Gordon Vann

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Gordon Vann's 1917 Dodge roadster at an Oakland School Board meeting March 23, 1950. Seated with Vann in the roadster is Tom McManus, looking on at right are Ezra Ehrhardt and Jim Jordon. Photo from the Oakland Tribune.[1]
Gordon Vann's Fiat Abarth. Kit Sagen was Gordon's neighbor in Walnut Creek, and he took this photo in 1961. Kit was just a teenager in 1961, but to his recollection, Vann built the car for himself; "I know he eventually sold it. It was red, and I think aluminum. This was built when sports cars were not mainstream in California but were gaining in popularity with sports car clubs and raceways popping up." Photo courtesy of Kit Sagen.
A rear end shot of Gordon Vann's Fiat Abarth. Photo courtesy of Kit Sagen.

Gordon Vann was the owner of Gordon Vann's Body Shop in Berkeley, California. Gordon was also the president of the Cal-Neva Roadster Association and the Oakland Roadster Club.[2]He was also a member of the Oakland Clutch Busters.[3] According to Andy Graybeal, that helped Gordon design a couple of cars between 1953 and 1954, Gordon was a non-conformist. If you look at his 1917 Dodge roadster, he could have found a number of T-buckets and 1932 Ford radiator shells to use when he built the roadster, but he wanted an original. When Andy worked for Gordon, his personal transport was a Ford pickup and a 1949 or 1950 Ford that belonged to his wife, who did the bookkeeping. By 1955 Vann had given up the business of hot rods and customs, and were all into hand built sport cars. At the 1955 National Roadster Show Vann exhibited three cars.[4] These were Warren Gonzales' 1950 Ford, an aluminum bodied hand built roadster, and an aluminum body coupe owned by Wayne Smith.[5]

National Roadster Hall of Fame

During the 12th annual National Roadster Show, held February 22 - 28, 1960, nine pioneers in the creative building field were awarded the first members of the newly created National Roadster Hall of Fame. The nine pioneers were Joe Bailon, Ezra Ehrhardt, Romeo Palamides, Gordon Vann, Harold Casaurang, Robert E. Petersen, George Barris, Wally Parks and Walt Moron. [6]

Gordon Vann's Cars

Gordon Vann's 1917 Dodge Roadster
Gordon Vann's Fiat Abarth

Cars Restyled by Gordon Vann

Click here to see cars restyled by Gordon at Gordon Vann's Body Shop



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