By Bill Ganahl

I’m sitting down to write this on the one-year anniversary of my dad’s death.  It feels like it’s only been a few minutes.  I also don’t know exactly what to write.  My dad would know what to write, and he’d make it interesting and unexpected, and probably funny.  I’ll do my best.  I have, literally and metaphorically, very large shoes to fill.

So, I’m going to make this about me.  Mostly because I want to, but also because I am the product of my dad’s life-work that I know best.  And though there is clear evidence that his influence has guided the course of my life and shaped the person I have become, it has never been as obvious to me as it is right now, after he is gone.  I’m not sure why so many of life’s lessons tend to be ironic but, to use one of many modern phrases that my dad did not like very much, it is what it is.

Some of you attended Pat’s memorial at Dave Shuten’s shop at Galpin Ford in Van Nuys, CA.  Beau Bockman and Dave, along with many others, helped my mom and I throw a pretty epic celebration of life for my dad, amongst the people and cars that he spent his own life championing and celebrating.  It was the best and saddest day all at the same time.

One of the many nice things Beau/Dave and co. did for us at the memorial was to arrange a slide show to be played through a projector on an entire wall of the shop.  My mom and I scoured through thousands of photos, not from my dad’s historic photo collection, but from my parents’ personal family photo albums, and came up with about five hundred photos that I had to scan and digitize in order to play through the modern projector.  The photos aren’t professional, and some aren’t great, but they’re a record of my parents’ lives together and, of course, my life with them.

As I scanned through all of these photos recently, just to reminisce and think about my dad, it really began to hit me how much of himself he imparted to me.  It sounds obvious and inevitable as I say it out loud, but it’s one of those things that happens without you realizing it.  Many of us, especially as kids, actively try to avoid it as we attempt to become individuals, on our own terms.  I wasn’t necessarily a rebellious youth, but I definitely viewed myself as someone who was forging his own path. 

These photos are documentation that I was wrong… and I am happy to realize it.  I was already proud to be continuing in my dad’s footsteps, at least in terms of participating in and contributing to the culture of custom cars.  But I now feel as though I’m keeping his legacy alive, and I cherish that responsibility.  It will always keep me connected to him, and I know that I’m celebrating him every day that I walk into my shop and participate in this culture and community.

Another thing these photos evoke, though, is that my dad always reminded me that there’s more to life than just cars.  He was a surfer, an avid hiker, a photographer of non-automotive Americana, a huge fan of music, a guitar player, a traveler, and much more.  He didn’t give advice very often, but this is a life lesson that he imparted as much by example as by preaching: be well rounded.  As I spend 60 hours a week in my shop, I need to remember this advice a little better sometimes.

Be well-rounded.

I’ll leave you all with a few stories as you scroll through these photos.  First, while all these photos are of me with my dad, there’s one that’s just me: I’m swinging a pickaxe in the backyard of our family home in Glendale, CA, where I lived from age 7 until I left for college at 17 years old, and where my mom still lives today. 

This was taken on my birthday… maybe 12 or 13… I’m not sure.  I woke up that day and my dad, first thing in the morning, told me he had a surprise waiting for me in the garage.  I ran out back and opened the garage door and there, with a ribbon on it, was a brand new pickaxe.  Slightly confused, I came back into the house for breakfast and my dad informed me that I would be digging trenches in the back yard for a new sprinkler system.  And then he took a picture of me doing it… for posterity.

If you’re feeling sorry for me, allow me to change your mind.  Another two of the photos show my dad handing me a pair of keys, and then me standing next to his bronze ’60 VW in the garage.  That was just a few days after my 16th birthday, and that’s him giving me his car for my birthday.  After a few beers one night at dinner when I was in my early teens, he made the comment that I could have his Veedub when I turned 16.  Well, my dad was a man of his word, and when I turned 16 a few years later, he gave it to me.  Simple as that.  I eventually sold this bug and bought the ’50 Shoebox that would be my daily driver for over 15 years, and that I would later give to my dad before he finished it and it was featured on the cover of The Rodder’s Journal.

There are also a couple photos of my dad cutting my hair.  I had a pretty stellar bowl cut from the time I had hair until I was old enough to protest.  I had completely forgotten about all this until I saw these photos. What I’m reminded of is the intersection between my dad’s hot rod, do-it-yourself mentality, and what I’ll call… frugality…  If something could be done yourself, there was no cost/benefit analysis necessary: the answer is you always do it yourself.  That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t pay someone to do the things he couldn’t do, but there weren’t too many things he couldn’t do.  So, I had to suffer a few do-it-yourself haircuts, and my first bike wasn’t a brand-new Mongoose.  But I also had the only off-road dune buggy go-kart in the neighborhood, and my first car was a Hot VW’s featured Cal Look bug.  I’m not complaining.

If something could be done yourself: you always do it yourself.

I also want to tell a quick story about a photo that is conspicuously not in our family photo album.  When we lived in Anaheim, where I was born, my dad went through a phase where he tried to build and “flip” a few cars.  I’ve always said the Ganahl motto is “buy high and sell low” so, needless to say, none of these projects proved lucrative.  And to make matters worse, when he was finishing up a ’40 Ford sedan in black lacquer and color-sanding it, I decided I wanted to “help” and grabbed some 36 grit sandpaper and went to town on a fender.  I was probably four or five years old and I don’t remember the incident, partly because this was not a milestone that my dad felt inclined to document (hence, there are no photos in the family album), but also because my dad didn’t fly off the handle and punish me for it.  It was an example of his ability to accept that I was a little kid trying to help his dad… and it also exemplified another Ganahl motto: Any job worth doing is worth doing twice.

Any job worth doing is worth doing twice.

In keeping with his mandate to be well-rounded, my dad (and my mom too) encouraged all of the random interests that I picked up throughout my childhood.  One of those interests that arose partly from always having guitars around the house was my desire to become a rock star.  My dad only had acoustic guitars and I wanted an electric.  So we struck a deal: if I was able to get straight A’s on my next report card, my dad would take me out to buy an electric guitar.  I was a C student throughout elementary school, so this wasn’t a slam dunk, but I must have wanted that guitar pretty bad because it was the only semester I ever got straight A’s.  We went to all of the guitar stores on and around Sunset Blvd in Hollywood, and my dad bought me the cheapest imitation Stratocaster they had.  We painted it black-and-white checkerboard (because I was wearing Spicoli Vans shoes at the time, not because of Cheap Trick). Always customize everything. Sadly, I did not become a rock star.

Always customize everything.

I will end with this last gem, which illustrates the unpredictable nature of my dad’s reaction to my youthful transgressions.  You never knew what you were gonna get; sometimes he would fly off the handle, and other times he would laugh and blow it off.  Before he handed me the keys to his ’60 VW on my 16th birthday, I had my learner’s permit and would take any opportunity I could to drive any car my parents would let me (and a few times when they weren’t exactly aware…). On this particular occasion, my friend Chris and I wanted to go to the store for something and our moms both came with us.  Because I had my permit, my mom let me drive us all there in her brand new ’93 Honda wagon. While we were trolling through the parking garage looking for a spot, I somehow ended up turning the wrong way down a one-way.  I decided to pull a quick evasive maneuver and backed the car straight into a concrete pilon, so hard that it shattered the entire rear window out of the hatch-back.  The car still had the dealer plates on it!  When we got home I remember sitting in my room waiting, terrified about what my dad was going to say when he got home and learned that I had destroyed mom’s brand new car.  I heard the front door open, he and my mom have a short conversation, and then he opened the door to my room, poked his head around the corner, and said, “so I heard you flunked your driving test,” and smiled. He took the car down to the Bistagne Brothers body shop and had it fixed. I still consider that one of my few “get out of jail free” cards my dad afforded me over the years.

I’m so happy my dad shared some of his great stories and photo collection with all of you through this medium.  It took a little convincing to get him to do it, and my wife, Sabina, did all of the layout and computer work for each and every post (including this one) in order to get him to agree to all of it. The whole purpose was to let him tell the stories that he wanted to tell, without the restrictions of publishers, advertisers, art directors, etc.: unadulterated Pat. He grumbled a little about how much work it took, but he also had stories and ideas saved up for months and months. He claimed he was retired, but I think one of his great pleasures in life was communicating and sharing hot rod history and culture with you. He took the time to reply to almost all of the emails and letters he received. He would talk for hours with people at shows and on the phone.  I don’t think he would admit it, but I feel he enjoyed engaging with people about these stories as much as he enjoyed researching and telling the stories. Thank you for taking the journey with him and, through him, with me. RIP Dad.

Below is a slide show of 34 more photos from the Ganahl family album. It will run automatically, or feel free to hit pause on the right and go through them yourself.

Feel free to leave a comment or share a memory below.

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199 thoughts on “CODA

  1. Bill, I remember years ago your dad writing how you were seriously transitioning into a rock guitarist and were really quite good, like a shredder. It sounded like he was hoping you would be more car focused but was also very supportive of the direction you chose. Some years later I read that you were working a Brizzos. It would have been fun if Pat would have added The American Custom Guitar to his long list of achievements, lol. Thanks for sharing the behind the camera life of your family. He’s not gone he’s just not here.

  2. I haven’t checked out Pat’s website in a while but wondered if anything was going on and here I find a beautiful tribute to Pat. WELL DONE!

