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Customs Why are customs dying?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Roothawg, Jun 8, 2021.

  1. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 8,113

    anthony myrick

    All hotrods, race cars, pro touring, lifted, lowered, lengthened, shortened, non factory painted, donk, squared, tuner, drift, mud, dirt........whatchamacallet is a custom
    oldiron 440 and Special Ed like this.
  2. Sanford&Son
    Joined: Oct 13, 2006
    Posts: 559

    from Visalia,Ca

    Like the old saying goes, "Customs are for getting girls, Hot Rods are for getting rid of them"! I love customs and have owned a chopped '41 Ford Coupe. I think back in the day the customs had an appeal to the ladies, with the nice style, white upholstery, room to have fun and cruise. Hot rods, like say a "t-bucket" had no room and smelled like fuel or exhaust most of the time, not too romantic. Todays Hot Rod/Custom guys are into, Honda's or Dodge Chargers with rubber band tires, a loud exhaust, stereo and they find their girlfriends on social media, and get rid of them with a text! The times have definitely changed.....
    blowby and oldiron 440 like this.
  3. straykatkustoms
    Joined: Oct 30, 2001
    Posts: 15,079


    If we look at the big picture it is easier today to build a kustom than ever before. Mild Kustoms are the backbone of the Kustom hobby and are very affordable. You don't see many Mild Kustoms like you use too. Everyone is trying to build radical Kustoms. Look around you will see a lot of affordable cars that wouldn't break the bank account and they would make a great kustom.

    When I got into Kustoms, my four door was very confusing build. I had three different trends going on. I had a Classic Chevy, Mini truck and mild kustom treatments. (Remember it was the eighties.) It took me a while to get it on the right track. I was trying, just didn't know what direction. I was very thankful for Kustom Kemps of America's official Virgil "Mac" McGee. He had an encouraging word every time he saw my car. We should use Mac as an example, when we see young guys at a show encourage them, might be able to give him some direction if they ask. Building relationships with like minded Kustom guys is priceless.

    Sites like the HAMB encourage a lot of guys to build kustoms. I was at the HAMB Drags one year and I had three other guys park their kustoms along side me. They were in primer and two of the guys were in chopped Chevys. I hadn't seen them before so I introduced myself. I found out they hadn't even chopped a car before. Wow, they were done correct and had a great profile. They got the idea seeing build pics on the HAMB and they felt like if that guy could do it, Why not me? Very thankful and proud to be part of the HAMB.

    I'm not sure I said anything or answered the question. .. I don't believe Kustoms are dead.
  4. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 2,937


    A long time ago when I was going to university, I would park close to a '69 Firebird. I got to thinking that the curve of the grille was somewhat close to the shape of my '47 Plymouth's grille so one day I brought my Plymouth grille to school to check it out. Not too bad. Found a crunched Firebird grille(bumper) at the wreckers and had the chrome shop straighten it. Not bad, if I mount it upside down. Still have it after all these years and not quite sure if I want to go that route.
  5. Easier said than done... I bought my '60 Ford 'vert specifically to build a custom. Not an easy car to do because of it's distinctive lines. I'm starting it as a plain 'custom' with a grill and taillight change, if I can manage to upgrade my metal-working skills I want to go full custom with rolled pans and other body mods. But to start, just the above. Now in looking at what's been done on others for ideas, there wasn't much help there. Grill choices seemed to be stock, stock with drawer pulls, or tube. After spending a couple of weeks looking at grills, I found one that I've only seen used once in a custom application and was affordable. The grill is 'period correct'.

    Taillights were a different matter. All the 'correct' lights proved to be unobtainium on my budget if they could even be found except for repo '59 Caddy but those have been done to death. So I threw a wider net.... Again, after a wide search I found the perfect lights. The styling is such that these look like they were made for this car. Origin? Early-mid '70s, but I don't care. Even these weren't all that easy to find and will need mods to fit. Most guys won't have a clue as to what their off of. I'm keeping both choices under my hat for now, I'll let the car make the statement.

