Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Any Rod & Kustom guy, worth his salt, knows of Harvey's/Johnies's broiler in Downey, California. The Broiler is one of the most famous drive-ins on the planet. Located in the heart of Kustomland, it was frequented by the likes of Larry Watson, Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, Dean Jeffries, et al. It had been used as a used car lot for several years when, in January 2007, late on a Sunday afternoon, the man leasing it and/or the owner decided to begin an illegal demolition of this icon of Rod & Kustom history. The razing was halted when a concerned citizen notified the police. From that day on, things evolved, slowly at first & then surprisingly quickly. A group of Downey citizens & a die-hard group of Rod & Kustom guys banded together & fought to save this landmark. After a long & passionate fight, Big Boy Restaurants & Jim Lauder, the owner of the Torrance Big Boy stepped up & signed a lease for the property with a vow to restore the Broiler to it's original glory. After following this story online, since the demolition, I was absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to attend the Rod & Kustom cruise night at this amazing drive-in. This is truly a triumph for car guys & Americana fans everywhere & shows what can be accomplished with hard work & passion.