  3. Thanks, Bill, for sharing more of your life with your dad. Just saw this.

    Your dad was a very good man and he was prouder of you than any dad could be.

    Thanks for carrying on the traditions he gave you.

  4. Sorry to hear about your dad’s passing. He was a great inspiration to me and helped me choose my automotive career as a shop owner and automotive instructor. I’m almost retired now and will have more time to play with hot rod interests. I hope you can keep the column going and if I could help with writing anything, please let me know. Thanks, Bill Lunney

  5. I met your Dad in 1981 at the 1st Leadsleds in Kansas . He took a couple of shots of my 51 Ford custom “Little Darlin” and then I gave him a ride in the car. He was a very cool person and I was glad to have met him.


  6. Thank you for sharing this I followed your dad from his early days in journalism and enjoyed his articles

  7. Hi Bill, I first came across your Dad’s work was within the UK magazine Hot Rod & Custom UK back in ’79.
    From there and followed him to Hot Rod, R&C and of course Rodder’s Journal.
    In one R&C editorial Pat was talking about a plumber who couldn’t see his vision for the bathroom, so he did it himself!
    In the editorial he mentioned the book ‘Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance’ so I picked up a copy and read it.
    I guess you could say that he definitely widened my reading horizon!
    I wish that I could have thanked him.
    Take care, all my best to you and your family.

  8. Thanks so much for this, Bill! Your dad was at various times a challenger, a critic, a supporter and a friend over the years I was freelancing at PPC. He supported my model car shows, the Western Classic, in the mid-80s and he may still have had the wall plaques I gave him for his support.
    He was also a hero to me. I wished that I’d been as laid back, resourceful and productive as he was.
    Anyway, Bill, congrats on picking the best parents ever!

  9. WOW!!! Thanks for writing this, Bill! I ALWAYS enjoyed opening up your Dad’s on line articles, to the point that I eagerly anticipated seeing them! Your Dad, and one Gray Baskerville were my FAVORITE HotRod writers! I included you, your Mother AND your wife in my personal prayer intention book that I read AT LEAST once per week in my Church Chapel. Thank You So MUCH for doing this! G-D Bless! -Greg

  10. I met Pat in the mid-’80s at the NSRA Nats East and had a great time talking with him. However, 5 or 6 years earlier, when I submitted my first photo-feature to a magazine, he was the editor and took the time to write me a letter as to why he was rejecting my submission. The primary reason was that I had photographed the hot rod on grass, a huge no-no as far as he was concerned. Cars, he said, drive on pavement, not on grass! I followed some tips he gave me in the letter and as a result have had many photo-features published by 18 different magazine titles since then. He was a major influence for car people for so many years and his passing left a gigantic void. He and I used to email back and forth about memories some of his blogs evoked. As a writer and former editor, it is obvious to me, Bill, you inherited some of his great writing style! Thank you!

  11. Thank you for sharing this fine story, and of course a huge thanks for all the great stories your dad shared with the hot rod community through the years. Living in Sweden i mostly got them in translation through the Wheels Magazine (american magazines has always been far between and mostly few at most outlets), i believe he wrote those articles specifically as reports from the U.S. to the swedish audience, but at best sometimes i got to read the full spreads as the original text in Hot Rod Magazine and such. One of the best writers in automotive community, bar none.

  12. I didn’t know Pat personally but met him at events, thoroughly enjoyed his articles in the Journal and his newsletters. So appreciated this insight from Bill.
    Thank you.

  13. Bill your dad was quite a guy. One of just a few of my Hot Rod friends that could
    write a proper sentence. We all loved the man!
    All that and he was the real deal, Hot Rod to the core.

  14. Thank you for taking the time to include all of Pat’s followers in your life with your Dad.

  15. As I sit and think about my own hot rodding experiences, I realize there are so many that helped me along the way. Pat Ganahl was certainly one of the most influential over the longest period of time, and for that I’m eternally grateful. He gave so many the courage to just go ahead and tackle a project…..results could be good , bad, or indifferent….but! Yours! A good project could always be improved on at a later date. There are so few today, willing to tackle a complex problem, that P at will be missed because there is almost nowhere else for young guys to acquire the ‘permission to mission’. Thanks, Pat
    Ian Thomson, Edmonton, Alberta

  16. The passing of an asset to the hotrod culture that I personally have lived in since 1958. your dad was known to us (in central southern PA) as Too Tall Ganahl. almost reverently! Had the great fortune to meet Pat @ the Mid Atlantic Street Rod Nationals at York PA on two occasions. The man radiated personality! I first ran across him in an article he did (I think) in Rod & Custom on his ’47-48 Chevy sedan. Loved his Iacona GMC dragster he restored (back then I was a inline six fan). My 292 Gimmy ; raised hell w/ the flathead guys and the OHV people in a ’47 Fleetline. I later followed his ’56 Ford yellow ’56 Ford P/U w/ the 400inch Ford 385 series 400 engine. Sorry to ramble on but he left a mark on our “hobby”. Thankyou for your remembrance of a great guy for all of us olde farts. (Forgot: when R&C died for the last time I sent a comment on it’s demise; he sent a great reply.)

  17. Hey Bill I know the pain of his loss will remain , but you were very blessed to have a dad that would share his time and knowledge with you. You will always have those fond memories.
    Time flies by too fast! “Try to be well rounded” and enjoy yourself as well.😎

  18. What a beautiful story and reminisce. Thank you for opening up yourself for our enjoyment. I never owned a Hot Rod but I drew them often. Rod & Custom was my favorite magazine and I stuck with it through its various rebirths. Im not sure when this site began but one day it showed up in my email and I signed up to keep receiving them. I’ve saved them all. Pat was a wonderful storyteller. I hope you can continue to tell his stories but from your perspective.

    May your Fathers memory be a Blessing

  19. Thank you Bill for the stories, pics, and experiences. I lost my dad 6 years ago, and the first thing I thought I could do was restore his car (SS396). It has been therapeutic to say the least, but thanks to your recollections, I will start compiling our memories next. Mom’s still around and she just celebrated her 91st birthday today.

  20. Thank you, thank you for this post. I feared your dad’s posts would be deleted, if at all possible please don’t delete them. At 88 I wasn’t young when they were taken but they and his words brought great memories. Obviously, my adult life covered his whole career and I’m the beneficiary of that.
    My condolences to you and your family for your loss that far outweighs mine.

  21. Bill,
    Thank you for sharing these sentiments with your Dad’s fans! It is great that you could put some of your feelings and memories into this format. I think you did a great job ! I have missed your Dad’ columns this last year. They were always fun and informative. I am glad he was willing to keep sharing his vast knowledge of car culture after his retirement. And he shared it for free! I never knew your Dad personally but I miss him just the same.

    Sam Profit

  22. Thank you Bill for sharing these very personal photos and stories. We all miss Pat…

  23. Thank You for your summarizing your father’s behind the scenes life. I don’t
    recall when I first started following your Dad’s writings. I do believe it was
    about 1978 while he was with McMullin publishing. I still have all Street Rodder magazines from their beginning in 1972.

    I did meet your Dad once at St Ignace, Michigan but I felt he was to important to talk to me. I was with a good friend John Chambers of Chambers Vintage Chevrolet. You Dad was the only author that I could read even if I wasn’t into exactly whatever subject he was writing about.

    Thank You again!

    Ken Moore

  24. I miss Pat because he brought credibility to the hot rod hobby through his writing and his ability to chronicle its history with accuracy and humor.

    Thank you Bill for welcoming all of us to a very personal side of your life and the relationship with your Dad. As a father of three adult children, one of whom you know, I can only say Pat was many things to those of us sharing this hobby but clearly and most important he was a great father and the results speak for themselves. Keep up the great work at South City.

  25. As a simple reader of Rod and Custom, and connecting through ideology of hot rodding I felt like I knew your Dad. Born in Canada in’63 I didn’t experience cars like others, but my love for them and finding Pat’s writings educated and entertained me. His “frugal” “DIY”ways struck a cord, I’m still trying to be successful with cars and will always. I owe most of that to your Dad. Thanks again for sharing and sorry for your family’s loss.

  26. Bill, I will always remember the interview with the famous drag racer Floyd Lippincott lll at 1985 Nostalgic drags.

  27. Bill, thanks for sharing, as you know better than anyone, your dad was a great man and will always be remembered as such.

  28. Thankful for all the good stuff you have provided for us over the years, you are lucky you had a great bond and memories with your dad. Can’t say i had that. But i continue to share our lifelong love of hotrods.

  29. Thank You All for sharing more about Your Dad and his life beyond the car culture. I have many memories of reading his hot rod stuff and they always bring a smile to my face. It’s great to see and hear about his “other” life and the wisdom that he passed on through word and deed. Of all the pictures that I have seen, the only that got me to think “Whoa” was one of him at his desk with a collared shirt and tie. And once again I smiled! As we All go forward, Pat “Too Tall” Ganahl, will be recalled with a Special Fondness. Thanks Again, Carp.

  30. Bill, Thank you for putting this together,
    Good to see family photos.
    Sending love.

  31. Met your Dad at a car club meeting in Santa Ana in the early 1970s. I didnt join the club but enjoyed your Dad and his recognizable words in magazines forever.
    Always easy to find in a crowd, we enjoyed our company togeather once in a while.
    Your a talented tribute to your Dads skills.
    Good job kid!

