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History Wild Child's Custom Shop

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by grim, Feb 26, 2011.

  1. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member

    Custom Car History: Wild Child's Custom Shop


    • Note: Around four years ago, I wrote up a brief history of Wild Child's custom shop. Some of you've been contacting me, for quite some time, asking for the restoration and update of that thread. To the newer members, lurkers, and those out of the loop, sadly, over the years many of the pictures had been lost due to changes in the internet. I've been waiting for the right time to deliver – it's time. Enjoy the history of Wild Child's everybody.

    In this series, you'll be introduced to an extensive collection of rare photographs. The images contained in the following episodes were taken from the records of Wild Child's custom shop in Kansas City. The following images are the story of Wild Child's.


    Coming Soon - Episode 1

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    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  2. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 21,345

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    It looks like you deleted the photos in the first edition.
     
  3. the other me
    Joined: Jun 21, 2007
    Posts: 386

    the other me
    Member

    me no see um.... :(
     
  4. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member

    Stay tuned for episode 1.
     
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  5. Abomination
    Joined: Oct 5, 2006
    Posts: 6,706

    Abomination
    Member

    Followed you over from the old thread - looking forward to it!

    ~Jason

     
  6. BrerHair
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 3,796

    BrerHair
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Justin (grim) has been dealing with unexpected water damage as well as having his hands full with some exciting new business news . . . patience, my friends. He's working hard to get a ton of stuff re-scanned and loaded.

    As many of you said regarding his earlier thread, this will be one of the absolute best threads. Coming real soon.
     
  7. Phillips
    Joined: Oct 26, 2010
    Posts: 1,157

    Phillips
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Enjoyed the last one, looking forward to this! Sorry to hear of your troubles, grim, water damage is awful.
     
  8. Abomination
    Joined: Oct 5, 2006
    Posts: 6,706

    Abomination
    Member

    I lost everything in a flood a year ago. I feel your pain, man...
     
  9. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member

    ^ Very sorry to hear that buddy; that's just terrible... Building your environment is a quality problem though right? :D

    Not many projects with a better payoff.

    I've appreciated everyone's patience. Hang tight, I'll post up some goodies real soon.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2011
  10. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member


    EPISODE 1: The Handshake (Part I/II)


    [​IMG]


    &#8220;Bein' cool is doin' with what you got&#8221; - Greg Lewis (Wild Child's &#8211; late 1980s)

    The first person to say that to me is dead; the truth is, most everyone I ever knew is dead now.. I can count their names by the hundreds.. Those of you out there who knew Wild Child's could guess most of the causes, but it's when my friends wore out and left - from old age - that was the hardest to live with. When they go, I find I pick up their habits more and more. It's the little things I start to do, knee-jerk mannerisms, forgotten clichés I spit out from time to time, I even hear them in my voice in certain situations; I stop, and enjoy that moment when they're alive again &#8211; my friends..

    Most kids I meet, others my age, they don't know anything about that. Their friends are just getting started; most of their parents are the age my Pop's kids should be &#8211; 40s. I'm in my 20s; my Pop, 70s. People say I have these weird habits. They say I talk funny. They say I don't dress right. They say I'm disconnected, and behind on things. I can't hold much of a conversation. I don't know who's on the radio; I don't even have a television. I don't judge, but I just can't relate. Some try and tell these stories, to illustrate why I should change. Once in a while, when they're done, I'll tell them a story, and when it's over I notice something strange. It's the little things they start to do, knee-jerk mannerisms, forgotten clichés they spit out from time to time, sometimes, in certain situations, I even think I hear an old friend; that's when I stop - for just a moment...

    See, I was lucky. My friends, my family, they had a story. That's what they gave me, the sum of my experiences and the sum of theirs. All of these stories that have become one story &#8211; that's what I am. It's all I have, and all I want. It means a lot to me. Everyone used to tell me I'd be the last to tell it. Never believed em'. I got to tell you &#8211; it's hard...


