Lynn Hubbard, Memories Of A Ground-Breaking NSRA Lady Gearhead

We often run across stories of amazing people that have done great things, led amazing lives, and/or touched others in the hobby without receiving or expecting any fanfare. During our visit to last year’s National Street Rod Association’s (NSRA) event at Bakersfield, our friend and tour guide Jim Rowlett guided us to a very special display of cars.

If she couldn’t go to a car show, she’d have it brought to her.        – Michael Wheat

A trio of beautiful vintage rods highlighted one corner of  intersecting pathways in the middle of the show. One of the first things that caught our eye was the license plate on a deep purple Ford coupe that simply read; APRZR. This was a tribute to a wonderful woman that led a life well lived, Linda (Lynn) Hubbard.

The Display And Her Resume

Lynn Hubbard’s 1941 Ford, her late husband’s 1948 Pontiac, and the couple’s 1964 Corvette were staged in a display to the woman’s memory. Her son-in-law dutifully stood by to explain to passers-by the legacy of Mrs. Hubbard. After hearing only a few moments of her story, we were so intrigued with this woman, that we knew a followup story was in order. She was a safety Inspector, car appraiser, car club founder, car builder, and truly a heart and soul member of the NSRA.

The centerpiece of the tribute display was Lynn’s 1941 Ford coupe.

To get the story right, we needed to get in contact with the living person that knew her best. Her daughter, Laurie Hubbard Wheat, helped us set the record straight. “She lived for cars and the lord,” Laurie said. “Everything she did, she tried to serve the Lord. Even in her book keeping, her tithes were always first. I went to church on Sunday and took her bible. When I opened it up, there were handwritten notes from people she had met, most of them were because of a car, and she would witness to them everywhere she went.”

Lynn Hubbard: Car builder, appraiser, safety inspector, and longtime supporter of the National Street Rod Association.

How She Became Invovled

Lynn was a groundbreaker, and blazed a trail into areas that women were invited, and even sometimes, were not allowed. In the NSRA, Lynn was the only lady redshirt (safety inspector) at the time, and they didn’t want to let her take over my dad’s position,” said Laurie. “Basically, when you are a woman and married, you are doing that position anyway.”

After Lynn's passing, son-in-law Michael discovered cans full of dash plaques from all of the car shows that Lynn attended. He lovingly arranged these dash plaques into frames as a display to commemorate how much Lynn loved these shows.

When her husband Norm passed away, Lynn did take over the position. “They had a hard time letting her in on the meetings. They had a hard time with her being a safety inspector first of all, so I realize what a struggle it must have been for her,” Laurie continued. “Then, being a car appraiser, guys must have seen this old lady walking up to appraise their car thinking, ‘what does she know?’ As it turns out, she knew everything.”

“She lived for cars and the Lord,” said Michael Wheat.

Lynn’s own words reflected her love cars from an early age. “I’ve been interested in vehicles since I was 12-years-old,” wrote Lynn. “I was the only girl in our community who had a steering wheel for handlebars on her bike. I’ve been involved in engine building and mechanical stuff since that time.”

No one ever doubted Lynn’s automotive passion. She took a hands-on approach to the sport. Here she is polishing an aluminum intake manifold with a Dremel and buffing wheel. Photo from Laurie Hubbard Wheat.

Everyone within the Bakersfield car scene knew Lynn as a car enthusiast for more than 40 years. She was a member of the Bakersfield car council from 1993 until 1998. She was a former president of the Corvettes of Bakersfield, a car club in which Lynn held every office at one time or another.

Her resume speaks for itself, with accounts of her deeds in the craft. Claiming more than 15 years experience as a vehicle safety official with the NSRA, she retired from that position as a state safety inspector with 20 inspectors under her purview.

The Corvette was Norm and Lynn's first hot rod project car.