  32. Well said, Bill. This is a wonderful memorial to our dad. Thaks for doing it,

  33. Thank you writing about your father. I loved all of his stories and hearing about the way things were back then. Reading your point of view of how it was, is BONUS!!! You write well and future stories will be welcomed. I am in the hospital after open heart double bypass pass surgery, beginning to heal. I wish you well. Yes, my real name is Bruce Wayne 🙂

  34. Hi, Bill. I’m Tony Miller, and you don’t know me. I want to thank you for writing this excellent tribute to your dad. I was a fan of his work, which I followed for many years. I met him perhaps six times; we never became friends, but somewhere around the fourth time I think I earned his respect. I built two cars that he complimented; I’d post pictures if I knew how.
    Anyway, thanks; Pat was a great talent and I think your tribute is exactly what he deserved. Thank you.
    Tony Miller

  35. I always enjoyed the times and conversations I had with your dad. He helped me so much with my photography and articles I sent him at the various magazines he was editor of. I wish he had hollered at me when you all came through Wichita last year. I miss his stories. Thanks for this story Bill.

  36. A great life, well-lived. As a father and a grandfather I know the love you had for Pat and he had for you gives the images a special warmth.
    God bless Pat and sleep well.

  37. Thank you Bill. I hope you or someone does a nice big coffee table book about Pat someday. Be nice if Rodder’s Journal had a special issue about him.
    I met Pat back in the late ’90s (I think) at P&J’s Hot Rod Shop in Danville, Va. He was there to shoot a feature on the ‘glass chopped ’51 Mercury they were producing. Don’t remember which magazine, ’twas either Street Rodder or R&C.
    Last year a month or two before the crash in one of Pat’s posts he had a bunch of pictures of southwest hot rod hangouts. One was a hotdog joint that I thought would be nice in one of my paintings. I emailed Pat about permission to use it and he said fine, use it and thanked me for asking.
    Also in the early ’80s a friend of mine had his ’32 5-window at NSRA Columbus Nationals. It had my pinstriping on it. Pat was looking at the car and asked my friend if Dave Bell had done it. If you know who Dave Bell is and what his pinstriping looked like you know how good that made me feel. I mentioned that to Pat when I met him at P&J’s shop in Va. He remembered the car. That was probably him who shot the feature for Hot Rod magazine back then.
    That painting with the hotdog stand is on my website., go to automotive section and it’s on there. It has my friend’s copper ’32 roadster and my black ’28 roadster pickup. I sent a shot to Pat, he liked it.
    Thank you Bill…

  38. Great story and thank’s for sharing all these photos. He must have been a great father to you. Without knowing it i honored your father the last saturday when i was wearing the Pat Fink t-shirt on the Römö race days in Denmark.

  39. I think one of the best things we can leave are memories of life experiences with family and friends. You have managed to hit the ball out of the park with your remembrance of your father. He left you, your mom and family and friends a rich inheritance.

  40. Bill, I am happy to read the post from you. Your dad and I were born just a couple months apart in time but a couple thousand miles by geography. I am from the midwest (Illinois). I have met your dad several times around this great nation. The return of Rod & Custom in the early ’90’s was a great accomplishment and Americruise was one of my and my friends most memorable experiences.
    The stories of your youth and mishaps made me smile and brought back memories of similar experiences with the kids in our family.
    My favorite picture of me with your dad at the GNRS in 2016. A funny picture, Pat is a foot taller than me. Best wishes for you and your family! Good to hear from you!

  41. Just read this yesterday evening before bed. This morning, I was straightening up my “dreaming corner” where I sit and look at shelves of boxed model kits and dream of how they will be combined/completed at some nebulous date in the future. Part of that straightening up was finding my “archive” box of Rodder’s Journal issues 13-16. It had (embarrassingly) been a while, so I looked inside to see why I’d had these magazines over in the dreaming corner. Issue 13 held the answer, but thumbing through that issue you’ll never believe what was there…the photo tribute your dad did you your relationship together. One of those weird coincidences out here in the universe, but I’d thought that article wonderful when originally read every bit as wonderful as I find your own photo tribute to your relationship. I find myself both horribly jealous of that wonderful (though I’m sure there were times…like pick-axe birthday gifts that aren’t “prank”) relationship and terribly saddened by your loss. It’s tough when we lose our parents, but to do so suddenly seems all the more cruel. Not that it matters one whit, but I am very happy to see that obvious love your father had for you reflected back at him…that you get it. Congrats! Here’s hoping that the pain your family has felt is slowly being replaced with warm memories such as these photos conjure. Best to you all!

  42. Thank You so much for this fabulous tribute to your Dad! He shot my car the final time it was on the cover of Street Rodder circa 1973 but l strayed away from the scene shortly after that. I discovered his “e-zine”, dropped him a line & was amazed he still remembered me! R.I.P. Pat, a true gentleman, you are missed.

  43. Thank you so much for this Bill. I was a fan of your Dad’s, not because of a particular interest in cars, but because of the kindness and generosity that emerged without fanfare. I remember one day when I took my then 14-year-old grandson to see Pat and his garage. My grandson was a shy boy at the time, and somewhat insecure. Within minutes Pat and he began a long conversation about cars, craft, patience, and pursuing a passion. I never forgot this and am so grateful to Pat for his many gifts and his generosity in sharing them. Elisa (Callow)

  44. Thank you SO MUCH for this!!!

    He was always proud of you, Bill, and it has been easy to see why!

    I’ve always been a huge fan of Pat’s work, and very much appreciate the website blogs – and still read them again and again – once is not enough for me…

    Thank you!!!


  45. Thank you SO MUCH for this!!!

    He was always proud of you and it is easy to see why!

    I’ve always been a huge fan of Pat’s work, and very much appreciate the website blogs – and still read them again and again – once is not enough for me…

    Thank you!!!

  46. Every child should have a mom and dad like yours! I have enjoyed yor fathers work for many years, thank you for sharing this other side of a great man and hot rodder!!

  47. A human beings most important and greatest legacy is their family they leave behind.

    Pat , Thank You for your beautiful Family, Job Well done. You left this earth better than
    you found it for that we thank you.

    Karl LaFong

  48. There are people all over the world that revere Pat Ganahl’s work and like him there are many people who value the history of this great pastime culture and way of life. There are non however, that were as good at preserving this history and sharing it like he did.
    Who will fill those shoes? I hope his son does.

    Scroungers Car Club
    New Zealand

  49. You were very lucky! To have one of the participants of the greatest periods in gear head history WITH your dad to guide you. He had great taste and eye.
    I always envied you guys that were at the epicenter of all things automotive.
    Your dad helped all of us join him in his adventures and stories.
    Wish I had the chance to meet him!

  50. Bill, thank you for the heartfelt self description. You have your Dad’s DNA and knack for telling history, simply and to each of us as individuals. I hope you consider honing that knack for Hot Rod History, on your own timeline. While I didn’t have the opportunity to meet your Dad, maybe I can look you up sometime (I’m still some 2000 miles away). I wish you and your family all the best, in taking over from a luminary who was taken from this Earth too soon.

  51. Well done Bill !! Your Dad sure would be proud of this effort. Keep it up ………

    Dave Schaub

  52. Thank you for sharing this, your dad was an awesome guy! I personally never met him but would always get excited to read articles that he wrote in all the magazines throughout my hot rod life. My dad is still alive and just turned 80, he has had a stroke so it’s hard to ask him for hot rod advice anymore. We owe are dads to our hot rod obsession. Your dad will certainly carry on through you, treasure that!!
    Brent Haines
    @choppagang (ig) (YouTube)

  53. Bill and family
    Thank You,
    For more years than I care to remember, I have enjoyed you’re Dads writing and photographs. It always felt that he was talking to me personally, not forcing his views or opinion or just doing his job to make a buck. I have totally enjoyed reading and looking at all of your family photos. Best of luck and God Bless.

  54. Pat’s blog articles were always enjoyable reading. I read many of them more than once. The pictures, many of which were the first time shown, were very fun to see. When he included pictures of his/your shoebox I asked a couple of questions as I was building my shoebox ranchero at the time. Within a few days he answered and gave me some insight that helped me. A true gentleman to help his readers. I’m sure many miss him, but we all have some memories that we can cherish for our lifetimes. Thank you for sharing.

    Jim Jacobson

  55. Bill, thank you for sharing your heart warming tribute and the family photos. Before I got to know your dad, I actually met your mother first when she worked at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena when I was a student in the early 80s’. I always looked forward to seeing Pat at GNRS, even when he was busy taking photos before his retirement, he would always take the time and chat with me, and he always had great stories or he would recommend looking at a particular car in detail that he was excited about. I am glad you and Sabina talked your dad in doing the monthly PGRC, sharing his photo archives and stories was something I looked forward to every month. Because of your persuasion, his stories will live on forever.

  56. Bill – seems to me like you’ve inherited your Dad’s knack for writing a story as if you’re just talking to each of us face to face. I loved your Dad’s emails and look forward to you maybe sending some more of your own every now and then. Thanks – Kent

  57. Bill, had the pleasure of meeting your Dad a few times, always had time for me, to talk Hot Rod History! I’ll always hold those conversations dear, a true Icon of the hobby! God speed, Pat, you’re truly missed!