    &#8226; &#8220;My mom didn't want me hanging out around that group, so I had to sneak around without her knowing it. He knew this because my mom told him - so he always told me to scram kid and I did. But the things that came from their shop only pictures would do justice. I had forgotten about that stuff until I read this post&#8221; (64).

    &#8226; &#8220;I remember the Wild Child's shop as a biker hangout. Cool stuff there, but you made sure you didn't mess with anyone or you may find yourself "altered"! (Or at least the fear of what "might" happen would keep you in line...)&#8221; (54).



    (Part II - continued below)

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    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  11. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member

    EPISODE 1: The Handshake (Part II/II)

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    [FONT=Verdana, serif]I grew up in a place where you call the police and they never show up. I lived there because that&#8217;s where my father chose to live. A place like that came with its advantages - the greatest of which was a respect based economy. It was the foundation, from which all other things stood, and understanding it was a first rite. Respect worked like currency; people [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]had to earn it, until they had enough collateral that others were willing to lend it to them - you fucked up one of those loans and you waited outside. [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, serif]In a world where money could supposedly buy anything, Wild Child's was a place where many were thrown out, money-in-hand. Like the two bulleted HAMB quotes above, most of the questions I'm asked, and stories I'm told, are in reference to the perception surrounding that mentality. [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]The tradition went back to the beginning.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]
    My family came to this country from Sicily. One of my great grandmothers, Rosa, brought them here, and left them here; they were left alone - as children - for a better life. My young grandmother gave birth to my father in the 1930s, in Kansas City, Missouri; they lived in a downtown rooming-house. As a boy, my father learned to take care of himself just as the children did before him. By 7, he was a veteran survivor; from shining shoes downtown, to shooting pigeons to eat and sell to the poor, to defending his earnings, he'd mastered a system. He'd figured out ways to get everything he needed, and, in doing so, saw just about anything you can imagine, and so he learned. [/FONT]
    [/FONT]


    [​IMG]
    [FONT=Verdana, serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]
    There was no trick to it, learning to produce. He hung around what he needed to know, and he held-fast; he was persistent, and wouldn't be kicked out of anywhere without returning. He'd take the abuse until he wore his judges out. Hunger will do that to you. When he needed it, that little boy took his time, and, with enough abuse, learned to box at a local boxing club. When he needed it, the boy took more time and learned metal work at a local facility to make a gun. Over time, like many others before him, he came to two conclusions. One, there's only a few material things that really determine one's quality of life. Two, he could learn to make those things. The hold-fast approach found its focus.[/FONT]
    [/FONT]


    [FONT=Verdana, serif]The original three - Cars, Clothes, and Architecture - those, were the sum of man's material environment; furniture, physique, and any other visual pleasure of man - these were all perceived subsets, fitting seamlessly. In the beginning, the first would take presidence. For a young mobile man, comfortable transportation had the biggest immediate payoff. Little did he know he was an artist; he didn't choose to pursue money. Money couldn't buy the things he wanted. Innovation - what had become such a common necessity for his childhood survival - had become engrained, and the careful study of creativity, as many of us know, has at least one horribly negative side-effect; the cliché begins to stand out like a tangible depression. The Law of Diminishing Returns is magnified and accelerated with study. No matter how much one loves sweets, the more they are focused on and consumed, the less there is to be desired. With every bite comes less enjoyment &#8211; less payoff. Hell is everything you like, over, and over, and over.. Innovation and creativity was the only release. If he was to survive, the future would be inevitable, and so it was.[/FONT]