She was presented with a prestigious honorary life membership to the NSRA in 2009. Lynn was also an advisory board member at the NADA Guide as a qualified appraiser. She served on the board from 1993 until her passing. As a certified vehicle appraiser, Lynn was often invited to the courthouse as a professional witness regarding cases involving vehicle evaluations.

Working Within SEMA

Lynn was very active in the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA), attending the national trade show every year from 1995 through 2014. Lynn served on the SEMA advisory board as well. This helped her stay abreast of new automotive components and maintenance trends in the industry. The advisory board also kept the members up to speed with any litigation that could affect the aftermarket automotive industry and SEMA members.

Norm's 1948 Pontiac convertible was the next project car in the stable.

Alongside her husband of 38 years, Lynn helped build three street rods. The first was a 1964 Corvette Stingray that was driven and maintained by both Lynn and Norm. Next came Norm’s 1948 Pontiac Silver Streak straight eight, followed by Lynn’s 1941 Ford Super Deluxe coupe. The husband and wife team did most of the work themselves. Lynn’s daughter now has the three cars in her possession, and as a tribute to her mom, takes the cars out to as many shows as she can attend.

Lynn's '41 Ford completed the trifecta of project vehicles.

Lynn’s resume did not begin or end with the automotive industry. Initially she was an employee of the Bakersfield school district, serving with them for 23 years, first as a classroom assistant, then an office assistant, purchasing clerk, typist, receptionist, and school liaison. The lessons she learned as an educator provided her the skills she would use later in life to organize car shows, serve on advisory boards, and deal with car enthusiasts at every level.

Lynn with funny car champion Robert Hight.

It is one thing to be an administrator, a completely different thing to be a car builder, and something altogether different to be a bi-coastal car show exhibitor. After her husband Norm died in 2001, Lynn dove deeper into the sport. She attended every car show that she could find. That included making the legendary “Iron Man” run to end the NSRA season.

At the time, the annual Iron Man run was conducted from the end of the Golden State Nationals in Sacramento, to Tampa, for the season ending NSRA show. This involved a 3,000 mile, three day trip across the country in a vintage car to make the show. Lynn did this trip three consecutive years. “My dad was a truck driver, and he taught her,” said Laurie. “She had no problem navigating the highways. She’d just get in between the trucks and go.”

Lynn with Funny Car Champions John Force and Robert Hight in 2010.

“I think she just had that passion for cars,” Laurie added. “I really don’t get it. She started the Ladies Tea here in Bakersfield, because she had seen it all over the United States but we didn’t have it here.”

Lynn Hubbard did many things in her lifetime. She touched many people, and is remembered for her acts. When she became too sick to organize and promote car shows, she found a way to fill the void.

At Auto Club Famoso in 2011. Grand Marshall Shirley Muldowney on the left, Lynn Hubbard in the middle, Linda Vaughn on the right.

Lynn’s son-in-law Michael explains, “My mother-in-law put on a car show every year at Rosewood Gardens, the convalescent home that she eventually ended up in for some time. When she was in the convalescent home, she couldn’t put on the show, so she hired people to bring her cars and come to a makeshift show of her own at the hospital. People joked that if she couldn’t go to a car show, she’d have it brought to her.”

Lynn Hubbard (November 22, 1943 – October 12, 2015)
“She made close friends because she never met a stranger.” – Laurie Hubbard Wheat

 

Lynn Hubbard passed away on October 12, 2015.

Lynn’s Legacy

 

The annual holiday joy ride and cruise held by the Wanderers and Regulators Car Clubs has been changed to the Operation Soulwinner Annual Joy Ride and Memorial Toy Run/Parade for Lynn Hubbard.

This was one of Lynn’s favorite events, and it is fitting that her name is part of the event now.

She was energetic in every venture that she took on. From car shows to charities to everything involving the automotive industry.

Active is the key word when describing Lynn Hubbard’s life, and the last handwritten line on her resume sums up her work. “I am an active member of the Coronado Baptist Church in Bakersfield,” and that meant everything to her.

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
Read My Articles

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