  58. Hey Bill good reading. I’m glad you got to have a guy who was your dad and friend. Tall Pat was like a good friend that I never got to actually meet. Just through his work in the magazines. It was a privilege to share these articles with my dad also a vivid VW fan mainly Baja bugs and a cal look 62 . His Norton comando is in my basement . Thanks for sharing this with all of us

  59. Hey Bill.
    An excellent piece of writing, about an excellent man who was your dad, and that excellence now resides in YOU!
    Some of the best words that were ever written, in regards to losing a loved one, and the aftermath, are as follows, by Simon and Garfunkel, from the classic album ” Bookends”

    “Time it was and what a time it was, a time of innocence, a time of confidence’s.
    Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph, preserve your memories, their all that’s left you”

    And indeed, your dad and family members, left you a treasure trove of photographs and incredible memories !

  60. Bill,

    I’m a loss for words but thank you for sharing all that.

    Lou Manglass

  61. I read Pat’s articles in Hot VW magazine to start, then Rod and Custom. I am sure I’ve seen him at a few car shows held at the LA County fairgrounds. His writing style drew you in, as if a friend was telling you a story. He was an everything car guy. Build it, fix it, paint it. I used to buy at Ganahl Lumber in Corona, and thought of him every time I shopped.

  62. I did not know your dad. We met one afternoon at the Petersen when I was there to attend the Fabulous 50’s Christmas Dinner and to visit a Harvard School classmate, Dick Messer, who was the museum’s Director. I grew up around Eddie Meyer Engineering, racing an inboard hydroplane out of the shop in the 1960’s, and for 30 years living in the East, raced vintage sports cars. I subscribed to The Rodders Journal from the beginning. I have every issue. Your dad was an inspiration. He explained to me the day we spoke about his having a falling out with Steve Coonan. He was reflective, not bitter. The magazine was great, Coonan put out a great product, but your dad was the editorial soul of The Rodders Journal. Those of us who were by the luck of birth to live in LA in the 50’s and 60’s, and to know the players in the hot rod industry were spoiled. You and your mom should be proud. Historians who lived the history are rare.

  63. Thanks so much Bill. Your dad was my favorite author. He gave me much happiness over the years. I always looked forward to anything he wrote. I loved the way he often gave credit to your mom for proofreading his work. He was truly a remarkable man with a remarkable family.

  64. I did not know your dad. We met one December afternoon at the Petersen Museum. I was there to visit Dick Messer A Harvard School mate who was the Director. I had flown from New York to attend the Fabulous 50’s Christmas dinner. I only knew of Pat through his articles in The Rodders Journal. In the 50’s I grew up around Eddie Meyer Engineering. In stead of hot rods I went toward sports cars and after 2 years in Army, raced inboard hydroplanes out of the shop then owned by his son, Bud Meyer. Johnny Wolf (Galpin Ford) was the engine builder for the hydroplane and Cracker Boxes built by Bob Paterson whose shop was near by. I knew him well and he must have been a friend of your dad. Your dad’s articles and sense of history of California hot Rodding was invaluable. His untimely death was tragic. Thanks for the follow up and tribute. We who grew up in LA in the 50’s, went to Bob’s Big Boy inVan Nuys , went to the San Fernando drags, and new the players who developed the hot rod industry were blessed.

  65. Bill Please accept our sympathy, Your father was a CLASS MAN ,i knew that from all of his writing, I am 82 and have have followed him forever. Watching you with your shop and your writing, THE APPLE DON’T FALL FAR FROM THE TREE. Bill, he is looking down on you smiling , and a VERY PROUD MAN ,
    God Bless you and your family ,and KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK
    Dave Backer

  66. I met your dad at a hot rod swap meet in Long Beach about 2002 or 03 and was always a fan of his writings and creations in Rod & Custom magazine. It looks to me like he has passed the torch well.

  67. Bill, Thank you so much for taking the time and effort ( Also Sabina ) in putting this out for all of your dad’s fans and followers. Every time I saw that your dad had posted on my email it was like Christmas all over ! I’ve read and followed “Too Tall Ganahl” in the magazines all my life ( now 77 ) and you have not left me out being on the right coast (Ga.) Thank you again and give your Mother a hug from me and my family. Fred & Diane Sanders.

  68. hello Bill thanks for sharing your story and adding your acknowledgments to your dads story. I had met Pat through the years at different car shows from the 70’s to his last Amber show, he was with your mom and we said hello and I asked his opinion on two very different roadsters going for the Amber and your Dad stayed true to form in his answer to my question. We both said enjoy the show and went our separate ways and that was my last interaction with Pat.
    I so enjoyed his blog one of my favorite things to read. I also grew up in Glendale/Foothills of So Cal and some of the stories about the car culture and business from the area were a great walk down memory blvd. Because of Pat and yourself I applied to the Meeting At The Rock show this coming Oct. My hot rod was accepted a Ford 36 3 window so when I get to the grounds I will hoist a cold adult beverage to Pat and Bill and your families. Thanks again Bill for your sharing of your moments with Pat.

  69. I really enjoyed your Dad’s posts. It created an image of hot rodding that I wanted to experience and brought back memories of my hot rodding life.
    Sorry for your loss. Thank you for posting.

  70. I feel lucky and honored to have spoken with your father Pat a couple of times at the NHRA CHRR. He used one of my photos in his book Lost Hot Rods. Thank you for sharing this message with us.

  71. Great job Bill; thanks for sharing these treasures. Your Dad connected with thousands of us. His sincerity, genuineness, great writing and photography skills plus his sense of things was admirable. I’m one of those emailers he didn’t know, never met, but took the time to swap a couple emails with. He was a rare individual and he is deeply missed by so many. The sense of loss is palpable. I was a Street Rodder reader way back in the day and then a blog reader more recently. I even have “PGan” still saved on my bookmarks under the nav bar on my browser. I can’t bring myself to delete it. I hope time brings you peace and that the good memories refreshed help offset the pain of losing your Dad.

  72. Thank you for sharing these photos and your memories of your dad. They hit home for me. Like you, I was born n raised in the Southern California car scene in the 70’s-80’s. because of my pops. Car shows, poker runs, club meets. Etc. every weekend. Like your dad, my dad also surfed and had a huge soft spot for kustoms. Sadly I lost my dad a number of years back too. Always loved your dads articles and looked forward to his blogs whenever I opened my emails. Really, I always wanted to get the nod from your dad regarding my 55 wagon. I once saw him walk around it giving it the once over but I just couldn’t tell what his take on it was haha. Peace to you and your family. Thanks for stirring up some good memories!!

  73. Hey Bill, Thanks so much for reaching out. I’m certain that I’m not alone in saying that I’ve sorely missed your Dad’s writing over this past year. I’ve enjoyed his work for many decades, and was absolutely devastated to hear of his passing. He had a lot to be proud of, both on a personal and a professional level. I hope that you’ll continue to “chime in” from time to time, as I know that we’d all enjoy hearing from you. My condolences to you and your Mom, and all the best to you in the future. Take care!

  74. Bill,
    I didn’t know your dad except through those emails that your mom helped him put together. I will tell you that I enjoyed reading them and looking at the pictures that accompanied the stories. I was too young to live those days of glory personally, except vicariously through those older than me. I was sad to hear of his passing, and just recently went to Riverdale to experience that place. Being a guy that spent time as a kid at Riverside Int’l during it’s heyday taking pictures of the great cars and drivers of that era, that place (Riverdale) took me back, and I couldn’t help thinking about your dad while there. I guess I felt a little kinship because I’ve been a photographer all my career and love shooting cars. I have a lot of respect for a guy that contributed photos and stories for his entire career, lived the life of an automobile enthusiast and hot rodder, and followed his dreams right through to the end. I’ll bet he was a great guy.
    I still have the email articles he sent in my email archives, just because. My deepest condolences to you and your mother, sir. I wish I could have met him. RIP, Pat. Keep those car guys up there entertained.

  75. Bill, thank you for the best way to honor your Dad… I knew him personally from the time he raced his Grandpa’s ’46 Chevy at the ‘Forever Four’ event, 1976. I was there with Julian Alvarez and Kong Jackson. I had the pleasure of hanging with Pat when I could; But I lived in San Jose, so I never ‘saw him enough’!
    L.A. Roadster show (2,000 at Pomona) my son Rich and humble self ran into Pat (and Andy Brizio) in front of exposition bldg. Pat was idolized by my son, who was just ecstatic to actually meet him!
    Pat showed us the ’32 Roadster that you did while at Roy’s. (black full fendered)
    To say he was proud of you doesn’t scratch the surface.
    We visited for about a half hour, then released your Dad to the autograph hounds… LOL
    It was funny, your Dad spotting us, and opening with, “Uncle Mike! Fancy meeting you here…” Son Rich was astonished. I usually hit him with the “Fancy meeting”. Yeah, we knew each other. I am still saddened. Rest easy, my friend.

  76. Hi Bill , thank you so much for this posting. I am in Ontario , Canada and followed your father’s work my entire life ( or at least from when I first bought a car magazine) . I was so sad to hear of your father’s passing.When I recently read the article penned by you in Hot Rod about Coby Gewertz’s 34 coupe I immediately thought of your Dad, and realized the apple does not fall far from the tree. By the way , well done on that killer coupe. I can only hope you can continue to pen some articles and perhaps share some more memories, and maybe a pic or two from your Dad’s collection over time. I wish you and your Mom all the best.

