The Gear Grinders were founded in 1938. Jim Lindsley and several hot rodders decided to form a club and try to get others interested getting along with the local police and neighbors. As most in that era were new at cars and hotrods a meeting was called and the Bell Gear Grinders was founded in 1938. Not sure how many were in the club at first but the numbers grew in the next couple of years.
As they became more popular some of them started going to the drylakes and running their cars. In 1940 they joined the SCTA. Running at the lakes would be a challenge as there were only a few rules and
basically no safety requirements for the cars.
There were three drylakes that they ran on in the 1940’s including Harper, Muroc and El Mirage. El Mirage would be the final dry lake and continues to be today. There were several other clubs that ran at the lakes such as Rusetta also heavy into the speed trials.
In the early days only roadsters were allowed in SCTA, Coupes would be allowed several years later.Classes would have some lakesters and streamliners after the war years. As the sport grew and needs to go faster the SCTA went to Salt Lake and after much talking and agreements between The state of Utah and the racers they came to the agreement for one event in 1949. The event was such a success that to this day The Bonneville Nationals has become the event ( Speed Week) that is the one everyone wants to run and get a red 200 MPH hat.
Over the years the Gear Grinders have been a key player in the SCTA with helping keep the lakes and salt on their list every year to assure they are safe to run on and with the members filling the many positions needed to help run the events. Like all other clubs this is donated time and no payroll.
Many hours are still part of the clubs each year as well as assigned duties and positions required to make it happen. Over the years SCTA has run drags races, ‘11 and V2 mile as well as a couple of events in Mexico. With Speed Week and the World final at Bonneville and USFRA being the key users there are others that use the salt for special events, private time events and the all motorcycle event. The Mike Cook Shoot out is for FlA/FIM records only and only a small numbers of vehicles are allowed. This is a private meet.
The Gear Grinders are one of the largest clubs with over 120 members, There are 10 other clubs in SCTA that add support and duties to all events. SCTA has the longest printed magazine that all members get and can be bought at the sales trailer.
Looking back at the early members and todays membership it is awesome to have a club of this size and realize the numbers and how many set records over the years, some are amazing and outstanding to day. These speeds were thought to be unreachable but in true hot rod fashion has proven the world was wrong.
This club is amazing with some members with 70 years of membership. Having heard some of the stories in the early years is wonderful. The competition between clubs for the number one award is just nail biting and so close every year. Points and records is what each clubs strives for 6 times a year on a dry lake in Southern California from May to November.