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History Custom Car History: Wild Child's

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by grim, Mar 10, 2007.

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  1. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member

    Custom Car History: Wild Child's

    Wild Child's Custom Shop was owned and operated by artist James Greene of Kansas City Missouri. Along with his career as a custom designer, Greene held a professorship at Kansas City’s Art Institute. It was there with the help of Playboy Magazine that Greene started the automotive furniture movement of the 1980s.
    In addition in cycle history, Wild Child’s has been credited as the “originator” of what is now known as the modern chopper motorcycle design. Greene invented what became known as the narrowed springer front end (later produced/sold by friend Ed Roth) and heavy rake, along with many other features attributed to the swagger that now encompasses the definition.
    Interestingly the “Emerald Mist“, one of many examples of Wild Child’s customs, has been recently returned to the show arena by John D’Agostino. Further than his own designs, Greene also took part in the constructions of many known elegant show pieces. In this series of collections you will be getting the first look at an astonishing amount of never before seen build photographs. From Greene‘s Cycle‘s, Customs, Furniture, and arts. To fun with his friends, including Ed Roth, Ray Fharner, Bill Cushenbery, Evil Knievel and many more - let the games begin.

    My gift to you.. Thank you to everyone who takes such valuable time to provide the wealth of information that is the H.A.M.B.

    ______________________________________________________________________

    In the early days Greene began as many others did of the era - with what was affordable toward the end of The Depression. Pictured here are photos of Greene’s first chopped top. Taken behind a poor Kansas City neighborhood gas station Greene proceeded to rebuild this once severe wreck into a mild rod. Buying a torch set on faith payments, Greene proceeded to customize this 32, welding and forming with used coat hangers.

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    With the only chop around over the next few years Jimmy began to make attention, and money, doing small modifications on the vehicles of peers. It wasn’t long before complicated requests arose. So with a small wooden pattern he made, along with a small saw, files, hammers and the like. Greene began to hand form louvers in the alley behind his house.

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    Though peers were short on money as time passed the alley provided a few other tricks too..

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    Then, finding a small empty garage proved to pass the quiet time well.

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    (I’m guessing the business coupe look taking shape below)
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    He gets a newer chopped shoebox on the street and it happens again - more friends want more..

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    Friends builds emerged - this one pictured was owned by Ray Erickson President of the Kansas City Timing Assoc. I’m told. Some of you may remember the 50s feature “Whistle Bait”?? At some point this car was wrecked and Jimmy got his hands on doing a bunch of mods.

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    (Jimmy Pictured here at Liberty Memorial - Kansas City December 1956)
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    (Note the rear window straps: When a window cracks a poor kid has to get by right?)
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    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I'm getting tired, sorry guys.. I'll continue here where I left off after I get some rest. :eek: (stay tuned - to be continued)
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2011
  2. theHIGHLANDER
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,210

    theHIGHLANDER
    Member

    Wow. I mean this is IT. This is the stuff that the posers will never understand or feel. Thank you just doesn't seem enough.
     
  3. mazdaslam
    Joined: Sep 9, 2004
    Posts: 2,524

    mazdaslam
    Member

    Wow!! so far...so cool:cool: ....I cant wait for more.
     
  4. Terry
    Joined: Jul 3, 2002
    Posts: 1,825

    Terry
    Member

    Now this is the stuff! Thank-you so much Grim for taking the time to enlighten us all! Awesome!
     

  5. 26TCoupe
    Joined: Mar 28, 2006
    Posts: 199

    26TCoupe
    Member

    Incredible collection! Thank You
     
  6. 31whitey
    Joined: Jan 2, 2007
    Posts: 2,214

    31whitey
    Member

    really cool man...thanks
     
  7. Stu D Baker
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,655

    Stu D Baker
    Member
    from Illinois

    As a "youngster" in the late sixties, (20 yo) I recall often stopping by Wild Childs Custom shop, however, I can't picture Jim growing up during the depression era. Perhaps it's my bad memory or the typical ageless view at that point in my life.

    Interesting post, and of course would like to hear more. Stu
     
  8. twochops
    Joined: Feb 28, 2006
    Posts: 1,510

    twochops
    Member

    grim--As a collector of old custom car photos I really
    enjoy seeing these great old photos.Yes do post
    more and more.----------THANKS TwoChops
     
  9. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,781

    Rikster
    Member

    WOW.... Thank you for sharing these.
    Very much appreciated.

    I love those old custom car photos.
     
  10. wvenfield
    Joined: Nov 23, 2006
    Posts: 5,273

    wvenfield
    Member

    It is great that these pictures have been saved. Super cool. With all the talk about "tradition" here though, I wonder how many do it like this?

    [​IMG]

    That's hardcore.
     