  77. Being from Kansas I never really knew of Pat until I found him on the internet after retirement. I regret not taking the opportunity to meet him when he went to Dewey Oklahoma for the annual Stray Kat show. He left us too early. So sorry for you loss. Thank you for sharing all the photos and your story.

  78. Bill, I cant believe it has been a year since the accident. I have a picture I took at Del Mar with Pat and John Pickle on the wall in my library. My favorite article he wrote was the “Pat and Bill story” in Rodders Journal. I used his book on supercharging to build my own blower motor. I hope you continue to share hot rodding history and your own adventures with us. Thanks for the memories. Kip Dunne

  79. Thank you Bill for continuing your Dad’s blog. I was so happy to receive this email today, and was thrilled to go through all of the family photos you have shared with Pat’s many followers. After hearing the sad news about his passing, I wanted to share my thoughts but didn’t feel like I would be able to reach you the way I would prefer. Now, with you continuing your dad’s blog I feel I can let you know how much of an influence your dad has been in my life and career.
    My first impression of Pat was back in the 1970’s. He had written a story in Street Rodder called Brewer’s ‘32, about a primered Deuce coupe that he had remembered cruising around his hometown. I read that story over and over, and while looking at the black and white photos in the story, I kept thinking that telling stories like this is something that I wanted to do. Now, more than 50 years later, I have written hundreds and hundreds of freelance stories in publications and authored 10 books on hot rod, custom car, and early drag racing here in Canada. My admiration for your dad will always be strong, and I’ll always be grateful for his encouragement he gave to me during a brief phone call in 1987. My best wishes to you and your family. Keep up the good work.

  80. Thank you Bill for sharing these very personal and I’m sure emotional images. It was great to see Pat in his early years and just being a Dad. We were friends for several years starting with meeting our car club. Pat was an unbelievable source of information as well as funny. We talked many times about cars and photography and it was always enjoyable. I loved his posts here and will sorely miss them. Sincerest best wishes for you and your Mom.

  81. Bill,
    As everyone else has said, thank you for a nostalgic and heartwarming post. My thoughts are with your family as you think about the year that’s gone by. In time, I trust that the hard loss will be softened somewhat thanks to the good memories you’ll always have with you. Thank you for sharing a few of them here.
    One of my favorite observations Pat made in one of his Street Corner editorials in Street Rodder Magazine, was this: “If you think cars are the most important thing in life, think again.” Words to live by, and I believe he did just that.

  82. Thank you for writing an excellent tribute to your Dad. I really enjoyed it. I know you are very busy, but if you could continue writing some tidbits it would be great. You will always cherish all the memories that never fade.

  83. Bill ,
    Thank you very much for sharing.
    The life and love of a father and son is such a special place. Sometimes very private. Thanks again for letting us view yours.
    Dave Bengochea


  85. Thank You so much for sharing your family memories and your lives in photographs. I never met your Father in person but absolutely loved seeing his articles show up in my inbox. It was like going to the movies when I was a kid. Only the content was always something I could and did relate too. Your Dad did answer an email to me I was inquiring about a road trip he had taken. I was pleasantly surprised he would even consider answering my inquiry. Having lost my Dad many years ago I can understand the need to feel close and relive a few of the many memories. Thank You Again for the peek into your and his personnel lives. Keep up the good work you are definitely your Fathers Son. Joe

  86. Bill,
    Your Dad was a nice, intelligent people type guy. I say guy because that is who he was. I am not surprised that he was a great Dad, Father and Husband to your Mom and yourself. He was the kind of Dad that I have always tried to be and that my Son has been. Life comes with lessons, some hard and some not so hard and your family and you have had a tough one that we all go through at some point in our lives. God Bless you all.

  87. I’ve never met you or your father, but I can respect the reverence you have for your father. I hope to be able to impart the same level of knowledge and well-roundedness that your father gave to you, to my son. He’s two, and already loves cars and drums. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

  88. Thank you so much for this look into your life growing up. It gave us another insight to your life growing up with your dad, and mom. I always looked forward to your dads posts with the stories he told so well.
    Please feel encouraged to write more, and thanks again for sharing.

  89. Hi Bill,

    What a joy to wake up and see this in the mailbox! Thank you for taking the time to tell us a little bit about yourself and your family behind the scenes. Added images are wonderful, and made me smile greatly. Thought of the Ganahls many times through the year wishing all of you the best through a difficult time.

    Take Care,
    Steve Weiman
    Larkspur, Colorado

  90. Thank you so much for sharing this.
    I have felt a large hole in the universe since your Dad passed away so suddenly and miss opening up a new letter from him regularly. Having the subscription to his thoughts and remembrances will be a high point in my own memories.
    The simple fact that he was generous with his praise for peoples’ visions and work, no matter where they were from moved me. He was not a “coast snob” and wrote about attending many shows, including one that used to be my favorite: The Ty-Rods Old Timers’ Reunion on the first Monday (!!) after Labor Day in Hudson, MA.
    He truly Got It.
    I belong to a model car club in Massachusetts (Classic Plastic Model Car Club) and wrote about your Dad in the monthly newsletter about how he was a model car nut also and rather proud of it. It made that much of a mark on me.
    Your work is always a pleasure to see in the magazines that are left and you do have his eye for things of interest.
    Best wishes for your continuing success and again, this is a welcomed and fitting tribute to a great person.

  91. I just spent a couple of months going through every page of over 60 years of Car Mags. Rod and Custom, Hot Rod, Car Craft, Street Rodder, American Rodder, Rodding and Restyling, Honk, Hop Up, etc.
    Pat Ganahl had great prominence in many of these volumes as an intuitively skilled mentor . His blog is a rare walk through west coast hot rod history. RIP.
    CODA – Pat Ganahl’s Rod and Custom

  92. You and your Mom were so Blessed to have Pat in your Lives for so Long. Seems Like a Blur a Year has gone by already. Pat and I briefly chatted when he showed the GMC ‘Ike” car at the California Hot Rod Reunion. I thanked him for his writings. He helped to shape me. Model Cars, Hot Rods, Rat Fink! I lost my Dad 1961, I was 8. Good Luck on your South City Rod and Custom. I’ve followed your work on several of your Gasser Projects and considered bringing mine there. God Bless Us All…

  93. You and your Mom were so Blessed to have Pat in your Lives for so Long. Seems Like a Blur a Year has gone by already. Pat and I briefly chatted when he showed the GMC ‘Ike” car at the California Hot Rod Reunion. I thanked him for his writings. He helped to shape me. Model Cars, Hot Rods, Rat Fink! I lost my Dad 1961, I was 8. Good Luck on your Southside Rod and Custom. I’ve followed your work on several of your Gasser Projects and considered bringing mine there. God Bless Us All…

  94. Beautiful story. I enjoyed your dads writings and photos for years. Thank you for posting this.

  95. Traded a few emails with your dad as we were both Petersen Publishing alumni. Your writing is right on and I shall look forward to reading some more.

  96. Thanks for sharing. I’m 78 years old and have been along on the ride with your dad all these years with the many magazines,articles and books he wrote. Best wishes for you and your family.

  97. Bill,
    Like so many others, I thank you for posting this. I can not claim to miss your Dad as much as you and your Mother, but I miss him a lot. This helps, at such a sad anniversary, for us to see you and your family in such happy, good days. I just finished going through his blog posts from the beginning, because I started late. I would only read one a week to savor them more. Therefore, this post of yours was a great and pleasant surprise.

    Also, great to see the Saint Christopher getting much deserved attention. You ARE maintaining the legacy! We would love to see what neighbor John has done with “The Reject”.

    Thanks, and Bless you and your Mother.

  98. Thanks, for sharing.You were fortunate to have what every child should have,a dad and mom who love you.I looked forward to your dad’s articales. Thank you for sharing these memories.

  99. Bill I only knew you Dad thru his magazine articles. But they seemed to me like when he was writing them it was like you where there with him and he was teaching you how to do whatever the story was about. I lost my Dad on Feb.15,2019. And just the other day I was replacing the radiator on a Jeep that I restored form him a few years ago. Well the radiator was not the right width like they said it was. I thought since I’m going to sell the Jeep anyway I’ll just use a couple of zip ties and it’ll be fine. And that’s when I heard my Dad’s voice in my head. Roy that’s not how I taught you Do it the right way. So I made a small bracket to make up the distance and it was fine. My Dad learned how to cut hair when he was in the U.S. Navy and he cut mine from birth till I was 16.

  100. Thank you for doing this really enjoyed getting these from the start will miss reading and seeing all the history photos.

  101. Thank so much Bill and Sabrina. I am pretty sure that Pat did not know how much he meant to many of us. I value the few moments of conversation that I was able to have with him at the Roc. By the way, you may posses more of your Dad’s way with words than you know. Excellent post.

  102. Bill, Thank you for sharing these picture of your family. I first met your father at the Street Rod Nationals in St. Paul, he always had time to say hi and talk for a few minutes. I do miss his articles like everyone else, hopefully you can find time to continue his web page.
    Thank you again,

  103. While sitting with my first cup of coffee this morning and going through the email, I was surprised to see your father’s name show up. It took me a minute to realize what I was reading and then, I was totally engrossed in the story you were telling. I never met your father, but his writing added so much to my life. When he was able to write freely and without restrictions, his work became even better than the stories in the magazines. I’ve always thought of Pat Ganahl as special. Now, thanks to you and your wife, I’ve been privileged to see just how special he was and how much he has influenced us.

