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Features The Ugliest Kustoms of the 50s

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

  1. rc finnefrock
    Joined: Feb 21, 2013
    Posts: 5

    rc finnefrock

    I started going to ISCA shows in the mid 60's with my Dad. I remember some of the cars were strange looking to a 7 year o;d. but i always thought it takes a lot of guts to cut one up...right or wrong
  2. Thanks John! That means a lot coming from a guy like you! There are A LOT of guys on the HAMB who DO get it though. Rikster, lots of the Europeans, and many of the Japanese simply GET IT. It is a hard concept to grasp because there are only a few true traditional cars being built nowadays. Seems everyone wants to be a lemming and go with the heard and PLAY IT SAFE. No one wants to leap outside the boundries and do something totally different which is what many builders were doing in those days.
  3. BLAKE
    Joined: Aug 10, 2002
    Posts: 2,770


    Yeah... not so much.

  4. Not only are all the kustoms posted before much prettier than this, but this is highly off-topic. Once again this argument is going no where because people are not understanding intent. You can't listen to a punk rock song from the early 1980's and say it's good but it's no Bach. Well yeah but it was never INTENDED to be a Bach. Time and time again people get confused with the intent of everything. And these kustoms hit the nail on the head for what they were intended to be/do.
  5. Phillips
    Joined: Oct 26, 2010
    Posts: 1,291


    Why is it "absolutely shocking" that the X-2 was picked as a top custom car for 1958? It was not a customIZED car but an actual custom automobile. What were they supposed to pick, some 51 Chevy with torched springs? Read up on Ray Besasie, the guy built his own turbo in the 40s!
  6. Rich Wright
    Joined: Jan 9, 2008
    Posts: 3,922

    Rich Wright

    I stand corrected on the Golden Sahara.... I don't know where I got '55 Chevy.....

    As a kid I thought most of the customs built during the '50 were pretty cool and they still are when kept in the context of the times. The Marrata car being a perfect example of one that was never cool. I was 9 years old when that issue of R&C hit the stands and I thought a kid..that it was ugly. My thoughts on that car haven't changed over the years

    A lot of the stuff that was being done back then was cutting edge and well received by the public.
    To think they should fit in with today's trends and styles by judging them with modern standards is just not a fair assessment.
  7. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    from BC

    No, sorry, ugly is ugly. There were some GREAT customs(kustoms) built that actually improved on the original, there were some that maybe kinda straddled the line, and then there were well, enough said. Ray Goularts Olds is one of my favorite cars of all time, STUNNING car, THAT I get. Then there are the flat-out, balls-to-the-wall abortions, like Marrata's car for instance. Sorry, tasteless ugly and garish is just that, doesnt matter if you put a "K" in front of it.:rolleyes: If thats "getting it", I'll be happy to be "ignorant" thanks...
    And yes, I "get" that a '52 Chevy with torched springs and a chopped top is not really a custom(Kustom).

  8. I'm with you, falcongeorge. They are still abortion's no matter what letter is put in front of them. That '52 Chevy with the chopped top and heated springs may not be a kustom but it's still kool.
  9. Post Apocalyptic Kustoms
    Joined: Oct 21, 2012
    Posts: 480

    Post Apocalyptic Kustoms
    from Outside

    I'd still rather have a real car than that plastic tapered turd. If I got that for free I'd sell it and use the money to build a bad ass kustom and buy another one to drive in the meantime. The thing about Kustoms is that ugly or not, they will always be kool. That red Lexus thing (Or whatever) will look completly lame and dated in 5 years and nobody will give a shit about it.
  10. truckjim
    Joined: May 21, 2011
    Posts: 166


    This thread really speaks to the truth of 'just 'cause you can doesn't mean you should'. Decades ago I was frustated to find out my abilities to build were way better than my ability to 'see' an idea. Stuff I built worked but it was often too ugly to survive. I know what I like but only when I see it. Lacking artistic vision I really envy those who have it and need to use them to put ideas on paper. Wonder if some of these iconic car builders ever did?
    And that Packard, wow! The original car designed by committee. Seriously, look at the front clip and doors, then the rear and finally the roof / windshield line. Individually they look great. Together, not so much so. Love to have one though!:D Don't like this post. No right answers. Like right answers!
  11. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,515

    seb fontana
    from ct

    The rest of the car makes that unchopped top look good..What is the history? The fins look familiar but can't remember the front..

  12. Yep, sad to say but I agree with both Mitchell and John. I remember about 30 years ago when the Custom Revival was gathering some speed after Muscle cars and Lowriders had taken over, and were fading. I was thrilled to see an occasional Newly chopped Merc or Shoebox again. That was then. In the last 20 years, it appears as though the new Custom Movement is all about making your car just exactly like the other ones on the HAMB...Exactly! A short time ago I started a file on all the 49-51 Mercs, 49-51 Fords, and early Chevys being built just to illustrate how they were all coming out the same! I shelved the idea because it wouldn't matter. I get saddened each time I see a "New" build that involves a 53-54 Chevy Tudor because I can tell you before I open the thread what they guy is doing with it. That's SAD...As has been stated before...that's not what Customs are about. The original idea of "cloning" was to replicate "a" car that was no longer around. It was a tribute of sorts. Now, all I see is clones......Do something different guys! Read, don't just collect the "little books"....those were the times when fresh ideas were the goal...not buiding yours Like everyone else's.....Centurion9
  13. rittmeister
    Joined: Jun 10, 2010
    Posts: 64

    from texas

    Don't know if it's better, but I would drive it, and at least it's not Godawful ugly...that Hines car, a few threads up? That thing would make my 7 year old cry...
  14. koolkemp
    Joined: May 7, 2004
    Posts: 6,007


