Bob Knessel's Sports Custom
Sports Custom built by Bob Knessel and his dad of Bell, California. In 1959 the car appeared in Fawcett Book 413 How to Build and Race Hot Rods. According to that story, the build took three years to complete. "They first designed and hand-built their own plaster molds, then laid up the body in Fiberglass." It featured a removable convertible top, a 1936 Chevrolet chassis, a 1950 Mercury grille, a 1956 Chevrolet Corvette engine, and plastic taillights. Once completed, the body was covered in Metallic pink.
When Knessel's Sports Custom appeared in Fawcett Book 413 How to Build and Race Hot Rods in 1959, it appeared in a story about Ed Roth called "Hot Rod Rembrandt." The story featured a handful of cars that had been topped off by the Roth touch.
Found in a Tow Yard in Whittier
In 2001 Dominic Conti came across the old custom as he was looking for a project. "My friend Mike Spacek told me of an old custom at my friend Dale's tow yard," Dominic told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in February of 2022. "He towed it out of a house in Bell, California. The left headlight area was destroyed, the engine was a 4 cylinder flathead, and it had an odd grille cut in the front. Well weathered I spent weeks cleaning it out and piecing together what I had." Back then, Dominic was working at Street Rodder Magazine, so he took photos of it and hung one up at work. "The next day Jerry Weesner (Custom Rodder) said he knew the car and sitting on my desk was the magazine article with the newcomer Ed Roth in part of the feature. I do know he lived close to Ed but never confirmed his involvement. Life happened for me and I sold it to Mike Spacek in Whittier and he sold it to presumably the current owner."
In January of 2020, the remains of the old custom were advertised for sale on Craigslist. According to the listing, Bob Knessel's widow had told the seller that Ed Roth was heavily involved in the project; "He helped in the designing of the Hot Rod as well as the bodywork. Ed Roth painted the car a metallic pink." When the car came up for sale, restoration had started five years ago, but it had stopped short of completion. The body was removed. The frame was powder-coated, and the Corvette engine, transmission, rear end, and brakes were worked on. Located in Santa Monica, California, the asking price was $25000. Click here to check out the listing.
Magazine features and appearances
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