    By the way, when my daughter wrecked one of my car’s, I can guarantee you that I had nowhere near the “Cool” factor that your father had.

  104. Like thousands of others I never met your dad in person but loved his writing and getting his e-mail stories always made my day.

  105. THANK YOU so much for this post. I am 68 years old and have read or saw most of your dads work since I was a kid. I so looked forward to his every post . I was shocked and saddened when I heard he passed. Then nothing. When someone is sort of a narrative of your life , you miss them. Cars are my whole world. I have really no other interests. Since. I was a kid up until now. I still own and operate three lots and two shops. I understand the passion. Your father could communicate the passion. When he just.. disappeared from my screen, it left a void. I have been reading this man since 1968

  106. been thinking about Pat for sometime and just got this in my in box. BRAVO and thank you for your words and kindness (obviously, something you picked up from him as well). Look forward to more sharing should you be so inclined. Based on the responses you got here, you have fans and your own talent too!
    Again, Thank You!

  107. You are a fortunate man to have had a Dad (and Mom) to guide you so well in life. Your Dad was an exceptional person and it shows in what you have accomplished already in your own life. We each only have a number of days on this planet and he didn’t waste many. Thank you for writing this,

  108. Thank you for sharing these stories I have followed Pat’s stories and pictures thru the years Having his Hot Rod books I have truly enjoyed
    Thanks again

  109. What a nice surprise to get and read this heartfelt story. You have a lot of wonderful memories. Good luck on continuing in your dad’s footsteps. Thanks for posting this.

  110. I read your Dad’s stuff for years, and also bought the video he did on the 58 Chevy. Living in Pennsylvania, I never met him, but felt that I knew him. I was sorry to hear of his passing. This coda was a proper tribute to him. Thanks for sharing!

  111. Greetings Bill, I would like to thank you for this. Although I never met your dad we did some Emails.He was a great guy and we miss him terribly. All the best. Jim Snow

  112. Thank you both for sharing your memories and photos. A true tribute to your Dad, I’m sure he is very proud and happy with what you have done in his memory. Be well, and treasure the times you had with your Dad!

  113. I wrote to your dad when I was a kid back in the 1970s and he was writing for Street Rodder Magazine. He even put my letter in the magazine. It totally made my day.

    I wrote to him more recently (2 years ago maybe) and he wrote back again. I never got to meet him but I bet we would have gotten along.

    I miss seeing his writing and getting this column in my in box. He was a legend in my eyes for sure.

    I know this sounds morbid but he went out of this life the best possible way he could…doing something he loved to do. Reminds me of how Dale Earnhardt left us back in 2001.

    Mr. Ganahl you were truly a one of kind…thank you for sharing your life with all of us.

    RIP Pat Ganahl

    Thank you also Bill and your mom too for keeping his memory alive.

  114. Wow,
    So poignant and from the heart. I’m had the pleasure of meeting your Dad at an event in the USA but I’d been a ‘fan’ of his writing from many years ago as I bought many of the magazines and books he contributed to with his writing and observations on the rod & custom scene.
    For someone like myself living in the UK, it meant a great deal to see and read about what was going on in the home of rodding and customizing and how he commented on the automotive scene in all its’ different forms.

  115. Thank you for sharing Bill. Writing was obviously another skill you picked up from your Dad, so I hope you indulge us further with other episodes of the blog in the future.
    I met Pat several times, but we never engaged and I like many others found him aloof although I respected his need to have time out to take in events etc without being pestered for who he was. Speaking of respect I have always had the utmost admiration not just for Pat’s literary ability, but also for his passion to record and maintain our hot rodding history.
    Thank you for continuing that love for our hobby.

  116. A beautiful tribute to a generous man. I only ever knew of your Dad as the architect of so many great hot rod narratives (and some great how to articles) until in the early days of the pandemic I read one of his blogs about model building and sent him an email with some pictures. I never expected to get a personal response showing interest and a request for more pictures! And then a feature of my work by the legend that is Pat Ganahl. We stayed in touch and I looked forward to more ongoing interactions and perhaps a chance to meet in person one day. He expressed deep interest and asked probing questions that you made you feel like you were the most important thing in his day. Was devastated by the news but I love the way he lives on through your words and actions. A beautiful tribute to a generous man.

  117. I knew of your Dad for a long time via magazines, and rod runs….when he told me his was writing the article on my 40 coupe, in the 4th issue of The Rodders Journal, I asked him if I could read it before it was published….Ha big joke, Pat told me that no one proof reads his articles and I could read what he wrote at the same time as everyone else did, I thought at the time that was a bit harsh, but after it all turned out, I was proud that Coonan had him write the article…Pat had my instant respect….I miss him, and a lot of the ol car nuts are dieing out….we need you to follow in your dad’s footsteps, so we have a brighter future for our kids….

  118. Wow Bill.
    That was a great read!
    Like you, I was lucky enough to be brought up with a Father who was into hot rods amongst other things. He ALWAYS accepted me wanting to be around and took me everywhere. Seems we both were very lucky!

    I looked forward to your Dads monthly stories probably more so than any other piece of reading I get. I would always forward them on to my Dad as well.

    My Dad and myself, with a couple close friends, would attend the LA Roadster show every year for years untill health got in the way. I’m lucky enough to still have my Dad around and now, instead of working in the shop, he brings dougnuts and tells stories to the fellas.

    A couple Fathers Days ago I wrote a letter to him. It said quite a bit but the bigger point was this:

    As a young boy/man, you are always trying to seek the “approval” of your Dad and make him proud.
    I feel now that I no longer have the need to seek that approval.
    I know I have it and he is proud. I wanted him to know that beacuse I believe its a reflection of how he and my Mom raised me.
    And even though I say that, I will still always secretly be trying to make him proud… Because thats what we do.

    Your Dad is proud my friend. Very proud.

    See you soon.
    Scott Booth
    Wicked Customs\So-Cal Speed Shop Canada

  119. Thank you SO much for sharing this look into you and your father’s close relationship and how, without you even realizing it, he brought you up in his image – and there ain’t no problem with that result at all!!!
    I sure hope this isn’t a tease, and that you will continue in his footsteps and share his and your experience with us and delve into his vast library to offer us insights into the founding and growth of our hoppy/industry.
    Think of it as an impetus to delve into that library and use it as he would have done to be our resident historian – with insight and joviality mixed in.

  120. Bill,
    Thanks for showing all of the wonderful family pictures, you were lucky in the lottery of life, having such fine parents as Pat and Anna. And as I told Anna on the phone, you have rewarded them, with being the person you are. A rare combination of immense talent, good business man, and a great speaker like your Dad. I can only imagine the life adjustment your whole family is going through, as it has left a void in many of our lives. It would be hard to calculate the amount of people Pat influenced with his writings, and opinions, but it would be a large number.
    Thanks again.
    Marty Strode

  121. Hi Bill,
    Thanks for your words and photos of your dad, your mom and you as a small person. I do miss Pat’s columns, and know that he had enough memories, photos and words to fill another 10 or 15 years.
    Many years ago my brother-in-law Bob Golden and I bought Pat’s old MIG welder with some far-fetched plans to weld something automotive. It never happened. I’d like to return it to you in the hope that you could pass it on to someone who could fool around with it and learn something, maybe accomplish something. I’ll come by the shop one of these days.
    Very Best Wishes,
    Phil Linhares

  122. Bill,
    Thank you for sharing this with all of us. Your dad had been a household name between my dad and I. My dad was an early riverside hot rod kid so he related to your dad’s articles. I wrote him once thanking him about an article he wrote in his blog about Freddie Edsel’s 32 Tudor out of riverside and was blown away that he took the time to respond personally as if we had known each other. I was finally fortunate to meet him at the RPM drags at Barona and soaked up every word he said. From the minute I saw him driving his roadster into the track I knew I had to go shake his hand. We talked about his early years with his chevy sedan and his beautiful roadster. The pride he had for you ,Bill ,was immense. Thank you Ganahl family for sharing Pat with us.
    Ken Mork

  123. Wow! What a great tribute to your Dad. I’m just another one of the thousands of fans of your Dad and his work. I felt privileged to receive his blog online after reading so much of his work in print. The photos have given us all that much more insight as to who he was and how much he meant to you and your Mom. I think there would be a huge audience for a compilation of his work, a big job for sure but it’s a thought.
    Thanks for doing this, it means a lot to so many of Pats fans.

  124. Hello Young Master Gandhl!
    Master may perhaps sound odd.
    But it was my Patriarchal Grandmother would address me, as a Postal Address for a Happy Birthday card.
    She was Family.
    And your dad was my extended family, as I subscribed to Street Rodder.
    And I would turn the pages, wondering what this was, what that was.
    I wanted to learn about Hot Rodding.
    My first car was a 1963 MG Midget.
    I put plenty of money into it.
    I wish I still had it.
    That was when I lived in Marin County, California.
    My family moved to Missouri when I was 19, and I just couldn’t take it with me.
    My self education of Autos didn’t stop!

    Your Article is well written of the days of you with your dad.
    Thanks for sharing

    And please continue with this media.
    I am Convinced You Can!

