Kensington Maryland's Gasoline Alley


Kensington Maryland’s Gasoline Alley was a highly diverse, yet close-knit congregation of race car drivers, hot-rodders, and auto shops located in several rows of small warehouses behind the Kensington, Maryland, fire station. The rudimentary warehouses, first built in 1949, all had bay doors which made them perfect for car guys.

Numerous custom and specialized auto service and repair businesses were based in the Alley during the heyday of American hot-rodding, as were two of the Washington, DC, area’s most active and important hot rod clubs: the DC Dragons (in 1957 and 1958) and the Silver Spring Ram Rods (from 1962 to 1975).

Many individuals also called the Alley home; among these were some of the most innovative dragster, sports car, and stock car builders of the era, esteemed show car customizers, and successful race car drivers of every type. For several years in the 1960s, the Alley was also the only place on the East Coast between New York and Miami where one could buy a Ferrari.

Gasoline Alley is the story of the Alley and all its denizens. This story is presented in the context of what was going on in Maryland and the Washington, DC, metropolitan area from 1949 to 1975 in terms of auto racing and auto racing journalism, as well as more broadly.

Scrupulously researched and meticulously documented, Gasoline Alley is equal parts cultural and technological history and personal narrative and photo scrapbook. The book even includes a dash of aesthetic philosophy.

The readers of Gasoline Alley are treated to more than 800 black-and-white and full-color images of cars, events, people, art, and memorabilia. With only a few exceptions, all of the images in Gasoline Alley have been drawn from private collections that have never before been shared with the public.