Maybe 50 years ago I met a dude in white suit at a bookstore in Hollywood hawking his book, titled something like Candy Colored Tangerine Flake Streamlined Baby, based on his visit to a custom car show.
I invited him to lunch over on the Sunset Strip and he told me of this sub-niche of the car world he had discovered, one peopled by such people as George Barris and Gene Winfield and the Alexander Brothers.
Well, Tom Wolfe may be an Old Dude now, but last word was that he is still writing books, and I am happy to say that the Kustom Cars (for some reason customizers spell a lot of names with a “K” instead of a “C”) are still with us, pretty much ignoring all the so-called “progress” that has happened in cars in the last fifty years.
I just went to Bo Huff’s Rockabilly Car Show in Ontario, CA and I saw a few customs, though they shared billing with some “Rat Rods”-custom cars that eschew fancy paint, fancy upholstery, and chrome and look more or less like they were thrown together one night after everybody and his brother got good and drunk and went to it with welding torches.
The show I was at seemed to stop at the Sixties cars, as if anything built afterward was too new, too gadgetry. These owners wanted ‘30s, ’40s, ’50’s and 60’s. Continue reading →
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