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History The Bud Unger Photo Collection

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by SuperFleye, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. SuperFleye
    Joined: Jul 17, 2005
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    SuperFleye
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    Herbert "Bud" Unger is one of my all time favorite custom car builders! Bud started customizing cars in the Maryland/Washington D.C. area after WWII. He restyled custom cars on the East Coast that could compete with the best custom cars on the West Coast. Bud is best known for restyling camshaft grinder Ray Giovannoni's 1936 Ford Roadster. Ray's Ford gained national recognition when it was featured in Hot Rod Magazine November 1948. The story was made on a trip Ray did to California, to have Carson Top Shop fit the car with a genuine Carson Top. Bud claims that he was not aware of the California custom car trends at all when he set off to restyle Ray’s 36. In an interview I did with Bud last year, Bud said that he never put as much into any other custom as he did for Ray: “Ray's "36" was the best custom that I have ever done. It was my pride and joy! I never put as much into any other custom as I put into Ray's. I welded solid and hand leaded all four fenders to the body.I did the same with both 1/4 panels, front aprons and running boards after narrowing them. I cleared off the back deck, moved the tail lights into the bumper, and made a new back splash pan that housed a license light before I finished it off with a 20 coat jet black paint job. Oh yes, I did a major reshaping of the grille area to incorporate a Packard grille.” Welded and molded fenders became a trademark for Bud. He preferred milder changes in body design. A lot of small changes as opposed to a major: ” In my humble opinion I think that a custom car should be practical and functional. So many customs are too far out, not practical for street use. Some are too radical- too low to the ground, etc. But as the old saying goes- To each his own. These various designs give variety to the business! After I did simple surgery to Ray's 36. I think I improved the over all appearance of the car over it's original design. The car now has simple beauty, flowing lines, gracious looks and oneness and unity!, and yet you can tell that it is still a 1936 Ford Roadster.”

    For a long time Bud was a mythical builder that not many people knew a lot about. Rik Hoving did a nice write up on him on his blog, based on info he had found about Bud, mostly in old Speed Age magazines. As a fan of the Giovannoni 36, I was for a long time very curious about Ray and the cars he had customized, and I collected as much info as I could about him on Kustomrama. Last year, after coming home to the Motel, from a wet night in Austin I checked my emails before I jumped to bed...and there it was, an email from Joy Unger, Bud's daughter. She had googled her dad and found my brief story. She told me that Bud was alive and kicking, living his retirement days in Shirley, Arkansas. I was stoked!! She included his email in her mail, and I emailed them both right away! Bud emailed me back the next day, and I spent the next months interviewing Bud about his custom car days! Bud has rounded 90, so he can't remember everything of course, but he is still very sharp, so I was able to get a lot of info out of him. The bio on Bud is constantly growing as we email each other back and forth. You can see what we have come up with so far here:

    http://kustomrama.com/index.php?title=Herbert_%E2%80%9DBud%E2%80%9D_Unger

    In addition to this, Bud has shared his photo collection with Kustomrama. I'm publishing a new photo every now and then, along with the info Bud has provided me with. Unfortunately the name of the owners of most of the cars he restyled are gone, so if anyone recognize any of the customs in the photos I'm publishing please speak out! As I go along and post photos from Bud's collection on Kustomrama, I will add them here as well!
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2013
  2. SuperFleye
    Joined: Jul 17, 2005
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    This is the first car Bud ever customized, a 1947 Chevrolet Convertible that he in 1947 welded the rear fenders to the ¼ panels on and leaded in. The rear end was further smoothened by shaving the handle, emblem and license plate from the deck lid. The license plate was installed on the bumper. Bud did also shave the taillights from the 1/4 panels. The holes were filled and new taillights were integrated into the bumper wing tips. Later on, welded and molded fenders became a trademark for Bud. Anyone recognize this one?
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2013
  3. SuperFleye
    Joined: Jul 17, 2005
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    SuperFleye
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    Bud Unger's 1946 Ford Convertible. This was Bud's personal driver, and he started the build after he had opened up Unger Auto Body Company in 1950. When Bud moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 1956, he brought the Ford with him.