    &#8220;[FONT=Verdana, serif]Bein&#8217; cool is doin&#8217; with what you got.&#8221; It felt more like a look than a series of words, like a handshake. Word around the shop was that Von Dutch was among the first few who said it, but that was before my time. Two generations later, those who were respected understood it, and everyone else waited outside; the line between the two was an iron gate - Wild Child's on one side, America on the other. As a boy, my father was alone. As a man, he had built a place where others like him could find him, and each other - and they did. [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, serif]In the 1940s, Pop didn't have anything but a brain - and that's all a man needs.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Verdana, serif]Over the course of his life, a culture grew up around him and his friends. Once he'd mastered his craft, he could bundle the labor power of others. This was Wild Child's. It was a place built to produce, and for a special type of producer. They did things their way; that was the only reason they were there - and there were no compromises. They could have done anything; they chose to be there. Before the gate, before Wild Child's, there was only that [FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]mentality; produce everything you want, produce the actions following your words, and don't make a big deal about it because, among men, this being possible is no surprise. [/FONT][/FONT]

    [FONT=Verdana, serif]Back in the 40s, on Main Street, downtown, there was a welding shop; It all started there.. Pop knew what he needed to do, and without a dime he walked out with torches in his hand, on a handshake.. To all the young guns out there, many cats will trump up and say, &#8220;Those were the days! That couldn't happen today. The handshake is dead.. The world's turned to shit.&#8221; Bullshit... If you can't get business done on a handshake, you'd better take a look at your choices and who you choose to support. R[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]espect is an action, and not a state of being &#8211; this is why cool cats were cliquey. If you showed respect, and earned enough credit to your word, everyday was practice at having it. With enough practice, you learned to project respect and reliability when you looked people in the eye. Anyone who would tell you different, where I grew up, waited outside. [/FONT][/FONT]

    [FONT=Verdana, serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]Every week, he would would go over there and pay the man, at the welding shop, just as he had promised. After a couple of weeks, the shop owner went ahead and gave him bottles, and everything else one needs, before the torches were ever paid for. [/FONT][/FONT]

    [FONT=Verdana, serif]Practice began on the south-east corner of 39<sup>[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]th[/FONT]</sup>[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif] and Garfield. There used to be a place there called City Service Station. At the time, there was a 32 Ford sedan sitting behind it - smashed to the firewall. It was perfect.[/FONT][/FONT]

    [FONT=Verdana, serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]On a handshake, it was his &#8211; a fifty dollar debt, but Pop didn't have any tools. He played with an old trashed valve, an old screw driver, and his torches, and made a custom hammer. With time and application, slowly, a custom set of tools emerged out of necessity; trial and error sauntered ahead. In time, Pop had hammered that stock metal until he had hammered it all the way back out. When it was done though, he'd gained much more than a first car. He'd learned how far he could go, to screw one up and still save it &#8211; and it was far. That was an itch that had to be scratched.... He'd seen some guys chop the windshields down on some roadsters. It looked mean, but he didn't have a roadster... He was going to have to take the whole roof down. A hack saw blade, a hand-held glass cutter, and some coat hangers stolen from the closet later, and he'd chopped that 32 behind City Service and brazed it back up again. [/FONT][/FONT]

    [FONT=Verdana, serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]What happened next is another story.... ;)

    [/FONT]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][​IMG][/FONT][/FONT]

    [FONT=Verdana, serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][​IMG][/FONT][/FONT]

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    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  12. BrerHair
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 3,796

    BrerHair
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Damn, Justin, I fell off of my HAMB cyber ride a few weeks ago (life is funny that way), and am just getting back up.

    BEAUTIFUL !!

    The Jim Greene Wild Child's story is one of the greatest stories floating in the ether, and nobody is better qualified to tell it than you. Except for your Pop, and apparently he ain't talking.

    I am buckled in and ready to ride with you, friend. Keep it coming!
     
  13. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member

    Thanks a bunch buddy; really appreciate the feedback.
     
  14. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member


    EPISODE 2: Nationals (Part I/VII)



    [​IMG]


    It was 1956.


    • "February 22nd, Elvis Presley enters the United States music charts for the first time, with Heartbreak Hotel."
    • "February 23rd, Norma Jean Mortenson legally changes her name to Marilyn Monroe."
    • "June 29th, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Federal Aid Highway Act, creating the Interstate Highway System" ("MCMLVI").