  125. Bill
    You wrote a great tribute to a very special man to all of us in the car hobby. I was fortunate to meet him once at model car show in the bay area. It was great to learn that the editor of Hot Rod built models too! I always loved that his editorials, articles, and this blog were like conversations with me the reader.

    You did not include my favorite picture of you playing with Hot Wheels on the trailer probably at a nostalgia race. He included it in an article in The Rodders Journal.

    I came across the blog late in the run, but every time one appeared in my inbox, I read it immediately. It was a pleasant surprise to find this one tonight. Thank you for writing it.

  126. Aloha Bill , that was a real cool , from the heart piece , Pat & I always got on well , he seemed to like what I was doing at Limeworks Speedshop & always repeated the story of the F100 steering box I gave him for his Roadster was like new , ha ha , I was glad I could help . It is refreshing to see you carry on your Dad’s Hot Rod legacy , “Too Tall ” would be Too Proud .
    Best wishes from Hawaii
    ( Limey ) Steve Dennish .

  127. I just read the blog and want to say thanks , your writing style is very similar to your fathers , and that’s great, I also want to thank Sabina for her help with the story’s , they came out right about the time that all the car magazines stopped , and filled a huge void for me , and I’m sure many others as well ,I was always happy when I received the email that there was a new coloum -blog , and miss it greatly , if either one of you or both ever feel like the occasional pics or story that would be awesome , and I’m sure there are still thousands of pics that never got shared ,thanks again and Godspeed Pat

  128. The ABSOLUTE BEST MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION Article i ever was able to subscribe to. Pat Ganah’s article was a wonderful moment to experience in a month of emails. Thanks so much for this presentation and lifeline to the days before & during the magazines we all found a way to buy and collect while we found a way to have a car or body of one like the ones we saw in the magazines of your dads’ Pat’s best times. I am 81 and just about finished my 2nd 32 Ford, this one a roadster. Its taken 18 yrs for various reasons but the articles your Dad sent each month for the last couple of yrs that i was able to subscribe kept the flame burning a little hotter. So glad you have found your newest talent. You have a very broad horizon to work with. We all wait eagerly for anything you can send…D.J.Cummings aka Doc James 50 yrs of pin striping and lettering..

  129. It is as much impact now as it was a year ago to learn Pat was gone. His contribution on the documentation of hot rodding is immeasurable, but his legacy is the memories he left for the many he interacted with.

  130. A lot of times the fuzzy, slightly out of focus family photos are later seen as clean, clear and crisp memories. Thanks for sharing your dad with us.

  131. Thanks so much Bill for sending this loving tribute to your father, he was a special guy. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree, as you have a way with words yourself. I think t would be wonderful if you would continue this column in Pat’s honor. I always looked forward to receiving a new one to see what adventures in hot rod archeology and history it would present. All the best to you.

  132. Loved your recollections of your dad. My dad shaped my life by buying
    me Hot Rod magazine in 62, when I was 12, started my love affair with cars and especially early Ford V8. Had my first 36 when I was 15 after having to disassemble and reassemble a 21 stud V8 engine. Lost dad in 66, but each month he bought home a new Hot Rod magazine. To this day I am not sure why Hot Rod, but it certainly shaped my life. Amazingly, as I live in Australia, I met your dad on a couple of occasions, loved his posts and even responded to a couple of them. I met you when you were working at Roy’s shop, which I have visited almost every year since meeting Roy and bringing Roy to Oz in 88. Please keep your dad’s site alive and continue to post things he had prepared or what you can prepare. History must be preserved.


  133. Thank you so VERY much. I can really relate to everything you said and I enjoyed reading this. You have a true talent for writing.
    I casually met your dad many years ago at either a rod and custom type show or the Pomona Swap Meet where I was a vendor/seller at both events.
    Steve Rinne
    Burbank, Ca.

  134. I did not know your Dad personally, but, I sure did appreciate and like the way he could carry on a story and make it almost sound like you were there. Your are to be commended for the time you and your family have gone to to honor and respect your father. I am sure you would have made him the happiest father for this declaration of love.

  135. Bill, I wish to add my thanks to all those other heartfelt expressions given by those friends and readers who knew your dad either in person or through his decades of magazine editing and writing, be it Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, The Rodder’s Journal or his own special, outstanding semi-retirement regular feature editorial blog, “Pat Ganahl’s Rod and Custom,” and pass them along to you and your family members for his job well done and for his good and noble life lived well. Your dad made our world a happier and better place because he was a part of it- and it has been written long ago that to live on in the hearts they left behind is not to die. I know your father and mother must have been doing something right to have raised a son of your caliber and depth to have written such a fine tribute for all of us to enjoy and remember him; and I’m certain they both will remain forever proud of you. I will also encourage you to keep writing and to remain well rounded in all of the things he taught you, and in all things you enjoy doing in this worldly life. I believe you share your dad’s unique perspective and human depth as he revealed in his many excellent articles he shared with countless others, grounded through a loving family. We Car Guys miss your dad’s enthusiasm and many talents and the joy he brought through his published writings, thoughts, stories and memories shared. Yet the best way we can all pay tribute to his life is to take all of his caring and fun-loving enthusiasm and expertise and pass them on freely to others. Godspeed Bill- our very best wishes for your continued happiness and success in all of your endeavors.

    Though your father’s smile is now lost to our sight, to memory he will remain forever dear.

  136. I miss all his stories and pictures, and read them since I was a teen and am now 55 , the world lost an icon and a vast library of knowledge , R.I.P. Pat

  137. That was a very nice storyline of your Dad that many of us never knew. You’re right , it’s hard to believe that it’s been a year. But when I look back at the year it makes me think about all of the events and places that I would usually run into him , GNRS , Famoso , LARS , Pleasanton, Nitro Revival and the BrushOff pinstriper party . Especially the pinstriper party where we would sit and talk about just about everything except cars and pinstriping ! He will always be missed, thanks to you , Sabina and your Mom for sharing this heartfelt message.

  138. I met your dad quite a few times, and for a magazine writer/ journalist, he was pretty quiet…. until he go to know you. I used to do lots of automotive wiring, and donated wiring stuff to a few “ projects “ your dad was involved with ( mostly in the Rod & Custom days). I was at an event once and saw him, and talked for a minute, and some other enthusiasts recognized him, and I remember at least one of them called him a “ legend “….. I don’t think he was comfortable with that, but to these guys, and me, he was. Maybe I’m weird, but not many people “ impress “ me… buy your dad definitely did! I was honored to have gotten to know him just a little, and had enormous respect for him. I just wish I could tell him that in person.

  139. Thanks for sharing. I miss Pat’s blogs very much. He certainly had a talent for writing. I wrote a couple of articles for Pat while at Street Rodder, and he wrote an article about my 32 Ford in Rodders Journal #15. We also shared a passion for 6-cylinder Chevys. Your family is blessed to have had him in your lives.

    George Jezek
    Waco, Tx.

  140. Nice job Bill, your Dad would be proud….you proved “The Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. I never had the pleasure of meeting your Dad, but I felt like I knew him through the many Hot Rod Adventures he wrote about and I devoured! He TRULY made our world a “Better Place”.

  141. Thank You so much Bill for this wonderful email. When I first saw the sent from – I about froze with a what the…Needless to say you are a wonderful writer. It would be nice if you did stories on a regular basis. I would look forward to reading them. Hard to believe it has already been 1 year.

    sincerely, Gary Erickson

  142. Bill, Thanks so much for continuing the legacy. At 77, I had decided my building days were over and I would kick back and enjoy my Model A. Then your Dad posted the Corvette model he did back in 1981, I believe, with the intent of pitching the idea to GM. And so I walked out to the shop and looked at the 80 Corvette woefully abused and neglected for at least 10 years. Scratched around and found and old Super Bell Axle assembly and sure enough I have one more build in me. I’m not a speed demon anymore so I’m expecting to finish about my 80th birthday. I do have the tube front sub-frame in place along with the axle assembly. I was still in my twenties when I made my first trip to Cali in the mid 70’s. I broke down in a 64 Riviera about a mile outside Bakersfield. This lanky guy stopped to see if I needed help, drove me back to a mechanic he knew and got me headed toward repair and on the road again. It was several years later I figured out it was your Dad. So, having said all this, should you ever decide to auction/sell that Corvette model, I would love to have an opportunity at it. Owning the inspiration for probably my last “big” build would be awesome. Miss his monthly musings and again, thanks for keeping the name “actively” alive. Ron Crumpler, Murphy, NC

  143. I had no idea that Pat had died. I’m sorry for your loss, Bill and family. What a touching story. What a nice family! Thank you for the opportunity for Pat’s readers to get peeks in the back door of the earlier days of rodding & customs. Mark

  144. I started reading car magazines when I was eight years old. When I first read one of Pat’s stories in the 60’s I felt like I knew him. Later on I looked forward to his stories in Rodder’s Journal! I have saved everyone of his blogs. I felt like I had lost a good friend, when I heard about the accident! Thanks for writing this! I had a gearhead Dad that shaped my life,too.

  145. Bill … you are the product of both your mom and dad and I might add an amazing presentation. Having a dad like Pat can be both a blessing and a “large” pair of shoes to fill. You’ve done well and some may say you’ve traveled the road you were intended to travel. It’s always best when the son clears his own path and you’ve done it admirably.

