupe around 1956-57, and he would change it three times on his quest for higher speeds. "That car was originally chopped and channeled with a '32 frame and a Flathead," Al told Kustomrama, "that's how it started out." As the drag race fever swept over the state, Al decided to take his coupe apart and turn it into a drag car. A competition coupe. Off went the body, and out went the old Flathead engine. The body was then unchanneled before Al installed a 283 cubic inch Chevy engine between the deuce rails. The engine had been stroked to 301 cubic inches, and it ran a 1939 Ford transmission and rear end. Fed by six Stromberg carburetors, the engine was set back for better weight distribution. Photo from The Strokers of Saginaw Collection.
This 1958 Chevrolet Corvette belonged to Strokers member Jack Pape. Pape was the Show Chairman of the Saginaw Valley Timing Association shows. Photo from The Strokers of Saginaw Photo Collection.
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Russell.
A Strokers club display from an indoor car show. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Russell.
A club shot taken during the 2005 50th-anniversary party of the club. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Russell.
Club memorabilia displayed in the clubhouse. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Russell.
A 1960 NHRA Charter Certificate. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Russell.
A 1963 NHRA Charter Certificate. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Russell.
A 1963 International Car Club Association Charter Plaque. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Russell.
A 1968 NHRA Charter Certificate. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Russell.
An original Strokers club plaque displayed in the clubhouse. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Russell.
A photo of Jonathan Russell's 1947 Dodge Business Coupe taken at the club house in 2020. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Russell.
A photo of Ron Zanner's 1964 Chevrolet Corvette taken at the club house in 2020. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Russell.
One of Ron Zanner's old club jackets. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Russell.
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Russell.
Another one of Ron Zanner's old club jackets. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Russell.
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Russell.
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Russell.
Al Benaway and Ron Zanner working on a power steering box for a 1929 Ford Model A Roadster that Al was building in 2020. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Russell.
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Russell.

The Strokers is a hot rod and custom car club from Saginaw, Michigan. The club was established in 1955, and Al Benaway was one of the founders of the club. The Strokers are one of the original NHRA charter clubs.


Saginaw is located 100 miles north of Detroit, and early in 2021 Al told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama that in 1955 when he started out, you couldn't say the word, Hot Rod, out loud in the public. "Hot Rod was a bad word to say. A mortal sin. That was like you were a mugger. You were a bad guy. Bound for jail." There were about 10 or 12 small clubs in the area when Al and his high school buddies formed the Stokers car club in March of 1955. "They didn't last long," he recalled, "but they were there." Al and his buddies were in the senior civics class when they started the club. The Stokers grew to become a large club, and for a while, they had new guys joining on a weekly basis. "When you come to start high school, everybody wants to be in your club. Everybody had a car club, and we had about eight or nine clubs in high school." The Strokers had meetings in a chicken coop. "That was a little rough, but that's what we had. We had a two-car garage with a chicken coop on the back of it."[1]


In 2020 the club was still active, celebrating its 65th year in existence.


Members

Al Benaway
Dave Alcorn
Jack Pape
Jim Hooper
Jonathan Russell
Ron Zanner


Club Cars

Al Benaway's 1929 Ford Model A Roadster
Al Benaway's 1930 Ford Model A Coupe
Dave Alcorn's 1934 Ford Tudor Sedan
Jonathan Russell's 1947 Dodge Business Coupe
Jim and Adrienne Hooper's 1956 Mercury - The Wild One
Jack Pape's 1958 Chevrolet Corvette


References




 

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