Channeling the late, bushy-eyebrowed Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes fame, “Have you ever wondered?” I’ve got a few custom car origin questions that you might have pondered yourself at one time, or perhaps you’ve even got the definitive answer to one of these babies. Of course, digging around on the HAMB with it’s collective knowledge of custom history, some of my inquiries have already been addressed (I’ve added the link to the related posts in those cases).
Nevertheless, here goes my top 5 custom bemusements:
1. Kustom with a “K”? Why did that ever start, and was it indeed George Barris that came up with it?
2. Were the first cars to get lowered in the back or did they get dropped all the way around? I know the tail dragger was pre-war style, but were those the first cases of a lowered custom? Was the lowering the car only in the rear to emulate a boat coming out of the water?
3. How did the Flipper hubcap come about? Was it from George DuVall’s Swirl wheel covers or an OEM wheelcover? Was the idea just something fancy to make people stare at your wheels?
4. Who was the first guy to use a Mexican blanket for a seat cover? Maybe he was down in Tijuana to get tuck and roll and ran out of money? (My dad always said to bring your own nylon thread, since the shops south of the border only used cotton!)
5. Does the term suicide door come from the fact that if you opened it at high speed you would get pulled out of the car or that you were likely to be thrown to your death in a crash?
(Post photo courtesy of Rik Hoving’s Photo Archive)