Gene "Clean Gene" Sadoian

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A photo of Blackie and Amos Torosian with Blackie's roadster taken in Fresno, California in 1947. Gene was 14 years old the first time he saw Blackie in his cut down black hot rod in 1948. " The driver was a scary looking guy with cut off t-shirt sleeves. He looked at me and smiled. I saw gold leaf letters on the side of car—"Blackie". He did a burn out for me, I was forever hooked." Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
Gene at age 15 holding up the steering gear for Richard Shirinian's 1929 Ford roadster at United Automotive. Shirinian's dad owned United Automotive Works, which was a truck repair shop at 304 N Street in Fresno. "It was across the street from Tidewater Oil's main gas and oil delivery plant. His dad had a contract with them to keep their trucks running and maintenance services. That became my part-time job, wearing Richards coveralls, working from age 15-21 while attending school. Richard was in the Army, Motor Pool in 53-54, so I felt I obligated to cover for him." Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Photo Collection.
Richard Shirinian's dad, John, holding the windshield on Richard's roaster outside United Automotive. "Richards father Johnny, allowed me to keep the shop open after hours to service the trucks; then, after finishing, work on my '34 sedan. Some nights I would work on my 34 until 6 AM. School was secondary to having access to a hoist, gas, tools, and nuts and bolts. I am forever grateful to them," Clean Gene told Kustomrama. Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Photo Collection.
A photo of Gene with his 1934 Ford four-door sedan taken at United Automotive in 1950. Gene was 15 years old when this photo was taken, and his mother had just sewed up quilted door panels in Naugahyde chartreuse. Photo by Richard Peters, from The Clean Gene Sadoian Collection.
Inspired by Blackie Gejeian's 1926 Ford Model T Roadster, Gene's 1934 Ford was dressed up with a black paint job and plenty of chrome. This iteration was shown at the 1952 Oakland Roadster Show.
After attending the 1953 Oakland Roadster Show, Gene installed a 1950 Oldsmobile V-8 in the 34. He also painted it fire engine red and had Tommy the Greek dress it up with pinstriping. Other modifications included a fully chromed and louvered hood, nerf bar bumpers, and copper-plated Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels.
"My mother's 49 Ford." Viola Sadoian had a shoebox Ford that Clean Gene had painted black and installed a custom red and white interior in. He also had Bob Martin chrome the window frames. "I realize now how much my parents supported my Hot Rodding efforts," Gene told Kustomrama, adding that not only did his mother upholster his 34 Ford, she drove it when her car was not available. "One time while driving downtown, the four 97 carbs overloaded on her and caught fire. A noble gentleman stopped to help her remove the one-piece hood top. She remembered I had a fire extinguisher attached to the front seatback. He put the fire out." Photo from The Clean Gene Sadoian Photo Collection.
In 1956 Gene repainted his '34 black. The same year it received a Candy cold and red scallop paint job by "Screwy Looie" of Fresno.

Eugene "Clean Gene" Sadoian of Fresno, California.

"In 1948 I spent my weekly allowance of $.25 cents on a new monthly magazine called Hot Rod," Gene told Kustomrama in February of 2021. " In the 7th grade we had one hour of study hall. I put the magazine inside of my books and read about Fran Hernandez, Barney Navarro, and Bill Burke, building and racing on the salt, dirt and oval tracks. Hot Rodders had a bad image, so we had to hide images just as porno is now considered. Wally Parks wrote articles about illegal street racing, encouraging legal dragstrips and working with the police."[1]


"At age 14, while delivering Fresno Bee newspapers on my chromed up Schwinn bike; I heard a loud rumble, like I never heard before. I saw this cut down hot rod, black with two carburetors sitting so high they blocked the drivers view. The driver was a scary looking guy with cut off t-shirt sleeves. He looked at me and smiled. I saw gold leaf letters on the side of car—"Blackie". He did a burn out for me, I was forever hooked. The next day, I told my school mate buddy, Richard Shirinian, about it. He said that’s my cousin Blackie, I will take you out to his farm. Richard was the only one in Jr high with a car (38 2 door ford). When we arrived at Blackies farm on East Ave. he was working on his roadster. I started looking at the roadster when Blackie handed me a rag and a can of Brilliant Shine polish. I was in heaven seeing how it was put together while polishing the chrome rear end. I noticed his taillight wiring was covered with wired spiral metal. I studied his motor, and everything in the cramped interior. As we were ready to leave, Blackie jumped in the driver’s seat of Richard’s Ford, told us to get into the back seat? He took off dirt tracking in circles, then over irrigation furrows. Richard and I were trying to lay flat since we were hitting the ceiling. Finally I poked Richard, told him we should stop yelling maybe he would stop. Blackie’s last maneuver took out three rows of his fathers staked and wired grapevines. With that, we saw Blackies father running after us with a shovel. Blackie jumped out and started running with his father after him in hot pursuit. Richard and I jumped in the car and took off. Blackie never went home that evening."[1]

Gene Sadoian's Cars

Gene Sadoian's 1934 Ford Four-Door Sedan


  1. 1.0 1.1 Gene Sadoian


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