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Features The Ugliest Kustoms of the 50s

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Jive-Bomber, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. 40FORDPU
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 2,806

    40FORDPU
    Member
    from Yelm, Wa
    1. Northwest HAMBers

    Customs or Kustoms (a label, as I believe George Barris first introduced), are appealing to the people who "get it", because of the individualism, talent, vision, artistic abilities, followed up with a dare to be different attitude.
    Understanding that, makes the realization that peoples taste vary considerably, one mans ugly, may be another mans beautiful. Thankfully we're not all the same.
    A label such as "Ugliest" is a matter of opinion not fact.
    To the creators of the customs, I thank you.
     
  2. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,743

    chopolds
    Member
    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    Guilty as charged for going off on a tangent, fellas! Sorry!

    Back to the game: Yeah there were some ugly things being built back in the day, but youd think there would be less of that today....if we learn from our "mistakes". Obviously that isn't happening.
    But it was an age of experimenting, pushing the envelope, trying new things. Of course some ideas didn't prove popular, but you have to give it to the designers/builders for trying new things. Hell, even the OEM manufacturers picked up on a LOT of what the custom guys designed. And speaking of OEMs, even they were not immune to getting bit by the ugly bug.
    Even an exercise as fantastic as the first fiberglass cars, starting with the Corvette, the Corvair, and the Waldorf Nomad.....Leading into the GM designers building versions of these cars for the other GM marques, the F-88, Wildcats, Club-de-Mer, Bonneville, Golden Rocket......Even some of the best designers in the world did some dogs among the jewels! Sometimes excess ornamentation was to blame, others, basic design and proportion was off to begin with.
    In any case, even the old dogs should be treated with some respect. If not anything else, they teach us what NOT to do!
     
  3. ynottayblock
    Joined: Dec 23, 2005
    Posts: 1,954

    ynottayblock
    Member

    chopolds, that was exactly the point I was trying to make
     
  4. I didn't 'do' the 50's. Anyone got anymore 'eye candy'?
     
  5. Jimbo17
    Joined: Aug 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,712

    Jimbo17
    Member

    Teddy P knows what he is talking about and many just don't get it or what to get it.

    I would hope this site has room for everyone including the true customs.

    Jimbo
     
  6. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 4,339

    stanlow69
    Member
    from red oak

    Small format magazines, $20.00 seems high. They usually are priced between $5 and $7 in my area. Bought 56 of them this weekend at a swapmeet for $100. The guy was asking $4 a piece and made me a deal since I bought them all. If these cars are ugly, them I like ugly cars. They might not exactly be the way I`d build them, but I`d rather see 10 ugly customs then look at 100 muscle cars any day.
     
  7. 50Fraud
    Joined: May 6, 2001
    Posts: 9,611

    50Fraud
    Member

    Jay, you know Gary Minor. It's a shame that Gary is so traditional that he won't enter a room where a computer is located (well, almost), because he's the expert on this subject. He's been irritating people with his "Mauled Merc" column for years!
     
  8. cfnutcase
    Joined: Nov 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,033

    cfnutcase
    Member
    from Branson mo

    Ya know this is a subject that a buddy and I (we work in the same shop on our cars) seem to argue about quite often, he is just so set on how a car has to look and will not budge, he dosent care about a car that does not fit his idea of the perfect custom. Me on the other hand I can appreciate most any custom in some way, there is almost always something in the old customs to look at and learn from, I am not saying that they are all beautiful however I am not going to just ignore some of the cars because they don't fit my idea of the perfect car. I love the look of most any car that Sam Barris did himself, however what you have to remember when you are looking at some cars that someone like that built is they were in business and they had to do what the customer wanted so no matter how much he did not want to do it if some guy came in and wanted one head light frenched and the other not I guess he would have had to do that, afterall you do what you have to to get paid. So when we look at these cars and say that is an ugly car whet we have to remember is the old saying that if we all liked the same thing then our wife would be really popular! LOL! So I guess we had all better be happy that we all have our own tastes and look but kinda try to see the cars through the builder/owners eyes and remember if you have nothing nice to say don't say anything at all... Jim
     
  9. Apologies cfnutcase & others- edited my post from talk back to picture, then -delete- - I think we need more pics of other 'beauties'..
     
  10. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    Here you go. Click on em a couple times, they should open in a new window and be big enough to read. If you were around during the show rod era, you will get a real kick out of this, its actually pretty funny within the context of the times. Some guys are going to question the connection between excessive, tasteless, over the top fifties customs, and excessive, tasteless, over the top sixties show cars, but they really are just a natural outgrowth, and in many cases were even built by the very same guys that had built the excessive, tasteless, over the top fifties customs. Regardless, its a pretty funny read, and the basic message is as valid today as it was in 1967. Think AMBR circa 2000/2012. Check out the authors "name".
     

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    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  11. mikes51
    Joined: Oct 4, 2001
    Posts: 2,195

    mikes51
    Member

    Falcongeorge, very funny article, thanks for posting. I think people who didn't experience the era might understand the times from this article.

    I wonder if author Earnless Hemi way is Tex Smith. I've seen that familiar humor in other articles he's written.

