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Maximilian King's 1940 Mercury Convertible
Maximilian King's 1940 Mercury convertible is one of the earliest known surviving East Coast customs. In 1946 Max had Meekers Body Shop of Morris Plains, New Jersey restyle the car. Modifications included a new grille, a 1936 Cord windshield and a steel lift off tonneau cover. In 1959 current owner Ray Henyon had Korky's Kustom Shop modernize the car, this version will be part of the special exhibit at the Customs by the Sea car show in Wildwood, New Jersey in October. Click here for more information and photos


Harry Fry's 1937 Ford Cabriolet
Harry Fry used to race circle track dirt cars in the 1950s, and he won the cabriolet in a grudge match race against some of his race buddies. The car wasn't in a great shape, but he owned his own body shop, and decided to fix it up. Named Fryer's, Jack's shop was the place to go to for hot rod paint jobs back in the day. The build was completed in the early 1960s. In October you can see Harry's survivor at the Customs by the Sea car show in Wildwood, New Jersey. Click here for more information and photos


Vic Collins' 1955 Chevrolet Truck - The Kopper Kart Klone
The construction of Vic Collins' Kopper Kart Klone started in 1999, three trucks, thousands of hours, and 9 years later the completed build made it's debut at the 2008 Detroit Autorama. The original Kopper Kart is long gone, so Vic's tribute was a nice addition to the custom car scene. In October of 2014, Vic's Kopper Kart Klone will be shown at the special exhibit at the Customs by the Sea car show in Wildwood, New Jersey. Click here for more information and photos


Bill Kelly's 1932 Ford 3-Window Coupe
Bill Kelly's 1932 Ford 3-window coupe was built in Warminster, New Jersey in 1948. The first version was powered by a flathead V8, but it didn't take long before Bill had installed a more powerful Oldsmobile OHV engine. As new engines and more horsepower found it's way to the engine compartment during the 1950s, the basic appearance of the car stayed the same. The car resurfaced in the 1990s, and in 2001 The Rodder's Journal ran a story on it. Click here for more information and photos


Herb Conway's 1954 Mercury
In January of 1953, Herb Conway bought a mildly restyled 1950 Ford. He sold the car to his little brother, Hersh "Junior" Conway, who turned it into one of the most famous shoebox customs of the 1950s. After selling the Ford, Herb bought a 1954 Mercury in December of 1954 that he decided to give a mild custom treatment.
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Jim Robertson's 1961 Ford - The Graveyard Train
In the 1950s high school parking lots in Southern California were filled with custom cars. From mild to wild, a regular day at the parking lot looked like a good car show today. The trend decreased in the 1960s, and at the end of the decade most of the cool kids drove muscle cars. Jim Robertson of Simi Valley was one of the few white kids that held on to customs, and in 1969 Bill Carter and Walt Prey laid a fadeaway paint job on his 1961 Ford. Click here for more information and photos


Bob Schremp's 1954 Chevrolet Bel-Air
The first car to ever receive a scallop paint job by Larry Watson was Bob Schremp's 1954 Chevrolet Bel-Air. After painting the car in 1956, Bob pulled up into Larry Watson's driveway with a bunch of runs on the trunk and hood. He knew pinstriping wouldn't hide the runs, and he didn't like flames, so he asked Larry for an advice. Larry told Bob that he would cover the runs with scallops.
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Fred Rowe's 1951 Mercury Convertible
In 1953 Fred Rowe of Los Angeles, California had the Barris Brothers restyle his 1951 Mercury convertible. The result was striking and the car landed the cover of Rod & Custom August 1953. The car returned to Barris for further modifications in 1954. This version landed a lead role in the movie Running Wild along with another famous Barris creation, the Hirohata Merc.
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David Rolin's 1957 Ford
After building up four hot rods, David Rolin of Sacramento, California decided late in 1956 that he wanted a custom car. He went out and bought a brand new 1957 Ford that he brought over to talented customizer Dick Bertolucci of Bertolucci Body & Fender Shop. Over the next two years, David's daily driver was slowly transformed into a radical custom called the Tormentor.
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Doug Osterman's 1957 DeSoto
A couple of weeks ago we ran a story on Doug Osterman's 1937 Plymouth coupe. While building the Plymouth, Doug was also busy restyling a 1957 DeSoto. The first version of the DeSoto was just as the Plymouth restyled by Flyers Body Shop in San Jose. Later on, Doug brought the DeSoto to Hayward, to have Joe Bailon alter it's appearance.
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Pete Limpert's 1936 Ford Tudor Sedan
Pete Limpert's 1936 Ford tudor sedan, of Gardena, California, was fit with hydraulic lifts by Dennis "Red" Pierce around 1966 - 1967. At the time, Pete's 36 was older than most of the other cars that utilized hydraulic lifts. A mid 1930s car laying on the ground was almost unheard of at this point.
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Doug Osterman's 1937 Plymouth Coupe
In 1958 Doug Osterman of San Jose, California bought his first car, an old beaten up 1937 Plymouth coupe. Doug, who was not old enough to have a driver's license at the time, spent the next year hunting parts and fixing up the car. In 1959 the build was finished off featuring a beautiful Bahama Blue paint job by Flyers Body Shop.
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The Kustomrama Dream Truck
The Kustomrama Dream Truck is a tribute to Jerry DeVito's 1957 Ford Fairlane, know as the Maze, and custom cars of the late 1950s - an often forgotten era when it comes to modern builds. The build was started by Kustomrama contributors Olav Kvipt and Sondre Kvipt in January of 2014, and the plan is to have it in primer, ready for paint in February of 2014.
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Adrienne Hooper's 1956 Mercury Convertible - The Wild One
Adrienne Hooper's 1956 Mercury convertible was restyled by Cooper's Body Shop in Lansing, Michigan. Named "The Wild One", there is no doubt that the inspiration for the scallop paint job came from California, as it is very similar to the paint Bob Heinrichs gave Jerry DeVito's 1957 Ford Fairlane, better known as the Maze, in 1958.
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Jerry DeVito's 1957 Ford Fairlane - The Maze
One of the most radical paint jobs of the 1950s can be found on Jerry DeVito's 1957 Ford Fairlane, known as the Maze. In 1958 Jerry and Bob Heinrichs spent 4 weeks masking the spectacular scallop paint job on Jerry's car. The final result was not like anything else around, and even though it received a radical restyling and a new paint job the following year, the shortlived version of the Maze left a huge impression on enthusiasts all over the world. Click here for more information and photos


