Southern California car culture has its beginnings with many of the car clubs and hot-rod shops that sprouted up around North Hollywood and Burbank in the 1930’s. Ted Cannon (1916-1996) and his group of car buddies were dry lakes racers before and after WWII. A group fixated on land speed records notably at Bonneville and the Mojave, a feat that required clever engineering of new custom hot rods. His friend Jim Seely drove the race cars and after the war, Ted Cannon used his talent and engineering to design and build three cars, the MKI, MKII and MKIV known for innovation and clever automotive finesse that was always a tradeoff between strength, speed, weight and endurance. In the early 1950’s placing in the top finish results at Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines and Palm Springs against racing teams significantly better financed than Ted, who built from components and parts he could salvage and borrow.
The outgrowth of these guys and amateur racing formed the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) and the Throttlers Club of Hollywood who still hold the deep traditions of building and racing cars for the love of it. This group of guys who lived to race cars and motorcycles spent the next five decades hanging out at the shop that Ted built just a few blocks from the home where he grew up on Weddington Street in North Hollywood.
The building at 10921 Chandler Blvd in North Hollywood was
physically built by Ted Cannon and friends during the last years of WWII while he was the master toolmaker and engineer running the shop at Lockheed in Burbank crafting airplanes for the War effort. His clever use of materials and engineering led him to use a number of WWII glider struts as beams in the overhead rafters of the building. Look closely, they are all still there today.
Thru the decades, many, many aficionados in the world of racing have worked on their motorcycles, used it as a clubhouse and come to get the advice and just talk endlessly about cars and motorcycles at Cannon Engineering. In the 1960’s there was a crossover for Hollywood film actors who off camera rode and loved motorcycles, Lee Marvin, Steve McQueen and many others used the back-room as their unofficial shop to leave their bikes and
work on them, happy to be among guys who casually shared their knowledge and time.