The Kopper Kart

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A construction photo showing George Barris next to the truck.
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The Kopper Kart at Lynwood City Hall. Photo from the Barry Mazza collection
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The Kopper Kart at an outdoor car show in 1958. The Rod & Custom Magazine’s Dream Truck and Bob Metz's 1950 Buick, the XM105 can be seen behind the Barris Kustoms promotion vehicle. Photo from the Junior Conway Photo Collection.
Another photo from the same show.
The Kopper Kart alongside with the Aztec
Vic Collins' 1955 Chevrolet truck of Rahway, New Jersey. Vic's truck is a clone of the Kopper Kart. Restyled by Customs by Flash and John Maurice, the build was started in 1999, and completed in 2008.

1955 Chevrolet Pickup restyled by Barris Kustoms of Lynwood, California for George Barris. When George purchased the truck, it had already been sectioned 5 1/2 inches. George, who wanted use the truck as promotion vehicle for his shop, had big visions for the Chevrolet, and he had his brother Sam chop the top 4 inches. The body was then channeled 8 inches over the frame for an even lower appearance. The front was restyled by installing quad headlights. 1957 Mercury bumpers were used to assemble the two large copper-plated grille housings. It had a Cadillac Autronic Eye automatic headlight dimmer installed in the grilles center bar. The grille was finished of by filling the openings with a copper-plated mesh grille. Both front and rear were restyled by welding Studebaker splash pans together. They also pancaked the hood, added twin scoops and peaked the fenders.[1] The stock six-cylinder was replaced by a 1954 Chevrolet Corvette engine.[2] The The pickup truck featured accessories such as a portable TV set and a conventional phonograph in the bed. The record player was played back to the cab via interior speakers, while the portable TV was strictly a luxury item for Sunday picnics and outings. Once completed, the truck was named the Kopper Kart. Most of the trim on the truck that would have been chrome plated, was copper-plated instead.[3]


May 29 - June 2, 1957 The Kopper Kart was shown in the Special class at the first annual Napa Valley Rod and Custom Show along with Joe Botti's 1955 Ford Pickup.


In 1960, The Kopper Kart was advertised for sale by George Barris in Motor Trend March 1960. In the book Custom Cars of the 1950s Andy Southard has photos of the car taken in March of 1960. According to the captions, this was the last time that Andy saw the car.[4] Jim Skonzakes of Dayton, Ohio bought the truck from George in 1960. Jim owned it for a short while, before he sold it to Barons member Paul Blasberg of Mansfield, Ohio. The Kopper Kart was featured in Custom Rodder September 1961. By then it had + 40,000 miles on the odometer, and it was owned by Paul. Paul owned the truck in the early to mid 1960s. After having a lot of fun with it, the six-cylinder engine was pulled to make way for a 3/4 race Cadillac mill in preparation for running at the dragstrip. The truck was never reassembled again, and it was left outside to deteriorate. Paul's wife told John that it had really "gone to pot" from the rainwater getting through the exterior upholstery. A man came to the couple and offered to fix up the truck. Instead he ended up stripping it. As Mr. and Mrs. Paul Blasberg had already had their fun with the truck, they weren't too worried about the situation.[5] Supposedly the bed and cab went separate ways.[6]


Clones and Recreations

Vic Collins' 1955 Chevrolet Truck - The Kopper Kart Klone


Magazine Features and Appearances

Motor Life June 1957
Rod Builder & Customizer August 1957
Custom Cars September 1957
Hot Rod September 1957
Custom Cars October 1957
Trend Book 156 Custom Cars 1958 Annual
Car Craft January 1958
Custom Cars January 1958
Car Craft March 1958
Rod & Custom April 1958
Custom Cars May 1958
Car Craft June 1958
Rodding and Re-styling March 1960
Custom Cars July 1960
Rodding and Re-styling July 1960
Motor Trend March 1960
Custom Rodder September 1961
Custom Rodder February 1962


References





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