The Coshocton County Beacon September 24, 2020 - Page 17

September 24 , 2020 The Beacon • 17
Swift Shifter Hot Rod Club was formed in 1957
By Jen Jones
TheCoshoctonBeaconToday . com

In fall 1957 a group of 10 high school students that loved hot rods formed the Swift Shifter Hot Rod Club .

“ We wanted to change people ’ s opinions of hot rods ,” said Dave Snyder , one of the original members of the club . “ People thought that hot rodders were dangerous people . We wanted to prove good guys were hot rodders too . Car insurance was so expensive because of the type of cars we had , so we thought if we changed opinions , we could get lower car insurance . We even held sock hops to show we were good guys .”
Snyder said they had to get sponsors every time they did a dance so parents would feel safe for their daughters to attend . “ We made $ 150 once . That was a lot of money back then ,” he said .
Snyder described their first meeting . “ Our first meeting was in an old chicken coop ,” he said . “ We scrubbed it clean and put chairs in . It didn ’ t have heat , so in the winter we had to meet in someone ’ s house .”
Snyder said he got interested in hot rods when a friend of his pulled into the old gas station in Warsaw where the pizza place is now . “ His car was so low it dragged ,” he said .
Snyder said he loved looking at Hot Rod magazine to see what was in California . Then the group tried those ideas here .
“ I was the artist . I put pin striping on lots of guys ’ cars . I even painted cartoon characters on because none of us could afford the stickers ,” Snyder said .
Snyder said he never painted his own car . Instead , he tore the engine apart in his 1951 Mercury , cleaned it well and painted that .
Snyder said the club used to race on Main Street in Warsaw but moved to Bluff Road , where there was a straight stretch . “ People
The Walhonding Valley Museum in Warsaw has a display of items from the Swift Shifter Hod Rod Club .
Jen Jones In fall 1957 a group of 10 high school students that loved hot rods formed the Swift Shifter Hot Rod Club . Dave Snyder , pictured , was one of the original members of the club .
Jen Jones used to come out on their porches to watch . We would go to Sunday school and then go drag race ,” he said .
Snyder said the club also was formed because they all had a common interest in building cars . The club ’ s first car project was

I was the artist . I put pin striping on lots of guys ’ cars . I even painted cartoon characters on because none of us could afford the stickers .” Dave Snyder

a 1934 Chevy Coupe . A stock car driver had donated it to the club . An engine also was donated for the car . The club had 22 members , and the original log book still exists . Every member bought a plaque to be hung from the lower rear bumper of the car that had their membership to the club and the club ’ s safety rules , one of which was “ No dragging down
Main Street .”
The plaques were $ 3.98 , and club jackets were $ 12.95 . The average cost of a running , norust car was $ 125 . Members ’ cars ranged from 1949 Fords to 1961 Chevies . When the club was formed , a new 1957 Chevy could be purchased for $ 2,500 . Fuel injection could be added if a person had the extra cash .
Robert “ Bob ” McFarland had the loudest car . It was a 1949 Chevy Coupe with a six-cylinder engine that had the exhaust manifold split for maximum noise . The windows shook on Main Street when he drove by . The fastest car was Gerald “ Cud ” Fox ’ s ‘ 56 Ford , which beat a new ‘ 57 Olds on the club drag strip at Harrington ’ s old railroad bed .
The club ’ s favorite hangout was the Beverly Drive-In , which stood near the intersection of U . S . 36 and state Route 83 North .
“ I put together several reunions for us , but it got to be too much ,” Snyder said .
The club was turned over to a younger group . The Walhonding Valley Museum in Warsaw has a display of items from the Swift Shifter Hod Rod Club . The museum is closed for renovations but hopes to reopen by Christmas .