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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

The Santa Monica Gentleman's Club
and the Nitro Garage

By Tom Jobe and Don Prieto
Photo scan by Stan Weber

May 1967 Drag Racing Magazine cover featuring the Bandel Bros. and friend. Photo by Don PrietoThis picture of the Bandel brothers and the "Surfers 2" car we sold them was taken in the alley behind the "Gentleman's Club," next door to the Red Apple Motel garage where we worked on our car. Just as the picture was going to be shot of the Bandel brothers and the car, one of the lovely young ladies who worked at the club came by on her way into work. We asked if she might like to be in the photo. She graciously agreed. Also, if this picture was just a little wider on the right side you would see the water faucet where we "flow tested" all our fuel injectors.

Our garage was in this alley that ran right through the middle of the Red Apple Motel. The prominent local patrons of the "Club" slithered down the alley so as not to be seen by their wives or the respectable citizens of Santa Monica. These guys coming in and out of the club would see us working on our car and stop to ask only one of two questions, "How much did it cost?" or "How fast does it go?" We had a contest going amongst ourselves to see how far we could stretch the story; 300 mph was easy! But 600 mph was a tough sell. You couldn't BS'em too much on the cost since they were the guys who owned the whole town.

Tom Jobe

A little history on this cover shot. I had just gotten my Hasselblad and I showed up at the Surfers garage in Santa Monica to do this feature. We rolled the car into the parking lot next door and I shot the feature shots. I then looked for something interesting. The girl in the photo was walking by with the guitar under her arm. She was a waitress at the "Other Ball," a topless bar on whose property we were shooting. She sat for one shot and handed Richie Bandel the guitar to put behind the car. He assumed the pose and I pulled the trigger. She stood up, picked up her guitar, and left. No model release, no name, no nothing. Ralph loved the shot and put it on the cover. For you photo detectives, this is full frame two and a quarter transparency.

Don Prieto


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