Don Boeke

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A photo of Don with his 1957 Ford Convertible custom. "That's me, try'n to look kool standing side my car in bare feet. Probably just washed the car," he told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in 2020. The photo was taken at his parent's house in about 1962. Photo courtesy of Don Boeke.
Don Boeke's 1957 Ford Convertible. Boeke built the Ford after he was discharged from the US Navy. Taken circa 1960, this photo shows the car after he had painted pearl scallops on it and dressed it up with lake pipes, custom hubcaps, and a Canadian grille.
About 1964, Don bought The Grasshoper from the Alexander Brothers. He showed it, used it as a shop truck, and sold it back to Mike Alexander 37 years later. Photo from The Richard "Fuzzy" Fuerholzer Collection.
The Roach Coach was a bubble top show rod built by Don, Dan Woods, and Jim Jacobs for Roach, Inc. Designed by Ed Newton, the build was completed in 1978.
Don Boeke's 1961 Chevrolet Corvette. Boeke bought the car in 1961 and started restyling it immediately after he got it. He parked the car after opening up his own business, and he took it out many years later and turned it into the bubbletopped Ramses II. Inspired by Ron Aguirre's X-Sonic, the build was completed in 2020. Photo courtesy of Shutterfuel.

Don Boeke is a well-known, custom builder, painter, and pinstriper from Dayton, Ohio. He was born in 1940 in Egypt, Ohio, and has become known as "The Egyptian." From his junior and senior years in high school, Boeke began to make a name for himself in the world of automotive customization. "My very first car while still in high school was a '51 Ford Convertible," Don told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in November of 2020. "During my junior and senior years, I often had a car waiting for me when I got home from school to stripe." Pinstriping was new in Dayton, and his work, often done for $5 per car, was considered lucrative compared to other jobs at the time. Boeke also had a small art studio in his basement where he painted t-shirts, marking the beginnings of his artistic career.[1]

Military Service

After high school, Boeke joined the U.S. Navy, serving on an aircraft carrier as an electronics technician. His skills and interests in diving, which he developed through a correspondence course and regular practice at a local quarry, were put to use in the Navy. Boeke was often called upon for underwater inspections and repairs, combining his passion for diving with his military duties.[1]

The 1957 Ford Custom

Upon his discharge from the Navy, Boeke returned to Dayton and pursued his passion for car customization. "Got a good job as a maintenance engineer at Continental Baking Company (Wonder Bread) in Dayton, Ohio, acquired a 1957 Ford Convertible, and immediately customized the hell out of it!" He began by shaving it for emblems, lowering it, adding three deuces, a floor shirt, custom interior, and a scallop paint job. This car wasn't just a project; it was his daily driver, transformed in a modest one-car garage he rented for fifteen dollars a month. "I toured the drive in restaurant scene regularly and won my first trophy with it at a major car show. Eventually sold it and bought a 61’ Corvette." It didn't take a long time before the Vette was also customized with paint and wheels.[1]

The Californian Experience

At age 21, Boeke had rented a 3-car garage and did customer cars, "light body work, painting, pin-striping. This was my first real man cave! Somewhere here in early 60's I attended the Detroit Auto Show at Cobo Hall. I exhibited motorcycles and cars there but most memorable was the hours and hours I spent watching Stanley Mouse he was only 16-years old painting shirts. He was the best, the fastest, in the country. He is the most amazing shirt painter I ever met. He introduced me to the air brush and I refer to his early catalogs even today." After four years of employment, Boeke was fired over a fight with another employee. Seeking to expand his horizons, Boeke ventured to California, immersing himself in the heart of Kustomland. "Out of work, and girl friend mad, I made four house payments in advance and headed to LA in my 61’ Vette. I perceived myself being "Buzz" on Route 66! Full of over confidence and adventure I arrived in the city of Long Beach, rented a room, and went straight to Watsons in Bellflower. I was certain someone would discover me. I dropped a couple names and he allowed me to look around at some projects they were doing. Harvey's Broiler was the cruise capital of LA and the place all car people gravitated to in the evenings and I blended in best I could. I spent about 3 months "hanging out" at Watsons, Harvey', Barris's and looking for work. Broke, no job, undiscovered, I headed east."[1]

Establishment of "The Egyptian Custom Body and Paint"

Returning to Dayton, Boeke channeled his enriched experience and expertise into his own venture. "I've been in business 'The Egyptian Custom Body and Paint' since 1966," he explained. He had rented a building upon his return, and the shop quickly gained a reputation for its unique candy apple paint jobs and high-quality customizations. Boeke noted, "I did motorcycles by the dozens! I was a really good painter, and everyone wanted an Egyptian paint job – signed and dated."[1]

Career Highlights and Personal Life

Boeke's career is marked by significant achievements and personal tributes. He was among the first 50 stripers to be inducted into the Mack Brush Hall of Fame in 2001. He has worked on numerous high-profile projects, including repainting "The Golden Sahara," working on John Lennon's Bentley, and providing artwork for aircraft and vehicles for notable museums and collections.[1]

Don Boeke's Cars

The Alexander Brothers' 1931 Ford Model A Pickup - The Grasshopper
Don Boeke's 1951 Ford Convertible
Don Boeke's 1957 Ford Convertible
Don Boeke's 1957 Ford Victoria - Shboom
Don Boeke's 1961 Chevrolet Corvette - Ramses II



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