Friday, December 3, 2010

As Promised

When I read the letter in the last post saying there was a car lot at this El Cajon Blvd. location called the "House of Hardtops", that stopped me in my tracks. I thought, how cool is that name? My mind started spinning with past names similar to that, "House of Customs", "House of Color" and "House of Coolness." OK, the last one I made up, but the other two were big hot rod magnets. Anyway, I had high hopes of finding and posting a image of the "House of Hardtops," alas with no luck.

This photo was taken about 1957 at the same corner of what appears to be "Esquire Motors," on the northeast corner of El Cajon Blvd. and Euclid. A tire store has occupied this location from about 1980.

Here's a line up of Chevys with one Pontiac and Ford stuffed in for good measure. Image by Howard Rozelle, via.

Well maybe it was the "House of Hardtops" before it became "Esquire Motors." However, I sure do like "H o H" a lot better. One thing I do remember, before I could drive, riding my fat-tired Schwinn past the car lot, smelling those real meat burgers sizzling on the grill at Oscars a few blocks away lofting through the air. So where was the House of Hardtops? If you can solve the question, post a comment.

Referring back to to last two post, the comments have been flying in.


  1. House of Hardtops - Fairmont and El Cajon Blvd. It was on the Southeast corner. I had a girlfriend whos father either worked there or owned the business. Euclid was further East by the movie theater.
    I'm not sure about how this posting a comment is supposed to be done having never done it before. Hope this works

  2. "House of Hardtops" was on the South East corner of Fairmount and El Cajon Blvd, the last time last I remember there was a Shell gas station on the spot.

    "House of Hardtops" was good lot to walk around drool on the cars, but MY favorite car lot was
    Height Motors on El Cajon Blvd at Texas St. They always had a good supply of Hot Cars and Vetts and sometimes a Porsche.

  3. Hey John, how about the Lotus/Facel Vega dealer at the corner of 55th and El Cajon across from the old Pernicano's Pizza? I remember sitting in new Lotus Elites, Lotus 7's and Facel Vega's with Chrysler V8s in them on that spot. Not to mention their used cars which included the occasional Porsche.

    I spent more time there than the H of H.
    Bob Gagnon

  4. guys remember more than me. I only remember where the food places were!

  5. Poster Anonymous said... Is Correct!

  6. Hate to go by Anonymous but I couldn't get the message off using any of the other stuff. I'm just not that familiar with anything other than very basic email. Name is Doug Henderson
    It sounds like you are into Porsche's, that must be the connection with Boxster Bob. As I recall he had a 1969 911E at one time. Had to be the lowest mileage Porsche ever built. I think he was waiting until he was old enough to get a drivers license (he is not as old as he looks). At one time I visited a place called Porsche Acres and picked up a couple of bucket seats for my 29 Model A. As I recall they were OK but a little high since the body had been channeled. When I later became a Porsche owner I had second thoughts about using those seats in a street rod. Way back then I was in the Globepacers Car Club out of Spring Valley. Real nice bunch of guys. I still have my plaque.
    Here is a flash of memory that just came to me, The Bean Bandits car. Set a record at Paradise Mesa Drag Strip of 153 MPH, can't remember the year, probably 57 or 58.
    You have some nice pics of Porsche's on this site. I got my first a a 67 912 in 67 then a 911T in 70, a 356 a couple years later. Had a 911 R for a couple years and finally sold my T after 19 years. Wonderful car. Way back then I was in the PCA, the days of Dennis Sherman in La Mesa, Dick Barbour in Grantville and Bob Brown out in Santee. There was Dieter Vonger I think the name was out in El Cajon near Greenfield. He had a Spyder at the time. Lots of good memories.

  7. Hey Doug,

    You have been around, that's cool and a 911R Wow, very cool! I'm sure I was in the P club when you were because I too remember all those guys. Hope you enjoy the blog and thanks for commenting.