Frank Livingston's 1949 Chevrolet
1949 Chevrolet Fleetline owned by Satan's Angels member Frank Livingston of San Leandro, California. Frank bought the car in 1952, while working for San Leandro's Begier Studebaker. One day, at work, bringing a car to Len's Paint Shop in Oakland, Frank spotted the painters' personal car, a mildly customized 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline sitting outside the shop. The car had been nosed and decked, and the stock taillights had been replaced by 1951 Pontiac units. It was lowered, fit with flipper hubcaps and painted Oldsmobile green. Frank liked the mild custom a lot, and he ended up buying it from the painter, a fellow named Phil.
Shortly after buying Phil's Chevy, Frank restyled the car further. As he was working at the local Studebaker dealership at the time, he installed a set of 1953 Studebaker hubcaps on the car. Frank liked the Studebaker caps as they were different from anything else available at the time. A set of Appleton spotlights were also installed shortly after he had bought the car. Then he had the hood louvered. Frank recalls that the primered spots on the beautiful hood really upset his father who had co-signed for the auto loan on the car. After saving up a little more money, Frank had the headlights frenched. Then the door handles were shaved, and the doors pushbutton operated. The grille opening was modified to accept a slightly narrowed 1955 Plymouth grill bar. When they got to the taillights, they had to extend the fenders about 6 inches in order to accept a set of 1951 Frazer taillights. A 1951 Pontiac rear-bumper was installed to provide better protection for the taillights, and the exhaust was routed through the bumper. The lower part of the fender skirts were extended to create a more pleasing line. All of the original body work was done by Bernie Shanklin of Shanklin's Custom Shop in Hayward, California. By then, Frank had decided that he wanted to show the car at the 1955 National Roadster Show in Oakland, so it needed a show quality paint job as well. Frank had seen several cars around town that was painted by Mel Pinoli of Pinoli Paint Shop, so he went over to see him, and he agreed to paint the car in a luminous gold. This version made its public debut at the 1955 National Roadster Show in Oakland. Later on it also appeared in Car Craft June 1956.
Frank redid the car in 1956. This time he brought it over to Bailon's Custom Shop of San Leandro, California. Bailon replaced the 1955 Plymouth center section with a center section from a 1956 Plymouth. He did also make a small grill insert for the new center section from round welding rods. Scoops were incorporated into the leading edge of the rear fenders. The rear fenders did also receive scoops that went from the front and back to the taillights. From the taillights, the scoops were carried over the rear deck lid area. The front fenders did also receive rolled scoops that trailed into the body. The front and rear scoops were fabricated from sheet metal with round rod serving as edges. The scoops over the frenched headlights were fit with 1953 Mercury rear fender trim teeth. The hubcaps on this version were changed to 1956 Buick covers with Oldsmobile flippers. Once the body modifications were completed, the car was given a two-tone Brazilian Gold and Tropic Tangerine Orange paint job by Mel Pinoli of Pinoli Paint Shop. Pinoli applied the Brazilian Gold base, paneling the car with Tropic Tangerine Orange paint. As Frank called his car the Caribbean, he gave the colors these exotic names to build on the Caribbean theme. Pinoli took a bold step when he paneled the car, taking the line of the panel across the middel of the roof. When Pinoli painted a car for you, that was your color for a year, and he wouldn't paint any other car your color for one year. At the end of the year if you wanted to keep your color exclusively yours you had to pay him for another paint job whether you needed it or not. The Caribbean version of the car received a very plush treatment of rolls and pleats in a diamond motif. The upholstery was done by Fremont Trim Shop. The Caribbean was shown at the 1957 National Roadster Show where it won the Colonite Wax Best Paint Award and the Custom Car d'Elegance award. This version of the car did also appear on the cover of Car Craft January 1958.
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The panel paint on Frank's car was painted with printing dyes that Mel Pinoli had bought from California Ink. Mel had experimented with Translucent colors trying to achieve a Candy effect. His experimenting didn't go very well, so he tried the ink from California Ink on Frank's car. The ink paint that was used on Frank's car faded badly, so Frank had Mel repaint the upper part that was candy orange a deep emerald green with lighter green scallops in 1958. This version was shown at the ninth annual National Roadster Show, held February 15-23, 1958. At the show, Frank came second in the Semi Custom Sedan class, behind Bill Wolfe’s 1951 Mercury.The green and gold combination of the car never appeared in print.
By 1959, Frank was married and he had gotten his first child. As he wanted something more comfortable for the baby to ride in, he traded the Chevrolet for a 1953 Oldsmobile hardtop and some cash with a guy in Oakland. Later on, he heard that the car had been wrecked in Vallejo, California. As he didn't want to see the car in a wrecked condition he never went over to check out the remains. Later on Frank regret that he never went to Vallejo to see if anything could have been salvaged from his old custom. In 1985 Bruce Heather wrote a letter to the Kustom Kemps of America Kemp Gazette, saying that a former Satan's Angels member had told him that while he was driving a truck several years ago he saw Frank's fastback in a wrecking yard in Fairfield, California.
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