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Kustomrama is an online encyclopedia dedicated to traditional hot rod and custom cars. Our mission is to PROTECT, PRESERVE and SHARE traditional hot rod and custom car history from all over the world. More info...

Please get in touch with us at if you have stories and photos to share. Feedback, input and corrections are also welcome.

Featured Stories

Bill Shelley's 1957 Chevrolet Corvette - "Bali Hi" Back in 1957 Bill Shelley of Oakland, California purchased a 1957 Chevrolet Corvette. He was 20 years old, the car had less than 3000 miles on it, and he paid $3000 for it. "I bought it with money I received from selling my small herd of cows," Bill told me. Bill teamed up with Bob McNulty, and the two friends restyled the car into the "Bali Hi" around 1959-1960. The car was parked in 1964, and it has not been driven since! A couple of months ago Bill wrote us to share his story. Don Wagers' 1929 Ford Model A Roadster - Sweet 16 Michael Lamm is a well known automotive author and publisher. In the 1950s and the 1960s Michael worked as a freelance writer, and one of his markets was a New York hot rod magazine called Speed Mechanics. In 1960 Michael went to La Blanca, Texas to photograph an unusual 1935 Cadillac V-16 powered 1929 Ford Model A roadster. It would take 57 years before the story made it into "print," but here it finally is for you all to enjoy on Kustomrama. Bob Mikkelsen's 1951 Chevrolet Fleetline In 1965 Bob Mikkelsen of Shelton, Washington spotted a mildly restyled 1951 Chevrolet Fleetline beside a car repair shop in Yakima. It had some damages and was slowly starting to deteriorate, so Bob pulled in and made an inquiry about the car. The owner of the body shop told Bob that it belonged to a fellow name Norman Brown. Norman had bought the Fleetline new in Goldendale. He started restyling it in 1952, and it was built over a three-year period.


12.01.2017 - The 5th Annual Customs by the Sea It is with great pleasure we invite you all to the 5th annual Customs by the Sea car show in Wildwood, New Jersey! We hope many of you will take the pilgrimage East in June to visit the Race of Gentlemen Custom Car Spectacular! A gathering of handpicked Early Customs displayed at the beach next to the Greatest Race on Earth! 09.26.2017 - Joe Bailon Has Passed Away We just heard that legendary Hayward, California customizer Joe Bailon has passed away. Joe revolutionized the scene with his "Candy Apple" paint in the mid-1950s, and we all knew him as "Candy Apple Joe." RIP Joe. You will be missed. Our condolences go out to Joe's friends and family. The Jade Idol Has Been Sold We just heard through the grapevine that "The Jade Idol" has been sold to a secret buyer! The Jade Idol was Gene Winfield’s claim to fame, and it was the car put him on the map nationwide! Billy Belmont of Dedham, Massachusetts has been the caretaker of this custom since the 1980s. Now the car is on its way to Winfield's Custom Shop, where Gene will recreate the orifinal fade paint job he laid in 1959.

Lost and Found

Lost: Reno Garcia's 1947 Buick Sedanet This 1947 Buick was originally owned and restyled by Reno Garcia of Brentwood, California. As the family grew, Reno decided to sell the car in order to get something more family friendly. Reno always regret selling the car, and his family is now trying to track the old custom down. Looking for Info: Mark Garza's 1940 Ford Convertible Who can help us identify this Mystery 1940 Ford Custom? Mark Garza of Nipomo, California bought the old custom from Arroyo Grande in 2015. Unfortunately, the seller, who bought it in Detroit, Michigan in 2008, had no knowledge about the history of the car. Can you help us? Looking for Info: The Spartanburg Mystery Sport Custom This is a 1941 Hudson-based Sports Custom that Niklas Lekman came across in Spartanburg, South Carolina. According to rumors, the car was originally built in California in the late 1950s! Do you recognize it?

Photo Archive

The Brad Masterson Collection When Brad Masterson worked for George Barris, before he went working for Bill Hines, George had a major clean-up at this North Hollywood shop. During the clean-up he threw out tons of material. Luckily, Brad jumped in the dumpster and saved what he could. When Olav Kvipt was working with Brad in his shop, he spent hours scanning all of Brad's photos and documents. The Fred Larsen Photo Collection Fred Larsen was a pioneer hot rodder, dry lakes racer and drag racer. Born in Oak Park, Illionois, Fred grew up in Culver City, California. In 1936 he attended his first dry lakes meet, as a spectator at the Muroc dry lakes. Two years later he returned with his first hot rod, a 1925 Ford Model T roadster. Fred went on to become a lifetime member of the 300-MPH chapter of the Bonneville 200-MPH Club, and the holder of multiple World Land Speed Records for streamlined vehicles set at the Bonneville Salt Flats. The Clifford Ambrose Photo Collection Clifford Ambrose of Santa Clara, California was a member of the San Jose Igniters car club. Cliff was very active back in the late 1950s building and racing hot rods. Lucky for us he brought a camera and documented some of the action. Unfortunately, Cliff passed away in 1998, but his son Matt has shared his dad's old photos with Kustomrama.

