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History Top Ten kustom icons of your youth

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by 'Mo, Feb 1, 2018.

  1. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 5,398

    'Mo
    Member

    I've been thinking about the customs that had an early impact on me, and thought it might be fun to share. I hope others will take the time to do the same.

    This is by no means a list of "Favorites", or even "Bests", but represent some of the cars that were iconic in my youth.
    (I was born in 1950, and many of the cars I now admire were already considered passe.
    So the sixties really best reflect my early influences.)

    In no particular order, as I think of them:

    "Ala Kart"; This one is really near the top.
    Using a Combo '27/'29 body for a full-on custom really stretched the envelope. And how about the quad headlights...in 1957!!! Talk about trend setting!
    The hand formed nose set the stage for a whole new genre that included Fahrner's "Eclipse" (a personal favorite), Stuckey's "Lil coffin", Chili's "Little Deuce Coupe, Vargo's "69'er", and countless others.

    [​IMG]

    "El Matador". Every AMT '40 Ford I built as a kid was influenced by this. (There's those quad lights again!)

    [​IMG]

    Too funny! Googling for a pic of 'El Matador" brought up this pic of one of my old models!
    (I don't know how, since my Photobucket account no longer hosts my pictures!)
    I told you it had an impact!

    [​IMG]


    "The "Victorian".
    This one took conservative styling to the max by altering every panel, while never loosing the car's original character. I call it a masterpiece!
    '53 Stude pans were ubiquitous, but perhaps never better incorporated than here, with the slight cant to the upper grille shell.


    [​IMG]


    "R&C Dream truck". What can I say?

    [​IMG]

    "Solar Scene".

    It seems blasphemous now, but Winfield's Solar Scene was the first Mid-century Merc to knock my socks off.

    [​IMG]

    I'm going to hit "Post" now, and take a break. I'll be back and see what else comes to mind, to finish the list.
    ( Or maybe I should change it to "Top Five Icons"?)
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2018
  2. FrankenRodz
    Joined: Dec 20, 2007
    Posts: 837

    FrankenRodz
    Member

    Fred Flintstone’s car
    Barney Rubble’s car
    George Jetson’s car
    Beverly Hill Billy’s truck
    Bat mobile
    Monkey mobile
    Herman Munster’s truck
    Green Hornet
    Lost in Space Family hauler
    Any ride from Rat Patrol
     
  3. andydodge
    Joined: Sep 28, 2008
    Posts: 713

    andydodge
    Member

    Mo...interesting that 2 of the 3 you listed were made into AMT plastic kits, both the Ala Kart and the 56 Ford Victoria which has the ability to be built stock or the Alexander Bros custom............your version of El Matador looks like it was getting there..........andyd
     
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  4. If it weren't for Gene Winfield paint and Leroy Kememerers(sp) work on the Jade Idol. I know I would not be into Kustoms
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
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  5. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 5,398

    'Mo
    Member

    Damn, that was fast! (I guess I should have given it more thought before I posted!)
    Though not all "Kustoms", you sure caught my drift, as your list is comprised of icons that certainly represent an era. thanks for posting!


    Interesting observation, andyd. Next on my list of icons was LeRoy Goulart's 1950 Ford, which also made it to AMT.

    [​IMG]



    Another icon on the list, bskustoms. Thanks!

    Jade Idol

    [​IMG]

    Buddah Buggy

    [​IMG]

    It's getting down to the wire, now!
    I would say these two would hold down the same spot.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And there you go! Ten Kustom icons reflecting the era of my youth, off the top of my head!
    (Though not as fast as FrankenRodz!:D)




     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
  6. FrankenRodz
    Joined: Dec 20, 2007
    Posts: 837

    FrankenRodz
    Member

    Yeah, every single one of those Rides has influenced my Design in some way, over my lifetime.
     
  7. straykatkustoms
    Joined: Oct 30, 2001
    Posts: 9,029

    straykatkustoms
    Member

    Kool post! This was the first real Kustom that I had seen and it started my sickness. When I was around 14 years old, I went to the Starbird show. Eldon Titus's Buick just stopped me in my tracks. Kool thing I ended up being friends with him.

    101716-1250615926-6b87bf97f973d84027f29084d0903d20.jpg

    The following few years, back at the Starbird show I saw Robert Williams inspired "Green Flame" Mercury. This was my first chop Merc that I had seen in person.

    q.jpg

    Carl Green had a Kustom shop in Dewey, Ok. He was re-painting the Dream Truck just down the street from where I was working. That summer, I got brave enough to stop by his shop. Carl welcomed me into the shop and showed me what they were doing to the Dream Truck and let me look through all of his pictures. I'm very thankful he didn't run me off.....

    54070-1236102616-98c6319e5cccc2aa86d178b553838328.jpg

    I'm not sure of the year of the picture but I was in high school and I owned a '55 Chevy. At the Starbird show, I fell in love with Starbirds Exotica.