    It's almost hard to imagine. In 1956, as so many things were just getting started, NHRA Nationals was being held in Kansas City, Missouri. To those who weren't there, the old Kansas City dragstrip was a place where legends were born; the stories I heard around the shop of that place are what keep writers awake at night. My father was one of many customizers who rolled in there with cars to race in '56. Although many of us could never have been there, now there's pictures to go along with the stories. From "The Golden Rod" and beyond, to everyone who's been asking, here are the 1956 NHRA Nationals in Kansas City. Enjoy. From what I'm told, they very well may be some of the only pictures left of the event.

    To those who haven't heard of this special strip, I recommend a search for the story of the Kansas City Timing Association, and for those involved (like Ray Erickson). Many talented people wouldn't have existed without this place. Influences built what we have today; in Kansas City, much of that influence happened here - at the drag-strip.

    ...but those stories are for other days. ;)

    Until then, enjoy Nationals in Kansas City.


    (Part II - continued below)

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    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  15. cactus1
    Joined: Apr 10, 2006
    Posts: 7,852

    cactus1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Cool! I cant wait to get into this. Thanks for putting it all together!

    Mike
     
  16. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member


    EPISODE 2: Nationals (Part II/VII)

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    (Part III - continued below)

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    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  17. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member


    EPISODE 2: Nationals (Part III/VII)

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    (Part IV - continued below)​

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    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  18. Murphy32
    Joined: Oct 17, 2007
    Posts: 456

    Murphy32
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Minnesota

    Bitchin'...subscribed.
     
  19. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member


    EPISODE 2: Nationals (Part IV/VII)

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    (Part V - continued below)

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    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  20. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member


    EPISODE 2: Nationals (Part V/VII)

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    (Part VI - continued below)

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    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  21. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member


    EPISODE 2: Nationals (Part VI/VII)

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    (Part VII - continued below)​

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    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  22. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member


    EPISODE 2: Nationals (Part VII/VII)

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    Until next time...
    <script src="http://connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"></script><fb:like-box href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wild-Childs/130345530376900?ref=ts#%21/pages/Wild-Childs/130345530376900?sk=info" width="292" show_faces="false" stream="false" header="true"></fb:like-box>
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  23. These pictures are obviously photoshopped fakes to look like they came from the '50's. There are no tattoos and I have never seen anyone dress like that at my local rat rod car club roundup. I also don't see any tunnel rams on any of the cars-that was typical '50's fashion.

    .
     
  24. GaryB
    Joined: Dec 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,533

    GaryB
    Member
    from Reno,nv

    those pics don't look anything like the back to the 50's look of today.humm
     
  25. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member

    Awesome! No problem man. Tryin' to find and figure out the photos from the old thread right now. Depending on how long you followed then, hope you see something new. If not, more is coming; I'm really looking forward to posting some of those. Take it easy buddy.

     
  26. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,758

    Rikster
    Member

    Amazing photos... thank you for sharing those.

    Very much appreciated.
     
  27. the other me
    Joined: Jun 21, 2007
    Posts: 386

    the other me
    Member


    +1000

    Great pics....THANKS.
     
  28. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member

    Any time guys. The compliments are much appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to shoot some feedback. The next episode will be coming soon.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2011
  29. grim
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 384

    grim
    Member

    On the advice of some friends tonight, we've decided to create a Facebook page to organize all of the friends of Wild Child's. I've just launched the page for all of those who wish to show their support. We're talking about organizing all of the customizers, artists, greasers, lowriders, bikers, and anyone else who's family for an event and are sort of testing the waters with this for response. So, to all the friends out there, new, old, and soon-to-be, we'd love to hear from you. Please pass the word on to others you know by sharing this note. After Wild Child's closed many lost touch; we'd love to gather everyone together again, produce something cool, and to meet some new friends curious about the old days.. :)

    Thanks everyone.

    -Justin Greene
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    Last edited: May 26, 2011

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