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History Norman E. Timbs Custom Buick Streamliner

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Rikster, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. Rikster
    Joined:
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    The Netherlands

    Rikster Member

    I have always been facinated by this streamlined sports custom that featured the pages of the Motor Trend Customs Cars #101 book. Later I found out it was also on the cover of a 1949 Motor Trend.
    The body on this Sports Customs is totally breathtaking, and ever since I found out more about it I kept wondering what would have become of it.

    Last week Geoff Hacker told me about this car beeing found, and that its undergoing complete restoration at this moment.
    The car was auctioned at a BJ auction and sold for a little over $17.000.

    Some old and new photos of this great Sports Custom...

    Motor Trend cover.. the mice loved this issue.

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    Popular Mechanics article

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    from the #101 book

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    And as found in 2002

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  2. What a well proportioned,flowing design.Look forward to seeing progress on that one.Thanks Rikster,the world best Kustom historian.
  3. eric
    Joined:
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    Location:
    Los Angeles

    eric Member

    WOW!! that thing is/WAS AWESOME!!!!!:eek: it doesn't look like it "cruises" it looks like it "SLITHERS" hope it gets back to its glory really soon!!
  4. 50Fraud
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    50Fraud
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I've always loved this thing too. I was unaware that it had been found and was being restored; that's great news.

    I thought there was an interesting similarity between the shape of that car's body and that of the Schuco windup toy cars with the 4-speed gearshift.

    I wonder what it was like to drive.
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  5. metalshapes
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2002
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    Tucson, AZ USA

    metalshapes Tech Editor

    Wasn't there a shot of that car in one of the recent car movies?

    F & F, 60min, something like that...


    Cool car...
  6. James D
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    James D Member

    Wow, a DIY Auto Union!
  7. Rot 'n Kustom
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    Bradenton, Florida

    Rot 'n Kustom Member

    Amazing find! The body looks to be in pretty good condition, too.

    I like sports customs, and this one is way over the top. Besides the overall swoopy styling, the details are neatly executed. I especially like the way he designed the tube bumper to encircle the headlights.
  8. X38
    Joined:
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    Brisbane, Australia

    X38 Member
    1. Hot Rod Veterans

    Incredible. Reminds me of when we used to heat LP's in the oven til they were soft and then let them slump over a shape. Organic.
  9. Rikster
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    Rikster Member

  10. Casey
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    Austin & dripping springs Texas

    Casey Member Emeritus

    that`s going to be beautiful again ! glad it survived.
  11. Bad Bob
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    Bad Bob Member

    I'd like to see it about 2 1/2" lower. Just enough to hide the rear wheels. Reminds me of those Solar cars that compete,or the AutoUnion cars.
  12. povertyflats
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    near Salina Kansas

    povertyflats Member

    Dave Crouse's shop does beautiful work. A big collector from our town gets alot of work done there. He owns the 404 car as well. Maybe he even owns this thing. Wouldn't surprise me.
  13. GreggAz
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    Phoenix, Az

    GreggAz Member

    you may be right Alex, that looks like the car in the background in a movie, I think it was 60 sec. Ill have to look
  14. wishnevsky
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    winston salem nc

    wishnevsky Member

    Off topic, but similar. In the Cary Grant movie "Topper" there is a wild custom something with a tail fin, side hood exhausts, and all the goodies.. Any ideas?

    The movie was from 1937.
  15. WQ59B
    Joined:
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    No. Brunswick, NJ

    WQ59B Member

    'Topper' car was a Bohman & Schwartz rebodied '37 Buick. Don't know any more, have 1 pic in my 'clip file' with that info- that's it. Fenders were lengthened and the whole rear deck sweeps up into a rounded P-40-esque fin.
  16. Malcolm
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    Malcolm
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    Someone said earlier today (in Ryan's thread covering this car) that it was seen in the Gone in 60 Seconds movie....