Jay Greer's 1951 Ford - The Tahitian
Jay Greer's 1951 Ford Victoria was originally restyled by a cheap custom shop in 1953. He got what he paid for, and the car detoriated fast. He decided to take it to Valley Custom, receiving good quality work that would last forever! Jay's Tahitian was transformed to a tasteful mid 1950s custom, but where is it now?
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Joe Cirimele's 1955 Ford
Hats off for Joe Bailon of Bailon Custom Shop. He is probably most known as "Candy Apple Joe", and has probably built more Candy Apple Red cars than any other person in the world. Here is a nice and subtle 1955 Ford that shows that less is more.
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Dick Katz' 1949 Chevrolet
This 1949 Chevrolet Business Coupe was restyled by Dee Wescott of Portland, Oregon. It shows a typical example of how a late 1950s style custom was done based on an early 1950s style body. Dee built quite a few cars, and we would love to see more of them.
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Buzz Pitzen's 1929 Ford Model A Roadster
Buzz Pitzen's 1929 Ford Model A roadster gained national recognition when it was featured on the cover of Hot Rod Magazine March 1959 as John Rasmussen's 1929 Ford Model A Roadster. Buzz started the build around 1954, completed it in 1959, and sold it off to John Rasmussen shortly thereafter so he could buy his first house in Redondo Beach.
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Roger Squires' 1947 Chevrolet Fleetline - Pastime
Roger Squires' 1947 Chevrolet Fleetline was restyled in the late 1960s with Roger doing most of the work himself. It is a surviving example of the early lowrider style and was engineered and built to a standard that was unusual for the time. As such it is remembered today as a historically important car.
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Arne Lindstrand's 1955 Chevrolet
Arne Lindstrand's 1955 Chevrolet was restyled by Arne Lindstrand of Stockholm, Sweden in the 1960s. Arne worked with Swedish hot rod and custom legend Bosse "Gamen" Sandberg at a Volvo repair shop in Stockholm, and this version of the car, featuring a Turquoise paint job by Gamen was shown at the first Stockholm Hot Rod Show in 1965.
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Nick Dunkavich's 1940 Hupmobile Skylark Roadster
Nick Dunkavich's 1940 Hupmobile roadster was restyled by Nick Dunkavich of Meriden, Connecticut in the early 1950s. It was built from a sedan that Nick converted into a sports roadster through hand-formed side panels and a 1949 Dodge roadster trunk lid. Ed Moore inherited the car from his dad in the 1960s. He put it into storage, and it sat like that until 2011.
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Larry Neves' 1924 Ford
1924 Ford Model T roadster owned and raced by Larry Neves of Oakland, California. In 1950 Larry's roadster came second to Bill NieKamp's 1929 Ford roadster for the America's Most Beautiful Roadster award at the Oakland Roadster Show. It was owned by Woody Lee for a short period, who raced it at the 1951 Bonneville Speed Trials, before it ended up in the possession of Chuck Chenowth.
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Robert L. Darling's 1949 Buick Sport Custom
Robert L. Darling's 1949 Buick is a sport custom built in Jeffersonville, Indiana some time between 1949 and 1953. When current owner John Brumder bought the remains of the car in 2000, he was told that the car was shipped to Europe in the 1950s. A furniture buyer found it over there on a business trip, bought it, and had it shipped back to the US.
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John Bozio's 1953 Buick Roadmaster
The first version of John Bozio's 1953 Buick Roadmaster was restyled by John Bozio of East Hartford, Connecticut between 1956 and 1957. Since then, the Buick has had a rough life. Luckily, it's still around, enjoying it's retirement days in Sweden. John has helped us track the history of his old custom, providing a lot of old and never before seen photos.
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Robert Fulton's 1936 Ford Sedan Convertible
From 1947 to 1949 Rober "Bud" Fulton drove around Hollywood in a 1936 Ford two-door sedan that had been chopped and fit with a padded top, supposedly by Carson Top Shop. Bud's granddaughter, Jill Graham, have no clue how he ended up owning the car, as it was his one and only custom car, but she has a strong feeling that he won it in some kind of a bet.
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Stan Makrush's 1955 Chevrolet Convertible - The Gypsy
The Gypsy is a 1955 Chevrolet Convertible restyled by Stan Makrush of Foxboro, Massachusetts. Stan's custom creation was completed around 1957/1958, featuring custom treatments such as canted quad headlights, frenched Packard taillight lenses, fender skirts and a continental kit. After owning it for some years, Stan sold tickets for the Gypsy, and the car was eventually raffled away at a car show.
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Robert Stack's 1931 Ford Model A Roadster
In 1960 Robert Stack of Hollywood, California won a Best Actor Emmy-award for his role as Elliot Ness in the television drama series, The Untouchables. 22 years earlier, In 1938, Bob drove his 1931 Ford Model A roadster to a record of 115.68 mph on the Muroc Dry Lake. Al Jepson and Ed Winfield helped Bob achieve a time not too many other four-cylinder Fords could match in 1938.
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Chuck O'Malley's 1956 Dodge Convertible
From 1958 to 1962 Chuck O'Malley's 1956 Dodge Convertible of Cheltenham, Pennsylvania was restyled at least three times. The first version, named "Mariette" was shown at the 1958 Hot Rod & Custom Car World's Fair in West Springfield, Massachusetts. The third version, named the Granada gained national recognition when it was featured on the cover of Rod & Custom March 1963.
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Bob Huffman's 1965 Chevrolet Impala
In September of 1964 Bob Huffman of Norwalk, California bought a brand new 1965 Chevrolet Impala from Paramount Chevrolet in Downey. He started restyling the Impala right away, and the first version of the car was completed in 1966. In October of 1967, after seing a concept drawing by Harry Bradley, Bob and his buddy Tom Chafin started restyling the car again.
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Glenn Johnson's 1937 Ford Coupe
In 1947, Glenn Johnson of Las Vegas, Nevada was inspired to customize his coupe after seing a chopped and channeled 1936 Ford his buddy Carl Gratz had bought from California. The coupe was Glenn's first custom job, and before he started the build he studied Carl's Ford thoroughly before he constructed his future dream build on paper.
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Jerry Berg's 1934 Ford 3-Window Coupe - The Northern Star
A coupe of months ago we ran a featured story on Jerry Berg's 1934 Ford 3-Window Coupe, The Northern Star. Since then we have been able to locate the car, and its current owner Larry Moe of Federal Way, Washington has helped us fill some of the gaps in the history of this great hot rod. If you read part one of this saga, be sure to check out the story again.
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Joe Brienza's 1934 Ford Convertible - The Brienza Special
In 1958 Joe Brienza of West Islip, New York debuted a 1934 Ford Convertible he had spent two years building. Named The Brienza Special, Joe's chopped, channeled and sectioned convertible hit the Eastern show scene as a comet, winning trophies at most of the shows he attended. Joe has shared the full story, and almost 100 photos of the car with Kustomrama.
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Bob Davis' 1935 Ford 5-Window Coupe
While attending Long Beach City College in 1960, Bob Davis bought an old 1935 Ford coupe for $85. It barely ran, and it had dents and holes, but with help from good friends and professionals, Bob managed to convert the car into a tastefully done mild custom. It was his only mean of transportation, and it is a perfect example of a mild custom car you could spot in high school and college parking lots in the early 1960s.
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Louis Banto and Jack Perre's 1927 Ford Model T Roadster
In 1950 Louis Banto and Sal Macchia landed a featured story in Hot Rod Magazine July 1950 with their channeled 1927 Ford Model T Roadster. This car was sold shortly after it was completed in order to build a similar, but track nosed 1927 Ford Model T Roadster. Louis built this car with another business partner named Jack Perre. Due to their similar overall look, these two cars are often mixed together.
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Bengt Wennergren's 1931 Ford Model A Roadster
Bengt Wennergren's 1931 Ford Model A Roadster belongs to the second generation of Swedish hot rods. Completed in 1966, Bengt took his newly built "Street Rod" on a vacation to Monaco only hours after it was completed. He stopped by Ramstein on his way down, as he had read in Hot Rod Magazine that there were drag races being held at the Ramstein Air Base air-strip.
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Allen Duke's 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS - Bloody Mary
Allen Duke's 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS went through several changes between 1965 and 1969. It started mild with cut coils, chromed wheels, glass pack mufflers and a 45rpm record player and 8 track stereo player. Hydraulic lifts front and back followed before Allen decided to give it a custom paint job by Carl Darling. Howard Gribble has helped Kustomrama document the story of this long lost 1960s custom.
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Lars-Erik Johansson's 1931 Ford Roadster - The Orange Fink
The Orange Fink is a Swedish show rod built in the 1960s. The build was started by Jonas Qvarnström who assembled a pile of parts into a hot rod. Matti Johansson did a lot of work on the car for Jonas and performed the radical sectioning before the unfinished build was sold to Lars-Erik Johansson in 1966. In 1967 Lars-Erik debuted the first version of The Orange Fink.
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Jack Schleich's 1932 Ford
This chopped and channeled 1932 Ford 3-Window Coupe ran the streets of Oceanside, New York in the late 1950s and the 1960s. The owner, Jack Schleich, was a gifted mechanic that worked at legendary Bill Frick Motors, and the coupe ran many different engines set-ups, including a full house 1960 Oldsmobile 394 cubic inch engine with six carbs and dual McCulloch blowers.
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G. L. Harlander's 1939 Ford V-8 Sedan Convertible
Luckily for us, the legacy of many backyard restyled 1940s customs have been preserved due to general-auto interest magazines such as Motor Trend featuring some hot rods and customs in their early issues. G. L. Harlander's 1939 Ford V-8 convertible sedan is one such car. Two small photos of Harlander's custom was featured in the "Custom Creations" section of Motor Trend October 1949.
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Bud Unger's 1946 Ford Convertible
This chopped 1946 Ford Convertible was restyled by legendary East Coast customizer Bud Unger. It was his personal driver, and he started customizing the car shortly after opening up his own business Unger Auto Body Company in 1950. Once completed, Bud's wife used to drag youngsters at the stop light with the hopped up family-custom. A nice grocery getter for sure!
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Jerry Berg's 1934 Ford 3-Window Coupe - The Northern Star
The Northern Star is a 1934 Ford 3-Window Coupe owned and built by Seattle Headers member Jerry Berg of Seattle, Washington. Jerry bought the old coupe from a couple in 1956. By 1958 he had transformed it into a potent hot rod, and that gained national recognition through a featured story in Hot Rod Magazine November 1958. Jerry was 21-years old at the time.
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The Juxtapod
It is about a year since The Juxtapod made its first public debut at the Röhsska art museum in Göteborg, Sweden. The amazing Juxtapod is a Swedish show rod built by Mattias Andersson of LeBeef Kustom Metal Works. Built in a 1960s show rod style, the truck is a rolling art project incorporating Swedish state of the art crystal design by Ludvig Löfgren.
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Art Fortin's 1953 Ford Sunliner Convertible
This radically restyled 1953 Ford Sunliner Convertible was restyled by Art Fortin of Adams, Massachusetts between 1960 and 1962. Art got the Sunliner at age 14. It was his first car, and his first ever custom attempt. Having no experience customizing at all, Art set off to restyle the car into a wild show car inspired by cars he had seen in current magazines from California.
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Mel Lehman's 1940 Mercury 4-Door Sedan
If you can't afford a coupe or a convertible as base for your next custom build, why not start with a more affordable sedan? Mel Lehman, a real estate agent from Fresno, California decided to turn his 1940 Mercury 4-door sedan into a ground scraping cuustom in the early 1950s. Gordon's Custom Shop was responsible for the transformation, a job good enough for a featured story in Rod & Custom November 1954.
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Neil Sidders' Outlaw
When Ed "Big Daddy" Roth built his first fiberglass show rod, The Outlaw in the late 1950s, he made a four-piece female mold that he could use to build and sell additional bodies to customers. We don't know for sure how many bodies he built and sold, but in 1972 one of the bodies found its way to West Monroe, Louisiana as Neil Sidders bought the remains of an old Altered Class drag car.
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Wally Troy's 1953 Buick Convertible - The Troy Custom
After winning the “Special Award for Outstanding Design” with the Troy Special at the 1952 Indianapolis Custom Auto Show, Wally Troy was invited to attend the Speedorama Auto Sports Show in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1954. For that show he set off to build another full custom, dubbed the Troy Custom, out of a 1953 Buick convertible. The build was completed in time for the show, and Wally's second full custom attempt was awarded "Best Custom".
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Ed Roth's Outlaw
The Outlaw, or The Excaliber that it was first named, was Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's first experience with fiberglass. The build was started in 1957, and as Ed had no one to ask for advice and no experience at all working with fiberglass, he had to learn the trade by trying. The sensational build was completed in 1959, and it made its debut at the first, and last, Disneyland Car Club Day and Autocade show September 5th, 1959.
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Wally Troy's 1950 Oldsmobile - The Troy Special
After running a body shop with his brother in law for a couple of years in Glendale, California, Wally Troy decided to pack his bags and move back home to his hometown of Springfield, Illinois in 1947. Back home he bought a Standard Oil station that he turned into Wally's Garage. In 1952 Wally wanted to prove to himself that he was as good, if not better than the big boys at customizing autos, so he started converting a wrecked 1950 Oldsmobile into the Troy Special.
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Ralph Lysell's Rally
In 1951 Swedish born industrial designer Ralph Lysell, the father of the iconic Ericofon, wanted to mass produce a bubble-topped sports car in Norway. Ralph's low slung car was called Rally, and it featured an aluminum body and a Mercury flathead engine. Ralph's Rally never made it into production, and for many years it seemed to be long gone. It wasn't, and thanks to Norwegian made car collector Eirik Bøle the Rally is soon back on the roads again.
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Jim Arkin's 1965 Chevrolet Impala
During the summer of 1966 San Fernando Valley Illusions member Jim Arkin of San Fernando Valley decided to turn his 1965 Chevrolet Impala into a lowriding boulevard cruiser, so he had Joe Andersen of Joe Andersen's Custom Shop apply a custom paint job. After Joe had given the car a rainbow paint job, Jim had Dick & Ron's of Huntington Park install lifts on all four corners.
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Peter Billing's 1932 Ford Cabriolet
A letter from Peter Billing of Lidingö, Sweden, and an image of his 1932 Ford Cabriolet, can be found in the "Post Entry" section of Hot Rod Magazine February 1959. Peter was a 20 years old hot rodder that had just completed his first hot rod build when he sent the letter. In fact, his car is actually one of the first known hot rods of Sweden. The car is luckily still around, but it was unfortunately street rodded in the late 1990s.
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Walt Prey
December 24, 2011 we lost another custom paint and pinstriping legend as Walt Prey passed away. Walt began pinstriping in the 1950s. In his 20s he worked out of Dave Kent's shop. Later on, in the late 1960s he left Kent to work for Bill Carter at Carter Pro Paint. Howard Gribble, who has owned two cars that Walt striped in the 1960s, has provided Kustomrama with a great bio on Walt and his accomplishments.
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Chuck Sanders' 1951 Oldsmobile
Chuck Sanders of Haskell, New Jersey wanted his 1951 Oldsmobile to go just as good as it looked. So shortly after buying it in 1955, he pulled out the stock engine and replaced it with a fully chromed 1954 Oldsmobile Rocket engine. In February 1958, Chuck's Olds, called the Black Panther, was displayed at the Hartford Autorama. By then it had been fully customized and dressed up wearing a set of brand new 1957 Cadillac hubcaps.
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Larry Quatrone's 1955 Ford Crown Victoria
In 1957 Larry Quatrone of Long Beach, California bought a "full" semi custom 1955 Ford Crown Victoria from Long Beach Renegades member Bill Burnett. The car was supposedly restyled by Barris Kustoms and Dick Williams, or Schelhaas Custom Shop. Larry paid $1800 for the car. As he was only 15 years old at the time, it sat in his backyard until he turned 16 and had a driver's license. After being hit by another car the car was freshened up by Larry Watson.
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Frank Livingston's 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline - The Caribbean
Ex Satan's Angels president Frank Livingston has literally owned tons of 1949 - 1951 Chevrolets over the years. We have featured his first 1949 Chevrolet custom, The Caribbean, on Kustomrama before, but as Frank has filled us in with more info on his first full custom, and even shared some very rare never before published photos with us we had to run it one more time. But we promise to return with another one of Frank's customs in the near future.
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Kenny Controtto's 1939 Ford
The streets of Southern California were filled with elegantly and carefully restyled cars in the 1940s. But due to the lack of magazines covering hot rods and customs prior to 1948, most of these beautiful cars have gone into the history books leaving few marks behind. Luckily the internet has brought this cars back recent years, and when Chris Eichert ran some photos of his uncle's chopped 1939 Ford Convertible on the HAMB I just had to do a little story on it.
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Bruce Rosengren's 1936 Ford Cabriolet
There weren't many hot rods and customs running the streets of White Bear Lake, Minnesota back in the 1950s. One of the few restyled cars you could bump into was Bruce Rosengren's 1936 Ford Cabriolet. Bruce bought the car at age 17 in 1955. He was originally looking for a hot rod he could afford when he stumbled across an older custom creation located in St. Paul. The price was right, and since it was some sort of 3-Windo with its padded top, Bruce decided to bring the Ford back home with him.
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Bob Hart's 1932 Ford Roadster
1928 - 1932 Fords are seldom considered custom cars today. That was not the case back in the 1930s, as many customized Model A's and 1932 Fords could be seen cruising the streets of Southern California. Bob Hart's 1932 Ford Roadster is a very rare early east coast custom car. It was restyled between 1938 and 1939 in Nassau, New York, and it looks Bob got much of his inspiration from the Southern California Plating Company's 1931 Ford Model A delivery truck during the build.
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Lasse Mäenpää's 1958 Chevrolet Impala
Back in the mid 1950s, legendary custom painter Larry Watson started a revolution called "Custom by Paint". It took some time, but the trend has without doubt spread throughout the whole world. Back in 2005, Lasse Mäenpää of Åtorp, Sweden, wanted to transform his newly acquired 1958 Chevrolet Impala into a Watson styled mild custom. With good help from Finish pinstriper Pekka Wizzzard Mannermaa, Lasse's stock Impala was turned into the "Tropical Pearl".
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Ray Giovannoni's 1936 Ford
Ray Giovannoni's 1936 Ford Roadster was restyled by Rockville, Maryland cusrom car builder Herbert "Bud" Unger around 1947/1948. Bud had learned the bodywork trade in the air force during WWII forming aluminum panels for airplanes. Back home he became manager at a body shop. Having a passion for custom cars and hot rods, he began studying the California styling trends. Ray's roadster is an outcome of Bud's thoroughly research and fabulous fabrication skills.
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Lee Talbot and Sam Chakries' 1953 Studebaker Pickup
1953 - 1955 Studebakers were popular cars to customize back in the 1950s. Much of this due to their European and modern look. In 1958 Lee Talbot and Sam Chakries decided to transform their 1953 Studebaker Starlight Sport Coupe in a pickup. The build was completed in 1958, just in time for the 10th annual National Roadster Show. 60 years later, the restored version of the old custom made its second debut at the 50th National Roadster Show.
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Howard Gribble's 1961 Ford Starliner
In 1965, Howard Gribble of Torrance, California had his friend Carl Darling restyle his 1961 Ford Starliner. Influenced by local customs such as Mike Perello's 1960 Ford Starliner, that we featured a couple of weeks ago, Carl and Howard set off to transform Howard's Starliner into a fully flaked boulevard cruiser. The car made its debut at a show in January 1966. Shortly after the show, the car was smashed by a pickup that ran a red light.
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Gil Lippincott's 1934 Ford Tudor
Even though old small sized rod and custom magazines are filled with cars that the guys at Barris Kustoms restyled, most of the cars that were restyled at the shop in the 1950s never made it into a magazine. One of these is Gil Lippincott's mildly restyled 1934 Ford Tudor that Sam Barris and a helper painted it in nitrocellulose lacquer in 1950. In 1951 the engine blew in the car, and it was put in storage until 1998.
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Yaril Quintana's 1950 Ford Convertible
Yaril Quintana's 1950 Ford Convertible has been known worldwide as the "Cross Country Custom". After 6 months of hard and dedicated work by its young owner, Yaril's second full custom job was completed in January 2011. 4 hours after he picked the car up from the upholstery shop in Florida, he hit the road with the newly completed car, heading for California and its big debut at the prestigious Grand National Roadster Show.
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Larry Purcell's 1941 Ford Coupe
This 1941 Ford Coupe was restyled by Larry Purcell of Colorado Springs in the late 1970s. Even though he ran a custom body shop in the 1950s, he had never chopped the top on a car before he started this project. It took 2 1/2 years, $6,500 and more than 7,000 hours to complete the build. Larry's '41 made its debut on the 4th of July, 1978 and the result is as close to a traditional custom you could come in the late 1970s.
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Mike Perello's 1960 Ford Starliner
Mike Perello's 1960 Ford Starliner was restyled in 1964 while Mike was working off a six month suspension of his driving license. Catching a ride with a friend to the local A&W, Mike spotted Jim Boyd's 1963 Ford Galaxie on the way, parked at the curb lying on the ground as Jim had recently installed "lifts" on his car. When Mike learned about hydraulics, and how you could raise and lower a car from the inside with a switch, he flipped out.
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Steve Drale's 1958 Cadillac Brougham
Frank Sinatra and Larry Watson had a lot of things in common. They were both actors, popular with the girls and they both drove rare 1957 Cadillac/1958 Cadillac Brougham's. But did you know that Watson actually painted Sinatra's Brougham in the 1960s? He did, but at the time it was owned by Steve Drale of Torrance, California. With its stock factory air bags, the old movie-car was perfect for boulevard cruising.
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Calvin Wiekamp's 1958 Ford Thunderbird
Except for a couple of details, Calvin Wiekamp's 1958 Ford Thunderbird is very similar to Larry Watson's 1958 Ford Thunderbird. Cal, who also had a 1955 Mercury that was painted by Larry Watson, had Dick Jackson of Advanced Custom Paints restyle and paint his Thunderbird. While Larry's Thunderbird was painted silver and burgundy, Cal's Thunderbird was pearl blue and pearl.
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Ed Biggs' 1959 Chevrolet El Camino
Ed Biggs' 1959 Chevrolet El Camino sure has a very unusual story. Being a gearhead from Davenport, Iowa, Ed ordered a brand new El Camino from his local dealer in 1959. He had the car delivered at a dealer in Gardena, California so legendary custom painter Joe Andersen of Joe Andersen's Custom Shop could pick it up and paint it for him. Three years later the car was totaled by an Italian drunk driver in Weisbaden, Germany...
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Roland Larsson's 1932 Ford Roadster
In the autumn of 1959, Roland Larsson of Hammarö, Sweden decided to tear down his 1932 Ford Roadster. Inspired by the real hot rods of California, he wanted to channel his roadster over the frame. The build was completed in the spring of 1959, and Roland entered the history books with one of the first, if not the first channeled roadster of Sweden. The car is luckily still around today, basically untouched since 1964.
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Hank Fournier's 1936 Ford 5-Window Coupe
Some weeks ago we featured Willy Ouimette's 1939 Ford Coupe on Kustomrama. Willy's coupe was originally channeled and restyled by Hank Fournier in 1959, and it is still around today. Another channeled Hank Fournier creation that still is around is his own 1936 Ford 5-Window Coupe. Hank's own coupe was restyled in the late 1950s as well. The car has been restored and modified a little since it then, and it resides now in Caryville, Tennessee.
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Calvin Wilkes' 1960 Ford - Candy Cane
Calvin Wilkes' 1960 Ford custom, also known as the Candy Cane took one year of hard work and $10,000 USD to complete. The front and rear pans on Calvin's Ford were rolled, and a custom grid-type grille was installed up front. The headlight were mounted inside the hood compartment behind the grille. A notable feature on Calvin's Ford is the radical handmade Jimmy Jones "Inkster Skirts", often found on Michigan area customs in the 1960s.
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Bruce Schwartz' 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air
In 1959 Bruce Schwartz of Los Angeles, California bought himself a 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air. Shortly after buying the car, he met legendary custom painter Joe Andersen of Joe Andersen's Custom Shop in Gardena, California. Bruce was impressed by Joe's paint jobs, and went to work for him at his shop. It didn't take long time before Bruce's Bel Air had been mildly customized and received its first of many Joe Andersen paint jobs.
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Dave Jenkins' 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
October 19, 1956, 20 years old Dave Jenkins of Ypsilanti, Michigan became the proud owner of a brand new 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. As so many other Michigan custom car owners, the first thing Dave did to his car after he got it was to install a set of hand formed Jimmy Jones "Inkster Skirts". After messing around with the car for a while Dave had the Alexander Brothers restyle the Chevy for him. Dave still owns the car, and it was restored back to its 1959 version in 1990.
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Leroy Semas' 1937 Chevrolet Coupe
Last week I featured Dick Bertolucci's 1938 Chevrolet Coupe on Kustomrama. While researching Dick's coupe, I stumbled across new information on another good looking 1940s Chevrolet custom that was restyled by Harry Westergard for fellow Thunderbolts member Leroy Semas. For a long time nobody seemed to know what happened to this early custom car after Leroy sold it. Thanks to Lawrence Brocchini we now know a little more.
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Bobby Yamazaki's 1954 Mercury
The name of the owner who lost his full custom 1954 Mercury at the Barris Kustoms shop fire December 7, 1957 has been unknown for a long time. George Barris called him "Chimbo", and could not remember his real name. Larry Watson knew all the time, and thanks to Howard Gribble's great movie Custom Cars Painted by Larry Watson in the 1950s we now know that the Merc belonged to Bobby Yamazaki.
