Hot rods, racing, hot rods, girls, hot rods and rock 'n roll were key ingredients that fueled the life of a teenager during the 1950's. The D.A. was the haircut of preference, and the nearest highway doubled as a drag strip in the middle of the night.

These are some of the fondest memories of a long ago time as a member of the Dominators Hot Rod Club out of Watertown, Massachusetts. We were city kids, from blue collar backgrounds, who were drawn together through a mutual craving for fast cars and fierce competition.

Often we got our kicks winning drag races against the best new cars Detroit had to offer. This is where the Dominators could show up the rich boys from the other side of the tracks, out for the night in daddy's new car. Especially fun was running them with a beat up old sleeper that looked like a boneyard candidate, but was radically souped up inside.

Several members also built machines specifically for drag racing that had much success winning trophies on New England's sanctioned strips of the day: Sanford, Maine; Orange, Mass.; Charlestown, Rhode Island; and The Connecticut Dragway.

This was the golden era of hot rodding. It was a simpler time, when a kid could turn hard work, determination, plus some ingenuity into the hot rod of his dreams, the pride and joy of his youth, something that would live in his memory forever. But, as you recall, those times, like most good things, had to come to an end. We grew up and some got married, or went into the service, or off to college and pursued careers to support all those new responsibilities.

Years later though, I sometimes longed to go back to those days, to go tooling in my deuce coupe just one more time. Then I would awaken from my daydream and realize it could never be.

Speed shift to 1988.

In early spring I read in the newspaper that one of my old club members passed away. We hadn't seen each other in over 20 years, and I wished we had remained in contact. This fired up the old memories all over again, thinking back to all the good times we had together.

In September of the same year, a couple of other former club members looked me up and invited me along to the Ty-Rods show in Hudson. I hadn't been to a rod show in years, but at this one, I noticed something that surprised me. The majority of the rods were owned by graybeards. I thought, "Oh, so it's alright for adults to drive hot rods now. Has the world changed that much?" My wheels started turning all over again. "I could have one more hot rod...and it would be alright!"

Next, I looked up as many old club members as I could locate, and Ray Murphy (club's first president), Win Murphy, Nick Makris and Chicki Maniachi joined me at my house for a Dominators reunion in January 1989. We had a ball, recalling funny incidents and specific drag races with rival clubs. There was also talk of how some of the missing members might be located.

My mind was already made up now, so at the party I announced to the others that I had taken lapse of my senses and was going to build one more machine. My project rod would be a 1933 Ford Cabriolet, and work began in March.

By 1994, my rod was still about a year away from the road. At the Ty-Rods show, four original members ran into a couple of younger guys named Paul Saulnier and Art Napolitano, who had grown up in Watertown and still recalled the early club roaming the streets back then. One thing led to another and before the day was over, the six decided to start the Dominators up again.

Our first meeting was held at the home of original member, Win Murphy, in January, 1995. As membership accelerated we soon outgrew his place and went cruising for a larger and more central location. After trying several restaurants, we finally settled on Riley's Roast Beef in Framingham. It had become our home base and is where we held our meetings, on the second Tuesday of each month. Riley's was one of the hottest cruise spots in the area, with show cars numbering over 300 on some Saturday nights. The meetings are now held at various restaurants around the Route 128 Belt.

The Dominators have new red (club color) jackets, similar to the earlier ones, but with a mild upgrade of the emblem on back. We have reprints of the original courtesy cards, T-shirts, nostalgia style car plaques, a newsletter written sporatically by member Bob Gamache, laminated member phone list wallet cards, a display banner, a calendar with each member's rod pictured on a different month. The club also has its own book entitled, what else: "The Dominators". This is the story of the early club during the years 1957 to 1962.

As of June, 2012, the club numbers 17. The officer's are: Clay Eastman, Acting President; Glenn Goddard, Treasurer; and Bob Gamache, Secretary. We have 12 meetings a year and pay $5 per month dues. Although our vehicle cutoff is 50 years old or earlier Street Rods & Customs, most cars are 1930's and 1940's type hot rods. There are approximately 20 street registered rods and some longing to be finished and bust out of their stalls. To view a list of our current members names and various rides, click the RIDES link at the top of the page.

The club has been active. Highlights were: a trip to the Syracuse, N.Y. Nats; the Nats East in York, Pa.; the Northeast Nats in Burlington, Vermont; the Summer Nats in Worcester, Mass. and the Downeast Run in Maine. We also took fall foliage runs to Rhode Island with a stop at an A & W Drive-in with carhops; to Keene, N. H. with the CTA group, including a stop at Gary's Drive-in where the carhops dug out on roller skates; Historic Deerfield Village; Quabbin reservoir; Rockport; and Bobby's Girl diner in New Hampton, New Hampshire. There has been an annual picnic at Waverley Oaks Park, as well as a year-end Christmas party hosted by the Lawsons.

The Dominators celebrated their 40th anniversary by running a car show, with other clubs invited, in Hopkinton in June, 1997. There were trophies, event T-shirts, dash plaques, give-aways, music, food, with a portion of the proceeds going to D.A.R.E.

Our club also tools up to Epping, New Hampshire in October where several members run down the quarter at the Nostalgia Drags.

Hot rods, racing, hot rods, wives, and rock 'n roll are key ingredients that fuel the life of an adult teenager in the new century.

Jack Brackett, Co-founder & Lifetime Member