Jim Seaton's 1955 Chevrolet
1955 Chevrolet restyled by Barris Kustoms for Jim Seaton of Santa Maria, California. The car was restyled 1957 - 1958, and the front fenders were reworked to accept the quad seperated Lucas headlights. The grille was removed and a new one made out of perforated screen with bullets was installed. The stock frenched and tunneled taillights were modified with plastic fin additions, three red and two frosted plastic tiers. The side trims originated from a 1955 Dodge. The body was painted white pearl with Burgundy scallops. Seaton reworked the engine, making his custom a car built for both show and go.
Teen Angel owned the car in the early 1970s. He did some minor paint repair to the hood, but the car was completely intact and in a good condition for its age. He cruised it for a while before he sold it to a collector in Washington.
The Traveling Salesman
In 1975 Curt Brennan bought the old custom from a traveling salesman. Curt was 23 years old at the time, and a college student at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington. In 2017 Curt told Kustomrama that he wasn't looking for the old custom, "It found ME. I got it from a guy traveling through town. A traveling salesman who knew I liked old cars. I think he had taken it in trade, hoping to make a few dollars off of it. I took it trying to keep it from ending up in a wrecking yard. I knew who George Barris was, and knew I had a special car that needed to be "rescued." He wanted $1000 for it, which was a lot of money for a college kid back in the early 1970's so I did some "horse trading" with him instead. I had a 1951 Ford pick up, it ran but was ugly, and a 1957 Ford 2 door sedan I traded with him. I never saw him again after that. However I did see both the truck and the car on the road later on, so I knew he sold them to get some cash." After buying the car, Curt first stored it outside his trailer. 
Saved by Curt
Curt knew the old custom well, and in 2017 he believed that he actually saved it from ending up on the scrap yard. " The following spring I was able to get a small shop and get it inside out of the weather. The car's paint was in such poor condition that I decided to strip it down to bare metal and redo it." The front bumper and the hood was gone when Curt got it. "I picked a hood up at a local wrecking yard that put on. There was a "rolled pan" instead of the bumper. The paint was cracked and chipped deeply and had to be removed. The interior was the only thing that still looked good on the car. It had no rips or tears." The motor was a 283 with lots of chrome. "It and ran really well. Probably because it hadn't been driven that much over the years. Notice there was no telephone in it yet, but we had a spare white one from our trailer we put in it for looks."
Sold and Restored
Even though bodywork and painting was Curt's hobby at the time, he did not dare to paint the old custom. "After the "Master Painter" George Barris had done it, I felt that would degrade the car," he told Kustomrama. Curt advertised the car for sale in a Seattle newspaper, and a large car-auction company traded the car with him. Curt believes that the auction company restored the car. After the car had been restored, it was sold to Barris Kustoms collector Kurt McCormick of Imperial, Missouri.
Sold to Joe Bortz
Sold to Tim McMann
In May of 2017 Joe Bortz advertised the car for sale. The asking price was $95,000 USD.  In June of 2017 Tim McMann of Portland, Oregon bought the car from Joe. After buying it, Tim told Kustomrama that he had been a fan of Barris since he was a young boy in the early 1960s building model cars and reading Rod & Custom and Car Craft among other mags; "I can hardly believe I own a Barris and in particular, one of this quality!"
Did you enjoy this article?
Kustomrama is an encyclopedia dedicated to preserve, share and protect traditional hot rod and custom car history from all over the world.
- Help us keep Kustomrama and history alive. For as little as 1 USD a month you can become a monthly supporter. Click here to learn more.
- Subscribe to our free newsletter and receive regular updates and stories from Kustomrama.
- Do you know someone who would enjoy this article? Click here to forward it.
Can you help us make this article better?
Please get in touch with us at email@example.com if you have additional information or photos to share about Jim Seaton's 1955 Chevrolet.
This article was made possible by:
SunTec Auto Glass - Auto Glass Services on Vintage and Classic Cars
Finding a replacement windshield, back or side glass can be a difficult task when restoring your vintage or custom classic car. It doesn't have to be though now with auto glass specialist companies like www.suntecautoglass.com. They can source OEM or OEM-equivalent glass for older makes/models; which will ensure a proper fit every time. Check them out for more details!
Do you want to see your company here? Click here for more info about how you can advertise your business on Kustomrama.