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Dick Bertolucci's 1938 Chevrolet Coupe
In the 1990s Dick Bertolucci's 1938 Chevrolet Coupe was found in Eugene, Oregon. The current owner wanted to convert the old custom into a 4-wheel drive, but he got scared by all the lead on the car. Thank god for that. For a long time it wasn't' known what happened to the car after Dick's dad sold it in the late 1950s. That was until Tom McHenry, who owned the car between 1963 and 1966 decided to share his old photos and stories with Kustomrama.
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Willy Ouimette's 1939 Ford Coupe
This chopped and channeled 1939 Ford Coupe was originally built by Hank Fournier for Ken Costello in the late 1950s. In 1965 Willy Ouimette found the remains of the car while driving down a backroad in Warwick, Rhode Island. Willy bought the old custom, fixed it up, and sold it shortly after it was completed. Willy never forgot the old custom, and 45 years later he was able to locate the remains of his old car again.
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Ron Weiskind's 1935 Ford Roadster
When Rods and Customs magazine was introduced in May 1953, the three or four first issues contained basically unused material from the sister publication Hop Up magazine. One section in the new magazine was called "our readers' customs...", and one of these readers rides was Ron Weiskind's 1935 Ford roadster from Seattle, Washington.
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Lars Erik Ljungkvist's 1932 Ford
According to the Swedish magazine Teknik för alla December 1963 there were about 30 hot rods in Sweden in 1963. One of these were owned by 20 years old Lars Erik Ljungkvist from Huddinge. Lars' roadster was in fact featured on the cover of the magazine along with a caption that stated that the hot rod sport had reached Sweden.
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Tommy Ivo's 1952 Buick
I guess most of you have heard about the legendary drag racer Tommy Ivo. I'm also pretty sure that most of you haven't heard about or seen his 1952 Buick Super Straight 8 custom. The Buick was Tommy's first car, and he bought it from money he had earned as a successful child actor. After trying the Buick on the drag strip, Tommy decided that the huge Buick would be better suited as a custom car.
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Jack Rushton's 1941 Ford Pickup
At first glance Jack Rushton's 1941 Ford looks like an ordinary customized 1941 Ford with its nosed hood and frenched headlights. If you hit the link, you'll find what may have been the forerunner for the 1957 Ford Ranchero. When Jack restyled his 1940s Ford pickup, he decided to mate the truck with a 1941 Ford passenger car front clip. Based in Montebello, California, Jack did all or most of the work himself.
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Ron Luchs' 1956 Chevrolet - Miss Taboo
When Ron Luchs of Beaverton, Oregon began to cut up his 1956 Chevrolet in 1957, his father thought it was a taboo to cut up such a nice car. Due to this, Ron decided to call his evolving custom "Miss Taboo". The car would progress and change until 1961, and then again in the early 1990s when Ron Luchs found it cruising the streets of his hometown and was able to buy it back.
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Ken Bausert's 1950 Mercury Convertible - The Mint Julep
May 11, 1959, was the day Ken Bausert of Richmond Hill, New York bought his first car. He was 15 years old at the time, and for $125 he was able to buy a 1950 Mercury convertible. After buying the car, Ken spent two years converting his car into the Mint Julep. The first incarnation of the Mint Julep was completed in the summer of 1961, just days before Ken turned 18 years old and his "junior" license became a "full" license.
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Phil Curry's 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
This 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air was restyled by by Junior Conway of Junior's House of Color for Phil Curry of Compton, California in the early 1960s. The car was a moderated custom, and in addition to shaving away emblems and handles, the most notable feature on this car is the 1957 Buick grille. In 1963 the car was featured in Rod & Custom July 1963. Early in 1964, Phil sold the car to Terry Crary of Palm Springs, California.
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1309 Figaro Avenue
In 1946, Gene Winfield opened up his first shop, "Windy's Custom Shop" in an old chicken coop behind his mothers' house on 1309 Figaro Avenue in Modesto, California. The old chicken coop is still around, and it was recently sold to Albert Coito and his brother. At the time, the shop was about to be torn down. Albert jumped on the chance to make an offer in order to save the historical building, and luckily the owners agreed on the offer.
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Dennis McKee's 1958 Chevrolet Impala
in 1962, 16 years old Dennis McKee bought himself a 4 years old 1958 Chevrolet Impala. Dennis was a Sophomore at North Torrance High at the time, and as he wanted to turn his stocker into a mildly customized street cruiser, he shaved some of the emblems on the car before handing it over to legendary painter Joe Andersen of Joe Andersen's Custom Shop for a pearl Tangerine paint job.
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Alex Xydias' 1934 Ford Cabriolet
In 1941 Alex Xydias found this 1934 Ford cabriolet it in the basement of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. The car had already been customized when he found it, and it had been fit with hydraulic brakes and a column shift. Alex brought the car to Jimmy Summers and he had him lead in the rear fender skirts on his cabriolet, as he wanted a smooth look on the fenders.
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Bob Caldwell's 1957 Chevrolet Corvette
Chevrolet's sporty Corvette was a popular car to customize in the late 1950s and early 1960s. This slammed Corvette was restyled by Hoeck Chevrolet Company for Corvette enthusiast Bob Caldwell of Lebanon, Oregon. Most notable changes included frenched and hooded headlights, a molded and modified grille shell, and finns on the rear fenders.
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Charles Kemp's 1941 Plymouth
Al Twitchell of Hollywood, California started to restyle Charles Kemp's 1941 Plymouth Convertible in his backyard in May, 1948. The body was smoothened by shaving the hood and deck lid. The door handles were removed as well, and fadeaway-fenders and fender-skirts were built from sheet stock. After performing this and several other modifications, the build was completed in July the same year.
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John Benson's 1956 Chevrolet
In order to make his 1956 Chevrolet stand out from the rest of the Chevrolets in Gardena, California, D'Amours So. Cal. member John Benson had George Cerny of Cerny's Custom Shop restyle his car. After George had done his thing, Dean Jeffries applied some contrasting scallops that enhanced the new lines of the car. Carson Top Shop completed the build by installing a white pleated Naugahyde upholstery.
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link=Danny Hall's 1940 Ford] Danny Hall's 1940 Ford Coupe When Bud Lang's photos of Danny Hall's 1940 Ford Coupe was featured in Custom Cars July 1959 the car was dubbed "Sporty Forty".  With its chopped top and slight rake, Danny's coupe has the attitude of a mid-fifties hot rod. Built around 1957 traces from the golden era of the custom cars can be found in the form of dual spotlights and 1941 Studebaker taillights. Does this make this car a late 1950s Sport Custom? Click here to read more    Jim Musil's 1951 Mercury Convertible Jim Musil's chopped 1951 Mercury convertible used to run the streets and strips of Phoenix, Arizona in the 1950s. The windshield frame was chopped 4 inches, before Jim's Merc was fit with a padded top by Carson Top Shop. Other modifications included frenched 1953 Buick headlight rims, a 1955 Ford grille, 1951 Lincoln taillights, 1955 Buick side trim and full moon hubcaps. The top was removed for dragging, and a tarpaulin was fitted over the back seats. Click here to read more    Mel Gerrard's 1950 Oldsmobile 88 Todays featured ride is a nice example of a mld-1950s moderately customized car. Body and paintwork were performed by the Ayala Brothers, while Carson Top Shop and Winters Upholstering Shop took care of the upholstery. At the Ayala's shop, Mel's Olds was partially shaved for hood and deck lid ornamentation. An electric deck lid latch, 1949 Chevrolet fender skirts and dual spotlights were installed before Al Ayala painted the car in a special shade of metallic maroon lacquer. Click here to read more    Don Bliss' 1950 Ford Convertible There is no doubt that custom cars were hot in Canada in the 1950s. Todays featured car used to cruise the streets of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in the late fifties. When West Point Kustoms member Don Bliss wanted to have his convertible restyled he commissioned Doug's Auto Metal to do the job. Bliss had a vision, and Doug's Auto Metal had the skills to turn the vision into reality. The interior on the other hand was upholstered by the owner. Click here to read more    The Pierson Brothers' Coupe The first featured story on Kustomrama back in 2007 was the legendary Pierson Brothers' Coupe. The story was not very informative, and since the page on the coupe has grown a lot over the years I feel it is about time to run the story again.  With a 142 mph Rusetta Timing Association record, the coupe was for a while known as the fastest closed car in America! It was known as the coupe that beat the roadsters. Click here to read more    Jack Nethercutt's 1952 Oldsmobile Holiday 98 - The Vienesse In 1953 Jack Nethercutt of Santa Monica, California brought his 1952 Oldsmobile Holiday 98 to Barris Kustoms in Lynwood. He was 16 years old at the time, and wanted to have his already beautiful Oldsmobile customized by George and Sam Barris. Jack got what he ordered, and his Olds landed the cover of Motor Trend March 1954. Jack's Olds was later featured in Trend Book 206 Custom Cars 1962 Annual, by then it was owned by Ronnie Smith. Click here to read more    Johnny Krzysik's 1955 Oldsmobile - The Vagabond The Vagabond was a 1955 Oldsmobile two-door hardtop restyled by the legendary Alexander Brothers of Detroit, Michigan for fellow Detroit citizen Johnny Krzysik. Johnny's Oldsmobile is a typical early 1960s Alexander Brothers creation with its canted quad headlights, dual spotlights and molded in side pipes. In 1962 The Vagabond was nominated as one of the nation's best customs in Trend Book 206 Custom Cars 1962 Annual. Click here to read more    Paul Hoffmann's 1940 Mercury Coupe - Nachtfalter According to Rudy Rodriguez of Fullerton Fabrication the roofline of a 1940 Mercury can be reworked to make the car look just as elegance as any French Talbot-Lago or Delahaye of the same area. With this vision in his mind, Rudy began a 4 years journey transforming Paul Hoffmann's 1940 Mercury Coupe into a smooth coupe looking like it could have been a factory prototype that Ford Motor Company could have sent to the Paris Auto Show in 1940. Click here to read more    Dick Jackson's 1954 Mercury Monterey In 1954, while cruising Atlantic Blvd in his customized 1953 Studebaker, Dick "Peep" Jackson spotted a 1954 Mercury Monterey for sale on a used car lot. He bought the Merc and used it as his daily driver. He cut a deal with Sam Barris, and Sam agreed to chop the top on the brand new Merc in exchange for after-hours labor on Sam's 1952 Ford convertible. Before the build was completed, Ronnie Dragoo spotted the Merc on the street, he fell in love, and just had to have it. Click here to read more    Bill Whetstone's 1960 Ford Starliner - The Adonis At age 20, Bill Whetstone ordered a brand new 1959 Ford Starliner from a local Ford dealer. The car was delivered December 7, 1959, and it didn't take long time before Bill had driven the car to Tijuana in order to fit it with a custom upholstery. Back home in Michigan the car was handed over to the Alexander Brothers who turned the brand new car into the Adonis. The Adonis was showed all over the country, and was a featured car at selected shows for three years in a row. Click here to read more    Wally Ruby's 1955 Chevrolet Wally Ruby's 1955 Chevrolet custom was a collaboration between Joe Bailon of Bailon Custom Shop in Hayward and Lloyd's in San Pablo. While Lloyd's did all of the bodywork, the grille and sparkling Candy Apple paint job was the handiwork of Joe Bailon. We all know who Joe Bailon is, but who was "Lloyd" of San Pablo? If you have any additional info on "Lloyd" please tell us more as we would like to add him to the world of Kustomrama. Click here to read more    Bill Irwin's 1949 Ford Convertible Less than ten pounds of lead were used when Gordon Vann restyled Bill Irwin's 1949 Ford. Gordon preferred to not use lead while doing bodywork and restyling. In addition to being costly, the lead added unnecessary weight to sections of the body. If used in large amounts the lead would tend to throw the body out of balance. Equipped with a a torch and hammer, Vann was one of very few body men who could tackle and perform to perfection such jobs without the aid of lead. Click here to read more    Neil Emory's 1949 Ford Woodie Wagon 1949 Ford Woodie Wagon owned and restyled by Neil Emory of Valley Custom Shop. The wagon was Neil's part hauler, and Neil kept the car stock in the beginning. After a while the engine needed some love and care, Neil decided to do some semi custom exterior work to the car too while he was at it. The wood paneling was refinished, and the taillights were removed and replaced with accessory lights that offered built-in turning units. The new lights were adapted to the rear body pan. Click here to read more    Duane Aspengren's 1949 Hudson Coupe One of the newly restored customs that will make its debut at the Customs Then and Now gathering at the Grand National Roadster Show next week is Duane Aspengren's 1949 Hudson Coupe. The sectioned and channeled Hudson was built by its owner Duane Aspengren in the 1950s. Ed Mueller located the car in Sacramento, California in 1991. He drove up and bought the car, and has since then restored it back to its former glory. Click here to read more    Vern Simon's 1936 Ford Roadster Vern Simon's 1936 Ford Roadster has a custom story that can be traced back to at least 1946. The car is still around, and many people believes that Vern's roadster may be the only Harry Westergard restyled 1936 Ford still around. Vern has owned the old kustom since 1949 when he bought it from an used car dealer in California. In some few days this old survivor will be shown at the historical Customs Then and Now gathering at the Grand National Roadster Show.  Click here to read more    Monte Trone's 1933 Ford 3-Window Coupe The Cavalier Coupe was a collaboration between Long Beach Cavaliers member Monte Trone and his father Ike Trone. While Ike took care of the bodywork, Monte built the engine. The chassis and suspension was done together. Monte worked on the coupe after school hours, and after 3 years of hard work the build was completed around 1951. Monte sold the car in 1953. Luckily it is still around, and in 2003 it was featured on the cover of Hop Up 5. Click here to read more    Mickey Chiachi's 1939 Ford This relatively unknown 1939 Ford kustom was restyled by Barris Kustoms for Mickey Chiachi in the 1940s. Mickey ran his channeled Ford on both the streets and lakes. Running a hopped up 1941 Mercury engine the car set a Russetta time of 111 mph. Thanks to a little photo in Hot Rod Magazine May 1948 some history on this car has been saved ensuring that it wouldn't be forgotten like so many other kustoms of that era. Click here to read more    Bud Campbell's 1955 Plymouth Sport Coupe When Bud Campbell of Norwalk, California wanted to have his 1955 Plymouth restyled he turned to ex Barris employee Dick Jackson at Advanced Custom Paints in Compton. Dick customized Bud's car by molding on a pair of flaired Studebaker Golden Hawk fenders onto the rear fenders. After completing this and other changes, Bud's Plymouth landed the cover of Trend Book 156 Custom Cars 1958 Annual. Click here to read more    Doug Hartelt's 1934 Ford Competition Coupe In 1951 Lancers member Doug Hartfelt of Anaheim, California raced his flat black flathead powered 1934 Ford Competition Coupe on various salt flats and dry lakes. Doug entered his coupe at the meets to iron out bugs before attending the upcoming Bonneville Nationals that was held August 27 to September 3 the same year. Before entering the Bonneville Nationals, the coupe was painted white. At the Nationals, Doug ran his Modified Coupe in two classes. Click here to read more    Pete Millino's 1950 Ford This red shoebox was restyled by Pete Millino of Oakland, California in the late 1950s. Pete modified the cowl on his car to accept a 1956 Ford convertible windshield. The new windshield was enchanted by a padded Carson-style top that featured a 3 inch overhang across the top. After completing the build, Pete's Ford was nominated as one of 28 "Top Customs of the Year" in 1956 by Motor Life magazine.  Click here to read more    Jerry Koller's 1955 Ford - The Doll Buggy 1955 Ford owned by Jerry Koller. The car was also known as the "Doll Buggy" and was nosed and decked to achieve a smoother look before legendary custom painter Larry Watson of Watson's House of Style painted it Burma green with scallops in a darker shade over a gold base. The car was striped by Watson as well and the body was lowered 5 inches all around by cutting the coils and installing lowering blocks. The front end was modified slightly by installing a mesh grille and horizontal chromed bars. Click here to read more    Bob DiBiasse's 1934 Ford 5 Window Coupe When Bob DiBiasse of Madison, New Jersey set off to build the hot rod of his dream, he wanted to build a the lowest coupe street coupe in the entire state of New Jersey. Bob worked as a professional body man and had no problem dropping the body nine inches over the frame. Next on the list was to cut 5 inches from the windshield and top posts. When this was done,  Bob still thought the car was too high. Click here to read more    Dave Robertson's 1956 Ford F-100 - Lil Nugget Dave Robertson's 1956 Ford F-100 was originally restyled by Bill Hines around 1959. The history isn't confirmed, but the truck was supposedly owned by Bill's brother. After Bill had customized it, Larry Watson of Watson's House of Style gave the truck a Candy red paint job. Eddie Martinez upholstered the bed-cover, interior and running boards in pearl white pleated Naugahyde. The truck was totaled in a wreck and Dave Robertson bought the remains and had it restyled into what is now the Lil Nugget. Click here to read more    Ed Wilder's 1952 Cadillac Coupe deVille When did you last see a sectioned early 1950s Cadillac? This one was restyled by the Astra Coupe fabricator Jay Everett for Ed Wilder of Los Angeles, California.  Ed wanted to have his car radically altered, but he also wanted it to retain the stock Cadillac appearance. Chopping the top, channeling the body, altering the grill or making any similar changes would make the car look less Cadillac, so Ed and Jay decided that sectioning the body was the only thing to do. Click here to read more    Richard Soderquist's 1954 Mercury Monterey This 1954 Mercury Monterey was restyled by Gene Winfield of Winfield's Custom Shop for Turlock Cranks member Richard Soderquist of Turlock, California. Richard was 17 years old when he brought his Merc to the custom king of Modesto. Gene created the unique front on Richard's Merc by molding in a 1955 Pontiac grille and split bumpers. My favorite feature on this car is the electrical push buttons in the rear roof pillar, simple and elegant. Click here to read more    Vince Ulloa's 1951 Chevrolet Fleetline 1951 Chevrolet Four Door Fleetline restyled by Kenny's Garage for Shieks member Vince Ulloa. Vince drove the car around mildly customized for a while before he decided to have the top chopped. Kenny's Garage in Los Angeles handled the chop, and spent four months restyling the car. The top was lowered by chopping the windshield and removing V-section from body just to the rear of back window in top quarter panel. Click here to read more    Bob Dofflow's 1949 Ford When Bob Dofflow wanted to have his 1949 Ford customized, he turned to his friend and neighbor Don Roberts of Bear's Custom Shop. The year was 1950, and the Ford was Bob's first custom car. One and half year and $2200 later, the newly restyled shoebox made its debut. It became an instant hit, and Bob won several trophies with the car. In 1956 he also landed the cover of Trend Book 122 Custom Cars 1956 Annual gaining him national recognition. Click here to read more    Tim Musico's 1941 Ford Business Coupe December 2009, Long Beach Cavaliers member Tim Musico bought a mildly customized 1941 Ford Business Coupe. He had just sold his 1928 Ford Model A Roadster Pickup and was looking for a new project to work on. In March 2010 Tim had Matt Means of Department of Customz in Anaheim, California chop and shorten the top on the Coupe. November 4th, 2010, less than one year later, the build was completed and the car ready to hit the streets.  Click here to read more    Melvin D'Loss 1950 Ford Convertible In the mid 1950s Melvin D'Loss of Bridgeville, Pennsylvania wanted to restyle his 1950 Ford Convertible. Mel had just been called by Uncle Sam to do duty overseas, so before he left the country he brought his Ford to Vaun Hamlin of Hamlin's Body Shop. He and Mel exchanged letters while Mel was away, discussing restyling ideas. The build was completed before Mel returned, and it was even featured in Rod & Custom before Mel had seen it. Click here to read more    Ray Strappazon's 1958 Chevrolet Impala - Part II Ray Strappazon's Barris restyled 1958 Chevrolet Impala has been featured on Kustomrama before, but since its first featured story Ray's widow Sherry Strappazon has provided us with a lot of new information on the Wild Cherry. Ray sold the car to a young man in Lockport in 1964. By then the paint had begun to crack due to its many coats of paint and the cold Illinois weather.  Click here to read more    Tommy Sanders' 1939 Ford Phaeton - The Red Bird In 1966 Tommy Sanders decided it was about time to park his customized 1939 Ford Phaeton 4 Door Convertible. The car, also known as The Red Bird, had been restyled a couple of times by then and Tommy had shown it at shows all over the US. On October 23, 2010, 44 years after he parked it, Tommy decided it was about time to take his old custom out of storage and attend the Rats N Rods show at the Don Garlits Museum. Click here to read more    Ray Erickson's 1952 Ford Coupe - The Whistle Bait Ray Erickson has been a very active enthusiast through the years. In the early 1950s he was a charter member and president of both the Kansas City Timing Association and the Kansas City Cranktwisters. He has been involved with a bunch of projects over the years and is actually still very active chopping tops and restyling cars for himself and friends. The Whistle Bait was a chopped 1952 Ford Coupe that Ray restyled between 1955 and 1956. Click here to read more    George Janich's 1941 Ford Business Coupe George Janich's 1941 Ford was restyled by Barris Kustoms in the late 1940s. In 1952 George passed the coupe on to his nephew Paul "Snooky" Janich. Around 1973 the coupe was luckily saved from the crusher and it has been kept in storage since that time. The restored version of the car is planned to make its debut at the "Customs Now and Then" exhibit at the 2011 Grand National Roadster Show. Click here to read more    Tobias Andersson's 1953 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 In 2006 the cops were pulling Tobias "Tobbe" Andersson over all the time because they thought he was running a piece of trash. He was living in California at the time and used the car as his daily driver. Later the same year he moved back to Sweden. He brought "The Beach Blvd Bomber" with him and has, over the years, turned the fucked-up Olds into a slick kustom! Tobbe has an incredible eye for details and the list of modifications on this car is longer than it may look! Click here to read more    Larry Kubota's 1959 Chevrolet Impala Bill Ortega, or Bill DeCarr if you prefer, used to work for Barris Kustoms. After working for George Barris, he went on to open up his own shop Ortega's Custom Shop in Bellflower, California. At his new shop, Bill did a lot of bodywork on cars that Larry Watson would paint at his popular Watson's House of Style. One of these cars was Larry Kubota's 1959 Chevrolet Impala.  Click here to read more    Kyle Phillips' 1949 Chevrolet Coupe Today's featured car is one of the nicest and most classy Chevy customs in Europe! Before ending up in the high mountains of Switzerland, the car was originally restyled by Kyle Phillips in sunny California. Kyle bought the car as a stocker in 1998, and stripped its body down to bare metal before he began the modifications. Around 2001 the top had been chopped and the car could be seen at different shows in black primer. Click here to read more    John A. Good's 1932 Ford Woody Station Wagon John A. Good's Woody Wagon was built for both show and go! At age 21 John and his father set out to build a chopped and channeled 1932 Ford Woody Station Wagon. The body was constructed out of hand-rubbed mahogany and power was provided from a beefed up 1953 Chrysler Hemi. The car is currently located in Maryland, awaiting a long deserved restoration as a handful of previous owners have made many changes to the car over the years.  Click here to read more    Yonny Koyama's 1959 Pontiac Bonneville When Yonny Koyama had his Pontiac customized he felt that by using both Barris Kustoms and Ortega's Custom Shop to restyle his car, each shop would try to do better quality work than its competitor. Despite the extensive work on the car, Yonny's Pontiac retained its original lines with the exception of the extended fender fins that were fit with 1961 Mercury taillights. You can judge for yourself, but I think Yonny choose the right strategy. Click here to read more    Gene Meeks' 1952 Packard Patrician Today's featured car was restyled by Gene Meeks of Ottumwa, Iowa in 1954. In 1955 it got its 5 minutes, or maybe even 55 years of fame by being featured in Motor Trend March 1955. After its glory days in 1955 the car ended up in the hands of an University professor who drive it until the mid 1960s. After being stored away for more then 40 years the car has resurfaced and is currently up for sale on eBay. So if you like it, you still have the chance to buy it... Click here to read more    Glenn Springer's 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air When you're building a kustom or hot rod, there is one thing you have to have in order to succeed and that is good taste. You can be the best metal fabricator in the world, but without good taste you're doomed. Glenn Springer's 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air proves this. Glenn's Chevy is mildly restyled, but by doing the right things Dick's Body Shop created a very tasteful custom that I would take over most of today's chopped and bagged customs... Click here to read more    Gene Harkins' 1949 Ford Club Coupe This 1949 Ford Club Coupe was restyled by Gene Harkins of Orange, California. Gene reworked the front end by replacing the distinctive stock grille by a floating bar made from Pontiac, Chevrolet and Ford components. Headlights and taillights were frenched, hood and deck-lid shaved and rounded and the stock side trim replaced by reversed 1954 Dodge pieces. Once the car was lowered, Gene had Barris Kustoms paint the shoebox Gold Maroon. Click here to read more    Ed Dell's 1936 Ford Roadster 1936 Ford Roadster owned and restyled by Ed Dell. The cleaned up roadster was mostly kept stock, but Ed paid a lot of attention to details such as the 1940 Packard headlights. In 1962 Dickie Burke of Warrenton, Virginia bought Ed's roadster from a seller in College Park, Maryland for $ 575.00. Dick later sold the car to a man from Newport News, Virginia for $675.00. The car ended up in a museum in Florida before Dick lost track of it. Click here to read more    Don Chapman's 1954 Studebaker In 1954 Don Chapman of Huntington Park, California bought a brand new 1954 Studebaker. His father owned a Studebaker agency, so I guess he got a good deal. Anyhow, after driving the car around for a few months he decided that he wanted to hack the roof off the car, and turn it into a convertible with a removable hard top. Don was worried about the body strength of the car after removing the top, so he confronted Barris Kustoms with his project. Click here to read more    Jim Lynch's 1953 Studebaker 1953 Studebaker owned and restyled by Jim Lynch. Jim and his friend Gil Murca chopped the top, spending three months of their spare time in order to get the roof and body in perfect alignment. All window glasses were cut down to fit and be functional. The car was nosed, decked and shaved of handles.  The wheel wells were reworked by removing the flare to achieve a cleaner and smoother look. After three years of hard labor and $5,000, the car was finished and given 18 coats of clear lacquer over the color coat. Click here to read more    Chuck Rogers' 1950 Chevrolet Club Coupe - The Black Panther Chuck Rogers of Gridley, California spent 1800 hours over a span of 5 years restyling his 1950 Chevrolet Club Coupe. The result is known as the "Black Panther" and after completing the build Chuck landed a bunch of trophies at various car shows and a job as chief bodyman for Joe Bailon at Bailon's Custom Shop. The car is still around and it has swapped hands several times since [8Bud Millard
located it in the 1990s. Hopefully the restored version of the car will make its debut in the near future.

