Hooker Headers Skateboard

Hooker Headers Skateboard

5 years ago I found a weird looking board on Ebay. The wacky truck configuration and the fact that it was a promotional board for an auto parts manufacturer made me save the pictures. I just recently found an ad for Hooker Headers in the May, 1976 issue of Hot Rod that had a order form for the Hooker Headers skateboard, and amazingly enough, I was able to find those old pictures among the flotsam on my hard drive. It’s got a metal plate between the trucks, similar to the Flex-trol, but it also adds the ability to change your wheelbase on the fly. Hooker was positioning this as the “ultimate suspension system” for skateboards. Was it a way to build brand loyalty for kids to young to drive yet? I can’t imagine they had a longterm business model that involved skateboarding. Still, it was too expensive of a setup (manufacturing wise) to be purely promotional, especially considering that they offered three boards in two colors as well as the suspension system in two different configurations. Maybe someone at Hooker had a kid who skated. The brand is still around but it looks like it has been absorbed by Holley. You have to wonder if drag racer Bill Jenkins was pleased with having to share his ad space with a child’s toy. He received the nickname “The Grump” from his comrades on the track due to his no-nonsense attitude and general avoidance of chit-chatting with fellow racers.

UPDATE: Thanks to reader zeno01 and some scans from Matthijs we have a little more info on the origins of this board. See the Concrete Wave interview with Steve Alba after the advert.

Here’s the ad.

hooker1

Detail of just the order form.

hooker2

Here’s the ad copy:

Hooker has designed the ultimate high performance skateboarding equipment… Suspension Systems. That’s right. With a simple adjustment, Hooker’s suspension system can release the energy of a flex board or enforce the stability of a rigid board. And it allows you to change the wheelbase as often as you want without redrilling. It’s easy to install on any flexible board.

HOOKER TUNED FLEX BOARD has everything – fiberglass board, suspension system, double action trucks and urethane wheels.

Hooker FREESTYLE BOARD is the very popular performance shape with the curved tail and slightly upturned nose. It’s ready to skate with double action trucks and urethane wheels.

HOOKER BOARD is the great platform for all around performance. Urethane wheels and double action trucks are included and the suspension system can be added later.

hooker3

And because I assume everyone has the same level of OCD about this stuff that I do, here’s a detail of just the board.
hooker34

Turns out there was a real skateboarder involved wight the conception of this board. Here’s an excerpt from a Steve Alba interview in volume 4, number 1 issue of Concrete Wave, dating back to 2005.

salba-hooker

The Alba family has been supportive of both he and his younger brother Micke’s skating since the beginning. Shortly after the Cadillac wheels came out, Alba’s father suggested to his employer that they make skateboards as a promotional item. The result was an injection fiberglass Hooker Headers skateboard. “That was my first half-way decent skateboard. Micke and I both rode those. I still have one in the garage somewhere,” Alba said.

And so there you have it. Alba’s father must have been pretty persuasive.

And now for the Ebay pics of an actual board. Again, these are 5 years old, and I’ve long since lost the seller name and auction link. One selling point they neglected to mention, it looks like a pizza-grip type grip tape surface has been molded into the surface of the board.

Hooker Headers Skateboard

Hooker Headers Skateboard

There are multiple side and top shots, but unfortunately no straight shot of the bottom of board.

Hooker Headers Skateboard

Hooker Headers Skateboard

X trucks? Note the tension spring sticking out back.

Hooker Headers Skateboard

Hooker Headers Skateboard

Some nice “Universal Big Grabber” open bearing wheels.

Hooker Headers Skateboard

Hooker Headers Skateboard

Adjustable wheelbase in action. This thing must weigh a ton. Double stacked risers too. The owner must have been into wearing platform shoes.

Hooker Headers Skateboard

More tension spring action.

Hooker Headers Skateboard

Double action!

Hooker Headers Skateboard

Again, OCD in evidence, but for some reason I like this blurry shot of the tension apparatus.

Hooker Headers Skateboard

Bonus video of Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins at the 1968 NHRA Nationals.

7 Comments

  1. talentlessquitter on January 2, 2014 - Reply

    Yeah, wheelbase .., and stuff: http://skateandannoy.com/blog/2013/10/beercan-boards/

  2. all time find!

  3. Lee Falls Flyer on January 2, 2014 - Reply

    I had a set of Hookers on a Buick years ago. Damn good headers!

  4. Didn’t Salba’s dad work for Hooker Headers? I somehow remember him making a small mention of it in some interview (maybe in Concrete Wave?).

    • talentlessquitter on January 3, 2014 - Reply

      “The Alba family has been supportive of both he and his younger brother Micke’s skating since the beginning. Shortly after the Cadillac wheels came out, Alba’s father suggested to his employer that they make skateboards as a promotional item. The result was an injection fiberglass Hooker Headers skateboard.”

      CW Vol.4 No.1, Summer 2005

  5. And there it is. Thanks for finding it.

  6. Nice oddity. When I see ads like this I always wonder if some of these things made money or just received a bare handful of orders. An easily adjustable wheelbase is a neat idea (not sure how much practical use it would ultimately have). It could probably be done now with a lot less bulk…and there is probably a kickstarter for such a project

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