  146. Thanks for sharing these memories with us Bill. You can be proud of the fact that you are a living tribute to your dad while still being your own man. I will always be grateful to him for telling my daughter that she had absolutely nailed the look with her ’55 Chevy when she showed it for the first time at the GNRS. The sense of pride it give her to get your dad’s approval was tremendous. I hope those rusty old Olds Fiestas are still hanging in his garage.

  147. Thanks so much for providing your wonderful tribute to your dad (and to your mom as well). It’s so nice you shared this with us. I looked forward to reading all his posts after I “subscribed”, and fortunately saved them all so I can continue to read them. He had a real gift in writing stories of hot rodding and cars that were fascinating to read. I didn’t much like history in high school, but I absolutely loved his historical narratives on cars and people who built and enjoyed them! Thanks to your whole family for providing this for us.

  148. Such a wonderful article and tribute to your Dad. I will always remember the time I talked with him. It was the early 80’s at the Street Rod Nationals in St. Paul, MN, I saw him walking past and stopped him to say how much I enjoyed Rod & Custom magazine. As we talked he asked if I had a car there and I told him I did, a 1940 Ford sedan, but it was far from finished and probably not done the best. He stopped me and said not to worry about what others might think because I was just starting out in the hobby and it was an accomplishment that I had driven my car to the event. He said to stick with it and always improve your skills. His words meant the world to me. Over all those years until today I have had many hot rods and customs, I believe each one was always better than the previous project. I have never forgotten our talk and have always encouraged people with their projects. I hope my encouragement has help others half as much as your fathers words meant to me. I cannot image how many people he encouraged and helped over the years. Here’s to Pat, a true car guy, a true gentleman, and a true hot rod legend.

  149. I had no idea that Pat had died. I’m sorry for your loss, Bill and family. What a touching story. What a nice family! Thank you for the opportunity of getting peeks in the back door of the earlier days of rodding & customs. Mark

  150. What a wonderful surprise to find this. I have missed your Dad’s blog so much. I just turned 70 and have read his work most of my life. He was much more to so many of us than just one more automotive writer. Thanks for keeping the legend alive.
    Gary L Krueger
    Long Beach, MN

  151. Thanks for the stories and photos, Bill. And my condolences for your dad. By the time I started regularly reading Street Rodder as a teen in 1980, Pat was already “lore”, and I would gradually see more of his writing and photography over the years in Hot Rod and Rodder’s Journal and books, and eventually through email. Absolutely my favorite car writer. I met him once at the Goodguys show in Pleasanton, and he was as friendly as anything, talking with me for about five minutes before I apologized for keeping him and let him go off to meet whoever he was going to see. But he was a real car nut who was apparently happy to stop and talk cars with any other fellow enthusiast. It came across in his writing, and was what made reading him so fun – he was just as much a geek as any of us readers, and probably more. I think I saw him again for a few minutes a couple years later at the Rodder’s Journal booth at Pleasanton. I wish I’d had a chance at some point to really geek out about cars and models, but I’m also sure that he had no shortage of friends to keep him busy with that as it was.

    Your father was a real treasure to the hot rod community and I’m sure you know that he is quite missed.


  152. Thanks Bill & Sabina for sharing those wonderful memories. I am proud to say I got to contribute to a couple blogs. I always looked forward to reading them!

  153. Thank you for sharing the true meaning of a good life , family values and smiling . Remember everything now , time has a habit of fading even the best of memories . I grew up in San Pedro and would run into your father every so often and , he always had a kind word . Once again thank you , I too will always remember your father in the best way possible , a Good Man .

  154. Hi Bill, I was with Marty Strode today at a memorial for Al Drake, our NW hot rod
    historian and avid book author. He told me that it was a year today. Earlier this year
    I had a chance to drive up the road a ways from my Salem home to a race track near us
    to photograph a friend running his ’62 Vette. I was all packed with camera gear and suddenly I just could not go. Your dad and I met in a field in Tulsa at the Street Rod Nats some where in about ’75. I was there shooting for Tex and we looked at each other with our cameras out and we both smiled. Not competitors really, just doing what we loved to do. The last time was in Santa Maria with your mom a few clicks ago. My son and I still do car stuff together. The first words he spoke was Vrrom Vrrom . I do a calendar every year and for ’23 your dads ’32 was in the Jan. slot. I thought I mailed you one but I am not sure. I did write and say that I gave your dad a video of his showing me the roadster on his first outing with it at Billy Vinthers house during the LA Roadsters in June.
    Hopefully you may run across it.

  155. Thanks for the touching words and photos. Pat was a ledgend in the hot rod world, and obviously much more in his personal life. I always felt like I knew him from his writing, even though we’d never met. You were blessed to have such a man in your life and can be proud to have his name.

  156. Bill….what a wonderful and touching tribute to your Dad.

    You probably don’t know this, but he was very instrumental (perhaps the single biggest influence) in my 45 year magazine writing career. We also very much shared our interest in model cars.

    Like so many others I was shocked and tremendously saddened by the events of a year ago. Your post here feels like a bit of closure for me too.

    Thanks so much and the very best to you and your Mom….TIM BOYD

  157. I am one of those random people who emailed Pat, and whom Pat took the time to respond to. Thank you for taking the time to post a final blog- it couldn’t have been easy task, but it is greatly appreciated.

  158. Beautifully done. I miss your Dad, loved his stories and saved all the emails he did. Who can possibly take his place……………maybe you, Bill.
    Paul Sturtz

  159. Thank you for sharing. I looked forward to the newsletter everytime. Best wishes to you and your family. 🙂

  160. Being a legend in the world of hot rodding is good but being a great husband and dad is winning!
    Thanks Bill, for showing a different side of Pat.

  161. Very nice! I am cuurently rereading my complete set of rodders journal and it’s amazing your dads depth of knowledge in the trivia of Rodding. The photos made me smile , yu and your dad were friends, it’s really an important distinction.

  162. Bill,
    You don’t know me. I can’t thank you enough for posting.

    Have always followed your Dad’s writing especially after his bringing back R&C magazine. Always appreciated his hands on approach and the level of perfection he achieved in his projects.

    I have missed his presence a lot. Again, thank you for this post. It is very much appreciated.

  163. I got to know your Dad through the interviews and information provided when you were building the Bill Breece ’32 clone. A class act all the way! He surely passed on his work ethic and attention to detail to you. The world is a better place for him having been in it!

  164. Although I never met your Dad I feel I knew him. I saved his posts from 1-8-20 till the last and go back and read them from time to time. Thanks for sharing him with us.

  165. Thank You for sharing these story’s.
    We were all saddened by Pats passing, but we are all the richer for having known him, if only through the pages of countless magazines an He’s recent volume that strived to keep out passions alive.

    My condolences to your mother, wife and your self, and to the legions of readers your dad touched.

  166. Bill thanks so much for the trip down memory lane and sharing some incites into the Gahnal family. Weather you realize it or not you inherited another of your dads attributes, the ability to communicate through the printed word. Thanks so very much for sharing “to tall” with us.

  167. It is hard to believe it’s been a year, harder still to believe he is gone. Your dad has always been a “larger than life” part of hot rodding, hence the “too tall” monicker. Your a lucky man to have had your dad to guide you and let you think it was all your idea. Bill, the pain will fade, there will always be a hole in your heart. In time it will be full of memories, like I said as the pain fades. All the best to you and your family. You have been and will be in our prayers.

  168. Your Dad did a good job being a Dad. Your tribute is wonderful, sincere and something that would make your Father proud. As a Dad, and someone who grew up in the 60s building cars, and reading Hot Rod, R&C etc. and in later life Rodders Journal, I became very familiar with your Dads writing. Never met him, but was exposed to his views through his writing. After his “retirement” I subscribed to his on line “journal” and looked forward to each new release. You did a wonderful job of expressing your love and appreciation for your Dad. I hope you continue to keep the tradition of online monthly blogs on cars and life. Thank you for your efforts

  169. Thank you so much for sharing !
    I miss my dad too so much. I wish I had the chance to ask more questions of everything he was trying to teach me.
    Your dad sounds like an awesome person and your lucky to have such an awesome dad.
    I love this article ! Thanks again for sharing !

  170. Thanks so much for sharing your memories. I worked with Pat at Petersen. A kind and interesting person and an encyclopedia of car culture. Pam King/Middleton

  171. Hello Bill.
    Thank you for keeping your Dad’s name going through this site.
    Pat was truly one of a kind and his loss is felt every day in our Hot Rodding community.

  172. Beautifully written, and very well said. He will remain a part of my wife Stevie and my life for as long as we live.

  173. Love your Dads work. I have read his articles, bought his books and appreciated his photography and interest in keeping the gear head culture alive. God bless all of you. He will be sorely missed. Keep the faith.

  174. I’m so glad you followed thru with this edition. You can have no way how welcome Pat’s stories were and are. There is , unfortunately, a lot of phoney-ness in the Hot Rod world. Pat was genuine and I sense you are too. I hope you can find time to continue your story and share with us. It will be greeted with joy. Jer in Turlock

  175. Bill,
    So beautifully written and heartfelt mate. Your story resonates with me greatly of the father & son relationship. I really appreciate all the time Pat gave me at car shows or on email. He was incredibly proud of you mate. We are all incredibly proud of you with your achievements and also your handling of his memory and legacy. I think of you and your Mom and also those near and dear to you alot.
    RIP Pat and all the best to the Ganahl family and friends.
    Greg Stokes
    New Zealand

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