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Customs Battle of the Compact Customs: 1961

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jive-Bomber, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. Jive-Bomber
    Joined: Aug 21, 2001
    Posts: 3,445


    Jive-Bomber submitted a new blog post:

    Battle of the Compact Customs: 1961


    Continue reading the Original Blog Post
  2. Custom for me. But that's my wheelhouse. I think compacts are overlooked as custom fodder.
    I like the candy red Plymouth (Dodge?) on the cover of the spotlite book.

    Also found this Stanford drawing on compacts. I dig the Plymouth/Dodge with the Cibie lights floating Imperial style.

    Personally, I'd like to have any one of them to use as the foundation of a cool "little" custom!
  3. chriseakin
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 381


    I think any of them would make great sleepers because you can put a bigger six or small-block v-8 in without too much trouble and upgrade the brakes and suspension. I've seen photos of them roadracing and they looked great.
    Gabe Fernando likes this.
  4. Jay -

    I'm probably just helping to make your point :rolleyes: :D ... but the 1960 Plymouth XNR Concept (i.e., "Factory Custom") was actually based on the 1960 Plymouth Valiant / Dodge Lancer unit-body platform & used its 170ci Slant-6 engine:

    1 - 1960 Plymouth XNR Concept Car (wooden armature at Ghia).jpg
    2 - 1960 Plymouth XNR Concept Car (front).jpg
    3 - 1960 Plymouth-XNR Concept (3-4 front).jpg
    4 - 1960 Plymouth-XNR Concept (engine).jpg
    5 - 1960 Plymouth-XNR Concept (interior).jpg
    6 - 1960 Plymouth-XNR Concept (cockpit).jpg
    7 - 1960 Plymouth-XNR Concept (low 3-4 rear).jpg
    8 -1960 Plymouth-XNR Concept (high rear).jpg
    9 -1960 Plymouth-XNR Concept (low rear).jpg
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017

  5. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792


    A Falcon with the largest engine that would fit. Everything else, beefed up as needed.
  6. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,717


    I like the orange and brown Corvairs, especially the tail lights on the brown one. One of the best, restrained use of Caddy tail lights. It looks like a sedan that was "hardtopped". Am I wrong? And that Ranchero is waaay cool.
  7. Rem
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,256


    Not totally sold on the front fender 'flares', but that rear view - wow!
    LostBoy likes this.
  8. It must have been hardtopped. I don't think hardtops were available in the first body style.
    You can see the headlights on the brown one are also floating.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  9. Arominus
    Joined: Feb 2, 2011
    Posts: 394


    I'll take the valiant 2dr with an aluminum 225 slant six, the hyperpack aluminum 4 barrel intake and a 500cfm AFB, a hot cam and a later overdrive aluminum A-833 and disc brakes to go please. I dig the floating cibies in Sanchos post, so customize with those and drive the hell out of it.

    Random side note: the XNR is in gran turismo 6 for the playstation 3. Something i would have never expected.
    OG lil E and Sancho like this.
  10. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,755

    from Colorado

    Cal Custom offered a ton of bolt on accessories for the Corvairs and not so much for the Falcons and Mopars. Ed Cholakian (sp?) was the outside salesman for Cal Custom and drove a Corvair with different stuff bolted on either side.
    OG lil E and Sancho like this.
  11. Glenn Thoreson
    Joined: Aug 13, 2010
    Posts: 211

    Glenn Thoreson
    from SW Wyoming

    My father was involved in building a Rambler American for the first dedicated stock American compact car road race. He and I were working at Mauro Motors in Denver when these small cars came out. He was involved in putting the first overhead valve engine in a Rambler American. The factory said it couldn't be done. Really? The factory had to change the "options" list to make it legal, as well as the 4:10 rear and the 2 barrel manifold plate. Those weren't stock options,either. New engine, torn down, balanced and blueprinted. Much fine tuning occurred. The first compact car race was at the Castle Rock, CO race track.
    Johnny Mauro driving, arrived late, finished on borrowed tires and easily came in first. Next race was at Daytona. The Rambler qualified at 130 MPH but a casting flaw trashed the engine.
    A bit of sand sidelined the car when it washed out of a cylinder wall. Not enough time to get a new engine and get it ready. All this was in '60 or '61. I'm too old now to remember exactly but it was when the Falcon and Corvair, et al, hit the showroom floors. When the Daytona race was over, the next production year announced the American with an overhead valve engine. Amazing! It wouldn't fit, ya know.............
    OG lil E and Sancho like this.
  12. I was in Germany in 67-69 and the second car I bought was a 62 skylark two door sedan with a 215 V/8 automatic. The transmission was awful and the engine's head gaskets leaked water but it ran great and drove better than the Opels and Ford Taunus's. Had great lines but the only modification I could afford on Army pay was a home made muffler from a brass 105 MM tank shell.
    I'd really love to do a late corvair mild custom someday.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  13. aircap
    Joined: Mar 10, 2011
    Posts: 1,603


