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Ray Russell's Gadabout of Detroit, Michigan. Built largely from aluminum and magnesium, Russell believed his car had post-war possibilities. The build was completed in 1944.
An overview photo from the 1953 Detroit Autorama. Photo from The Robert Genat Photo Collection.
Bob Nugent, a custom car enthusiast from Detroit, Michigan, joined the ranks of Jimmy Jones Skirt owners in 1956 when he purchased a set for his 1956 Chevy 210 directly from Jones himself. "I stood and watched him rake them over the coals. Paid $120.00 and then had Bill Hines paint them black for $15.00 bucks. He also heated my front springs for the same $15.00." In 2019 Bob told Sondre Kvipt that The Little Bat was under work in Hines garage and the fins were in wireframe. Bob has no photos of the car, but this is a rendering of his old custom. "By the way," Bob shot in, adding that Clarence Catallo who owned the Little Deuce Coupe was with him when he was at Jimmy's. "Before he owned the coupe. His parents bought a grocery store from my parents. He was fifteen. I lived in a great time in Detroit." Photo courtesy of Bob Nugent.
The Alexander Brothers' 1931 Ford Model A Coupe of Detroit, Michigan. Built in Larry Alexander's two-car garage in the Brightmoor section of Detroit, the build was completed circa 1957.
An early photo of the Alexander Bros. Custom Auto Shop. After first working out of their father's one-car garage, then Larry's two-car garage, Mike and Larry Alexander finally opened up their first shop on Northwestern Highway near Evergreen Road in Detroit in 1957. Photo from The Robert Genat Photo Collection.
Jack Pieknik's 1934 Ford Victoria was supposedly restyled by Downriver Modified member Ray Hosh in the 1950s. Jack Pieknik bought the car in 1971 and got it back on the road again.
Joaquin Arnett's 1934 Ford 3-window coupe of San Diego, California was completed in 1951. Bill Couch of Detroit, Illinois found the coupe for sale in a used car lot in a North Chicago suburb in 1953. He bought it, and brought it back home.
Gene McCrickard's 1937 Lincoln Zephyr of Detroit, Michigan. Restyled in 1953, the car was Gene's first custom and high school ride.
Jack Telnack's 1941 Mercury Convertible of Detroit, Michigan. The build was started in 1954 and completed in 1955. After the build was completed, Jay moved to California, attending the Art Center Design School. He sold the car in California in the latter part of the 1950s. Jay went on to become head designer at Ford Motor Company where he is credited for the Taurus and the Sable.
Ray Russell's 1953 Ford convertible of Detroit, Michigan. Restyled in 1953, Ray's Ford featured a 7 inche sectioned body.
Lee Plastic Company was a company in Detroit, Michigan that fabricated and sold custom taillight lenses. The company was founded by Marvin D. Jarnagin in the 1950s. They stayed in business until the mid-1970s.
Sy Gregorich's 1955 Ford Crown Victoria - The Victorian of Detroit, Michigan was restyled by the Alexander Brothers, and was first completed in 1959.
The Dodge Deora is a radical design interpretation of the Dodge A100 forward-control pickup truck. The Deora’s striking lines were penned by California-based designer Harry Bradley. It was built by the Alexander Brothers of Detroit, Michigan. The build was started in 1964 and completed in 1966. Once completed the unique creation was honored with the coveted Ridler Award at the 1967 Detroit Autorama.
The 70th anniversary Detroit Autorama will be held February 24-26, 2023 at the Huntingto Place in Detroit, Michigan.

Michigan is widely known as the center of the U.S. auto industry. In 1903 Henry Ford founded Ford Motor Company in Detroit. 10 year later he introduced the assembly line, an innovation that reduced the Model T’s chassis assembly line from 12.5 to 1.5 hours. Ford Motor Company could now produce affordable cars at a faster pace than anyone else. In 1914 Henry doubled the pay rate for the factory workers, and he reduced their workday from nine to eight hours. The day after the “$5 Day” was announced, an estimated 10,000 people lined up outside Ford’s employment office hoping to be hired. Henry eventually filled Detroit with automotive workers, and in the 1930s his River Rogue Complex employed over 100,000 hard-working men and women. Even though Detroit and Michigan boomed with automotive workers, it took almost half a decade before Ron Clark and Bob Kaiser would open up what is known as the first custom shop of Michigan. Clarkaiser Customs Shop was established in 1948, the same year as Robert Petersen’s first issue of Hot Rod Magazine went into print. As the hot rod and custom scene spread across the country, the Motor City would breed several talented builders such as Mike and Larry Alexander of the Alexander Brothers fame. The capital of Michigan, Lansing, is located 100 miles West of Detroit. While Detroit had Henry Ford and his Ford Motor Company, Lansing was the home of Ransom E. Olds and his Olds Motor Vehicle Company. By the mid 1950s the hot rod and custom craze had also reached the state Capital.

Another legendary Kustom car builder from Detroit is Bill Hines the Leadslinger. Hines moved to Detroit at the age of ten. In 1941 at the age of 19, he quit school, so he could begin building kustom cars. In 1958 Bill left Detroit, and headed down to California, where he began working for legendary George Barris and Barris Kustoms. One year later, he moved back to Detroit, and continued building kustom cars in Detroit. In 1960 Bill Hines left Detroit for good, and opened up Bill Hines Kustom Auto in Lynwood, California.

Hot Rods of Detroit, Michigan

The Alexander Brothers' 1931 Ford Model A Coupe
Joaquin Arnett's 1934 Ford 3-Window Coupe
Mary Zassadney's 1934 Ford Pickup

Customs Cars of Detroit, Michigan

The Alexander Brothers' 1931 Ford Model A Pickup - The Grasshopper]]
Jack Pieknik's 1934 Ford Victoria
Gene McCrickard's 1937 Lincoln Zephyr Coupe
Jack Telnack's 1941 Mercury Convertible
K. E. Binder Company's 1948 Lincoln Continental
John Jenick's 1950 Buick
Andy Rae's 1952 Chevrolet
Ray Russell's 1953 Ford Convertible
Sy Gregorich's 1955 Ford
Johnny Krzysik's 1955 Oldsmobile - The Vagabond
Bob Nugent's 1956 Chevrolet 210 Hardtop
Bill Whetstone's 1960 Ford Starliner - The Adonis
Mike Budnick's 1960 Pontiac - The Golden Indian
The Dodge Deora

Homebuilt Cars of Detroit, Michigan

Ray Russell's Gadabout

Shops in Detroit, Michigan

Alexander Brothers Custom Shop
Clarkaiser Custom Shop
Ray's Kustom Trim
Styline Customs

Speed Shops of Detroit, Michigan

Dearborn Speed Shop
Skippy's Hot Rod Shops

Custom Accesory Manufacturers of Detroit, Michigan

Lee Plastic Company

Car Shows in Detroit, Michigan

Detroit Autorama
NHRA National Championship Custom Car Show

People of Detroit, Michigan

Andy Rae
Bill Couch
Bill Hines
Bill Whetstone
Bob Nugent
Gene McCrickard
Jack Pieknik
Jack Telnack
John Jenick
Johnny Krzysik
Larry Alexander
Marvin D. Jarnagin
Mike Alexander
Mike Budnick
Ray Hosh
Ray Russell
Sy Gregorich


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