Bill Cushenbery (March 22, 1933 - December 12, 1998) of Wichita, Kansas began to learn the art of bodywork when he was a young boy. Bill's father and several of his uncles were in the body repair business and exposed Bill to the techniques they used. Bill wasn't interested in repair work, instead, he wanted to create something new and fresh in order to express his imagination in sheet metal. 19 years old, Bill opened up his first body shop in his hometown Wichita. He had to quit school in order to do that, a decision he later regrets upon as he felt he could have done better business-wise if he had fulfilled his education. The custom car market in the Wichita area was already dominated by Darryl Starbird and his Star Kustom Shop, so after 5 years, Bill decided to leave Wichita, and move his business to California. He settled down in the Monterey area, and it was at this hop that he built his 1940 Ford, the El Matador. The car was good promotion for his business, and after completing the El Matador, he began attracting a clientele seriously interested in show cars. Bill built many well-recognized custom cars during the 1960s but is best known for his completely original builds such as the Silhouette. The Silhouette was the first scratch built custom to roll out from Cushenbery Custom Shop. 
One of Bill Cushenbery's biggest breaks came when he was one of the first customizers invited to take part in the Ford Custom Caravan. Bill and George Barris, in fact, formed the nucleus of the original Caravan team. After the project got rolling, Gene Winfield, the Alexander Brothers and others began to take part. Bill created the Astro for the Caravan, a stunning variation of the 1963 Ford Galaxie Convertible. Bill's participation in the Ford Custom Caravan led to another important development in his career as Ford officials and even some of his fellow customizers urged him to transfer his business from Monterey to a more populous area. In late 1964, he moved his business to North Hollywood, literally around the corner from Barris Kustoms.
At one time Bill and Red Harden became partners. In 2012 Red told Esteban Ramirez of The Renegade Rip that he thought he knew everything when he met Bill, "but this guy taught me so much. It was unreal. We became partners and together we built some really nice cars."
Chris Witham knew Cushenbery in the mid-to-late 1970s through the 1980s. Back then he worked in various spots in Bakersfield, California; "He used to do custom lead work for various body shops that had specialized vehicles. He had an assistant, "Rocky", who went on to a different career working at a ranch outside of Bakersfield."
December 12, 1998 Bill passed away.
Bill Cushenbery's Cars
Cars restyled by Bill Cushenbery
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