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A History: Car Clubs And Embroidered Jackets


By: John Battista


The embroidered car club jacket with its traditional chain stitch embroidery and embroidered patches was introduced during the forties and early fifties when hot rod enthusiasts began forming car clubs to celebrate their love of the hot rod.

The first embroidered car club jackets consisted of leather jackets with the name of the car club and a simple logo indicated in the back portion of the jacket. Much like the motorcycle gangs with their colors - the patches of car clubs also had their own significance.

A few car clubs incorporated the particular brand of vehicle that their club centered around such as Ford with some going so far as to embroider an actual Model T on their car club jackets.

Hot Rods in America after World War I

The introduction of the Ford Model T was the start of the modernization of the vehicle manufacturing industry. Ford's assembly line production, higher wages and shifting schedules heralded the era of mass production. Eager job seekers flocked to Detroit to find jobs in the suddenly booming economy of the former logging town.

Ford Model T's sold for less than one thousand dollars back in its hey-day, a tidy sum considering the country was still struggling with the Great Depression. However, since it was mass produced vehicle, it was the most affordable car model for the regular American. The Model T was sturdy, dependable and easy to put together and take apart.

Chop shops soon cropped up and became popular around the country. The Model T's were the first hot rods to be taken apart and put back together to maximize speed and staying power for drag racing. Races were especially popular in Southern California due to the dry desert climate and proliferation of secluded areas suitable for drag strips.

Hot Rods in America after World War II

After World War II, the returning troops struggled to find a way to assimilate into civilian culture. Hot rodding became a favorite pastime for these young men who craved camaraderie and an outlet for the skills and techniques learned during their enlistment.

Young men had learned many odd jobs during their time in the military. They were trained how to cook, clean, repair machinery and basically any other task that would have been required of them to learn and be useful during their time in the military.

The Ford Model T's were affordable, easy to take apart and modify. Some Model T modifications included adding dual carbs which meant that an engine could take in more fuel and air mixture thereby making the car faster and equipped for racing.

Car enthusiasts joined together during this time and members had embroidered car club jackets, specialty plaques and license plate holders made to signify their association with a particular car club. The jackets were often emblazoned with a patch with the name of the club, the type of car the club was formed around, a simple chain-stitched direct embroidered design and the street name of the owner of the car club jacket.

Members shared their knowledge and information regarding their beloved vehicles as well as garages and tools. They also helped out stranded motorists who were then given courtesy cards which were used to give a boost to the reputation of reputable organizations.

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