Richard Korkes' 1954 Ford
1954 Ford Convertible owned and restyled by Richard "Korky" Korkes of Korky's Kustom Shop in Whippany, New Jersey. Korky bought the Ford brand new, it was his second car, and he was 19 years old at the time. After buying the car, Korky would form the Free Wheelers of Whippany car club. The car went trough some mild modifications before Korky decided to turn it into the Parisienne in 1959. The front on the Parisienne was heavily restyled featuring a 1957 DeSoto grill, 1958 Ford headlights and a 1953 Mercury front bumper. The custom made rear area featured a 1959 Chevrolet trunk. The top was chopped 2 1/2 inches and fit with a two piece padded top. The trunk and interior received a custom upholstery. Korky lowered the car by C'ing the frame front and rear. Power came from a modified 300 hp 1957 Ford Thunderbird V-8. This version of the car was completed in 1959 and shown at the 1960 Hartford Autorama together with three other Korky custom creations. By then it had received top awards in many shows.
Scott Pearson Sr. lived two towns away from Korky when he was building the '54, and in 2016 he told Kustomrama that he remembers seeing the car back in the day, both on the road and a bunch of times in front of his shop on Rt. 10 in Whippany; "That car was the Aztec of the East Coast to us Jersey guys."
Advertised for Sale
In 1965 Korky advertised the Parisienne for sale in the October issue of Hot Rod Magazine. Korky worked for George Barris at the time, and the Barris North Hollywood shop adress was listed in the ad. The asking price was $2500.
The Joe Sulpy Recreation
Joe Sulpy III was a Whippany high school kid when Korky restyled the Parisienne in the late 1950s and 1960s. He would often stop by the shop, trying to get a sneak peek of the car, only to be chased away by Korky and his crew. The car made a huge impression on Sulpy, who later would build a clone of the third version of the car. 
Sold to Michael Gale Black
Korky sold the car to Michael Gale Black in the 1990s. At the time, the car was complete, but in need of a total restoration. Korky and Gale both worked for George Barris at Barris Kustoms. They became friends, and have been best friends ever since. Korky and Gale planned to restore the car and sell it afterwards. That never happened, and in 2011 Gale advertised the car for sale. The asking price was $ 70 000. The car didn't sell, and In November of 2013 Gale advertised the Parisienne for sale on Craigslist. Gale was living up in the hills of Arizona, in the Prescott area, and that was were the car was located as well. The remains of the old custom was powered by a tri-power 430 cui Lincoln engine, hooked to a 3 speed overdrive transmission. It was not running, Gale was asking $ 50 000 or bids over for the car. In October of 2015 it was advertised for sale on Craigslist again, this time the asking price was $ 33 000.
The Gale Estate Sale
Michael Gale Black passed away November 26, 2018, 80 years old. February 7 thru 10, 2019 the Parisienne is coming up for sale at the estate sale after Michael. The Parisienne will be sold along with tons of memorabilia, cars and pictures. Click here for more info about the estate sale.
Magazine Features and Appearances
- The 1960 Hartford Autorama Souvenir Pictorial
- Scott Pearson Sr.
- Hot Rod Magazine October 1965
- Arizona Driver January-February 2010
- Richard "Korky" Korkes
- Craigslist - 1954 Ford Conv - $50 (Arizona)
- Craigslist - 1954 Ford Convertable **Restore Project** - $33000 (Chino Valley)
- EstateSales.Net - "BATMOBILE" ESTATE SALE OF MICHAEL "GALE" BLACK OR BLACKIE FROM THE GEORGE BARRIS DAYS
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