    103381-1251220964-a4d0288aadb8a5bdd0efd70e56125d9c.jpg

    I went to the First Kustom Kemps of Americas Lead Sled Spectacular, Lee Pratt's '41 Buick. Taught me that Kustoms don't have to be chopped to be kool.


    103384-1251220964-522dd983d29a0861e405e35446f2f230.jpg


    Later that year, We attended the Last Run in Ark City, KS. I was introduced to the Fundamentals.

    Doug Reed's Toad

    103386-1251220964-97c443d0556ea48955d98c0c710a1f97.jpg

    Hub Harness '59 El Camino

    101670-1250606870-c0b32ca0f73216dcb7447aeb9044abf2.jpg

    Johnny Hammond's '58 Impala

    101668-1250606870-9fd7b3c6fba9e3e44a7b572d60a1b068.jpg

    1984 Dave Stuckey's Merc got me back into kustoms. This was at the Merc Deuce Reunion in Wichita

    20294416_10155222216563387_1894256612960371203_n.jpg

    Also at the Merc Deuce I saw Jimmy Vaughn's fast back, Kool thing by that time I was starting to get it and able to recognize the Kustom work.

    140847-1261577758-6034e01d685f76993f4682323f24e99f.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
  8. FrankenRodz
    Joined: Dec 20, 2007
    Posts: 837

    FrankenRodz
    Member

    BTW, don't go callin' Uncle Jed's truck "Not really a Custom".
    He and Granny spent many a nite fixin' that up just right for the Trip to Beverly Hills!
    (But first Granny had to Smoke some CrawDads).
     
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  9. My top ten customs from growing up in the early sixties:

    The Emperor,

    The ala kart,

    Cushenberry’s Matador

    Jade Idol

    Solar Scene

    Goulart’s shoebox Ford,

    Tiago’s Ranchero , and local Yreka, CA cars:

    Dean Whipple’s unfinished ‘51 Mercury

    A scalloped ‘56 Ford unknown owner

    Jimmy See’s ‘34 five window coupe
     
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  10. I wasn't into customs when I was young born in '71 there wasn't (still isn't) much of a custom scene here so my first big influences were the cars being build by Dore, Zocchi and D'Agostino, Marco Garcia. I looked forward to seeing the updates on the builds every issue of Custom Rodder. So for me these 10 are probably the first 10 that really got me interested in customs. Not sure if they are all icons but I feel they probably are the iconic cars of that era.
    1936-Ford-Tangerine-Dream.jpg 72005Marilyn3.jpg 1957-Lincoln-Royal-Emperor.jpg Image0052-800x460.jpg PC200024-vi.jpg 279261f9d8d4f76f8fbb35b7d2bfe58f.jpg bird1.jpg dore.jpg 2010-06-12_13_29_42.jpg ImperialRoyale.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
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  11. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 5,398

    'Mo
    Member

    The volume and quality those guys turned out was truly remarkable, and helped fuel the resurgence of the hobby.
    Thanks for posting..

    Thanks for posting.
    It looks like we're from the same era, but there are a couple of cars here I can't seem to recall.
    Are there links for the Whipple Merc, or Jimmy See's coupe?
     
  12. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 5,398

    'Mo
    Member

    Titus did so much to revive customs, when so few seemed to care.
    I think that the Merc/Deuce reunion was crucial in establishing the chopped Merc as the icon that it is today.
    So cool you were there!
     
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  13. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,039

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

    Honestly, Mike Ness's '54 Chevy was a major entry point for me into customs. I'm 33, so fairly young in the game. I got into this stuff on my own when I was a teenager, and I don't come from a family of car people to introduce me to any particular genre of cars. But my mom took me to local cruise nights as a little kid because I liked cars, and the 50s era stuff always appealed to me. When I was old enough, it just seemed natural to buy an old car, and I picked up a 57 Bel Air when I was 16, but didn't have a real direction for it. I was a big fan of Mike Ness, and I had actually heard his solo records before I discovered Social Distortion. My high school girlfriend bought me the first issue of Hot Rod Deluxe (which was out of print at the time) for my 17th birthday, the infamous "rockstars with torque wrenches" issue. Seeing Mike Ness's '54 was like a epiphany type moment for me, and the Burbank Choppers as well. I wanted to know more about it, so I looked up Cole Foster, which lead to guys like Barris and Winfield, and the rest is history. But that was my entry point.
     
  14. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 5,398

    'Mo
    Member

    OMG! How could I have forgotten "High School Confidential"?!
    My folks took the family to see it at the drive-in upon its release in 1958. (I was the youngest.)

    [​IMG]

    The chopped '47 Chevy is still renowned, but what really flipped my switch (Honest!) was this '53 Ford with the secret compartment in the dash, and the dragon painted on the glove box door!

    More than any others, these cars nudged me on the path I was to travel.
    As they say, "As the twig is bent, so grows the branch"!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
  15. Hey @'Mo your photo didn't show up. This the one you are referring to?
    i480937.jpg
     
  16. Response to “mo”. ...
    Those were simply cars that never to my knowledge received ink, but were from the town I grew up in, and they were personal inspirations. No photos were ever taken. Most hot rods and customs were just built by young kids like me at the time, often never shown in a car show, often not fully finished to the image in the young builder’s mind, maybe not even getting to finished paint. We just enjoyed the experience of doing something creative that we liked.
     