    Yea, those guys were transported to an alternate universe. Their sole purpose in life was to de-throne the all mighty Uncertain T. No wonder they didn't care if their design would be tastefully done. Or if it needed to stand the test of time.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
  12. 3 pedals
    Joined: Dec 29, 2012
    Posts: 52

    3 pedals
    Member
    from Ohio

    Hmm. Sometimes it was just change for the sake of change, bits and pieces. Not much thought about the overall cohesive design.
     
  13. GaryC.
    Joined: Mar 24, 2007
    Posts: 1,538

    GaryC.
    Member

    No words will suffice.
     

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  14. SwedeVedette
    Joined: Feb 15, 2008
    Posts: 368

    SwedeVedette
    Member

    This thread needs more pics!!!
     
    MyCrustyVW and Maverick Daddy like this.
  15. Dreddybear
    Joined: Mar 31, 2007
    Posts: 5,945

    Dreddybear
    Member

    That's funny. Thanks for puttin it up!
     
  16. joemac05
    Joined: Jul 29, 2006
    Posts: 298

    joemac05
    Member

    And a fine example it is!!! :rolleyes: Thank you sir!

    We need less postulating and more pictures... :) :)
     
  17. GTOMUSTANG
    Joined: Oct 5, 2010
    Posts: 115

    GTOMUSTANG
    Member
    from ct

    I grab those little books where I can, and yes, they're $5-7 a piece out here...and I think that by the late 50's, all tricks had been performed. 'cause wow, there was some ugly 4 light jalopies filling up those black and white pages...
     
  18. jazzfidelity
    Joined: Sep 19, 2011
    Posts: 371

    jazzfidelity
    Member

    This is a cool thread, i hope it never closes if not just for the wide variety of opinions.. Interesting to note, looking back, how the era changed from 1950 to 1960.. I enjoy poring through my 1958 Custom Cars magazines where early '50s Fords, Mercs, and others (in addition to articles on grille, headlight, trim, hbcap ideas) ruled supreme, but by 1960, its featured cars were moulding in Studebaker fins to their early 50s Ford shoeboxes, so it was obvious that things were heading toward the wild side, which makes me understand the line of thinking that inspired the Bailon 1958 Impala and Bill Hines' example and others.. also interesting to note how the Futurama and Motorama models influenced alot of the late '50s customs..era.. I'm sorry the era somewhat ended with the '60s but it seems inevitable looking back..
     
  19. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    Glad you guys got a kick out of it. It had been about ten years since I had actually sat down and read it myself, this prompted me to read it again, I'd forgotten how funny it really was. And yes, Tex Smith crossed my mind too.
     
  20. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    EEEEIIIII!! My eyes, my eyes!!!
     
  21. Bullet Nose
    Joined: Nov 20, 2001
    Posts: 2,012

    Bullet Nose
    Member

    Anyone know what this is, or was?

    [​IMG]

    and butt ugly is not the correct answer.
     
  22. yeah, something ain't right with that car...just can't put my finger on it. Not that I'd want to. I think maybe everything is wrong with it...
     
  23. abc123
    Joined: Oct 6, 2005
    Posts: 425

    abc123
    Member

  24. Bullet Nose
    Joined: Nov 20, 2001
    Posts: 2,012

    Bullet Nose
    Member

    I mis-read the title of this article at first and thought it said STYLED WITH CLASS.
     
  25. 50Fraud
    Joined: May 6, 2001
    Posts: 9,611

    50Fraud
    Member

    The front end of Jim Webb's car is pretty strange, but Jim and his car were remarkable. He built it from scratch while he was in high school -- sculpted it, made molds, laid it up in fiberglass, assembled it to a Chevy (?) chassis, and painted it. I met him at Art Center in 1959, and it was his daily driver -- the only car he had. Very accomplished kid.
     
  26. Love them or hate them.....each car has both a history and a story. I can't separate the two, and I'm pretty cool with that. I've said it before, and you younger guys will too some day....you had to be there to experience the "context" of the time. Opinions aside, mine included, it's just not possible to judge the past by experiencing the present. 40 years from now, there will be naysayers who find fault with the builders of this generation....it just happens. When Jim Webb built his car, though it's not for me, it was probably a very cool thing to know him, watch the build, and to ride along.....just sayin'..............Centurion9
     
  27. yetiskustoms
    Joined: May 22, 2009
    Posts: 1,932

    yetiskustoms
    Member

    Anything Barris is ugly (for the most part) in my opinion. He was a more is better kinda guy. I like the factory looking less tacky less is more approach. Hes a great guy, nice,but not my taste in customs.
     
  28. 1951Streamliner
    Joined: May 15, 2011
    Posts: 1,872

    1951Streamliner
    Member
    from Reno, NV

    Then you obviously havent seen the Barris creations of the 40s and early 50s.
     
  29. layedout49
    Joined: Jan 15, 2008
    Posts: 483

    layedout49
    Member

    Lol hadnt seen this post till now lol
     
  30. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 4,339

    stanlow69
    Member
    from red oak

    The damb kids today are texting all day long and you people give this kid grief for building a car?
     

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