Top Lists

Matt Townsend ranks the 3 greatest 1949-51 Mercury customs of all time Matt Townsend runs Townsends Customs & Hot Rods, a custom body shop in Riverside, California that specializes in restoration and customization of classic cars. In November of 2017 Matt had 17 1949 - 1951 Mercury customs under his belt, so we asked him what his All-Time Top 3 1949 - 1951 Mercury Customs are. Kevan Sledge ranks the 3 greatest customs of all time Kevan Sledge is a founding member of the So. Cal Shifters car club. Kevan has had a passion for cars since he was a young kid, and began building hot rods and customs as a hobby in the late 1980s. In 2011 he started up Sledge Customs, turning his hobby into a full time profession. Gene Winfield ranks his top 3 favorite builds Gene Winfield is a legendary customizer, painter and hot rod racer. Born June 16, 1927, Gene has been restyling cars since 1945, and he is one of the best known and most recognized builders in the world. They say choosing your favourite build is like choosing your favourite child! We Gene what his top 3 favourite builds are?

For Sale

For Sale: Rudy Makela's 1942 Cadillac - "WOW" T.J. Makela was born in Finland. In 1911 he came to Indianapolis, Indiana via Detroit, Michigan. At the time hundreds of Finns worked in automobile plants when Indianapolis was an automotive center. In 1925 T.J. founded Indianapolis Power Hammer Works, a custom body shop that made metal parts for automobiles and aircraft bodies. In the 1940s' T.J.'s son, Rudy made plans for a custom built Cadillac named the "WOW." For Sale: Don Broyles' 1932 Ford Roadster 1932 Ford roadster owned and built by Don Broyles of Dayton, Ohio. Don originally built the roadster in 1951. He wanted the car to sit low, so he Z'd the frame and channeled the body. The grille shell was filled and sectioned before Don installed a wraparound nerf bar. It was powered by a Ford Flathead V-8 engine and it sported a deep purple paint job. Since 1995 Ron Olfers of Austin, Texas has been the caretaker of the roadster. Ron has now decided that it's time to pass the torch. For Sale: Joe Wilhelm's 1939 Nash Coupe Joe Wilhelm of San Jose, California started doing custom work-part time on his own and others cars around 1945, and this 1939 Nash was his first custom. He bought the Nash right after the was in 1946 and immediately started customizing it. Joe went on to open up Wilhelm's Custom Shop in San Jose, and he owned the radically restyled Nash all the way up until the late 1960s or early 1970s. Luckily the car survived, and the historic Northern California custom is now currently up for sale.

Featured Events

Ventura Nationals 2017 This 2017 Labor Day weekend the Ventura Nationals celebrated its 16th annual show in Ventura, California at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. The show kicked off on September 1, 2017 with a preparty in downtown Ventura at the Majestic Theatre. Lonestar Round Up 2017 April 8th and 9th, 2017 the Kontinentals car club held their 16th annual Lonestar Round Up in Austin, Texas. A show with small beginnings, now can only be explained as a sea of cars from all corners of the country and even attracts Hot Rod and Kustom enthusiasts from other countries outside of the states. Grand National Roadster Show 2017 The 68th annual Grand National Roadster Show was held January 27 - 29, 2017 at the Fairplex in Pomona, California. Close to 1,000 cars attended the event. Theme for the 2017 show was "The Magic Happens Here," and cars and vendors were encouraged to decorate with the theme. Featured building 9 exhibited the 60th Anniversary of the Tri-Five Chevy's

Featured Projects

Lawrence Garrison's 1940 Mercury Convertible In 2011 Birger Meland of Lier, Norway bought Lawrence Garrison’s channeled 1940 Mercury from Pat Orosco in California. For a long time, the history of this old custom has been full of holes and rumors. In June Birger told us that he wanted to restore the car back to how it was originally built. We applauded the initiative and agreed to help him research the history of the car. Gil Ayala's 1955 Ford Thunderbird - The Wild Bird Gil Ayala's personal custom, a 1955 Ford Thunderbird, known as the Wild Bird, has been sold to Scandinavia. Gil's Thunderbird is one of the few known surviving Ayala Customs, and it is a great addition to the Scandinavian custom scene. The restoration. We followed the restoration of the car, and it's trip halfway across the world on Kustomrama. The Kustomrama Dream truck The Kustomrama Dream Truck is a tribute to the custom cars of the late 1950s. Being an admirer of Jerry DeVito's wildly restyled 1957 Ford Fairlane, that we all know as the Maze, Sondre Kvipt decided that he wanted to recreate this car as a Ranchero. The build was started in Oslo, Norway in January of 2014, lead by Sondre's brother Olav.


Featured Video: Nick Matranga Merc Interview In 2003, when Ed Gallagher was working on producing Barris Kustoms of the 50's, he did an interview with the late Nick Matranga talking about his famous 1940 Mercury custom that was built at Barris Kustoms in 1949/1950. Jonnie King's Legends of the Rod & Custom Hall of Fame: Joe Bailon: The Early Years In 2012, at the 32nd annual KKOA Lead Sled Spectacular in Salina, Kansas, Jonnie King of the Legends of the Rod & Custom Hall of Fame interviewed Joa Bailon about his early years and his first custom car that he in 1937 gave a scallop paint job. Featured Video: Bill Cushenbery's Silhouette II Space Coupe Restoration Project Loads Into Outlaw Garage In July of 2017 Barry H Gremillion made a deal with Nelson Vels at Outlaw Garage, and the project was moved to his shop in Santa Clarita Valley. After an 8 1/2 year delay the historic custom car restoration project finally resumes.

Calling all Early Customs for Customs by the Sea, a pre-1952 custom car show presented by Kustomrama and the Race of Gentlemen. Pre-Registered Cars Only. Register Here.

Promote your shop, show or business on Kustomrama - This ad space can also be bought to promote cars for sale or to hunt down rare parts you're looking for. Click here for more info...


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Kustomrama is an online encyclopedia dedicated to traditional hot rod and custom cars. Our mission is to protect, preserve and share traditional hot rod custom car history from all over the world.

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