Bill Boren

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Bill was fascinated with aircrafts at an early age, and he enjoyed building simple model airplanes. This photo shows Bill and a friend with their airplanes. Bill is the kid on the right. Photo from The Bill Boren Photo Collection.
In 1941, when Bill was 14 years old, there were opportunities for his parents to earn much better money in the rapidly expanding defense industry in Southern California, so the family moved out West. Living in California sparked Bill's interest in hot rodding, and this photo shows one of Bill’s early gow jobs. A flathead V-­8 powered 1926 - ­1927 Ford Model T Roadster without the turtle deck. Photo from The Bill Boren Photo Collection.
A rear-end shot of Bill's gow job. Photo from The Bill Boren Photo Collection.
Bill next to a later iteration of the gow job. Now sporting a truck bed, this version did also feature a 1932 Ford frame, a homemade hood, and a 1932 Ford grille shell. Running as number “220” in the A-class, we believe this photo was taken in 1948. Photo from The Bill Boren Photo Collection.
A 1948 Culver City Screwdrivers group photo. Bill is the fellow on the top row to the far right wearing a striped shirt. Photo from The Bill Boren Photo Collection.
Ella Keldrauk in front of a mildly restyled 1940 Ford coupe. Bill was good friends with Ella’s younger brother Jerry. Jerry was also a member of the Screwdrivers, and Bill and Ella met at a Dry Lakes event. They started dating shortly thereafter. Photo from The Bill Boren Photo Collection.
A photo of Bill with his roadster pick up on the dry lakes circa 1948. The firewall has been dressed up with a painting of a screwdriver. Photo from The Bill Boren Photo Collection.
The timing tag from El Mirage July 24, 1949 shows that Bill achieved a top speed of 103.53 MPH with his roadster pickup. Photo from The Bill Boren Photo Collection.
A photo of Bill's Screwdrivers jacket from 2014. Photo by Karen Boren.
Photo by Karen Boren.

Bill Boren was born on August 2, 1927 in St Charles, Iowa. His parents, Fred and Gwendolyn, were college sweethearts. They met at Simpson College, where Fred was a football player and a big man on campus. Gwen was a beautiful and smart young woman.

Model building and a technical interest

Bill was an only child. He was fascinated with aircrafts and enjoyed building simple model airplanes. According to Karen’s brother Bob, Bill could fix anything. Cars. TV sets. Toasters. Computers. “This was a natural thing with him. When dad was about six years old, he took apart a clock. Grandpa was hopping mad, but dad put it back together by himself, and it worked.” Bill put together his first car when he was very young. It was built from junk parts, and he wasn’t old enough to drive it yet.[1]

Moving to California

While Bill was growing up, his father Fred worked as a high school teacher in Iowa. He was the football coach, and taught German, among other subjects. When the war broke out there were opportunities to earn much better money in the rapidly expanding defense industry in Southern California. Fred, Gwen, and Bill moved to Mar Vista, California when Bill was 14 years old. Bill went to Venice High School, and he had several jobs in addition to the school. One was at the Helms Bakery. He also spent time working for a roofer, and he worked at some of the Aerospace companies during the summers. He told Bob that he worked at Hughes Aircraft Company and Douglas, but he believes there were others as well.[1]

Hot rods

Bill graduated from Venice High in 1945. He spent some time at Santa Monica City College, and began growing an interest for hot rods. Fred didn’t last too long in the Defense industry. He ended up getting hired by the Unemployment Office in Torrance, and that drove him to move the family there. Gwen was working at North American Aviation during the war, and continued on afterward. Fred climbed the ladder at the Unemployment Office and was eventually running the place. Bill was drafted into the Army, where he became part of the occupation forces in Japan; “Dad spent a lot of time over there as an MP. When he came back home he was able to take advantage of the GI Bill. He attended college at USC’s School of Engineering.[1]

The Screwdrivers hot rod club

The Screwdrivers hot rod club of Culver City, California was founded in 1947. Karen is not sure when her dad joined the club, but she has a group photo from 1948 with Bill in it. It was during this time that Bill met his future wife Ella Keldrauk. “Dad was good friends with mom’s younger brother Jerry. Jerry was also a member of the club, and mom and dad met at a Dry Lakes event. They started dating shortly thereafter.” Bill and Ella both attended Venice High School, but they didn’t know each other back then.[1]

The drink or the tool?

Karen was always told the name the Screwdrivers was a reference to the cocktail, not the tool. She was also told that the club invented the drink; "I remember asking my dad if they really did invent the drink as I’d always heard, or if the name meant the tool, and he laughed and told me the name had nothing to do with the tool, it was a reference to the cocktail.[1]" In March of 2015, Ed Olson, another old Screwdrivers member, reached out to Karen and Sondre Kvipt. According to Ed, it was pretty clear that the drink was named after the club, not the other way around; "Some of the guys that started importing vodka from Germany introduced vodka to our local bar for him to carry and serve. Prior to that, vodka was rarely known in the US. The bartender entered the drink in the cocktails competition and won Best New Cocktail of the Year. He named his creation after the Culver City Screwdrivers.[2]"

Bill + Ella

Bill graduated from USC in 1953. The same year he and Ella got married. They moved into an apartment in El Segundo, and Bill started a long career at North American Aviation. Ella came from a very large family, and becoming part of the large Keldrauk family was a big change for Bill who was an only child. There were a total of eight brothers and sisters, and they liked to get together often. Bill fit in quickly and enjoyed being part of the Keldrauk clan.[1]

Jerry Keldrauk and Bill Boren's 1932 Ford Tudor Sedan

Bill continued racing at the dry lakes for a while, and he and Jerry owned a 1932 Ford tudor sedan together. Then there was an incident where the sedan caught fire at high speed, and Jerry had to dive out the window. That brought about the end of that phase in Bill’s life. At about that time Ella was pregnant with their first son Bob. It was time to settle down and focus on family and career. Karen Sue came along as the third child in the Boren clan in January of 1959. By then Bill had put his hot rod career on the shelf, but Karen remembers some of the stories he told her from his teenage days; "Dad had some great stories about running from cops driving cars that couldn’t keep up, but he did manage to get caught enough to get his license suspended at least once that I know of. We’d always laugh about that when there was a car chase on the news, can’t get away with stuff like that now," Karen chuckled.[1]

Camping and boating

After Bill put hot rodding and speed record chasing on the shelf, he became interested in camping and boating. He had a massive heart attack that almost killed him in 1969. He recovered well, but the doctors told him that he didn’t have that many years left to live. Bill changed habits that day. He quit smoking. Began exercising. Started on a diet, and went on to live a full and active life for almost five decades.[1]

Bill Boren's Cars

Bill Boren's Ford Model T Roadster Pick Up
Jerry Keldrauk and Bill Boren's 1932 Ford Sedan
Bill Boren's 1941 Ford Convertible



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