As Rick Chew, founder of this hot rod club explains in his written history of the organization, “I did not want this to be a club with bureaucracy and did not want this to be so organized that cones would have to be set up every morning, a 50/50 raffle ticket would take place, and music would be blasting in the air.” The La Cañada venue has none of those things — just a bunch of people who love cars getting together for a few hours on Saturday mornings.
Chew goes on to explain that back in 2001 he was attending the “Donut Derelicts” cruise club in Huntington Beach. “[It was] just a bunch of guys and an occasional gal with great cars and stories having a great time every Saturday morning,” he recalls. He would get up around 5 a.m. and drive the 60+ miles to Huntington Beach to get a decent spot. He would stay until around 8 a.m. and then drive back home. Chew enjoyed the peace of the morning and the relative traffic-free freeway, the cool air and the relaxing drive.
“It was a great way to start the day,” he said. He decided to investigate having a cruise club closer to his own backyard and discussed the possibility with close friend Bob Vacca. The meeting place had to have some kind of eating facility, a public restroom and it had to be nearby.
Chew made up a ‘make it happen’ flier and began attending local cruises and car shows, passing out his fliers. The first Early Rodders cruise was held in Goldstein’s parking lot in October 2001.