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Clif Inman's 1957 Chrysler
Like many other San Jose teenagers Clif Inman could often be found hanging out at John's Drive-In. One day in the late 1950s Clif saw a sleek 1957 Chrysler cruising the Drive-In. Clif was hooked and in 1960 he sold his Oldsmobile and bought a black 1957 Chrysler. He took the car to Joe Wilhelm of Wilhelm's Custom Shop and had him give it a mild restyling. In 1962 Clif was involved in an accident and he had Joe fix it up and restyle it further.
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Link Paola's 1940 Ford Convertible
Link Paola's 1940 Ford Convertible was probably the first 1940 Ford ever customized. Link worked in the bodyshop of a Glendale Ford dealership in 1939 and about a week before the 1940 Fords were released to the public the dealer got a load of cars for his shop. Link bought one, and managed to restyle his car before the other cars went public. The day people came to see the new Ford, Link had parked his car in front of the agency and it drew a larger crowd then the stock cars.
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Dick Gonzales' 1955 Studebaker Speedster
Dick Gonzales' 1955 Studebaker Speedster went through a lot of modifications during the 1950s. While |Dick was responsible for designing the look of his car, he had Art's Custom Shop perform the actual work. In the summer of 1959, the car received a candy yellow paint job by legendary painter Larry Watson of Watson's House of Style. This version of the car gained national recognition when it was featured on the cover of Rod & Custom December 1959.
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Mike Budnick's 1960 Pontiac Ventura - The Golden Indian
Earlier this week we lost Larry Alexander of the Alexander Brothers kustomizer duo. Larry and his brother Mike Alexander are recognized for their neat and clean creations and one of their most famous builds belonged to a teenager from Detroit named Mike Budnick. In January 1961, 18 year old Mike rolled into the Alexander Bros. shop in Detroit; he wanted to make his car stand out from the rest of the cars currently cruising on Woodward Avenue.
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Chet Herbert's Beast III
After working for three or four days (and nights) on August 27, Chet Herbert entered his Bonneville Streamliner as the "Herbert Cams Special" at the 1952 Bonneville Nationals. With the number 666 on its side, and Art Chrisman behind the steering wheel, the Beast III became the fastest single engine car in America. After being stored away for 55 years, the restored version of the Beast III made its debut at the 60th annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance August 14, 2010.
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Doug Rice's 1939 Ford Coupe
Known as the Bonneville Boomer after its appearance in Hot Rod Magazine December 1954, Doug Rice's chopped and channeled 1939 Ford Coupe was clocked at the Bonneville Nationals in 1953 turning a top time of 126.58 mph running on straight alcohol in the "C" coupe class. The car was found under a pile of crap in 1983 and restored back to its 1954 configuration by Don Richardson. In 2010 the car was back at the salt flats of Bonneville for the 62nd annual Bonneville Speed Week.
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Arthur Lellis' 1939 Ford
In 1946 Arthur Lellis and Jerry Mofatt of Art & Jerry Custom Shop in Los Angeles built two almost identical Ford Customs. After being clocked at 120.35 mph at El Mirage and being sold to actor Alan Young, Art's car ended up on the East Coast. While there, the car was in an accident and some parts including the front end were modified. In 1988 Bill Dreist found the un-restored remains of the car and restored it back to its 1952 version. August 14th, 2010 the car was offered for sale at the Pebble Beach Auctions.
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Ray Strappazon's 1958 Chevrolet Impala
In 1959 Ray Strappazon of Joliet, Illinois had Barris Kustoms restyle his 1958 Chevrolet Impala Convertible. After a make over, the once blue Chevy had been converted into a creation known as the "Wild Cherry". The car was nosed, decked and fit with a custom grille made out of mesh screen, bullets and chrome trim. The doors were shaved of handles and push-button operated. Lakes pipes, dual spotlights and fender skirts were added to the car, while the chrome strips on the front fenders and in the rear fender scoops were removed.
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James Hetfield's 1936 Ford Coupe
In 2006 Beatniks member and Metallica frontman James Hetfield brought his 1936 Ford 5-Window Coupe over to the talented guys at Blue Collar Customs in Sacramento, California. After 5 weeks the first version of the coupe made its debut at the 2006 Cruisin' Nationals. In 2008, after building a 1956 Ford Extended Cab Pick Up for James, the coupe returned to Blue Collar Customs for a serious make over. After hand building a new roof and several other body panels from sheet metal, the coupe has finally now made its bare metal debut.
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Frederic Schaffnit's 1949 Dodge Roadster
This European flavored custom car was restyled on the American west coast by Frederic Schaffnit of San Fransisco, California. Frederic, or Bud that his friends called him, built the car for his wife Virginia. In 1998 the car was listed for sale as an old Barris Kustoms. John Wetzel, from the east coast of USA knew it wasn't a Barris car, but he had always wanted a sectioned car, so he bought it and brought it with him across the continent. John is currently restoring the car back to its first version, and would be glad if anyone could help him out with more info on his roadster.
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Yaril Quintana's 1951 Buick Special
When Yaril Quintana bought his 1951 Buick Special in 2003, his intensions was to keep the car as a daily driver. Yaril was the 3rd owner of the car, and when he got it still had its original paint, so he knew there was no rust to worry about on it. Shortly after buying the car, Yaril nosed, decked, and shaved the handles off the car. He also installed airbags on the old Buick. After putting many miles on its odometer, the 3 on three went out, and the rear end started making noises. This was the start of a long custom journey for Yaril's Buick, a journey that hasn't ended yet.
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Larry Watson's 1958 Ford Thunderbird
After selling his 1950 Chevrolet known as the Grapevine, Larry Watson wanted to start a new trend in painting, and wanted to use a brand new car as his canvas. What he really wanted was a brand new 1958 Cadillac Brougham, but that was far to expensive, so he decided to go for the newly redesigned Thunderbird instead. As soon as Larry got his new ride, he brought it over to Barris Kustoms so Bill Hines and Bill DeCarr could restyle it slightly before Larry would paint it.
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Larry Watson (1938 - 2010)
Earlier today we lost another great custom hero. After struggling with brain cancer for a while, Larry Watson left us all July 20, 2010. Inspired by Von Dutch, Larry began striping in his parents backyard at age 16. It didn't take long before he opened up his first shop Watson's House of Style in north Long Beach, California. Being the most influential custom car painter ever, Larry's legacy will live on forever amongst enthusiasts all over the world!
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Larry Ernst's 1952 Ford Convertible
In 1951, after buying a brand new 1951 Chevrolet Bel Air reverend Larry Ernst of Toledo, Ohio packed his bags and drove the car to California in order to have Barris Kustoms restyle it. Around 1953 Larry bought himself another car, a 1952 Ford Convertible. After buying the car, Larry packed his bags again, and went on another custom journey. This time the trip went to Detroit, Michigan and the Clarkaiser Custom Shop.
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1955 Chevrolet Biscayne
Even though the 1955 Chevrolet Biscayne Concept Car was officially condemned in 1958, styling treatments from the car can be found on GM cars well into the 1960s. As luck had it Harry Warholak, Sr. of Warhoops Junkyard saved the Biscayne by scattering pieces of it all over his junkyard. In 1989, custom and concept car collector Joe Borts bought the remains of the Biscayne. Restoring the car has been a long journey, but July 24, 2010 the restored version of the car will make its debut at the Concours d’Elegance of America at Meadow Brook
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Ken Leake's 1959 Chevrolet
A couple of weeks ago we featured Jim Cirivello's 1959 Chevrolet Impala on Kustomrama. Jim's Impala was basically restyled by Dick Jackson and his steady paint gun. Ken Leake, another Long Beach area citizen, also choose Dick Jackson of Advanced Custom Paints to restyle his Impala. Ken's Impala received a similar paint job consisting of violet and white scallops over a silver pearl base under violet. I wonder who if Ken was influenced by Jim, or if it was the other way around?
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Frank Poli's 1950 Ford
This mildly restyled 1950 Ford Shoebox was restyled by Modesto Century Toppers president Gene Winfield at Winfield's Custom Shop for Frank Poli. Up front it looks like Gene has made a custom grille bar for Frank, but the item is taken from a 1951 Ford Meteor. A similar grillebar can also be found on Bill Hines' 1950 Ford known as The Bat. Frank seldom drove the car in fear of damaging the car in the fender-bashing traffic, but luckily the car received a couple of magazines features.
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Jim Truscott's 1956 Ford Victoria
When Jim Truscott of Shawnee, Oklahoma wanted to restyle his 1956 Ford Victoria he wanted the very best for his car, so he packed his bags and drove the car all the way west to Compton, California were he had George Cerny of Cerny's Custom Shop restyle his beloved car. Once George had done what Jim commissioned him to do, he hit the road to Southgate to have Baron, Roth and Kelly apply some eloborate gold and Candy-apple scallops.
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Larry Ernst's 1951 Chevrolet Bel Air - The Bel Air Royal
Even though Jesus built Ministry's Hot Rod, reverend Larry Ernst of Toledo, Ohio decided to let the Barris Brothers restyle his 1951 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop in 1951. Beeing a roman catholic priest, owning a custom car was not easy in the 1950s. As the story goes, Ernst was asked to park his car around the block from the Catholic Charities Mission where he worked so it would not offend members of the congregation or make it seem like he lived a better life than he should.
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Benny Furtado's 1948 Ford
After opening up his own shop behind his mothers chicken house, Gene Winfield did a lot of custom work for friends and family. One of the first "strangers" to have Windy's Custom Shop restylle his car was dairyman Benny Furtado. Benny, who came from a nearby town had acquired his 1948 Ford brand new off the showroom floor. After driving it around for about a year, he decided to have Gene Winfield improve the cars appearance in 1949.
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Sam Gates' 1947 Ford Club Coupe
In 1948, Sam Gates of Pasadena, California decided he wanted a custom car more than anything else. He looked around, seeking the best shop that could make his dream come true. After a while he decided that his car could only become the car of his dreams if he did the work himself. Not having any experience, he attended metal work classes to learn the trade. After two years of learning Sam landed a job at Link's Custom Shop, where he worked at the car after work.
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The Ohanesian / Reichert 1934 Ford Coupe
This bad ass 1934 Ford 3-Window Coupe was originally owned and raced by Sacramento Thunderbolts member Harold "Buddy" Ohanesian. In 1952 the flywheel blew on the car on a Drag Strip. The driver, a guy who occasionally ran it for "Bud" was badly injured in the accident, so "Bud" donated the car with no engine to an auction were the money went to the wounded driver. This is were Orvel Reichert enters the story.
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Jim Cirivello's 1959 Chevrolet
Dick "Peep" Jackson began hanging around Barris Kustoms at age 14. After a while he became a broom boy in the shop sweeping floors, from there he advanced into becoming a mighty fine painter. After learning the trade from some of the best men in the industry, Dick started his own body shop and custom car studio called Dick's Custom Shop. One of the first cars he restyled in his own shop was Jim Cirivello's 1959 Chevrolet Impala.
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Gary New's 1949 Chevrolet Coupe - The Batmobile
What's your favorite Batmobile? Mine is a 1949 Chevrolet Coupe restyled by Walkers Body Shop for Road Barons member Gary New of Bakersfield, California. The car was built about a half decade earlier then the more famous Batmobile by Barris Kustoms. Once the bodywork was done, Gary's Batmobile was scalloped and pinstriped by "The Crazy Painter" Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. France's Top Shop upholstered the car with amatching Bat insignia in the back seat.
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Ken Sowers' 1956 Plymouth
1956 Plymouth restyled by Bill Babb of Wirth Body Shop for Ken Sowers. The profile of Ken's 1956 Plymouth appeared almost stock, giving no hint to the extensive frontal modifications on the car. The front was modified to accept a 1958 Buick grille. 1958 Edsel inner grille rings were used as headlight housings, and large airscoops were cut into the front fenders. The hood was louvered and shaved.
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Robert E. Roeder's 1934 Ford Convertible - The Roeder Sport Custom
Robert Roeder of Emmaus, Pennsylvania learned his sheet metal fabrication skills while working at the nearby Mack Truck Company. In 1948 he used his skills to turn his 1934 Ford Convertible into a Sport Custom known as the "Roeder Sport Custom". Robert kept the car almost unchanged until he died in 1974. After he passed away, the widow kept the car unchanged for another 20 years. In 1994, Terry Bean who had admired the car since he was a little kid was able to buy the car from the widow.
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Donald J. Hyland's 1939 Ford Coupe
February 23, 1955 Donald J. Hyland of Springfield, Massachusetts debuted his newly restyled 1939 Ford Coupe at the fifth annual Hartford Autorama. Donald bought the car brand new, and drove it around for a while before he decided to have it customized. The coupe was then chopped, channeled, and dechromed. The fenders were molded, and fit with fender skirts in the rear. The stock bumpers were replaced by ripple-style bumpers. Donald kept the chassis stock, but swapped the stock engine for an 125 hp Mercury V8
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Ron Guidry's 1936 Ford 5-Window Coupe
December 6th, 1957 Long Beach Renegades member Ron Guidry drove his 1936 Ford 5 Window Coupe over to the Barris Kustoms Shop. He had just been invited to display his car at the Oakland Roadster Show, and wanted Dean Jeffries to give it a new paint job for the show. The next night the shop caught fire and Ron's Ford was lost among 13 other cars, fellow Renegades member Ed Cousins bought the remains of the car for $150.
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Alfred A. Berton's 1932 Ford Cabriolet
In 1955 Alfred A. Berton displayed his neat 1932 FordCabriolet at the fifth annual Hartford Autorama in Connecticut. The car featured many unusual parts such as Kinmont Disc Brakes and a Carson Top by Glen Houser of Carson Top Shop. I'm really curious about the top, was Alfred's roadster originally built in California, or did Alfred drive it to Los Angeles in order to have Glen make him one of his legendary padded tops?
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Clarence Schaaf's 1937 Cord Special
When Clarence Schaaf of Erlton, New Jersey wanted to build himself a Sport Custom he started his build with a 1937 Cord chassis. The chassis was fit with a 200hp Lycoming V8 engine, and a hand built body. After the contours of the body were made, Clarence fit his car with a set of 1950 Studebaker front-fenders, and a set of 1950 Buick rear fenders. The build took 14 months of spare time, and $3,700 USD to complete. But once completed the build was valued at $7,000 USD.
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Roger Cunningham's 1950 Ford Convertible
When Roger Cunningham of Portland, Oregon wanted to have a different, cool, and comfortable custom car, he turned to Bob Mead of Forest Grove, Oregon. Roger had owned several other customs before, and decided wisely what car to purchase as his next project. After considering several different makes and models, the decision fell upon a 1950 Ford Convertible. After completing the build, the car was featured on the cover of Rod & Custom November 1956
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Sig Monson's 1949 Dodge
When I first saw Sig Monson's 1949 Dodge in Trend Book 105 Restyle Your Car an old suspicion I had was confirmed. 1949 and 1950 Dodge's and Plymouths have huge custom potential! A 1949 Dodge more-door will cost you about one tenth of a 1949 Mercury, so I really hope Sig's Dodge will inspire someone out there to do the same as he did 58 years ago. The result could be a low-budget custom that really stands out next to many big-budget cars.
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Ronny Green's 1941 Ford
When Ronny Green bought his 1941 Ford, it had already been chopped and fit with a padded top. Most of the chrome had been removed, and the doors had been push-button operated. When he got the car it was in a bad shape, so Ronny had Studio Custom Auto Body Shop in Burbank, California fix it up again. Once completed, this version of the car was featured in the first issue of Custom Cars Magazine.
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Robert Johnson's 1951 Oldsmobile 98
When members of the Renegades Car Club in Long Beach wanted to have their cars restyled, they often had Larry Watson apply one of his famous paint jobs. When members of the Satan's Angels Car Club wanted to restyle their cars, they would often turn their cars over to Joe Bailon of Bailon's Custom Shop. When Satan's Angels member Robert Johnson bought his fifth custom car, Joe Bailon was hired to make it stand out from the crowd.
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1957 Townsend Typhoon MK2
The Townsend Typhoon was the brainchild of Frank Townsend of Tucson, Arizona. The car started as a wood model in the early 1950s while Frank was still in high school. By 1957 Frank was busy building his third full scale Townsend Typhoon called the 1957 Townsend Typhoon MK2. This car was found in a field on a ranch in Arizona in 1999, and has since then been restored to its 1957 version by T2V Racing and Restoration.
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James L. Price's 1950 Oldsmobile
A year, or two before Valley Custom Shop sectioned Jack Stewart's 1950 Oldsmobile the Polynesian, Spohn Coachworks sectioned James L. Price's 1950 Oldsmobile. We have featured a lot of Spohn creations heavily influenced by the 1951 GM LeSabre Concept Car here on Kustomrama, so I thought it was about time to show a Spohn creation not influenced by Harley Earl's masterpiece.
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Bob Alexander's 1948 Plymouth
WhenEsquires member Bob Alexander of Glendale, California wanted to have his 1948 Plymouth restyled, he handed the car over to the guys at Studio Auto Body also of Glendale. Studio Auto Body converted the business coupe into a club coupe by installing rear seats. They also restyled the coupe by remodeling the grille shell, and by installing a shortened 1949 Mercury grille.
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Ralph Stefano's 1955 Lincoln Capri
After Ralph Stefano was drafted from the navy, he wanted a nice car to cruise the streets of Pueblo with. He got hold of a 1955 Lincoln that he wanted to have restyled. The young bodymen Bill Dickey and Otto Krueger of G&D Body and Paint were chosen for the job. After the bodywork was done, Jack's Upholstery in Trinidad reupholstered the interior.
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Tony Ferreira's 1954 Mercury
It is important to support local businesses. So when Tony Ferreira of San Diego, California wanted to restyle his 1954 Mercury he handed the car over to a local shop called House of Custom. After House of Custom had done their work, Tony's car was featured on the cover of Custom Cars September 1957 where they reffered to it as the "Modernized Mercury".
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Bob Clark's 1946 Cadillac Sedanette
This 1946 Cadillac Sedanette was restyled by Valley Custom Shop for their part-time employee Bob Clark. The car was mildly kustomized by removing much of the chrome, and by lowering it 2 inches. After Valley Custom had painted the car in a two tone Mandarin Red and Black, Bob drove it to his hometown Denver, were he had a 1952 Cadillac overhead engine installed.
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Phil Schmidt's 1952 Mercury
Wonder if Phil Schmidt's 1952 Mercury was inspired by the Barris Kustoms built Nobby Miyakawa's 1952 Mercury? Or if it was the other way around? Anyway, the two cars has many similarities. While Phil was in the Navy, he did not want spend his weekly paychecks into a lot of excess baggage, neither would he save it. Instead he had Styler's Custom Shop of San Diego customize his car. Phil helped out a lot during his hours of liberty as well.
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Bill Faris' 1932 Ford Roadster
Bill Faris' 1932 Ford was restyled by Neil Emory and Clayton Jensen of Valley Custom. The hopped up roadster clocked 132 mph at the 1951 SCTA Lakes Meet, and was chosen to be the ultimate Roadster Hot Rod by Hop Up Magazine in 1952.
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Richard Lee Tiago's 1957 Ford Ranchero
Since my brother has left for the Lonestar Roundup, I guess it's up to me to keep Kustomrama alive in the meantime. I've chose to featuren this sleek Ranchero since I have a weak spot for Rancheros. It was bought brand new by Richard Lee Tiago in 1957, however it did not last long before he ended up in a traffic accident, damaging the top pretty bad. While Ward's Body Shop was fixing it up, Richard decided he wanted to have it customized as well.
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Arthur Cooper's Comet
It's tuesday, and it's time for another 1951 GM LeSabre inspired creation. I have added so many 1951 GM LeSabre inspired creations by Spohn Coachworks these last weeks that I start to wonder if Harley Earl was inspired by the bodybuilder of Ravensburg, Germany?
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Tom Piantkoski's 1948 Mercury
On his way from New Jersey to Los Angeles in the early 1950s, Tom Piantkoski was involved in a traffic accident in Zanesville, Ohio, and totaled his customized 1941 Mercury. Still eager about coming to Los Angeles, he continued his trip by bus. In Los Angeles Tom bought an uncompleted 1948 Mercury custom that he drove back to New Jersey and completed.
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Larry Shinoda's 1932 Ford 3 Window Coupe - The Chopstick Special
Larry Shinoda is an automotive legend, responsible for designing the second generation Corvette and the BOSS 302 Mustang. In the beginning of his career, Larry was an active Californian hot rodder building and racing his Chopstick Specials cars. Larry built this 1932 Ford 3-Window Coupe in 1953 while working for Phil Weiand.
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Robert Mooselli's 1948 Mercury
Robert Mooselli's 1948 Mercury was built by Spohn Coachworks in Ravensburg, Germany in 1952. The complete chassis on the car was bought new from Ford Motor Company in Belgium for a cost of $1,100. The body was built entirely at Spohn for an additional cost of $6,000, and is heavily inspired by the 1951 GM LeSabre Concept Car.
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Ed Webster's 1951 Buick Convertible
1955 Plymouth taillights were popular custom taillights in the mid and late 1950s. When Ed Webster of Aurora, Illinois restyled his 1951 Buick Convertible, he decided to rework the fenders of his car to accept a pair of inverted and frenched in 1955 Plymouth taillights.
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Phil Hernandez' 1951 Mercury
1951 Mercury four-door restyled by Toigo's Auto Body & Paint Shop of San Diego, California for Phil Hernandez. The deck lid, hood and doors were shaved for chrome. Push buttons were used to operate the doors and deck lid. The headlights were shaded in order to simulate 1955 Chevrolet units.
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Arvi Hänninen's 1949 Checker
Built between 1953 and 1956, this 1949 Checker Coupe is probably the first custom car of Finland. Arvi Hänninen owned a bus body builder company called "Suonenjoen Autoasennus", and had the employees restyle his Checker when they didn't have anything else to do. The car is still around, and is currently being restored back to its first version.
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Tom Pollard's 1929 Ford Roadster
Known as "Dragnets Big Rod", Tom Pollard's 1929 Ford Model A Roadster was originally built by Kazar "Cozy" Simonian in the late 1940s. Once completed Cozy had spent all his paychecks building the car, and had to sell it on order to get some money. Tom bought it, and made it famous as the Hot Rod from NBC's Dragnet even though it never appeared in any episodes of Dragnet.
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The Donz Lancer
The last few weeks I have featured some custom cars influenced by the 1951 GM LeSabre Concept Car. Some are built as lookalikes, while others are inspired by certain design elements on the Harley Earl creation. This weeks featured car was built by Donz Custom Shop in Orlando, Florida and has a rear end treatment very similar to the 1951 GM LeSabre.
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Carl Cerny's 1949 Chevrolet
This clean 1949 Chevrolet custom was Carl Cerny's personal ride. Carl ran Cerny's Custom Shop together with his brother George. The boys turned out some really nice customs during the 1940s and the 1950s. George received a lot of ink with his chopped 1950 Plymouth Suburban, but I haven't been able to find out much on his brother Carl.
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Ralph W. Angel's 1950 Chevrolet
As many other American soldiers serving occupation duty in Germany, Ralph W. Angel had Spohn Coachworks build him a 1951 GM LeSabre influenced custom creation. After his time in Germany, Ralph brought the car with him back to the USA. Back home the car attracted so much attention that Ralph decided to sell it.
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With roots going back to 1933 Ford V-8's, I think it is safe to call the GAZ GL-1 a Russian Hot Rod. The car is a factory race car that was built by the Russian auto manufacturer GAZ in 1938. The original car is lost forever, but a recreation of the 1940 version of the car was recently debuted at the Moscow Museum. The cold war is over, so I hope the guys who built it will bring it over for this years Bonneville Speed Week. (Would this be kool or what? RtR)
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Bill Moore's 1957 Ford Ranchero
This nifty Ranchero was owned by Long Beach Renegades member Bill Moore of Garden Grove, California. According to Custom Cars October 1959, Bill's Ranchero was one of the first 1957 Fords that were fit with 1958 Edsel taillights. The modification looks really good and if I owned a 1957 Ranchero, I would have made an eBay auto search for a pair of those taillights as soon as I got the car home.
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Dick White's 1941 Ford Convertible
It's been a while since we have featured any Canadian built cars here on Kustomrama. Many nice hot rods and kustoms were also built north of the American border in the 1950s, and Dick's 1941 Ford is one of those. Before the build was completed, Dick sold his car to Don Sherwin, another Canadian kustomizer who completed the build.