    Malcolm
  17. ratster
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    ratster Member

    Dave kicks ass, man i havn't talked to him for a while, he's a cool dude.
  18. wishnevsky
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    wishnevsky Member

    thanks.. didnt think it looked like a Duesy or Packard.
  19. northern skink
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    northern skink Member

    The reattached eyeglasses/bumper remind me of the film character Mr. Limpet, played by Don Knotts.


    [​IMG]
  20. Rikster
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    Rikster Member

    Here are a few more photos of it. It changed a bit over the years (not sure if those where improvements! Personally I like the early version much better) But the good thing is it is still around. It was at one of the famous auctions a few years ago.

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    The trailer is amazing though

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  21. 50Fraud
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    50Fraud
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I agree completely; the original is waaay better. Looks like they recycled the original rear fenders for the trailer.
  22. Flatattack
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    Flatattack Member

    Not exactly stunning from the front (I love the rear 3/4 shots) but what another amazing piece of history. Thanks Rikster for another awesome story.
  23. pimpin paint
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    so cal

    pimpin paint Member

    Hey,

    It's interesting to see that the Timbs Streamliner's body looks as
    if it was actually built by a racecar or avaition sheetmetal worker.
    Many of the kustom built vehicles from most eras, look good with
    their paint on, but in bare metal....yikes!girl, put those clothes back
    on! More often than not, cobbled together body parts covered in
    heavy layers of filler. Not the case with the Timbs Streamliner!

    Swankey devils C.c.
  24. mac miller
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    INDY

    mac miller Member

    My main knowledge of Norman Timbs comes from his work as an INDY 500 designer. Some of his more notable INDY designs include the late 40s Blue Crown Specials, a mid 50s INDY streamliner for Bill Vukovich and the mid 60s Halibrand Shrike rear engine cars........This guy, Timbs, was purty smart. He was a designer working in the aircraft business but also worked with some of the top INDY builders of the day...
  25. Bob Falcon
    Joined:
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    California

    Bob Falcon Member

    I knew and worked with Norm for several years and was always amazed at his approach to design. At that time in the 1960s the streamliner was long gone out of his life.
    But his design for the Howard Keck Indy "Streamliner" was still fresh in his mind and he was quite sorry that it never was completed to race at the 500.
    Norm envisioned a 150 MPH average lap speed for the car in 1955 the design year.
    It was wind tunnell tested at the Cal Tech von Karmen center which proved his concept for a low pressure area under the body. They tested three different model configurations.
    Norm was the chief designer of the Halibrand Shrike race car in 1964 and his portfoilo also contained the designs for the Lou Moore Blue Crown Spark Plug cars that finished first and second at the Indy 500 THREE YEARS IN A ROW...an accomplishment that has never been repeated!
    Norm did consulting work with many race car builders during his life.
    I will see that his son, Norm, Jr. receives your presentation.
    I haven't seen little Normie since he was a toddler!
    Am I a fan of Norm's? You can bet your butt I am and I learned very much from our time in a car pool.
    The house in the background of the first pic, with the girl, is the Timbs family residence in Van Nuys CA.
    Bob Falcon
  26. bigs merc
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    bigs merc Member

    I just love hearing stories like these:)
  27. EVANS and 3 97s
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    St Charles,Mo

    EVANS and 3 97s Member

    I saw the Timbs car 2 weeks ago,heard the history,checked out the progress. Looked to be in competent hands and progressing toward completion. It was obviously a personal expression of his ideas,as it was a single passenger auto. Whether it pleases your eye or not,it was very advanced for it's time and deserving of restoration and respect
  28. captainjunk#2
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    massachusetts

    captainjunk#2 Member

    damn im glad it was saved , that thing is awesome , id love to go for a cruise in that beast , it looks like it could break the sound barrier just sitting there
  29. river1
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    peoria az usa

    river1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    is the house still there?

    later jim
  30. rexrogers
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    rexrogers
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The Timbs special is finally ready for paint. the car should be completly restored by this fall.

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    Sorry for the poor pic, the steering wheel is wrong it is just in the car for mock up.

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