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Where is the Bill Cushenbery Silhouette?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by J. Fitzhugh, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. J. Fitzhugh
    Joined: Nov 7, 2004
    Posts: 296

    J. Fitzhugh
    Member

    In the early 1980s, the famous Bill Cushenberry Silhouette vanished, never to be seen again in public. I know that it has been rumored the car was possibly burried as part of a grudge/vendetta. I have a hard time believing that could be true, but if it is help me find it and dig it up.

    Does anyone have any real credible evidence or have heard any clues to where this car may be?

    Is it like the Roth Orbitron, sitting outside a bar in Mexico?

    Either post or PM me with anything you know or have heard.

    Thanks,

    Jay
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2013
  2. metalshapes
    Joined: Nov 18, 2002
    Posts: 10,699

    metalshapes
    Tech Editor

  3. I think he means this one...
     

    Attached Files:

  4. metalshapes
    Joined: Nov 18, 2002
    Posts: 10,699

    metalshapes
    Tech Editor

    You are right.

    The one I posted was the S. II

    Sorry about that...
     

  5. Rich Wright
    Joined: Jan 9, 2008
    Posts: 3,922

    Rich Wright

    Seems like I remember something about the car having been stolen.....
     
  6. J. Fitzhugh
    Joined: Nov 7, 2004
    Posts: 296

    J. Fitzhugh
    Member

    Yes. I am looking for any information as to the where abouts or demise of the first Silhouette. Here is a youtube link to the World Of Wheels TV Show hosted by Lloyd Bridges. The Silhouette portion starts at 47 seconds.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0f-K7TzOe1w

    Thanks for any help!
     
  7. The 1963 hand-built machine sat on a shortened Buick chassis, and was originally powered by a Buick engine. The wheels on the car were fully exposed, but the angular body was strictly space age in shape, while the Candy Apple Red metal flake paint job, fender well headers, and crazed bubble top made it one of the most recognized cars in the world. The Silhouette was fully operable, and appeared in the movie Beach Ball in 1965. The car was such a huge success that Hot Wheels and Revell made a model of the car.
    The Silhouette was stolen in Bakersfield in 1983, and has never been recovered. There have been a lot of leads over the years, but nothing has ever panned out.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
    34 Plymouth Hemi likes this.
  8. One of my favorite hotwheels when I was a kid. Seems odd to steal a car like that. You sure cant display it anywhere. Guess they just wanted parts.
     
  9. In the book ,Lost Hot Rods, it says that it was stolen in 83 and buried in an auto salvage yard somewhere in the Valley... Howmany salvage yards are in the Valley hahahaha. I want to go diggin'!!!!!!!
     
  10. propwash
    Joined: Jul 25, 2005
    Posts: 3,858

    propwash
    Member
    from Las Vegas

    As soon as they've found Jimmy Hoffa's body, they'll get serious about finding the Silhouette.
     
  11. Chopt 34
    Joined: Jan 20, 2002
    Posts: 698

    Chopt 34

    Red, who worked for Cushenberry told me they had recently installed the Ford engine when it was stolen.
     
  12. Jay, the car was part of the Ford cavalcade of customs along with the El Matador. Ford removed both the original engines and replaced them with Ford engines. AT least I know that Dearborn Steel Tubing in Detroit did the El Matador. The El Matador had a 289 Hi-Po with a four speed when I owned it in the seventies. I have no idea where the Silhouette would be, but it was an outstanding car and I think Cushenbery was the most creative of the builders of the era. Much credit for the designs has to be given to Don Varner who designed both the El Matador and the Silhouette to the best of my knowledge.
    Good luck and hope you are doing well.
    Thanks for all you have done and I sure have some fond memories of our trip and the time at the Rodders Journal. Exhausting. but fun.
    Bob Nugent
     
  13. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 4,148

    Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Member


    No fair starting a post, then asking for a PM answer.:rolleyes:

    We're all interested and want to see the replies!
     
  14. customcory
    Joined: Apr 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,832

    customcory
    Member

    Rik Hoving has some of the newest pic . These are from Wild Child.

    WildChildSilhouette02-vi.jpg
     
  15. scrubba
    Joined: Jul 20, 2010
    Posts: 938

    scrubba
    Member

    OUCH, green ??????????? Good gawd almighty , Green !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    scrubba
     
  16. J. Fitzhugh
    Joined: Nov 7, 2004
    Posts: 296

    J. Fitzhugh
    Member

    Bob,

    Great memories indeed. Find a copy of the September Hot Rod that was due on shelves today for a surprise!