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Glenn Stauffer's 1949 Chevrolet
Last week we featured Nickolas M. Staranick's 1947 Buick 1951 GM LeSabre lookalike built by Spohn Coachworks in Germany. This week we have added another 1951 GM LeSabre inspired creation to Kustomrama. Glenn Stauffer's 1949 Chevrolet is not a lookalike, but it's rear end treatment is very inspired by Harley Earl's creation.
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Gary Heliker's 1926 Ford Model T Roadster
1926 Ford Model T Roadster owned and built by painter and bodyman Gary Heliker of Lawndale, California. The trunk on Gary's car was welded shut and fit with taillights from an Oldsmobile F-85 station wagon. The front fenders on the car was made from old Ford wheel covers, and the grille shell was a cut down 1932 Ford grille shell.
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Bob Metz' 1950 Buick
In 1983 Brett Johnson bought a restyled 1950 Buick that was advertised locally in Old Cars Weekly. Not aware of its past, Brett began to modify the car after his own likings. in 2009 somebody recognized his Buick and suggested that it could be an old Bob Metz creation. The lead turned out to be true and after some investigation it turned out that Brett's Buick was actually Bob Metz' first custom attempt.
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Nickolas M. Staranick's 1947 Buick
In the 1930s Spohn Coachworks gained fame with their Bugatti, Mercedes-Benz, and Maybach creations. During the World War II the once prominent name was forgotten. In the 1950s American soldiers on occupation duty in Germany rediscovered the talented coachbuilder and had him build them unique custom cars. The result was another era of Spohn, and many of the cars he built were based on the design of the 1951 GM LeSabre Concept Car.
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Ted Leventhal's 1950 Chevrolet Convertible
According to George Barris Ted Leventhal's 1950 Chevrolet Convertible was the first car painted in what became known as Candy Apple Paint. Mel Pinoli of Pinoli's Body and Paint Shop in San Leandro, California laid the paint. While Joe Bailon might have been the first to apply Candy Apple red, George claims that Pinoli's Body and Paint Shop laid the first candy job.
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Carl Burnett's 1927 Ford Model T Roadster
In the 1940s this roadster was owned by San Diego Prowlers member Chuck Gibson (known as "Hoot", after the name of an American rodeo champion and a pioneer cowboy film actor, director and producer) who raced it at the dry lakes. Fellow club member Carl Burnett bought the roadster from Chuck in the early 1950s and built the car into a show winning roadster. The car is till a Prowlers club car, and is currently owned by their latest member John LaBarre, who is the fourth Prowlers member owning the historic roadster.
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Delmar McCutcheon's 1955 Buick - The Kandy Kane
Kustom by paint! At first sight The Kandy Kane looks like a wildly restyled Buick. But when you give it a second look you realize that the most radical modifications on the car is the shaved hood and deck lid, and the row of bullets that has been added to the grille of the car. Thanks to Larry Watson and his Watson's House of Style kustom by paint became very reasonable in the mid and late 1950s for teenagers of California.
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Gene Winfield's 1935 Ford Shop Truck
January 29, 2010 Hatfield Restorations debuted their newly restored Gene Winfield Shop Truck at the 61st Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, California. Gene completed the first version of the truck in 1961. He sold the car to a guy in Oregon in 1965. In 2008, after being lost from the public eyes for many years, the car was found in the weed behind a barn in Oregon.
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Paul Schiefer's 1925 Ford Class C Modified Roadster
July 18, 1948 Paul's C-Class Roadster was clocked at 148.02 mph at a SCTA meet. That was the best run for the car in 1948. In 1949 after seeing the record speeds Don Waiste's 1927 Ford Model T roadster accomplished, Paul decided to change the body on his roadster to a more streamlined 1927 Ford Model T roadster body. The swap was successful and later the same year the car stopped the clocks at 156.74 mph.
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Spencer Murray's 1949 Chevrolet
Before Spencer Murray had Lynn Wineland and more than 2500 Rod & Custom Magazine readers design the Rod & Custom Magazine’s Dream Truck, Spence cruised the streets of Glendale, California with a Link Paola restyled 1949 Chevrolet. In 1952 Spence's Chevrolet attended the National Roadster Show in Oakland where it took 2nd place behind Joe Bailon's 1941 Chevrolet Coupe, Miss Elegance.
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Geoffrey Hacker's Bill Burke Bellytank Re-Creation
When Bill Burke raced his P-51 Belly Tank at El Mirage and Harper Dry Lake in 1946 he was the first person ever to race a Belly Tank in the "Streamliner" class. When Geoffrey Hacker's recreation of Bill Burkes Belly Tank appears at the 2010 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance it will be the first Belly Tank to appear at a world class concours event.
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Frank Castro's 1949 Pontiac
Frank Castro's 1949 Pontiac was featured in Car Craft July 1957, 9 months prior to the featured story on Bob Lewis' 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline in Custom Cars April 1958. Maybe Bob saw Frank's car and decided to have a similar one built using a Chevrolet? When looking at the cars in black and white they sure look very similar.
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Lynn Yakel's 1932 Ford 5 Window Coupe
When Lynn Yakel built his 1932 Ford 5 Window Coupe he wanted a car that he could use both on the streets and on the salt flats. Both versions of the car look really good and I can't decide if I like the street rod better than the speed chaser. Lynn saw the Coupe for the last time in the 1960s. The car has been unseen for many years, but rumor has it that it still is around somewhere.
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Bob Lewis' 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline
Bob Lewis' 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline is a great example of a tastefully done late 1950s era custom car. The car was slammed to the ground, lowered at least 8 inches front and back and modernized with a 1955 Chevrolet grille, 1952 Ford headlights, 1955 Buick side trim and 1955 Oldsmobile rear wheel openings. After the cat was painted, local Pinstriper Charles Bodge decorated it inside and out.
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Dick Del Curto's 1950 Ford
When Joe Bailon of Bailon Custom Shop was chosen to upgrade and modernize Dick Del Curto's 1950 Ford he mated it with fins from a 1957 Studebaker Hawk, a 1955 Oldsmobile center bar, parts from a 1956 Mercury bumper, 1953 Ford headlight rims, 1956 Dodge taillights and 1957 DeSoto side trim. The result was a very mild custom compared to other Bailon creations.
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Ron Dunn's 1950 Ford
Around 1951/1952 Ron Dunn drove his 1950 Ford to Neil Emory and Clayton Jensen of Valley Custom Shop. Ron wanted a radical yet practical custom car and had figured out that Neil and Emory were the right men for this job. The restyled coupe was first shown at the 1952 Los Angeles Autorama where it won First Place in its class.
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Wayne Rogers' 1952 Ford Sunliner
After driving his 1952 Ford for a couple of years, Wayne Rogers wanted to trade his Sunliner for a brand new 1954 Ford. Not willing to trade his old car and pay $1,500 extra, Wayne took his Sunliner to the Valley Custom Shop and asked if they could make it look even newer and more modern than a 1954 model.
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Richard Axcell's 1955 Ford Pickup
If you are into pickup trucks you should check out Car Craft June 1958 as the magazine is a "Special Pick-Up Issue". One of the trucks used to convince you into buying that certain issue was Richard Axcell's 1955 Ford Pickup. Richard's truck was featured in full color on the cover of the magazine. Earl's Custom Shop restyled the truck, but I wonder who painted it!
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Dick Carter's 1941 Ford
After seeing Var Martin's 1941 Buick Dick had a vision of a dream car and fantasized about building it. In 1948 Dick and Jesse Lopez bought a 1941 Ford each that they drove over to Barris Kustoms for a restyling. After about a year in the works Dick and Jesse could hit the streets of Bell with their new rides. Dick's Ford was less radical, so it was finished first.
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Norman Timbs' Buick Special
Norman Timbs' Buick Special is a homemade streamlined sport custom designed and built by Norman Timbs. Being built over a span of 3 years, Norman's custom was supposed to be a prototype for a limited series of cars reflecting advanced concepts in performance and aesthetics. The car is newly restored by Custom Auto of Loveland, California, and is planned to make its debut at the 2010 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance in Florida in March.
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Creighton Helms' 1936 Ford Roadster
Creighton Helms commissioned Donn Lowe to build him a neat custom car that could have cruised the streets of Chicago when he was young. Maybe Donn misunderstood Creighton, cause the Roadster doesn't say Chicago at all to me, for me this car screams Sacramento! January 22, 2010 Creighton's Roadster will be offered for sale at the Automobiles of Arizona auction in Phoenix.
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Jack Stewart's 1950 Oldsmobile - The Polynesian
In 1952, Jack Stewart of Canton, Ohio came to Neil Emory and Clayton Jensen of Valley Custom Shop in Burbank with a sketch of a sectioned 1950 Oldsmobile he had created. Jack had designed his dream car, and wanted Valley Custom to help him fulfill his dream. The rest is history, and 9 months later Jack could return to Ohio with a genuine "California custom car".
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Buck Gallegos' 1953 Mercury
When this 1953 Mercury was featured in Trend Book 143 Restyle Your Car from 1957 it had been restyled by Barris Kustoms for Buck Gallegos of Pasadena, California. Two years later the Mercury was featured in Rod & Custom May 1959. By then the car had been sold and further restyled. This version of the car was owned by Dennis Wilcox, also from Pasadena.
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Rudy Rodriguez' 1935 Ford Truck
It seems like everyone either loves or hates Rudy`s "Bobber Truck". When the truck was sold at the Icons of Speed & Style auction in 2009 the car sold for more money than many significant hot rods and kustom cars being sold at the same auction. What do you think about it? I'm a huge fan of Rudy Rodriguez and the cars he restyles at Fullerton Fabrication and this truck is no exception.
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Fred Boss Artwork
Have you seen our new logo? It's placed at the top-left corner of this site. The logo was designed by the talented Norwegian artist Fred Lammers. Fred is an illustrator heavily influenced by cars, surf and the 1960s american pop culture. After contributing to the Friday Art Show on the HAMB, Fred has received worldwide recognition, and his art is constantly popping up all over the world.
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John Cassaubon's 1950 Ford
1950 Ford Club Coupe restyled by Clarkaiser Custom Shop for Pharaohs member John Cassaubon of Toledo, Ohio. John's Ford gained national recognition when it was featured in Hot Rod Magazine August 1958. The car is still around, and was restored by Harold Workman also of Toledo, Ohio. Harold did some modifications to the top when he restored the car, making it flow better.
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Mick Tully's 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air - The Golden Galleon
The first version of the Golden Galleon was featured in Custom Cars November 1958. Back then the car was owned by Mick Tully from Gardena California. The car is still around, and is curently owned by Norm Gonzales of Lompoc, California. The car has been changed a lot since its debut in 1958, and rumor has it that Barris Kustoms may have been responsible for some of the changes.
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Larry Watson's 1950 Chevrolet - The Grapevine
The first car Larry Watson pinstriped was his own 1950 Chevrolet. The year was 1955. He had watched Von Dutch and Dean Jeffries as they were laying modern stripes, and decided to try this cool paint technique himself. Larry's stripes became an instant hit, and from that day on his parents driveway would be filled with youngsters urging for some modern striping. A star had been born.
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John Taylor's 1956 Oldsmobile
John Taylor's 1956 Oldsmobile was last weeks featured photo in the Kustomrama Photo Archive. I had no idea who owned it, all I knew was that he was a member of the Roamans Car Club of DeWitt, Iowa. Justin Kudolla came to the rescue again, and thanks to him John's classy Oldsmobile can be added to the Kustomrama Wiki.
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Wayne Ludmas' 1954 Chevrolet
During his teens Wayne Ludmas spent much of his time building and racing jalopies. After purchasing a late model car, he found a new meaning with life, and switched to customizing instead. Wayne's 1954 Chevrolet is a great example of a mid fifties low budget custom built to cruise the streets. Wayne was 18 years old when his Chevy was featured in Car Craft June 1957.
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Otto Rhodes' 1953 Ford F-100 - The Mountain Pearl
After spending four years building his dream truck, Otto Rhodes' 1953 Ford F-100 was the first full colored vehicle to be featured in Hot Rod Magazine. Not long after completing the build Otto was drafted, and spent the next 18 months in Germany. When he returned to Pueblo, Colorado he felt that he had to redo his truck in order to make it stand out at shows. In 2009, more then 30 years later the second version of The Mountain Pearl made its debut.
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Terry Browning's 1958 Ford Ranchero - The Ruby Ranch
Terry Browning did everything himself on his 1958 Ford Ranchero, everything from bodywork, to paint and pinstriping. The car gained national recognition after being featured on the cover of Custom Rodder January 1960. October the following year Terry's Ranchero, also known as the Ruby Ranch was once again featured on the cover of Custom Craft October 1961.
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Harold Ohanesian's 1940 Mercury
After returning from the service in 1945 Harold "Buddy" Ohanesian bought himself a 1940 Mercury. He drove it over to Harry Westergard and had him chop the top so he could put a padded Hall Top on it. Harry also cut the decklid down, extended the hood and fit the car with a reshaped 1946 Chevrolet grille. Dick Bertolucci was later hired to further restyle the car and fit it with a removable steel top.
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Louie Bettancourt's 1949 Mercury
Have you seen this Merc lately? This is the last known photo of one of the most important Mercs in kustom history. Originally restyled by the Ayala Brothers, Louie's Merc could have been the first chopped 1949 Mercury to hit the streets. After going through a couple of modifications by Barris Kustoms, the Merc ended up behind Dean Jeffries shop, where it was stolen around 1970.
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Andy Southard's 1958 Chevrolet Impala
Andy Southard was the Larry Watson of the East Coast. Based out of Oceanside, New York, he scalloped, flamed and pinstriped several East Coast Hot Rods and Custom Cars. After finishing his 1958 Chevrolet Impala, Andy took the car on a vacation to California. During his stay in California several minor modifications were done to the car.
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Norman Wesp's 1955 Oldsmobile
A couple of months ago I bought a Polaroid photo album filled with old photos of custom cars and hot rods taken at an outdoor show held somewhere in Iowa in 1956. Each week I post a new photo in the Kustomrama Photo Archive. After posting Norm's Olds in my weekly Kustomrama Newsletter yesterday asking for help to recognize the car, Justin Kudolla came to the rescue and could tell me the previous owner of the car.
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Wes Collins' 1934 Ford Roadster
This 1934 Ford Roadster was once owned by Wes Collins. Wes was a good friend and crew member for Vic Edelbrock. Vic was also married to Wes' sister Katherine. I haven't been able to find out much about this car, but according to information that was posted by Rik Hoving on the HAMB Wes' Roadster was sold to Al Marx. When Al owned the car it was painted white.
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Frank and Charles Gilardone's 1953 Ford Victoria
Around 1953-1954 Frank and Charles Gilardone had Ron Clark and Bob Kaiser of Clarkaiser Custom Shop in Detroit, Michigan restyle their 1953 Ford Victoria. Once completed the car was selected to be exhibited at Ford's own rod and kustom show at the Rotunda auditorium in Dearborn, Michigan. The car is still around and was last spotted for sale a couple of years ago. By then the car had been painted black.
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Lee Plastic Company
Have you ever seen a 1959 Ford with Indian eagle inspired taillights? If yes, chances are that the taillights were handmade and sold by Lee Plastic Company of Detroit, Michigan. There were many companies producing and selling custom made taillight lenses in the 1950s and 1960s, but the most known company had to be Lee Plastic Company. The company is long gone, but there is plenty of companies making reproductions of their most popular taillight lenses today.
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Ralph Testa's 1950 Mercury
Restyled by Barris Kustoms in the early fifties, Ralph Testa's old 1950 Mercury is luckily still with us. Restored back to its former beauty by kustom car enthusiast Bill Worden, the car was an important car amongst all of the historic Mercs being exhibited at the 2009 Sacramento Autorama. When Barris modified the car back in its day they fit it with horizontally mounted 1949 Buick taillights, a pretty unusual treatment that I haven't seen on any other 1949 - 51 Mercurys.
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Kennie Anderson's 1933 Ford 3 Window Coupe
Is it period correct to put a small block Chevy in your rod? Hell yes, if you're going for a look newer than 1955 of course. It has been a trend lately to not like small block Chevys. People think it is boring, that it is only suitable for dorks running pastel colored street rods. With this in mind I thought it was about time to feature a really bitchin' small block powered 1933 Ford 3 Window Coupe today. Dating back to 1960, you can't say anything bad about this mean beauty?
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Bill Wolfe’s 1951 Mercury
Studying at day and working at night it took 2 years for Bill Wolfe to earn enough money to complete the restyling of his 1951 Mercury. Gene Winfield was commissioned to do the job. The car is long gone and was last seen in a wrecking yard. When Bill wanted his old car back he once again turned to legendary car builder Gene Winfield. Gene recreated the original car using one of his fiberglass Mercury kits. This time Bill had more money to spend, so the second car was also chopped.
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Gil Ayala's 1951 GMC Truck
In 1953 Gil Ayala debuted his recently restyled parts hauler. The car was a rolling advertising board for Gil's shop Gil's Auto Body Works and gave him national free advertising through a couple of features in Hop Up Magazine and Rod & Custom Magazine. Shortly after the car was featured in Rod & Custom Magazine Gil sold the truck to Bruce Geisler of Huntington Beach. Bruce reinstalled the stock grille and painted the car light pink.
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Thor Sanden's 1929 Ford Model A V8 Roadster
Last week we featured Clayton Paddison's 1926 Ford Model T Roadster on Kustomrama. Today we are featuring Clayton's grandpa, Thor Sanden's cool late 40s early/50s built 1929 Ford Model A V8 Roadster. Thor bought this roadster from a buddy after attending the 1951 GM Motorama Show at the Pan Pacific. The car is long gone today, but Clayton is currently working on a recreation of this neat roadster.
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Skip Batchelor's 1958 Chevrolet Impala
In 1959 Ray Farhner built a radical show rod known as The Eclipse in order to advertise his business Farhner Custom Shop. It seems like Ray's advertising worked on Skip Batchelor who had Ray restyle his 1958 Impala. In the summer of 1960 Skip could debut his brand new creation and as a result of the good craftsmanship and design Skip won an award at the first show in which he entered the car.
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Don Coulter's 1955 Oldsmobile
Looking through Custom Cars April 1958 I found a Barris Kustoms creation I couldn't remember seeing before, so I thought it was about time to add it to the list of Barris Kustoms here on Kustomrama. While writing the article I remembered that I had seen that front end before in the photo collection of the GT350LADY where it was parked right next to Sam Barris' 1952 Ford Convertible.
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Clayton Paddison's 1926 Ford Model T Roadster
If there was a "Kustomrama Hot Rod of the Year" Award, this years grand prize winner would have been Clayton Paddison's 1926 Ford Model T Roadster. After only 23 years on this planet Clayton has built a period perfect 1930s/1940s gow job that looks like it has escaped the pages of Throttle Magazine. Way to go Clayton! We look forward to your next project that you are currently collecting parts for.
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Dan Landon's 1949 Chevrolet Club Coupe
When Barris Kustom Automobiles began the restyling on Dan Landon's 1949 Chevrolet Club Coupe they tried to follow the guidelines of the owner as well as they could. Dan wanted the roof as low as possible, but George and Sam wanted to leave as much window space as possible. In order to please both parties they ended up sectioning the roof and to cut the windshield opening further into the top.
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Jerry Halak's 1958 Ford
Yesterday I featured a mildly kustomized 1957 Ford that was restyled by legendary builder Gene Winfield. Today I'll follow up with a mildly kustomized 1958 Ford restyled by its owner Jerry Halak of Toledo, Ohio. Jerry kept the body mostly stock, but removed most of the chrome trim on the car including the door handles. Doors and trunk were electrically operated. The side trim was stock.
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Jack Smario's 1957 Ford
When Jack Smario wanted to restyle his 1957 Ford and make it stand out from the rest of the 1957 Fords around Pittsburg he went to Gene Winfield's Custom Shop in Modesto, California. Gene did his magic on the car, fit it with a bunch of chromed bullets and painted it in black lacquer with gold dusting. I have never seen the car in color, but I bet it was a real headturner.
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Revelle Harrison's 1940 Ford Coupe
Last week we featured Ed Jacques slammed 1941 Ford that was featured in Hop Up May 1953. This week we'll follow up with a 1940 Ford that was featured in Hop Up April 1953, one month earlier. Revelle's Coupe is also slammed down in the dirt and as last time the writer had a hard time figuring out how it was possible to drive around in such a radically lowered car. Revelle's coupe was his daily driver back in 1953, I wonder if he still drives it?
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Junichi Shimodaira's 1927 Ford Model T Roadster Pickup - La Cucuaracha
Most people in the western part of the world haven't heard about Junichi Shimodaira. Many have seen his most famous creation the RODriguez Show Rod, that is now currently located in California, but what many don't know is that Junichi is one of the pioneers behind the traditional rod and kustom movement in Japan. Heavily influenced by the Mexican lowrider culture of Southern California Junichi opened up his own shop Paradise Road in 1987.
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Ed Jacques' 1941 Ford
In the early 1950s Ed Jacques' 1941 Ford Club Coupe was one of the lowest cars around. It was radical for its time and the writer that wrote a featured story on the car for Hop Up May 1953 couldn't find any reason whatsoever to lower a car this much. I guess Neil Emory and Clayton Jensen of Valley Custom Shop, who built the car for Ed had their doubts too. But Ed wanted a slammed car and that's what he got.
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Frank Monteleon's 1941 Ford
Around 1949/1950 Frank Monteleon asked Barris Kustoms if they could modernize his 1941 Ford. This was exactly how the Barris Brothers made their income, so in 1950 they started to restyle Frank's old Ford. Seven years and four 1950 Oldsmobile fenders later Frank was the proud owner of a show-winning soon to be on the cover of thousands Rod & Custom Magazines kustom car.
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Wayne Kleb's 1927 Ford Roadster - Satan's Chariot
In the early 1960s Wayne Kleb of Spring, Texas built an award winning Show Rod that still looks good today. Last seen by the original builder in the 1980s, Wayne and his son Kyle are currently looking for this car. If you know where it is today contact Kyle at: kylekleb@prodigy.net.
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Anthony Abato's 1954 Oldsmobile Convertible - The Comet
It's about time to feature an East-Coast Kustom here on Kustomrama and that's exactly what Anthony Abato's 1954 Oldsmobile Convertible is. Anthony bought the car brand new in 1954 and restyled the car over and over again until it was unfortunately lost in a house-fire in the 1960s.
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Johnnie Luna's 1951 Oldsmobile Holiday 88 Coupe
Johnnie Luna bought his 1951 Oldsmobile Holiday 88 Coupe brand new. In 1956 it was featured as one of the top ten best customs of 1956 by Trend Book 122 Custom Cars 1956 Annual; by then the car had been restyled twice by Cerny's Body Shop in Compton, California.
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Paul Lehrbass' 1952 Pontiac Catalina
When Paul Lehrbass' wanted to have his 1952 Pontiac Catalina restyled he handed it over to George Cerny of Cerny's Body Shop in Compton, California. After George had done his magic it was time for legendary pinstriper Von Dutch to finish off the car.
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Chuck DeWitt's 1950 Ford Convertible
Chuck DeWitt's 1950 Ford Convertible was voted as chosen as one of the ten best customs of the year in 1954 by Trend Book 109 Custom Cars 1954 Annual. At the time Chuck (or Charles which was his birth name) was a geology student at the University of Southern California.
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From Mild to Wild - The Evolution of the Telstar MX7
What started out as a mildly kustomized daily driver in 2007 evolved suddenly into a tribute to Bob Metz and Barris Kustoms, before it ended up as a homage to Harley Earl and his futuristic concept cars. The transformations on Jim Laga's 1950 Ford has been well documented on the HAMB for a couple of years. Kustomrama has merged the threads so far and created the full Telstar MX7 Story
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The Kustomrama Story
The first version of Kustomrama was launched by Sondre Kvipt in 2005. Since then a lot has happened to the site and what was originally launched as an online magazine dedicated to traditional hot rods, kustoms, rockabilly and its related kulture has evolved in to a traditional rod and kustom wikipedia containig 2,242 pages.
Click here to read the Kustomrama Story