    You see all sorts of things used on customs. Cat dish taillight bezels? Done here. Custom grill from a old clothes rack? Also done. If it looks right, it is right...
  6. 210superair
    Joined: Jun 23, 2020
    Posts: 792

    from Michigan

    Wait, bagged rides aren't ot here? I know pics of them show up, but I thought bag install/builds etc were considered ot.... Don't ask don't tell, like the military and.... Well, you know.
    Guy Patterson and Jim Bouchard like this.
  7. 210superair
    Joined: Jun 23, 2020
    Posts: 792

    from Michigan

    This guy lives in my town, posted this on here before. Now THAT'S a custom...
  8. Malibu406
    Joined: Nov 10, 2020
    Posts: 179


    Nobody builds custom Roman Chariots or custom covered wagons and I'm sure that when they did, the current narrow definition of customs would not meet it. So, yes eventually the "custom" as many define it will be gone. But, it will live on in some other version of a "custom" that takes its place. The days of asking someone if you can have some customizable parts, a grill, wheels or whatever from the junk car in the back of their house and the say "sure just take whatever you want" are over. But, there still are junk cars, even junk electric cars (hell maybe even some junk space ships out there) and someone will make the what they will term a "custom" from them. Its all good.
    Guy Patterson likes this.
  9. I'll defend TrailerTrashToo and his Volvo. If I dug through my R&C collection long enough, they featured a Volvo custom eerily similar to his in a early '60s issue. They made note of the fact that it looked like a '48 Ford until parked next to a real one...
  10. williebill
    Joined: Mar 1, 2004
    Posts: 2,785


    Random thoughts, but I'm at work and haven't read all the replies.
    Went to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Merc/Deuce Reunion, several KKOA and KOA shows in the 80s and 90s. Last big Leadsleds I attended were Davenport, IA, and Lansing, MI.
    When I was going a lot, I was in my 30s and 40s.. A lot of the guys registered were a good bit older than me.
    I'm 68 now. Where are those guys, the ones still kicking?
    I believe that a lot of those customs are still with their original owners, but they don't travel to big shows anymore, and haven't in a while. There's a simple reason for some of those folks. Not all, but some.
    If you remember how unseasonably cool it was in Lansing that year, maybe you'll remember how goddamn hot it was in Davenport. I saw bank signs that weekend that said 104. Not to mention the storms that weekend. I've heard some of the older guys complain for years about the heat at the big summer shows. The only KKOA show that wasn't hot as hell was the Lansing show. Only guy complaining about how cool the temps were was the ice cream vendors. Everybody else loved the hell out of the weather, cloudy days and all.
    This isn't an answer to the original question, I know.
    But if I retire tomorrow with a pot of money, finish my car the next day, and even if the A/C works great, I won't suffer in that Godforsaken heat for 3 or 4 days. Too old, and my B/P meds don't like 100 degree activities.
    Change the timing of the big shows away from the hottest part of the summer, and maybe the older folks will come back out.
    I'd love to see Rik Hoving and Kustomrama put on some custom shows.
    Not meaning to belittle the custom shows still going strong, but I haven't been able to go to any of them the last several years.
    Guy Patterson and Rand Man like this.
  11. This is kind of an asshole response but the "where is everything/everyone" gets old around here. They are the same place every other thing that all the guys on the HAMB can't find and complain about and then go on and on about how great it is to not be on any other social media site but this one.
    Guy Patterson and Squablow like this.
  12. Yeah, it would also be nice if there were some east/west coast shows to cut down on the travel distance.
    Roothawg likes this.
  13. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,454


    Your reading comprehension is off. Like I said, it is all in how you present it.
    Roothawg likes this.
  14. oldiron 440
    Joined: Dec 12, 2018
    Posts: 2,234

    oldiron 440

    If knowone has noticed finding a bodyman with talent is just about as hard as finding cheery 50s sheetmetal. For years the industry has gone to parts changers, panels on newer cars are tempered and not conclusive to straightening. So today's bodyman doesn't know how. A few years ago I posted picture of a 55 chevy I had done in 2010, after my 40 years of experience I had 1900 hours in the thing . Brandywine and white peral paint with no tape lines top and bottom inside and out. New quarters, floor complete, mini tubs, filled gass door, removed plane from the hood etc etc. and rust repair everywhere. 1900 hrs, you pick the labor rate. Thats why full 50s customs are on the decline, a mild custom can cost two hundred grand before driveline and interior.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2021
  15. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 4,398

    dana barlow
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    Cars for the last 30+ years,for the most part all cast the same shadow; That means most ,how they see them,can't tell one from another an mostly don't care ether!. There head is in the cell phone now with a lot things to do<even though those things are only designed to waste time an sell them something.
    Cars had character in the 20/30/40/50/60's a different look for each brand an cast a different shadow=nearly every one could tell brands apart!
    And that also breeds custom,cuz most others can tell something was changed.
    There are still ,just a few cars* in our newer world that have a out standing design,but are also super high cost an far from being part of a teens world really. So not on there list of"I actully want something like that".
    Is this a rant? Well maybe,but my thoughts!
    I as a teen in the 55/65's had both a hotrod n a custom I built my self!!
    LAROKE and Roothawg like this.
  16. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,845

