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Customs Radical Customs Built in the Late '50s

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Peanut 1959, Apr 30, 2014.

  1. Peanut 1959
    Joined: Oct 11, 2008
    Posts: 1,914

    Peanut 1959
    Member

    For my first thread, I thought I'd ask "What were customizers building in the late fifties?" I'm in the very early stages of planning a build in that style, and I want to know what my contemporaries would have been building if I'd have been alive back then (I'm a GenX-er).

    Keep in mind that these radical customs don't have to be based on 1950's-model cars and trucks. In fact, my build will likely be based on a '47-'49 Studebaker business coupe. For that reason, I'm particularly interested in builds that might be based on vehicles manufactured in the late '40s.

    So, do your best, ladies and gentlemen. Post your favorite pictures of RADICAL CUSTOMS THAT WERE BUILT IN THE LATE 50's!
     
  2. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 4,527

    stanlow69
    Member
    from red oak

    One of the popular things to do was to go from 2 headlights to 4 headlights. To understand this era a little better is to buy magazines from that time period. From the early 60`s, there was the El Matador, The Mark Mist and the car Bob Crespo built. All of which were 40 Fords.
     
  3. Section it, add fins, quad lights, hardtop the side glass, maybe chop it in the process. New grille, new taillights, maybe a continental kit, lakes pipes and spinner caps of some sort. The most radical cars had fins transplanted on from other cars.
     
  4. Peanut 1959
    Joined: Oct 11, 2008
    Posts: 1,914

    Peanut 1959
    Member

    Great suggestions, guys! I thought I had already decided on my headlights, but now I'm rethinking that. And my fin choice has been affected as well! That's just part of why this forum is so great.
     

  5. Peanut 1959
    Joined: Oct 11, 2008
    Posts: 1,914

    Peanut 1959
    Member

    Here are some examples of the era.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. aircap
    Joined: Mar 10, 2011
    Posts: 1,535

    aircap
    Member

    Cushenberry's Matador and that Starlight Coupe are KEWL to the max.
     
  7. When you say your starting with an old Studebaker coupe it brought up memories of what I thought to be the worst custom ever built. I've tried to forget it so the name might be off a bit but look up Modern Grecian by Barris. That thing was just plain Nasty. I know my opinion is not shared by all but I know a good custom when I see one and there is nothing about it I like. Might work for you though.
    The Wizzard
     
  8. The Modern Grecian was the last incarnation of it. It was based on a 4 door Studebaker. This Is the first incarnation.

    [​IMG]

    There is a whole folder on it on Rik Hoving's photo archive here:
    http://public.fotki.com/Rikster/11_car_photos/beautiful_custom_cars/barris-1/48_studebaker_4-door/
     
  9. There is a perfect example of a ton of work done and No Taste. Change just for the sake of Change. It ended up being one Big bucket of Uggley. Starting with a Studebaker has nothing to do with the end result. It could have been a Caddy or Olds or anything else. It still would have been a waste of money and time in my book.
    The Wizzard
     
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  10. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

    The thing about the late 50's is... IMG_3010.JPG
    barf.
     
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  11. Peanut 1959
    Joined: Oct 11, 2008
    Posts: 1,914

    Peanut 1959
    Member

    Yeah, that era created a lot of odd looking customs.

    And, as a Studebaker nut, I have a love/hate relationship with the Grecian/Modern Grecian. The earlier version was actually fairly successful as a radical custom. In the later version, it just became straight "radical"!
     
  12. stratocaster
    Joined: Sep 21, 2005
    Posts: 179

    stratocaster
    Member

    Well, that was short lived. Already two posts from someone who doesn't understand customs knocking the shit out of popular and famous car. What some people will never get is that NO ONE CARES what you think or why. A lot of us love that era of customs. If you don't, move on and let the rest of us enjoy the cars and conversation. Go away! Really. Go away.
     
  13. (quote by Pist-n-Broke) I know my opinion is not shared by all but I know a good custom when I see one and there is nothing about it I like. Might work for you though.
    (quote by stratocaster) What some people will never get is that NO ONE CARES what you think or why.

    I feel the same way but I still try to get along with others. We can't all like the same thing.
     
  14. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,266

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    From 1957 on, most customs were brand new or late model cars. You could sign on the dotted line and drive off the lot in a new car with your old trade and a payment of $35 to $75 a month.

    Then, get a wild paint job from Larry Watson, have the springs cut and lowering blocks installed, a set of chrome wheels and you were in business.

    It was not longer necessary to completely rebuild a car to get it low and stylish.

    From the basic formula you could do some dechroming, or install different grille and tail lights. Scoops were a popular mod because you got points for every mod at the car show.

    There were a few full customs built but not many, and almost all were based on new cars or were completely hand built from scratch.

    Traditional customs died out for a time. I doubt anyone would have messed with a 10 year old Studebaker unless it was a drag car.
     
  15. williebill
    Joined: Mar 1, 2004
    Posts: 2,591

    williebill
    Member

    Hope this thread goes on forever, but whatever you do, don't mention canted quads...
     
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  16. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,266

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Cushenberry's Matador is one of the few full customs based on a forties car, built in the late 50s. There may have been others but I can't think of them.
    Ala Kart was completed in 57 or 58 but most of Barris's work was on newer cars by that time. He must have done a hundred 59 and 60 Chevs.
     
  17. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,266

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Here is a famous shot of Watson's shop, featuring some of his latest work as of late 1958. Notice that of 11 American cars, 9 are 1957, 58 or 59 models. The exceptions being a 1955 Chev and 1953 Buick.

    I am not trying to discourage you. Just pointing out that for a late 50s style build there are better cars to start with. Or, if you like the Studebaker, a different style might be more appropriate.

    https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=watson custom paint&id=0ECF071FD6213676C231C36DCB0985D57F7941CB&FORM=IQFRBA#view=detail&id=0ECF071FD6213676C231C36DCB0985D57F7941CB&selectedIndex=0
     
  18. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,266

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    I don't know why the 47 - 52 Studebakers were almost never chosen as custom material. They were certainly style leaders in their day.
     
  19. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

    I will apply your rule of "NO ONE CARES what you think or why" and choose to not care what you think.

    The late 50's was a tough era for customs thanks to points per modification judging at car shows. Design gave way to fabrication impulse and trophy hunting while some of the least functional or pleasing automotive shapes in history began to crop up all over the country. Why anyone would want to recreate that in the modern era is beyond me.

    That said, I have a sincere fascination of the abomination when it comes to these cars and try to photograph them whenever I can. Did someone say "canted quads?" IMG_3008.jpg
     
  20. aircap
    Joined: Mar 10, 2011
    Posts: 1,535

    aircap
    Member

    Watson had amazing skills, great style, and a superior eye for design with a flair.
    I wish I was half as good.
     
  21. Peanut 1959
    Joined: Oct 11, 2008
    Posts: 1,914

    Peanut 1959
    Member

    Is that a thunder chicken on that T-bird?!?! Lol.

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
     

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