The Srabian Brother's 1954 Ford F-100 Pickup - The Wild Kat
When Barris Kustoms debuted the Wild Kat in 1956 they beat Detroit with quad headlight styling by 2 years. Unfortunately the car lived a short life in the show circuit, as the car was totally destroyed in the Barris Kustoms shop fire December 7th, 1957.
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Rod Robinson's 1959 Chevrolet
1959 Chevrolet restyled by Bertolucci's Body and Paint Shop for Rod Robinson. After restyling and building custom cars in his shop since 1948, Dick Bertolucci decided to switch his energies to conventional body, fender and collision work instead of custom work in the late 1950s.
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Al Andril's 1940 Mercury
In 1947 Barris Kustoms restyled 2 almost identical 1940 Mercuries for Al Andril and Johnny Zaro. Sam Barris (who was responsible for the top) chop started out by chopping the top on Al's car. When Al's car was chopped and primered, Sam continued his magic on Johnny's car.
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Teddy Zgrzemski's 1954 Ford
In recent years Bill Hines has become a major legend in the world of traditional kustom cars. Everyone knows his name but few know his cars. This 1954 Ford was restyled by Bill Hines for his nephew Teddy Zgrzemski in the late fifties or early sixties. The car is a typical wild Bill Hines kustom kreation.
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Ed Cousins' 1932 Ford Pickup
Ed Cousins was a member of the legendary Long Beach Renegades Car Cllub in the late 50s. During the 1958 show season the Renegades participated at 28 shows, winning 162 trophies. In 1958 Ed Cousins' 1932 Ford Pickup was entered at the National Roadster Show in Oakland sharing the class with the better know Ala Kart.
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Charles DeLacy's 1951 Studebaker Starlight Coupe
1951 Studebaker Starlight Coupe restyled by Charles DeLacy of Los Angeles, California. Charles customized his Studebaker in his spare time, working by night at an aircraft plant, going to college by day and working at a body shop during his "idle" hours. The build took 15 months to complete.
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Ken Vertrees' 1951 Chevrolet
In November 1951 Ken Vetrees bought himself a 1951 Chevrolet Convertible. After sketching how he wanted the car to looke, he drove it over to Bill's Body Shop for the restyling. The car got a low racy effect by lowering the car: 5 inches in the rear and 3 inches in the front. The grille opening was reworked and a 1951 Plymouth grille set in to replace the stock item.
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Nobby Miyakawa's 1952 Mercury
In 1955 when Car Craft Magazine decided to please its readers with a step-by-step feature on how to build a custom they decided to cooperate with Barris Kustoms and Nobby Miyakawa. Nobby owned a 1952 Mercury Monterey that the guys at Car Craft felt would be the perfect canvas for a mild kustom project.
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Ray Farhner's 1932 Ford Roadster Pickup - The Eclipse
In 1959 Ray Farhner had Doug Thompson design him a car. Ray wanted a car that would help him advertise his custom shop in Independence, Missouri. Ray's pickup is still around and will be offered for sale without a reserve at the Icons of Speed & Style auction that will be held in Los Angeles September 26th.
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Butler Rugard's 1940 Mercury
In 1940 Kustom Car enthusiast Butler Rugard brought a brand new 1940 Mercury over to a Sacramento based body and fender man known as Harry Westergard. Over the next few years Butler kept bringing the car back to Harry for further modifiactions. The car is still around today and September 26th, 2009 the car can be yours if you have the dough.
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Bill Cushenbery's 1940 Ford - The El Matador
The El Matador was built by Bill Cushenbery around 1960. After swapping hands a dozen times and touring the car for several years the life of the El Matador could have ended in 1993 after a garage fire. The garage the car was stored in burned to the ground completely destroying the car. Its current owner gave the car up, but refused to sell it.
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Milt Goodman's 1955 Chevrolet
Restyling his 1955 Chevrolet with a 1958 Chevrolet grille, headlights and front bumper there is no doubt that Milt Goodman of Vancouver, Canada must have been a major fan of the brand new 1958 Chevrolet. With good help from his friend Jack Williams, Milt managed to complete his build before the 1959 Chevrolet were entered the market.
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Roy Abendroth's 1955 Buick Century - The BuSonic
Roy Abendroth started restyling his 1955 Buick Century in 1959. The car took 3 years to complete, but once it was completed it really caught the attention at the shows. Before the car went into storage in 1968 Larry Watson repainted the BuSonic in Gold Copperflake. Jim Breazeale found the car a few years ago and decided to restore it back to its 1963 incarnation.
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Bob Hamke's 1927 Ford Roadster
Steve Carrasas followed a lead he had on an old Model T Roadster stacked away in a garage. He followed the lead, photographed the car and posted the pictures on the HAMB wondering if anyone knew anything about the car. It didn't take very long (only minutes) before the car had been identified as Bob Hamke's 1927 Ford Model A Roadster, a car that had been featured in Hot Rod Magazine November 1950.
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Terry Parkening's 1938 Chevrolet Coupe
You don't see too many early Chevrolets in the old small format magazines. Actually you don't see too many these days either! In Scandinavia the 1940-1942 Chevrolets have been an affordable choice for many kustomizers to lay their hands on. In 1963 Terry Parkening of Elkhorn, Nebraska got his sleeper on ink in the prestigious Car Craft Magazine.
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Gil Ayala's 1955 Ford Thunderbird
Gil Ayala was the front man and painter of the Ayala Brothers duo. In 1945 he opened up his own shop Gil's Auto Body Works in East Los Angeles, California. After running the shop for a decade I guess Gil decided it was about time to buy himself one of those brand new Thunderbirds.
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Mac Schutt's 1932 Ford Roadster
Glossy paint is definitively back. The scene has been dominated by satin cars for quite some years now. The trend is turning and more and more traditional hot rods and custom cars are given an extra finish job in order to be able to receive a proper paint job. Back in 1951 Mac Schutt also decided to give his channeled roadster a glossy maroon paint job.
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1954 Mercury XM-800
It's a well-known fact that the designers up in Detroit were following the Kustom scene to see what they were up to and vice versa. I have therefore chosen to also present the Custom Cars of Detroit here on Kustomrama. The 1954 Mercury XM-800 was Ford's first venture with fiberglass. Tom Maruska bought the remains of the car in 2008 and did a great job restoring it back to its former glory.
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Tom Bacon's 1953 Studebaker Commander
When Bob Burke designed the 1953 Studebaker it was meant to be a show car only. Bob's boss Raymond Lowey fell in love with the design and convinced Studebaker to put the car into production. Tom Bacon was also a fan of Bob's design, but he figured the car needed some additional restyling. Tom removed most of the chrome, chopped the top and punched more than 500 louvers into the old coupe.
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Harry Bradley
Yesterday we featured Harry Bradley's 1951 Chevrolet Custom known as the La Jolla. Today we will tell the story about the man behind the car. Automotive designer Harry Bradley started his design career by contributing illustrations to hot rod and custom car magazines. The Alexander Brothers noticed the young talent and had Harry help them design rides too.
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Harry Bradley's 1951 Chevrolet Bel Air - La Jolla
The La Jolla is legendary automotive designer Harry Bradley's first car. He purchased the car in 1954 and spent the next couple of years restyling it in order to make the lines flow better. The car was restored and changed in 1999 by custom car collector Jack Walker. September 26, 2009 the car will be auctioned away at the Icons of Speed & Style auction.
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Ted Lundquist's 1951 Kaiser
Last week we featured a nicely kustomized 1951 Kaiser, this week we will feature another one. Ted Lundquist built this Kaiser convertible out of a four door in order to promote his shop. Once completed, Ted's Kaiser won a Popularity Award at the National Roadster Show in Oakland, California, so I guess he succeeded with his mission.
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Dave Chavis' 1951 Kaiser
Tired of customizing Fords and Chevrolets, Dave Chavis purchased a 1951 Kaiser that he decided to modify. With good help from George Cerny's Body Shop Dave's rare and mildly customized Kaiser turned out really great.
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Jesper Bram pinstriping
Last week we featured some pictures from the Bedrock Weekend Show in Denmark. This week we will continue to focus on Denmark, as we present you all a very talented Danish pinstriper named Jesper Bram. Jesper was born in 1973 and is doing a great work in keeping the old art form alive.
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Mario Pirondini's 1950 Ford
You don't see too many 1950 Fords wearing 1957 Pontiac side trim. When Cleary Motors restyled Mario Pirondini's 1950 Ford Shoebox they fit the car with side trim from a 1957 Pontiac. The trim fits the car well and makes it stand out from most other 1950 Fords.
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Sam Barris' 1952 Ford
Known as the Practical Ford after being featured on the cover of Rod & Custom December 1955, Sam Barris built his 1952 Ford Convertible so the family could have a car to use. Sam gave the car a T-Bird look by creating a hand made chromed grille.
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Howard Clarkson's 1951 Chevrolet Bel Air
Howard Clarkson bought his 1951 Chevrolet Bel Air brand new off the showroom. He wanted to set his car apart from other Bel Airs and decided to let Neil Emory and Clayton Jensen of Valley Custom loose on it.
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B. M. Buckley's 1950 Chrysler New Yorker
In Custom Cars March 1958 B. M. Buckley's 1950 Chrysler New Yorker is named a Rare Hybrid. In the issue originally owned by B. M. Buckley HY is crossed out and replaced by Lo. So I guess B. M. considered his rare build as a Rare Lobrid.
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Gordon Anderson's 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline
Last week we could read about how Sam Barris convinced 18 year old Helen Manning into restyling her Fleetline more than she first asked for in order to set it apart from others of the same model. It seems like Sam gave the same advice to Gordon Anderson...
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Helen Manning's 1950 Chevrolet Fleetline
In the early fifties 18 year old Helen Manning brought her 1950 Chevrolet Fleetline to Sam Barris of Barris Kustoms. She wanted Sam to fill the hood and smooth the trunk of her car. Sam convinced Helen that in order to set the car apart from others of the same model she should also do some more modifications to the car...
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Fred Hunzinger's 1932 Ford Five-Window Coupe
You don't see too many full fendered, chopped and channeled 1932 Fords. So it was about time to finally feature a really bitchin' one here on Kustomrama. Fred Hunzinger's 1932 Ford Five-Window Coupe was featured in Trend Book 110 Hot Rod 1954 Annual and it really stands out from the rest of the cars in the magazine.
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Bill Gaylord's 1953 Oldsmobile Holiday Coupe
1953 Oldsmobile Holiday Coupe restyled by Bill Gaylord of Gaylord's Custom Shop. Bill restyled his Oldsmobile in order to promote his business, so the car was completely upholstered from floor to top. The whole inside was padded with foam rubber and covered with red and white Naugahyde.
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Per Ivar Kolgrov's 1948 Mercury Convertible
Building traditional hot rods and kustom cars doesn't have a long tradition in Norway. So it is always exiting to stumble across old hot rods and custom cars built in Norway. Per Ivar Kolgrov's 1948 Mercury Convertible was built in the early 1960s and must be one of the first custom cars to hit the streets of Oslo.
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Jimmy Summers' 1940 Mercury Convertible
This 1940 Mercury Convertible was Jimmy Summers' personal ride. Jimmy built the car around 1947. He channeled the car and raised the fenders. The hood was sectioned and running boards and gravel shields were removed. The car featured a padded tan Carson Top and a handmade grille similar to that of a Buick
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Jay Everett's 1934 Ford Pick-up
Have you heard about Jay Everett? Jay is best known for his hand built sport custom named the Astra Coupe. But there is more to Jay then the innovative Astra Coupe, in Hot Rod Magazine February 1951 Jay's 1934 Ford Pick-Up is featured. The subtle Pick-Up really gives you a hint of Jay's excellent taste in cars.
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Wayne Mahaffey's 1935 Ford Phaeton
Wayne Mahaffey's 1935 Ford Phaeton was featured in Trend Book 102 Hot Rods from 1951. Personally I think the car would fit much more at home in the Trend Book 101 Custom Cars, but I guess the 1946 Cadillac mill classified this beutiful car as a Hot Rod in 1951.
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Joe Mello's 1950 Chevrolet
Joe Mello's 1950 Chevrolet Hardtop was restyled by Van Leeuwen in the early 1950s. The car is a clean and distinctive Chevrolet custom featuring a shaved hood, custom grille bar, Cadillac hubcaps, dual spotlights and frenched headlights.
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Robert La Briola's 1949 Oldsmobile
When Robert La Briola failed to find what he wanted in a sports car, he decided to design his own based on a 1949 Oldsmobile Convertible. The bodywork on the car was performed by Barris Kustoms.
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Dave Cunningham's 1940 Ford Sedan
Dave Cunningham's 1940 Ford Sedan was channeled 10" over the frame. He did the job roughly himself, but decided to trailer the car over to Barris Kustoms in order to let them complete the job. Once completed it didn't take long before the car was back at the Barris Shop for another makeover.
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Ted Svendsen's 1934 Ford Coupe
Ted Svendsen's 1934 Ford 5W Coupe was sectioned and chopped by Kustom Kraft of San Diego, California. The rest of the modifications were done by its owner Ted Svenson also from San Diego. After hours of hard work Ted got recognition for his work as the car was featured on the cover of Car Craft September 1958 with two pictures.
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Clarence Catallo's 1932 Ford Coupe
Best known as the Little Deuce Coupe, Clarence Catallo's 1932 Ford Coupe, the Silver Sapphire, was used on the cover of Beach Boys' Little Deuce Coupe. On the cover picture the car featured Barris Kustoms Crests, but most of the work done to the car was performed by the Alexander Brothers out of Detroit
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George Barris' 1936 Ford Convertible
Legendary kustomizer George Barris' first full kustom job was a 1936 Ford convertible that he built in 1941. George restyled the car while he was in High School and the car was completed before he graduated. The '36 made George the Kustom King of the school and turned out to be a door opener for his future career.
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Alvin Serpa's 1946 Ford Convertoble
Alvin Serpa's 1946 Ford was the first car Gene Winfield did extensive custom bodywork on. When Alvin first brought his 1946 Ford Convertible to Gene Winfield, the top had been chopped by someone else in Turlock, California. Alvin wasn't satisfied with the chop and asked Gene to chop it a little more.
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Al Gratz' 1955 Chevrolet Corvette
Inspired by the finned cars of Chrysler Corporation, Al Gratz of Gratz Body Shop in Fort Wayne, Indiana decided to restyle his Corvette by forming large fiberglass fins incorporating 1957 Plymouth taillights and 1958 Chrysler Windsor bumpers.
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Ed Roth's 1930 Ford Model A Sedan - The Little Jewel
We all know Ed "Big Daddy" Roth for his wild fiberglass creations, but this 1930 Ford Model A Sedan was Ed's first forray into the show car scene. In 1958 Ed sold the Little Jewel in order to get money for chrome on his second show car the Outlaw. The car was sold to Lee Rhodes of the Long Beach Renegades.
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The Manta Ray is Alive
The 1951 GM LeSabre Concept Car is one of my all time favorite cars. That was probably the case for Glen Hire and Vernon Antoine of Whittier, California too. Their hand made "prototype" for a small production automobile was heavily inspired by the 1951 GM LeSabre. In 1959 the car was sold to Junction City, Kansas and for many years nobody knew where the car was. That was until Kustomrama got an email from D.E. Lacer...
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Darol Jorgenson's 1957 Chevrolet Corvette
Quad headlights was one of the hottest custom tricks in 1958. When Darol Jorgenson of the Renegades Car Club decided to customize his Corvette, it had to have quad headlights. The front fenders on the car was extended in order to provide shades for quad headlights from a 1958 Ford.
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Gerald Twamley's 1954 Chevrolet 210
Gerald Twamley bought this 1954 Chevrolet 210 2-door in 1955. At the time Gerald was a member of the Rogues Car Club. The car went through several modifications. Starting out as a mild custom and ending up as a pretty remarkable semi-radical custom featuring scallops paint job by Larry Watson. During the build Gerald was "recruited" by the Renegades Car Club.
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Pete Angress' 1952 Ford
With a burgundy and gold kustom paint by legendary Larry Watson, Pete Angress' kustomized 1952 Ford Victoria is a great example of the cars of Kustomland in the late fifties. Pete was a member of the Renegades and bought his car from fellow club member Bill Moore
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Al Lazarus' 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air
Al Lazarus was a member of the Renegades Car Club. In 1957 he decided to paint his mildly customized 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air black. Al and a buddy painted the car in Al's backyard. The car got a few flaws in the paint and since he didn't want to repaint it, he asked Larry Watson if he could cover them up.
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The Renegades
This week we will do a tribute to the Renegades Car Club of Long Beach, California on Kustomrama. All of the featured stories on Kustomrama this week will somehow be related to this legendary car club.
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Frank Livingston's 1949 Chevrolet
Over the years, Frank Livingston has owned several 1949 Chevrolet customs. His last one is a tribute to the first and most known '49, the one he debuted at the 1955 National Roadster Show. After using the car for a year, he got tired of it and brought it to Bailon Custom Shop for a make over.
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Dick Jackson's 1957 Ford Thunderbird
Named the Little Bastard after legendary actor and teenage girl heart breaker James Dean, Dick Jackson built his 1957 Ford Thunderbird while working as a painter at Barris Kustoms. With only 10 miles on the clock, the Thunderbird was teared down and rebuilt as a neat mildly kustomized 2 seater.
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Mandy Holder's 1951 Mercury
Mandy Holder's 1951 Mercury was the result of a collaboration between Barris Kustoms, Mize Custom Shop, Gaylord's Kustom Shop and the Dukes & Duchess Trim Shop. The car was featured on the cover of Car Craft March 1958 and is without doubt one of the best looking '49-'51 Mercury Customs of the late 50s.
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Norm Milne's 1931 Ford
It seems like Harry Westergards most loyal customers were his fellow club members from the Thunderbolts Auto Club. I'm not sure if they were his best paying customers though. This car is no exception as Harry built it for fellow club member Norm Milne. Harry is best known for his tastefully done kustom cars, but as you can see here Harry also knew a thing or two about hot rods. This car is still around and is currently undergoing full restoration in Williams, Oregon.
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The Blue Danube
If you had Barris Kustoms build you a car in the 1950s or 1960s chances were big that George Barris could fix your car a role in a movie or TV show. That happened to Lyle Lake and his 1952 Buick Riviera called the Blue Danube. January 8, 1960, on the birthday of Elvis Presley, the Blue Danube had its 5 minutes of fame on the Twilight Zone show.
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Ed Sloan's 1953 Plymouth
In 1953 a seventeen years old kid brought his brand new 1953 Plymouth to Barris Kustoms. Ed Sloan had just began high school and needed a daily driver to bring him back and forth. Driving a stock 1953 Plymouth didn't appeal Ed, so he asked Sam and George for help. The result was one of the best known 1953 Plymouth kustoms ever built. It is the first 1953 Plymouth featured here on Kustomrama and it will probably take a while before we'll feature another one. Click here to Read More