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  17. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 5,398

    'Mo
    Member

    That's it! (I was still struggling to make it appear.)
    Thanks a hundred, Champ!
     
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  18. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 5,398

    'Mo
    Member

    That's cool. :cool:
    Some lasting lessons are those learned in the "University of the Streets"!
     
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  19. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 2,773

    stanlow69
    Member
    from red oak

    I`ll do this in stages. First is out of Council Bluffs Iowa(50 minutes from where I live) is Bob Johnsons 50 Merc-- So Fine built in 78 which won the King of Merc`s in 79 Merc Duce Reunion. And then his 40 Merc-- Sweater than Wine built in 81. Both received a lot of magazine coverage. Scan0091.jpg Scan0158.jpg Scan0103.jpg Both of these cars were shown together for 3 or 4 years.
     
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  20. BadgeZ28
    Joined: Oct 28, 2009
    Posts: 898

    BadgeZ28
    Member
    from Oregon

    Just a couple come to mind. The Ala Kart, Orange Crate, and Tony Nancy's 22J model A roadster competition car.
     
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  21. Hirohata, Freddy Rowe, R & C Dream Truck, Ivo T Grabowski T! Ray Vega 38 Ford tub
    Why, the Owls car club stole the Hirohata Merc and brought it to school, Running Wild was shot in Tujunga Cyn., Grabowski lived in town and cruised the school often, Tommy Ivo took me for a ride in his T, and Ray Vega Tub was a regular in our school parking lot. Really good place to grow up! Sunland/Tujunga Ca.
     
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  22. I came from an oval track racing family so hot rods always spoke to me more then customs.
    However like @57JoeFoMoPar I picked up the 2 second Hot Rod Deluxe in 2000 my senior year of high school. The cars of the Burbank Choppers really got my attention as well as the 54 Chevys of Mike Ness and Jesse James

    Jon Fisher's 36 Ford
    [​IMG]
    Vern Hammond's 40 Ford
    [​IMG]
    Keith Weesner's 50 Ford
    [​IMG]
    Mike Ness' 54 Chevrolet
    [​IMG]
    Jesse James' 54 Chevrolet
    [​IMG]
     
  23. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 2,928

    anthony myrick
    Member
    from al

    It's a generational thing
    Also born in the 70 s the later customs by Zocchi, D'Agostino and Garcia are some of my favorite. Toss in the TV cars from the Munsters and Hillbillies
     
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  24. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 2,773

    stanlow69
    Member
    from red oak

    While attending the World of Wheels shows in Omaha in the late 70`s, I feel in love with the COOL 50 Merc and the Custom By Crunch Merc--Rudy`s Green Flame as portrayed in the Robert Williams poster. Finding customs in magazines back then was difficult. I spent a lot of time looking at magazines while my mom was shopping for groceries. It`s the only reason I went. Scan0249.jpg Scan0574.jpg Scan0599.jpg . Remember Barris was famous for the Batmobile and the Munster Coach back then. I was born late in 69. By the time I saw American Graffiti, I knew what cool customs looked like, and that Merc wasn`t.
     
  25. akustom57
    Joined: Feb 14, 2005
    Posts: 260

    akustom57
    Member

    These were the 2 for me...and yes i thank my dad for getting me involved and loving these cars....[​IMG]

    Sent from my SM-G955U using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  26. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 5,398

    'Mo
    Member

    :cool::cool::cool:
     
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  27. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,039

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

    @Robert J. Palmer , I'm glad you mentioned Jesse James. For people around our age, the whole chopper/bike thing was just hitting with Jesse becoming a star on Discovery Channel. Don't forget the episode of Monster Garage where he built the 54 with Winfield, Norm Grabowski, Lil John Buttera, Bill Hines.... it put the greats on prime time TV for the young guys to discover. Jesse was and continues to be a great ambassador for the traditional scene. IMHO he can take credit for bridging the gap between the bikes and cars.
     
  28. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  29. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 5,398

    'Mo
    Member

    [​IMG]


    According to Kustomrama, as of 2009, the "Exotica" was still around, looking like this.

    [​IMG]

    The amazing thing is, it was still owned by Ron Dubberstein (the original owner)!!!

    To me, the 1958 Ford side trim was one of the defining elements of the original version.
    (But then again, maybe that's precisely why it hit the cutting room floor as the car morphed with the passage of time.)

    [​IMG]

    "And the beat goes on...."!
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
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  30. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 2,928

    anthony myrick
    Member
    from al

    I was working at a small hot rod shop when I was 19.
    The boss showed me pictures of THE Mercury
    I fell in lust instantly.
    Bought a merc later and in my mid 40s still haven't started on it. Built a bunch of stuff for others though. The merc is waiting patiently in the shop.
    image.jpg
     

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