  11. Evel
    Joined: Jun 25, 2002
    Posts: 9,038

    Evel
    Member
    1. 60s Show Rods

    Awesome Pix thanks for sharing!!!
     
  12. MarkX
    Joined: Apr 8, 2003
    Posts: 1,232

    MarkX
    Member
    from ...TX

    I often complain about not having the right tools and space and having a dirty shop.

    Hes did it in a Dirt alley with a torch!...................... theres NO substitute for pure talent!
     
  13. Durod
    Joined: Aug 20, 2005
    Posts: 809

    Durod
    Member
    from DFW, Tx

    speechless.

    thank you,
    flaco
     
  14. Bryan
    Joined: Jul 25, 2002
    Posts: 578

    Bryan
    Member

    thanks so much, those are fantastic.
     
  15. publicenemy1925
    Joined: Feb 4, 2007
    Posts: 3,187

    publicenemy1925
    Member
    from OKC, OK

    Oh shit man! In the dirt, rocks keeping it from rolling, with a bumperjack! Danger, Danger, Will Robinson! These are the best pics i've seen in a very long time. The one with the half chopped top, cut with a torch, is amazing! Chop saws and sawzalls be damned, when you want it done you get it done! Koolsville.
     
  16. Thanks Grim, Wild Child is a Missouri Legend......This guy is the real deal-I am humbled to be in the same profession.....

    This is a dose of what the HAMB should be seeing more of!!!!!
    Cannot fuckin wait!
     
  17. Kevin Lee
    Joined: Nov 12, 2001
    Posts: 7,440

    Kevin Lee
    Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sitting... waiting. Wonder how close that alley is to my house? Because the shop is just a few blocks. That Liberty Memorial shot is really nice. Thanks for sharing this stuff.
     
  18. huffreport
    Joined: Feb 20, 2004
    Posts: 169

    huffreport
    Member

    The real deal... Thank you for sharing these great photos.
     


  19. me too...........what a great thread! very inspirational. more please.
     
  20. 85-percent
    Joined: Apr 5, 2005
    Posts: 323

    85-percent
    Member

    Awesome and priceless pics!

    Thanks so much for a great thread!

    -85% jimmy
     
  21. hiboy32
    Joined: Nov 7, 2001
    Posts: 2,775

    hiboy32
    Member
    from Omaha, NE

    I am still waiting. It is cool to have terriorized the streets of KC with that hot rod and custom history like that.
     
  22. Dads-53
    Joined: Sep 8, 2006
    Posts: 171

    Dads-53
    Member

    Thanks for pictures, I sold Jim paint for years throught Lockwoods. But didn't get to know him until 75 or 76. He was one of a kind.
    Dad
     
  23. Domn8r
    Joined: Apr 15, 2006
    Posts: 172

    Domn8r
    Member
    from Helena, MO

    As a teenager I can remember drolling over a chopped trike Wild Child had in bikes shows. His artistry truly shown through
     
  24. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member

    On with the show!
    Part 2: Wild Child's ---- (Give me a second to organize this next round of photographs)
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2011
  25. Is he still with us Grim,or have I missed the opportunity to meet him?
    Lookin forward to more of his art/life eperience. THANK you.

    Since you are from KC- do you recognize this fellow?
    I am to his right -he is wearing the white shirt?
     

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  26. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member

    Boy that's a familiar face.. What's his name? :D

    Yeah he's alive, I'm told he's been in on some type of designing with foreign hotels lately. His shop is still a signed building, but the hours held seem to be more by appointment.
     
  27. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member

    [​IMG]
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    Greene on Left with childhood friend David Stephens of the Radicals car club.
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    Jimmy quickly got Stephens hooked with mods to his 55 convertable and soon came a new 55.. (seen with Jimmy is a young boy named German about to catch the "disease")
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    (note: the rear window of the 55 has much of the same flavor of the windshield on whistle bait)
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    Last edited: Feb 25, 2011
  28. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member

    When the 55 was finished German's 57 was knocking at the door..
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    Then knocking again..
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    All at this same time Jimmy never needed to drive (outside the straight drag strip) so he didn't know how. But decided to buy a car. But not knowing how to drive, a friend Carl tested for him in the days before drivers license pictures. Since he was afraid to try driving - mods began.. (1958 A chevy dealer distruction gave way to a new 348ci Chevy and 3 speed - what else can you do when all you can drive is a straight line?) These photos show the later update to the new 409. Yeah, light and fast like John Milner, this little stude became a force to recon with.
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  29. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member

    Having customized some Studebakers this style (modifying one then using as a moving trailer as seen in the 55 photos) modified parts later swapped to the fast one. (Seen here under reconstruction)
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  30. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member

    Some more recustomization to shape the beat trailor clip
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