Gene Garret's 1936 Ford
The last Indiana Jones movie featured a neat 1932 Ford Roadster in the opening scene. Will we ever see an Indiana Jones movie where the ancient treasure is replaced by an old kustom car? Finding old kustoms is big business in the United States these days, so I guess finding Gene Garret's long lost Harry Westergard restyled 1936 Ford could be the perfect plot for the next George Lucas movie about Indian Jones. Can he find the long lost treasure and save it from the evil hands of the rich and greedy collectors? Click here to Read More


The Jade Idol
Restyled by Gene Winfield for Leroy Kemmerer in 1958, the Jade Idol is the car that helped Gene gain national recognition as a custom car builder. Once completed the car won awards everywhere it was entered, best custom, best paint, best interior and so on. The car was actually so popular that it seldom only won one prize. The car has had a rough life, but it is still around, restored back to its initial version.
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Nelson Morris' 1932 Ford Roadster
At the first annual Hot Rod Exposition held in Los Angeles, California, 1948 a team of hot rodders leaded by Lou Baney rebuilt a 1932 Ford Roadster in 3 days. A junk roadster was disassembled and rebuilt. Everything on the car was built on stage including paint, chrome and upholstery. After the show the car was given away as a "Door Prize". Nelson Morris was the lucky winner of the car.
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Joe Burgasser's 1959 Chevrolet
1959 Chevrolet Impalas were popular cars to customize in the early sixties. Joe Burgasser's Impala was featured in Popular Hot Rodding July 1962 in a step-by-step story showing you how the front and rear was restyled. The story was written by marketing wizard George Barris and the job was performed by non other then Barris Kustoms.
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Lon Hurley's 1946 Cadillac
Todays featured car is a 1946 Cadillac two seater roadster built by Lon Hurley The car was built between 1949 and 1951 and is featured as one of the most notable custom cars in the 1951 Trend Book 101 Custom Cars. This car is a perfect example of the sport customs being built in the 40's and 50's.
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Dick Ward's 1949 Chevrolet
Todays featured car is a mildly customized 1949 Chevrolet restyled by Dick's Body Shop for Dick Ward. Dick was a member of the Renegades Car Club of Long Beach, California. His car was featured in Trend Book 116 Custom Cars 1955 Annual.
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Richie Valles' 1959 Chevrolet
Attending the 2008 Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend there was a 1959 Chevrolet El Camino attending that really caught my eyes. The mildly customized El Camino was slammed to the ground, painted in a subtle green color with a flaked roof and inside of the bed.
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Bill Scown's 1934 Ford
You don't see too many customized 1934 Fords. This one was restyled by Bill Scown in the early fifties. Bill gave the car a compact appearance by removing trim and filling in body components such as the hood nose, hood side panels and deeply valanced rear fenders.
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Dave Stuckey's Lil' Coffin
In 1954 Dave Stuckey began a long and ever changing journey for a 1932 Ford Sedan. The car, better known as the Lil' Coffin has been restyled many times during the years. Darryl Starbird has recently restored the car back to its 1962 version and is currently showing the car at his museum. This is our tribute do Dave Stuckey and his wild deuce.
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Marty Ribits' 1934 Ford - The Golden Nugget
In 1952 Marty Ribits hired Bill Hines to restyle his 1934 Ford. Marty wanted the best of both worlds and told Bill to make him a custom hot rod. The car went through several changes in the following years. The car toured from show to show, collecting prices, before it ended up in a field. In 2004 Larry Jordan bought the remains of the car and restored it back to its former glory.
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The Southern California Plating's 1935 Ford Phaeton
The last known photography of the Southern California Plating's 1935 Ford Phaeton is taken by Spence Murray in front of a gas station in Hollywood in 1944. People remember seeing it for some years after this, but nobody knows if it's still around. Many have tried to locate it, without any luck. Maybe it's about time for someone to clone this beautiful car?
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Ralph Ferks' 1954 Oldsmobile - The Startling Starfire
Yesterday we covered Dave Puhl's 1957 Chevrolet Convertible. Today we follow up with another Dave Puhl creation, the Startling Starfire. The Startling Starfire is a 1954 Oldsmobile built by Dave for Ralph Ferks. The car is still around and is currently undergoing restoration. If anyone have more information or pictures of this car, feel free to contribute here on Kustomrama.
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Dave Puhl's 1957 Chevrolet
In 1963 Dave Puhl worked as foreman at Darryl Starbird's Star Kustom Shop in Wichita, Kansas. While working there he built this mildly customized 1957 Chevrolet Convertible. Dave removed one of the peaks on the hood and added an off-center grille to match the remaining peak. A relatively simple but distinctive modification.
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Tats Gotanda's 1959 Chevrolet Impala - The Buddha Buggy
The Buddha Buggy is a 1959 Chevrolet Impala Custom built by legendary Bill Hines for Tats Gotanda in 1962. Bill was inspired by Ron Aguirre's X-Sonic Bubble Top Corvette and installed a full hydraulic lift system on Tats' Impala. After recently being restored by Bill Hines, this car is once again touring the show circuit.
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The Car Craft Dream Rod
The Car Craft Dream Rod was designed by the staff of Car Craft Magazine in 1961. In 1963 Bob Larivee of Promotions Inc with the approval and help of Car Craft Magazine commissioned Bill Cushenbery to build the Dream Rod. In 2005 Mark Moriarity bought the remains of the car and spent the next 3 years restoring it back to its former glory. In January, 2009 Mark could finally show off the fully restored Dream Rod.
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John D'Agostino's 1958 Oldsmobile Super 88 - The Egyptian
The latest creation from John D'Agostino and D'Agostino Kustoms was debuted at the 60th Grand National Roadster Show. The Egyptian, a 1958 Oldsmobile Super 88, features body and paintwork by Oz Kustom of Oroville, California. Thanks to Howard Gribble and his camera, Kustomrama is also able to present this car to the kustomworld.
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Per Thoren's 1928 Ford Model A Roadster
Per Thoren of the Jokers car club in Sweden owns one of the meanest Model A Roadsters in Europe. 10 Stromberg's on a blown 396 Chevy engine makes this car stand out in a crowd.
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Kjetil Kvipt's 1951 Pontiac Chieftain Eight
Being based in Norway, it was about time to present a Norwegian kustom car on Kustomrama. First out is Kjetil Kvipt's 1951 Pontiac Chieftain Eight. The car left Washington, USA as a rusted out 4-door. It ended up in Norway and was reborn as a bad ass two-door hardtop.
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Hersh Conway's 1949 Ford
Known as one of the best painters in the world, this 1949 Ford was the launching pad to Hersh Conway's great career. While Junior painted the car himself, the kustomizing was done by Barris Kustoms.
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Joe Nitti's 1932 Ford
Voted as California's Most Beautiful Roadster at the 1950 Los Angeles Hot Rod Show I guess Joe Nitti didn't expect his roadster to become one of the most significant 1932 Ford Hot Rods 57 years later
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Bert Gustavsson's 1951 Dodge
Built beyond recognition, Bert Gustavsson's custom started life as a 1951 Dodge. It took 20 years to complete the build, but once it was finished the Swedish custom scene had once grown with another outstanding custom car.
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Joe Urritta's 1941 Ford
1941 Ford Convertible Sedan built by Barris Kustoms for Joe Urrita of Fresno, California. The complete restyling job on the two-door sedan costed $3,600. The body was first channeled, then sectioned and rolled under.
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Jack Calori's 1936 Ford
One of my all time favorite 1936 Ford's is Jack Calori's chopped 3W Coupe. Jack needed a car to tow his 1929 Ford Model A Roadster with, so he bought a stock 1936 Ford 3W Coupe to do the job. After spending some late hours in the garage together with legendary body man Herb Reneau, the tow car had been transformed into one of the best looking kustoms of the 20th century.
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The Forcasta
After building the Predicta, Darryl Starbird had made a big name for himself in the custom and show car circuit. After a lot of thinking, he started his second build in 1961. It is not easy to see, but his next build the Forcasta started life as a 1960 Chevrolet Corvair Monza.
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Hank Griffith's 1942 Ford
One part 1942 Ford Coupe and one part 1951 Cadillac, that's the essence in Hank Griffith's 1942 Ford. The car was built for Hank by the legendary Al Ayala, one of the two Ayala Brothers.
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Carson Top Shop
Carson Top Shop is the birthplace of the famous Carson Top. The first non-folding padded Carson Top was built in 1935 by Glen Houser that was an employee in the Top Shop.
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Jim Hurley's 1949 Ford
1949 Ford completely built by its owner Jim Hurley. Jim did all the bodywork, interior and engine work himself. This tastefully kustom was featured in Car Craft May 1957.
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Hot Rods Pomona 1952
The University of Southern California Libraries Digital Archive is a website filled with old photos that has been digitalized. One of the set featured in the archive is called Hot Rods Pomona 1952 and contains 17 pictures taken in Pomona April 27, 1952. These pictures are Hot Rod history at its best and is definitively worth a look.
Click here to see the pictures


