Interview with a Builder: Arthur Bentas “The Raven”
Here we are in 2020, and the fact is, the majority of hot rod and custom builders from 50s are now well into their eighties. There aren’t many guys left to sit down and get a first-hand account of how they built these cars, especially the independent, backyard builders like Arthur Bentas. That’s why I really appreciate this hour long interview conducted by the Owls Head Transportation Museum in Maine. Sure, I wish there were more original photos of the Raven to cut to, but it’s still fascinating to hear hear how clearly this man in his nineties remembers make this show-winning custom from absolute scratch, over 60 years ago! His self-taught skills and drive to create something unique are absolutely humbling.
“The Raven is a custom car designed and hand-built in the 1950s by Arthur Bentas. Bentas grew up in Chelmsford, Massachusetts on his family’s chicken farm. It was there, in an old chicken coop, that he toiled for nine years perfecting the Raven. In 1959 Bentas completed the car and won the 1959 NHRA National Champion Custom Car Show in Detroit, MI. In 1959 and 1960, the Raven won over 25 subsequent awards. In 1961, Bentas put the car on blocks and covered it, where it sat relegated to the back of his shop for nearly 50 years.”