Blackie Gejeian

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A photo of Blackie in his first hot rod. The photo was taken in Reno in May of 1946. His buddy Amos Torsian rides shotgun. Photo courtesy of the HAMB.
Bob Huffman's 1965 Chevrolet Impala is part of Blackie's collection.
A photo of Blackie taken at his 90th birthday June 24, 2016. Photo courtesy of the Fresno Bee.

Michael "Blackie" Gejeian (06.24.1926 - 09.02.2016) was born in Easton, California in 1926. He was of Armenian descent, and grew up on a farm.[1]


When he was around 12 years old, he started to drive his dad's car around the ranch. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the United States Navy and participated in World War II.[1]


Blackie

In 1945, after returning from the war, Blackie built his first hot rod, a 1926 Ford Model T roadster. Named "Blackie," it became the fastest car in Fresno. The black roadster would ultimately earn Blackie his well known nickname.[1]


Shish Kebob

After crashing the roadster in a race in 1948, Blackie turned it into a show car named "Shish Kebob." The "Shish Kebob" featured a chromed undercarriage, and Blackie is known for starting the tradition of placing a mirror underneath the car to showcase the undercarriage. In 1955 the "Shish Kebob" won the prestigious America's Most Beautiful Roadster award at the Oakland Roadster Show.[1]


Ala Kart

Around 1956 - 1957, Blackie helped Richard Peters build the chassis on the Barris Kustoms restyled Ala Kart. Once completed, the Ala Kart went on to win more than 200 trophies, and it took home the America's Most Beautiful Roadster award twice, first in 1958, and then again in 1959. Just like Blackie's "Shish Kebob," the Ala Kart did also feature a fully chromed chassis.


NASCAR

Blackie became a NASCAR dirt track champion five times.[1] He went on to become a promoter at Clovis Speedway for over two decades, from 1960 to 1980.[1]


Fresno Autorama

In 1958 Blackie began the Fresno Autorama. He ran the show for 51 years before retiring in 2010. After Blackie retired, the show ceased from occuring.[1]


Blackie Gejeian's Cars

Blackie Gejeian's 1926 Ford Model T Roadster
Bob Huffman's 1965 Chevrolet Impala


References



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