    You seem to have forgotten the Studebaker Lark - which was still available with a supercharged 289.... Fast and stylish, very customizable.
  14. Nice to see the compacts as a theme here on HAMB. Plans on my 62 Comet: loow, skinny whites and a nice metalflake paintjob on the roof. The Comet has a good size for Europe (almost daily driven), and it's slightly bigger than the german "fullsize" cars of the era (Opel, Mercedes and so on). There's not a big "hype" for compacts in Europe, so you can get a good one for a reasonable price. And in case of the Comet, you can use a lot of spareparts from a Mustang, which means you don't have to import every little part you need from the U.S.
  15. Falcon Ranchero, dropped in the front, chrome reversed wheels, small Ford V-8.
    OG lil E, Spooky and Stu D Baker like this.
  16. Here's the front of that brown Corvair that's on the cover of the Spotlite Custom Compacts magazine.
    OG lil E and singledownloop like this.
  17. Engine-wise you couldn't do too much with a Corvair. You were pretty much stuck with a flat six.
  18. LostBoy
    Joined: Mar 16, 2016
    Posts: 217


    Yeah but they make them go pretty well. The diy aircraft guys have made those engines super powerful and reliable.

    On another note, nowadays there are people who slam Honda motors in them. 90% of Honda engines are reverse rotation.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  19. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,755

    from Colorado

    I had a street legal buggy with a Bill Thomas built corvair that was a strong runner. Yenko and Fitch both built Corvairs that would blow off most other compacts
  20. Barn Find
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 2,317

    Barn Find
    from Missouri

  21. flamingokid
    Joined: Jan 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,200


    My grandmother passed away on my 16th birthday and she left two cars.One was a Cord 810 and the other was a 62 Skylark convertible.with about 4500 miles on it.This was in '80,so the car spent 18 years being driven less than 300 miles a year.When she died,she had 7 grandchildren in high school and college,and all 7 of us wanted that pristine beauty.My dad and I inherited the Cord,but the Skylark went to a local Buick museum.That closed and it popped up in a private.collection stored across the street from Crown Center.I didn't see the car again for almost 20 years.

    One day I was on a sales call and I went to the offices of Graves Truck Line,a defunct trucking company owned by the then current governor of Kansas.They stored the family collection in their warehouse.I was checking out the cars when I came upon the little Buick.The first thing I did was look in at the speedometer and yep,the speedo was showing about 300 miles more than when we owned it.Mr Graves said he wasn't sure about the miles,but I told him I was.He asked me why and I told him the whole story about the car.I signed an affidavit as to the mileage,but I haven't seen her since.It would have been a coup to have bought her,but it wasn't meant to be.Not yet,anyway. ;)
  22. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,995




    If our 62 Corvair looked like this in 1968, we certainly would have kept it forever. But, back in those days, it was the American version of a Porsche, so it had that going for it. We drove it as our low cost, stock, cool, daily driver. It got my wife through college and she had very few repairs if any during that time period. If you were to follow us on the road, you would have these mysterious spots appearing on your windshield. That was the ever-present oil leak being thrown rearward as we moved forward. We had the shiniest rear bumper in our neighborhood.

    Regardless of what I did or fix, it still threw mysterious oil rearward. The local mechanics were also puzzled as to where this oil was coming from as it did not leave any oil drops on the street surface.

    It had that unusual fan belt arrangement that occasionally threw the belt off as you were driving. We always kept a spare for such emergencies. Modifying the Corvair was not part of the equation as my wife wanted a reliable car that just got her to work and back. Her thought at the time was…it is just a Corvair. So, no, we did not make any custom changes to this car.


    The only big problem was that it did leak through the side air vents below the dash when going through deep puddles. (even with the vents closed) Since the floorboard was about 2-3 inches lower than the door sill, the water gushed in and made your own lake inside the car. It took heaters, fans and many towels to dry out that car. Luckily my wife never drove it in the rain, so she never experienced that “Lake” effect inside of her Corvair.

    Maybe she should have experienced that effect, then we would be driving something else instantly. Two years later, we sold the Corvair for $150.00 to a family friend in need. Actually, we only got $50 from him with the promise that the rest was coming later. Never got the rest...promises, promises...some
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2017
    OG lil E likes this.
  23. RainierHooker
    Joined: Dec 20, 2011
    Posts: 2,018

    from Tacoma, WA

    This. Where's the love for the car that beat the big three to the compact punch? I'll take mine with a factory McCulloch Supercharged 289 V8 and factory Halibrand wheels. My vision would then shaved, lowered and shod in pearl blue paint, white tuck-n-roll, and pinner whites...
  24. classiccarjack
    Joined: Jun 30, 2009
    Posts: 1,460


    With a hyperpak set up! Way too cool!

