The Strokers Origin Story by Al Howlett



In the early 1950’s many young men were owning their first cars that in most cases were used vehicles someone else had owned. Getting one of these old “jalopys” as they were sometimes called meant that the new owner needed to find ways to make it run better. A lot of the soon to be mechanics found that it was a much more fun if you got together with other like minded people to exchange ideas and maybe brag a little about your car.

This was the start of getting together occasionally in Galt’s Soper Park to meet with some of the other guys and girls. This was an early form of cruze in. At some point it was decided to form a club and obtain a shop or garage where the members could work on their cars and help one another. This was done and various club houses were used over the next 20 years or so.

Car racing in those days was talked about as you might imagine. Indianapolis, sports cars and above all else the stock cars that raced at Bridgeport or the CNE in Toronto. Those cars used “hop up stuff “ to make them go faster. Naturally some of this would rub off on those of us who only drove on the streets. We would try modifications and then challenge a buddy that my car is faster than yours. This led to illegal street match races that did not improve the public’s image of a “Hot Rod”.

Many of the Strokers members realized that something better needed to be done. Some Toronto hot rodders had also come to this conclusion and organized some drag races (as they were called) on an unopened section of the new highway 400. It was soon apparent that this would not last.

Three Strokers and a couple of Toronto guys got together and organized some drag races at the wartime airport, named Edenvale, near Stayner. Things didn't go well at Edenvale with the owners and the poor strip condition.

Next, three Strokers and one from Toronto went looking for something better at the former Kohler air strip near Cayuga. A deal was struck and this led to the Strokers deciding to build a club dragster. This race track is still in operation as the Toronto Motorsports Park.