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    The top on Bud's personal driver was chopped 3 inches. He didn’t want to take more out of the top as he didn’t want the top to be out of proportion with the rest of the body. After the chop, Bud fit the car with his version of a padded Carson Top. According to Bud, the unmistakable style and class of a Carson-type, padded top is the true signature of a custom car

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    The rear of the car was lowered by installing lowering-blocks.

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    The interior was done in two-tone black and light cream vinyl by a local trim shop.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2013
  4. SuperFleye
    Joined: Jul 17, 2005
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    After Bud had restyled Ray Giovannoni's 1936 Ford Roadster, he was asked by another customer to restyle his 1936 Ford exactly like Ray's. Bud took the job, and started by removing all chrome, acetylene and oxygen welding all holes and leading them in. He moved both running boards in after removing the rubber, and he blended them into the body and front fenders. He then installed a license plate holder pan with a license light between the body and the rear bumper just like he did on Ray's 36. He made two solid hood panels and installed Packard fenders skirts, and was about to weld the fenders and grille area to the body when he began to think what he was doing. He was attempting to duplicate Ray's 36, and he began to feel like he was committing treason to Ray's 36. After all Ray's 36 was his best custom. So he stopped doing any more custom work to it, and he told his customer about the decision not to complete it. Bud finished it off with a black custom paint, and delivered the car to the customer.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2013

  5. SuperFleye
    Joined: Jul 17, 2005
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    A 1939 Ford Convertible that Bud customized and painted in a light metallic blue for an unknown customer in the late 1940s or early 1950s. When this photo was taken, the top had been chopped, and the sidetrim on the hood had been shortened. The hood was shaved for most of its chrome, and a 1941 Ford bumper that had been shaved for bumper guards protected the front of the car. Fender skirts and single bar flipper hubcaps had been installed for a true west coast custom look.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2013
  6. SuperFleye
    Joined: Jul 17, 2005
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    This photo shows a 1940 Hudson Converible that Bud restyled for an unknown customer in the late 1940s. In 2012, when Kustomrama interviewed Bud about the car, he remembered that he hand made a set of fender skirts for the car, and that he fit it with his own version of a Carson Top. He admitted that the top was no way as good as "the California job". Another photo of the car, taken the same day, shows it wearing a set of New York 1948 license plates. Other modifications included a shaved hood, dual spotlights, a 1946 - 1948 Mercury grille and removed running boards. Ray Giovannoni's 1936 Ford Roadster can be seen across the street.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2013
  7. Sondre (SuperFleye) Kvipt - Great stuff! ... Keep the pics and info coming!
     
  8. SuperFleye
    Joined: Jul 17, 2005
    Posts: 2,040

    SuperFleye
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    I will HEMI32 :)
    I'm postin new photos every now and then to drag the attention on my subjects over as long time as possible!
     
  9. Wow! Beautiful, tasteful, useable custom cars. Great photos of really nice cars - thanks for these Super (and Bud!!!).

    -Dave
     
  10. skinnydude
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 169

    skinnydude
    Member

    Thanks for shareing all these vintage photos with us what fantastic guys were some are gone but will never be forgotten . again Thanks
     
  11. skywolf
    Joined: Jul 1, 2006
    Posts: 1,868

    skywolf
    Member

    Fantastic !! Thanks so much for sharing.
     
  12. Kustomism
    Joined: Oct 8, 2011
    Posts: 159

    Kustomism
    Member

    Great photos


    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
     
  13. BrerHair
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 4,744

    BrerHair
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Fantastic! Interesting that Bud thinks it ain't a custom unless it has a soft top. Great stuff.
     
  14. SuperFleye
    Joined: Jul 17, 2005
    Posts: 2,040

    SuperFleye
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    He had a soft spot for the soft tops BrerHair ;)

     
  15. Rod Ari
    Joined: Dec 10, 2005
    Posts: 68

    Rod Ari
    Member
    from Finland

    Rare pictures and great writing. Hope to see on a week- you know where!

    Ari
     
  16. Good read,thanks for taking the time to post. HRP
     
  17. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 7,431

    'Mo
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  18. SuperFleye
    Joined: Jul 17, 2005
    Posts: 2,040

    SuperFleye
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    It's time to share another photo from Bud's collection! This photo shows the front end of the 1940 Hudson Converible that Bud restyled for an unknown customer in the late 1940s. In the photo, the Hudson is wearing a set of New York1948 license plates.
     

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