    Sent from my XT1585 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  25. classiccarjack
    Joined: Jun 30, 2009
    Posts: 1,460


    I will own my Valiant until I die! These cars are built well and so reliable! It may not be cool to the masses, but it's top notch in my book! That car got me through the thick and the thin for many years. I drove it today as a matter of fact.

    Sent from my XT1585 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  26. Jessie J.
    Joined: Oct 28, 2004
    Posts: 354

    Jessie J.

    No factory supercharged Studes were offered during the 1958-62 model years. Not even on the Hawk's.
    The Supercharged option wasn't factory available in the Lark line until the '63 model year.
    Lark V-8's were 259's through '59-'61 model years, with the 289 4 barrel 225 hp becoming the top engine in '62.
    Not that supercharging couldn't be had, as one could have cannibalized a '57 Golden Hawk of its McCulloch set up. (most ended up being tossed into the trunk anyway) Or being bucks up rodder, bought all the parts through the local Studebaker dealer or McCulloch.
    Have owned 14 Studebaker's. Old fart down to only 4 now.
  27. What's funny is my Comet would be considered a "mid-size" by today's standards. The Comet also looked to be the biggest of the "compacts" in the early '60's, and IMO had the best styling out of the cars mentioned here.
  28. Bull
    Joined: Mar 17, 2006
    Posts: 2,286


    Here's a couple mild custom takes on the Falcon I've come across.
    IMG_0005.jpg~original.jpg rancheroscan.jpg~original.jpg newscan.jpg~original.jpg
    OG lil E and Sancho like this.
  29. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,995


    upload_2017-3-29_5-11-58.png image by: "THE MOOSE" upload_2017-3-29_5-12-22.png
    outstanding re-creation by: "THE MOOSE"

    When my son was ready for his first car in 1992, I saw this light blue 1962 Mercury Comet sitting by the side of a road in our neighborhood. The sign said original owner, low miles, and it had a dent in the rear bumper. It was this light silver blue, completely stock and it was local. When I called the number, the man answered and said that his wife had owned it since 1962. It had 18k original miles. (30 years for the same owner) It was his wife’s car and she drove it to the store, shopping, etc. Wait, 18k miles divided by 30 years was 600 miles a year. Was that possible? The Comet was pristine except for that dent in the chrome bumper. But 600 total miles per year? (little old lady from Pasade….OC)

    Jump up 6 years: The super low mileage was possible as many years later in 1998, we sold my mom’s 71 Chevy Nova 350 for $18k. (It had 15k total miles) We knew the exact mileage of her car as she only drove it to her favorite grocery store in Gardena and shopping at the Lakewood Mall. Maybe her other trips were to the mall near the Long Beach Marina. Her driving experience was limited, but she chugged by the old Lions Dragstrip almost every week to go to Gardena. She did not like the freeways.

    We knew the mileage for her was actually less as we borrowed her car for a long driving trip up the coast, (Big Sur, camped at Half Moon Bay, through San Francisco, across the Bay Area, down through Yosemite and finally down the backside through Mammoth Mountain back to Long Beach,) in her car one summer. So, overall, she drove less than 500 miles a year.]


    That Comet was going to be a great first car for my son. Low miles, smooth running motor, no visible oil leaks, easy to drive, and it was very clean with a familiar “old lady” smell once the door was opened. Our plan was to leave it stock looking with the exception for new tires, and rims. I wanted to lower it for better road hugging, put on Moon Discs with blackwalls and tint the windows, but was overruled. (That 56 black/white ford sedan with moons, lowered and racy looking that was offered to me in 1961-62 always stays in my mind.) There were a few dents in each of the passenger side rims from parking hits on curbs, etc. Otherwise, it looked bulletproof, even with those cool small fins in the rear. We were all excited, but at the last minute, the man said he was going to give the stock looking Comet to his grand daughter in Arizona. Booooo…
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
    Chrisbcritter, themoose and OG lil E like this.
  30. RetroSpeed
    Joined: Jun 25, 2001
    Posts: 128



    Personally, I'd like to have any one of them to use as the foundation of a cool "little" custom![/QUOTE]

    I have the fiberglass "wood" from a 1963 Falcon Squire that I planned to use on my wife's Falcon wagon to build a phantom 1960 Tudor Squire out of this.


    However, after seeing the Steve Stanford rendering, I may use the Squire parts to turn my 1963 Ranchero from this:


    Into This:

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