Jesse Lopez' 1941 Ford
1941 Ford Club Coupe built by Barris Kustoms for fellow Kustoms Of Los Angeles member Jesse Lopez. The build was started in 1946 and was finished two years later in 1948. Read More


Chuck Porter's 1949 Ford
A Chopped, Channeled, Dropped and Sectioned 1949 Ford Pickup built by Chuck Porter in the mid fifties. Chuck built this truck in order to pull his race cars and advertise his business. The truck is still around and is currently being restored by Chuck's daughter Debby. Read More


Pierre Paul's 1941 Buick
1941 Buick Special built by Pierre Paul, of Oakland, California. The overall height of this car was 56-inches. This was made possible by a 3 1/2 inch body channeling and a 3 1/2 inch top chop. Read More


Ben Mario's 1947 Buick
1947 Buick Convertible built for upholsterer Ben Mario by the Barris Brothers in 1949. The car was modified with 1948 Cadillac fenders, grille and bumpers, giving the car a new and more exclusive look. Read More


George W. Jackson's 1939 Ford
This mildly kustomized 1939 Ford was featured in the Custom Cars Trend Book No. 101 from 1951. The story doesn't say much about this tastefully kustom except that its owner is from Silver Spring, Maryland. If you know more about this car, feel free to contribute here on Kustomrama. Read More


Bob Hoshiko's 1948 Mercury
Non traditional kustom built by Valley Custom for Bob Hoshiko. The most distinctive part of Bob's Coupe is the front that is modified using 1955 Chrysler grille and bumper. Read More


The 1952 Maverick Sportster
During my daily visit at the Hemmings Auto Blog, I stumbled across a picture of a boat tail speedster called the 1952 Maverick Sportster. Looking like a two seater LaSalle sports roadster I figured it was worth doing some more research on this car. Read More


Keith Landrigan's 1932 Ford
Featured on the cover of the second Hot Rod Magazine, Keith's channeled LaSalle powered Roadster is a legendary racer on the flats. Read More


Jim McKinley's 1936 Ford
After being wrecked by a trolley, Jim McKinley spent 66 months and $ 2.500 to turn his Three-Window Coupe into a tasteful kustom. Read More


The Beatnik Bandit
Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's Outlaw was originally called the Bandit. But after reading about a bank robber called the Beatnik Bandit Ed changed the name on his creation. Read More


Sam Barris' 1950 Buick
In 1953 Sam Barris sold his chopped and fully customized 1950 Buick Sedanette. For decades the car was gone, but it was found in the late seventies. The car was sold and disappeared once again. Some years later the car was once found, this time on a riverbank in Tanton, Massachusetts. The shape of the car was then just as bad as when Sam bought it in 1951. Read More


Santo Vasques' 1950 Chevrolet
Featured on the cover of Car Craft May 1957, former president of the Renegades Car Club's 1950 Chevrolet Convertible is a really tasteful mid fifties kustom car.

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Ray Giovannoni's 1936 Ford
Built in the late forties in Washington DC, this East Coast kustom really looks like a West Coast Harry Westergard creation. The car was featured in Hot Rod Magazine November 1948 as Ray was visiting the West Coast to get a new top made for the car.

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The Moonglow
Built in the front yard of his parents house, Duane Steck's 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air low budget build, better known as the Moonglow, must be the most cloned 1954 Chevrolet ever. The car was last seen going in to a crusher near the LA harbor in the early 60's, but even though the car still lives on in our hearts.

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Nick Matranga's 1940 Mercury
Built by George and Sam Barris, the Matranga Merc took 15 months to complete. Once completed the car got smashed in a telephone pole about one year later. Even though its short life, the Matranga Merc, won several prizes at the shows and is today considered the most known 1940 Mercury kustom ever.

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George Mitobe's 1957 Ford Ranchero
With a wild paint job by Larry Watson, George Mitobe's mild kustomized 1957 Ford Ranchero really stands out from the rest.

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Ed Roth's Outlaw
Ed Roth's first attempt at working with glass resulted in a T-bucket inspired show rod called the Outlaw. Originally called the Excaliber, the Outlaw was released and sold by Ed Roth as a fiberglass kit.

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The X-Sonic
Built in 1959 by Ron Aguirre, The X-Sonic was the first kustom ever to use hydraulics to raise and lower the ride height. The X-Sonic was also one of the first Bubble Top Kustoms and is well worth a closer look!

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Jeff Motes' 1938 Austin Bantam
One of the first cars featured on Kustomrama was Jeff Motes' 1938 Austin Bantam, Jeff's rad truck is now also featured in the Kustomrama Wikipedia and is well worth a look!

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Sam Barris' 1949 Mercury
Late 1948 Sam Barris sold his famous 1940 Mercury Kustom in order to buy a brand new 1949 Mercury. After driving the stocker around for a while figuring out how to chop it, Sam was finally ready to begin the operation. The first chopped and completed 1949 Mercury was born!!

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Doane Spencer's 1932 Ford Roadster
Built for dry lake racing Doane Spencer's 1932 Ford Roadster was the first Hot Rod to win the Hot Rod class at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

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Dick Flint's 1929 Roadster
Featured on the cover of Hot Rod Magazine May 1952 Dick Flint's 1929 Roadster went on to become a true hot rod legend. Its signature aluminum track nose and belly pan, has been a major source of inspiration for many hot rodders during the years.

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Arthur Bentas' Raven
Starting with a brand new 1950 Dodge chassis it took Arthur Bentas 9 years to complete the Raven. When finished in 1959, the Raven won many prizes and was featured in the November issue of Hot Rod Magazine. In 1960, one year after it was finished, Arthur put the car away. Until 2007 the car was a lost legend on the east coas kustom scene. But in 2007 Joe Germann decided it was time to wake the car up from its long sleep again.

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Bob Hirohata's 1951 Mercury
After seeing Sam Barris' chopped Mercury in 1952 Bob Hirohata immediately bought a brand new low-milage 1951 Mercury that he handed over to the Barris Brothers for a full kustom treatment. 3 months later Bob Hirohata was the proud owner of the first hardtopped '49 - '51 Mercury ever.

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Art Lehner's 1939 Ford
Featured in Rod & Custom March 1959 as "The Fadeaway Ford", Art Lehner's 1939 Ford ragtop was originally built in order to promote Art's body shop.

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The Manta Ray
Heavily inspired by the 1951 GM LeSabre Concept Car two gentlemen from Whittier, California spent over 4200 hours converting a 1951 Studebaker into the fiberglass bodied Manta Ray.

The existense of the Manta Ray is not known today, but if you know anything about this wild build feel free to share it here on Kustomrama.
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Rod & Custom Magazine’s Dream Truck
The Rod & Custom Magazine’s Dream Truck also known as the Spencer Murray's Dream Truck was a rolling labaratory that readers of Rod & Custom magazine helped desingning by contributing styling ideas. Being built by several talented kustom builders such as Gene Winfield, Bob Metz and Barris Kustoms the car took 4 years to complete. In 1958 the car was Wrecked and for several years this kustom icon was missing from the kustom scene.
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Detroit vs the Customizers
Back in the mid fifties customizers claimed that Detroit stylists were copying their custom treatments, without giving them any credits for it. In June 1956 Rod & Custom magazine featured a 6 page feature by George Barris covering this subject. Being obsessed by "custom cars" being built and drawn by Detorit stylists, Kustomrama will in the future expand its scope and also feature futuristic concept cars.
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The Bonaguro Special

The Bonaguro Special
Named after its creator, John Bonaguro, the 1957 Bonaguro Special is a distinguished piece of kustom history. John started building the car in 1957. Starting with the suspension from a 1950 Studebaker, John completed his build 6 years later, in 1963. If you know anything more about the 1957 Bonaguro Special, feel free to share it with the rest of us here on Kustomrama.
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The Alexander Brothers
Partners in crime, cutting up and kustomizing stockers in perfectly good condition, Larry and Mike Alexander, better known as the Alexander Brothers, opened up their first custom shop in Detroit in 1957. During the years, around 60 fully customized cars rolled out of the Alexander Brothers shop. Among these are noteable cars such as the Alexandria and the Purple Pelican.
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Bill Hines Bat
Titled "Those fins are still growing" in the March 1959 issue of Rod & Custom, the Bat by Bill Hines was a shoebox that stood out from the rest.

Help us expand the story of the Bill Hines Bat on Kustomrama now!
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The Sledanette
Recently up for sale on ebay is one of the slickest kustom cars in Scandinavia; The Sledanette. The car, built by Kari Saarlea from Finland, has been around the Scandinavian kustom scene for some years and it really deserves a page in the Kustomrama Wikipedia. Hopefully the car will also be around for many more years to come.
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The Ala Kart
The George Barris built Ala Kart was a big sensation when it debuted at the cover of Hot Rod Magazine in 1958. The air bagged 1929 Ford Model A pickup truck is known as the first show rod and winner of the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster Trophy at Oakland Roadster Show... twice! Feel free to contribute to this story if you know anything about the famous Ala Kart
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First featured club on the original Kustomrama Marketplace was the Orange County Shifters. With roots all the way back to 1992, these guys are considered being the pioneers of the nostalgic hot rod scene as we know it. In true tradition, Shifters is also the first featured car club on the Kustomrama Wikipedia.
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Pekka Wizzard Mannermaa
Pekka Wizzz Mannermaa, Born in 1958 has a pretty long stretch of working with Swords and 1-Shot. Here’s some background on this legendary Rat Finn from Finland .
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The Pierson Brothers Coupe
Once known as the fastest closed car in America, the first coupe that beat the roadsters. The Pierson Brothers Coupe is also the first featured cover story on the Kustomrama Wikipedia.
If you know anything about this '34 Ford, please feel free to share it with the rest of us!
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