    All, no PM messages yet. I suggested that offer to allow someone anaminity, but I will spill the details as I can.

    I am going to keep on this becuase it is too important a car to be 'lost'. Somebody knows something they are not yet telling, or is being told in closely held circles.

    Jay
     
  17. J. Fitzhugh
    Joined: Nov 7, 2004
    Posts: 296

    J. Fitzhugh
    Member

    Even though I am a Ford guy, I liked it better with the injected nailhead. The change to the 427 Ford also included revisions to the hood to create a shaker style scoop. I don't hate it (and I am colorblind, so I cannot hate the green), but it is not my favorite.
     
  18. J. Fitzhugh
    Joined: Nov 7, 2004
    Posts: 296

    J. Fitzhugh
    Member

    Chop t,

    If you know Red who worked with Cushenberry, ask him the straight poop. Certainly if it was a grudge steal, there had to be someone(s) with a grudge. What did Cushenberry suspect?
     
  19. jangleguy
    Joined: Dec 26, 2004
    Posts: 2,668

    jangleguy
    Member

    Jay: I just went through this myself, when I featured the Silhouette in my latest CarTech book (America's Wildest Show Rods). All I found were dead ends after the Bakersfield theft. And some confusion via a "Silhouette II" that I never got the whole story on.

    I hope you get lucky and sniff it out. I'm cheering you on!

    Scotty
     
  20. J. Fitzhugh
    Joined: Nov 7, 2004
    Posts: 296

    J. Fitzhugh
    Member

    Scotty,

    I like your book. I have found more than my fair share of 'lost' cars. I am certainly not giving up at this point.

    Anybody know anybody who either worked for, with or had a car done by Bill Cushenberry? Is Mark M. out here? I am pretty sure that he redid the Car Craft Dream Rod that became the Hot Wheels Python. Ever have any conversations with Bill, or had he passed?

    Jay
     
  21. J. Fitzhugh
    Joined: Nov 7, 2004
    Posts: 296

    J. Fitzhugh
    Member

    Does anyone know anybody who worked for Cushenberry?
     
  22. Murphy32
    Joined: Oct 17, 2007
    Posts: 736

    Murphy32
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Minnesota

    ...Yeah, it's funny...the "Beatnik Bandit" ended up with an ugly two-tone green paintjob too before it went to it's reward. :confused:
     
  23. J. Fitzhugh
    Joined: Nov 7, 2004
    Posts: 296

    J. Fitzhugh
    Member

    It just might be easier to get a lead on Jimmy Hoffa. Where did the burrial rumor originate? Anybody know?
     
  24. yep....think my first early Hot Wheels was a candy green color...think I still have it....wiw?
     
  25. Jay, I already have the latest Hot Rod and what a great write up for Frank and the roadster. I, too tried to find the Silhouette back when I owned the El Matador. Dead end.
    I did find the El Marquis and could have bought it for $2500, but I thought it was too high with the travel costs to get it back to Florida, where I lived at the time. It was in storage and owned by a guy named Sam Costa, I think, who also had that sectioned 46 Ford convertible with the racing stripes. 30 year old memories. Good Luck with the hunt.
     
  26. go-twichy
    Joined: Jul 22, 2010
    Posts: 1,650

    go-twichy
    BANNED

    i built this model in the late 60's, it also had a cool trailor for it. i dont know if the real car had one.
     
  27. J. Fitzhugh
    Joined: Nov 7, 2004
    Posts: 296

    J. Fitzhugh
    Member

    OK guys. Finally I have a second hand account of how and when the car disappeared. I have asked permission to share the details as recounted by the person who was in possession of the car when it was taken, but I can say that if this story is true, this was a theft of chance and opportunity, and definitely not a planned theft that you would expect as a vendetta or grudge steal. That makes it very interesting because whoever stole it likely did so for the 427 Ford engine sticking out the hood. That means there may be a chance that it, or pieces did not get burried as is the folklore.
     
  28. cosmic12
    Joined: Oct 16, 2011
    Posts: 422

    cosmic12
    Member

    I do so hope it wasn't cut up and spread all over the state.
    Hope to see it someday sitting in a barn.
     
    MOPAR baby likes this.
  29. LSR 2909
    Joined: May 10, 2012
    Posts: 606

    LSR 2909
    Member
    from Colorado

    Very cool to see it in motion, the slot cars were neat too!
     

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