  15. RatPin
    Joined: Feb 12, 2009
    Posts: 573


    Most anything Studebaker
  16. koolkemp
    Joined: May 7, 2004
    Posts: 6,007


    Its Bill Hines original Bat after a horrible attempt to make a 60's bubble top custom ,although I dont believe Bill did this to it( I may be wrong though?) It had a replacement top put back on a few years or so ago....not sure what happened to it since then though?
  17. I don't buy into this at all. There were LOTS of radical customs that were well done with nice designs and well thought out modifications. Why could some do it and others couldn't? They were built to win shows just as much as the ones that fell short. To justify shitty design work with the excuse that it was about points just doesn't fly with me. I love customs even radical ones but some just didn't work and to defend them on the basis of intent is misguided in my opinion.

    I understand the time period and what guys were trying to do but some missed the mark what is wrong about pointing that out? Everything that was done back in the day isn't great just because it was done back in the day.
  18. Doctor Detroit
    Joined: Aug 12, 2010
    Posts: 1,013

    Doctor Detroit

    I was wondering what the back end of this beauty looked like, and unfortunately..... now I know. The fact that it was on the cover of Rod & Custom is mind boggling. If you look closely at the picture of this car in reply #43, it appears someone actually went back and "updated" this car.. with a '51 Merc grille crammed into that opening and a hood scoop.
  19. autobilly
    Joined: May 23, 2007
    Posts: 3,094


    Are these opinions formed by a "2013 eye" conditioned by the familiar forms of Mercs, Shoeboxes and Zephyrs etc? Perhaps it's hard to evaluate and understand these cars from a true 50's perspective. Is it fair to judge these cars by their possible lack of standing the taste test of time? For example, I'm sure that many people cringe when they look back at their High School hair and clothes fashion. Although they didn't stand the test of time, they were cool back then. Do we consider the Beatnik Bandit ugly when compared to the Lightning Bug? Maybe Wayout is just Wayout and should be considerd seperate and as such.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  20. No, they were ugly back then also.
  21. O.Hove
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 771

    Member Emeritus
    from S.D.

    I think K13 gets it
  22. You know that fairyfendered Studebaker of Barris', the yellow and green paint made me actually sick, everytime I saw it in magazines, back when I was a youngster.
    They should have taken his customizing license away, and his man license.
    Luckily, he has redemmed himself many times over.
    Some of the others, there's no excuse for(X2).
  23. BeatnikPirate
    Joined: May 21, 2006
    Posts: 1,416

    from Media, Pa.

    Very entertaining thread.
    Just when you thought they couldn't get any uglier.... :eek:

    Attached Files:

  24. firingorder1
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 2,147


    I imagine that if a customizer of the 50s could be time traveled to today he would be equally unimpressed by today's acceptance of cool being flat black, rust masquerading as patina, distressed leather and phony bomber seats.
  25. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 7,435



    This car IS Bill Hines "Little Bat". :eek:


    I believe it is back in his possession for restoration, and the stock roof is there to replace the original chopped one, which was removed in preparation for a bubble top. Compare the front styling to the other Hines Ford. (I was originally going to post that car instead, but couldn't find a picture.)

    At the end of its life, the Phoenix goes down in flames, only to give rebirth to itself from its ashes. The art of customizing has done just that. (Think about it! ;))
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  26. Tom davison
    Joined: Mar 15, 2008
    Posts: 5,431

    Tom davison
    from Phoenix AZ

    You guys have got all of the worst ones covered so far....except for one. East coast car, a '53 Stude with '59 Cad rear quarters, cruiser skirts and four '59 Dodge front fenders (two upside down) with, count 'em,....eight headlights. Can someone please come up with a photo of this monstrosity?

    I re-painted that X-2 at Ray Farhner's shop in about 1961, it was really crudely made. Seems like the steering was controlled with a bicycle chain hooked to the center-mounted steering wheel. Or maybe the top slide-back mechanism was bicycle chain-driven...long time ago. I liked the steps built right into the side of the car to allow you to climb into it.
  27. That would be John Hychkos car......

  28. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,452


    This is the car that I thought of when I read the title to this thread. 58 Merc tail lights in the roof.... Really? See post #84.
  29. Gator
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,016


    Here's one from another thread here (that ended up getting closed) ;) it's a '36 Ford built in '59.

    I think some of the craziness came from the judging system... More points for each modification, etc.


    Not a custom, a prototype turned prop car, and well into the sixties.
  30. Bdamfino
    Joined: Jan 27, 2006
    Posts: 338

    from Hamlet, NC

    I think customizers were trying to "one up" each other and the factory as well, just consider the look of about all the '58 year cars made, Detroit was paying attention to the chop up artists. People were looking to keep it fresh, imaginative, and then along came Roth and it went into Outhouses and Barber chairs on wheels after that. On a side note, what about the car Andy Saunders restored by some Father from the fifties, supposedly the safest car ever made??? Someone throw a picture up of that one.

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