    Gearhead Graphics
    from Denver Co

    I've always had an appreciation for a nice kustom, but more of a hot rod guy.
    Now and then I get a hair to build a kustom, but it hasnt happened just yet. To me they're hard, they take an amazing imagination and the right eye. So many cars I like the looks of as they are, and to modify them to look better is just beyond my mind. The idea of taking something ugly/undesirable/cheap and whacking away at it and seeing what I can come up with has occurred more than once. But I always think that then in the end I have an undesirable car with thousands of hours of labor in it, and nobody will want it when im over it
    Roothawg and TrailerTrashToo like this.
  17. I'll add a couple of thoughts.
    I'm building an early style custom. But I know that when I show up at a regular coffee get together where there might be a hundred or so cars - mostly hot rods - most of their owners will have no idea what they are looking at.
    First off is the reference point. There is an ever diminishing number of people who even know what a stock 1938 Ford looks like and really, you need to know that to begin to appreciate (or hate) a custom.
    I could just as easily tell people it's a restoration and they'd be satisfied. This is especially so with the general public.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2021
    BJR, UNSHINED 2, Squablow and 6 others like this.
  18. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 5,493

    from red oak

    The post I made about Customs dying was a joke. The HA M B, Customs were not liked and were trashed on by more than a few people. But Micky started a thread about customs and it has a million views. So they are liked. Have you seen all the cars on that thread ? Why do you think they are dying. Explain this to me. You are older than me, by one year. I`ve liked customs since I went to my first car show. Over 40 years ago. They are out there. Lots of them. Have you taken your car to a show yet. Not finished, so how many people know you have one. See you in Indy.
    OG lil E, K13 and guthriesmith like this.
  19. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 21,642


    Sorry you feel that way. It seems that I have a couple of guys that just follow me around wanting to argue with me. It appears that you are one of them.

    Rather than give a good example, you just spout off obscenities with no resolution. Moving on.
  20. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 21,642


    Sorry, I misunderstood your comment. I was Comparing the KKOA shows of the early 2000’s vs the last couple of years, the majority of the content has been non customs. Just an observation.

    I haven’t taken mine to a show year, because I went overboard and ended up with a shell, so I am working my way back up to a car. It’s mainly a parts bin right now.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2021
    TrailerTrashToo likes this.
  21. SDS
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 100


    I wouldn't be so sure about that - I was at the NSRA nationals in York, PA over this past weekend and there was under 2000 cars, only 1500 per-registered - not long ago, that event got 6000
    Roothawg likes this.
  22. twenty8
    Joined: Apr 8, 2021
    Posts: 305


    I think "generational independence" has a lot to do with it. Each generation wants to make it's own mark, and do it their own way. I'm not criticizing in any way here. It is as it is, as it has been, and as it always shall be. Sort of proven by how many youngsters are here on the HAMB. Yes, some, but not as many as we would like. They are out there doing their stuff. (Some of which is pretty freakin' cool by the way).........................;)
    redo32, Tman, hotrodjack33 and 2 others like this.
  23. 210superair
    Joined: Jun 23, 2020
    Posts: 792

    from Michigan

    "there has never been a no bags rule"

    - tman

    Yeah, I don't know how I took wrong.... Lol.

    Bags are ot here, I've seen guys warned about talking about them too much. Not traditional. Same as large diameter wheels and low pro tires.
  24. 210superair
    Joined: Jun 23, 2020
    Posts: 792

    from Michigan

    Some guys want to argue with anyone. I honestly don't get that either. Ignore button helps!

    Whatever, back to customs.
  25. fastcar1953
    Joined: Oct 23, 2009
    Posts: 2,551


    I have a friend taking his merc to ccr this weekend. I'm building a 54 chevy now.
    When I have my show in july I will see how many are around mo. 44.jpg
    Tman, egads, chevyfordman and 3 others like this.
  26. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 21,642


    Done. Thanks for the reminder.
    210superair likes this.
  27. SDS
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 100


    Ah, maybe you're onto something there - could be that a lot of guys took their cars apart during COVID out of sheer boredom and haven't gotten then back together yet - maybe that accounts for some of the "missing" 'rods?
  28. Rik Hoving has the Custom Car Chronicle website, which includes a forum just like this. The place is a custom mecca, with more custom history, reference galleries and articles than you could poke a stick at. Yet, the number of forum participants you could count on one hand.
    One of them is me.:eek:

    edit: Perhaps everyone is on f'book, which I am not?
    296ardun, dmikulec, Tman and 4 others like this.
  29. Killer Car....

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