Barris Kustoms

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George Barris' 1936 Ford Coupe. George built this in the early 1940s, before opening up Barris Kustoms, while he was still living in Roseville, California. The '36 was George's first full custom, and he bought it with money he had earned while doing some odd jobs for Harry Westergard. The build was completed in 1941.
George Barris' 1936 Ford Convertible. This was George's second full custom, and he traded his coupe for the convertible. The convertible was an ongoing project, and it was the car he drove to Southern California around 1942.
This Chevrolet was supposedly Sam Barris' first custom attempt after George had taught him the fundamentals of customizing. The photo was published in Hop Up May 1953, in a featured story about the history of Barris Kustoms by Spencer Murray. Photo courtesy of Hop Up Magazine.
An early Barris built 1936 Ford custom with an alligator hood. Restyled for an unknown owner, the photo was published in Hop Up May 1953, in a featured story about the history of Barris Kustoms by Spencer Murray. Photo courtesy of Hop Up Magazine.
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An early Barris Kustom from 1946. Popular modifications includes removal of chrome, restyled grill, and a chopped Carson Top. Restyled for an unknown owner, the photo was published in Hop Up May 1953, in a featured story about the history of Barris Kustoms by Spencer Murray. Photo courtesy of Hop Up Magazine.
A chopped 1940 Ford photographed in front of the Compton Avenue shop. Another early Barris build from the Hop Up May 1953 article. Photo courtesy of Hop Up Magazine.
A channeled 1939 Ford custom. Another early Barris custom photographed in front of the Compton Avenue shop. Restyled for an unknown owner, the photo was published in Hop Up May 1953, in a featured story about the history of Barris Kustoms by Spencer Murray. Photo courtesy of Hop Up Magazine.
Jim Kierstead's 1939 Mercury Coupe of Inglewood, California. Jim bought the Merc after he got out of the Navy in 1945. Jim and his brother Robert had become good friends with Sam Barris in the Navy. Impressed by Sam and George's work in their shop, he decided to have the brothers restyle his Mercury. Jim's brother-in-law, Harold Johnson, used to go down to Barris Kustoms and watch them work; "Sam did most of the work, while George was more of a salesman. Jim spent a lot of time with the Barris Brothers, and he would spend hours with Sam explaining just what he wanted. He then stayed around to make sure it came out that way," Harold told Olav Kvipt of Kustomrama. Jim's Mercury is rumored to be the first 1939 - 1940 Mercury coupe that Sam and George chopped the top on. This photo, showing Jim's Mercury during the chop, was taken by Don Cox at the 7674 Compton Ave. shop circa 1946 - 1947. The 1929 Ford Model A in the background was supposedly owned by Sam. Photo from The Robert Genat Collection
Bill Spurgeon's 1939 Mercury Coupe was supposedly restyled by Jones's Body, Fender & Paint Shop and George and Sam Barris in 1946. After moving to Southern California, George worked as a foreman for Jones's Body, Fender & Paint Shop.
Bill Henderson's 1939 Mercury Convertible of Los Angeles, California. Bill bought the Merc when he was 14 years old. In the mid to late 1940s he worked for Barris Kustoms, and they taught him how to customize cars, while he was working on the Merc. This photo of the car was taken circa 1947.
Dick Owens' 1940 Mercury convertible of Redondo Beach, California. Dick's Mercury was restyled by Barris Kustoms, and the work was sometime between 1945 and 1947.
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An unknown 1936 Ford Coupe by Barris. Another one of their early custom jobs.
Dick Fowler's 1938 Ford coupe was restyled by George and Sam at their Compton Avenue Shop. The work was done sometime between 1946 and 1948, and it is one of the few surviving early Barris custom builds.
George Barris' 1941 Buick Convertible. This car was completed late in 1947, and it really established George as a builder. It was shown at the first Hot Rod Exposition in January of 1948, where it won top honors.
Var Martin's 1941 Buick was restyled by Barris Kustoms sometime around 1947 - 1948.
Mickey Chiachi's 1939 Ford was restyled by Barris Kustoms sometime before 1948.
According to Barris Kustom Techniques of the 50's - Volume 3, this photo was taken the day Johnny Zaro brought his 1940 Mercury to Barris Kustoms. The photo was taken outside the 7674 Compton Avenue shop in Los Angeles. When this photo was taken, Al Andril's 1940 Mercury had just been chopped. Johnny's damaged Mercury is awaiting its treatment. When Johnny smashed his Merc, it had already been nosed and decked. The sidetrim was shortened, and it ran single bar flipper hubcaps. Photo courtesy of George Barris, from the book Barris Kustom Techniques of the 50's - Volume 3.
An under-progress photo of Johnny Zaro's 1940 Mercury chopped and in primer, getting ready for paint. The photo was taken behind the Barris Compton Avenue shop. It took Sam about six months to complete Johnny's Merc. Photo courtesy of George Barris, from the book Barris Kustom Techniques of the 50's - Volume 3.
Al Andril's 1940 Mercury of Maywood, California. Al's Merc was restyled by Barris Kustoms in 1948 at their Compton Avenue shop. The build took nine months.
Johnny Zaro's 1940 Mercury Coupe of Maywood, California. Johnny's Merc was restyled by Barris at their Compton Avenue shop in 1948. After Sam had done Al Andril's 1940 Mercury, it took only six months to complete Johnny's Mercury.
Dick Carter's 1941 Ford Convertible, of Bell, California. The car was restyled by Barris around 1948. Dick brought the car to Barris' after seeing Var Martin's 1941 Buick.
Bill DeCarr's 1941 Mercury was restyled by Barris circa 1948.
Bob Kierstead's 1941 Mercury Convertible, of Inglewood, California. Bob's Mercury was restyled by Barris in 1948
George Janich's 1941 Ford of Long Beach, California. Janich's Ford was restyled by Sam Barris. The project was started in 1946 and completed in 1948.
John Vara's 1941 Ford was restyled by Barris Kustoms in 1948. John sold the car to Johnny Zaro of Maywood, California before the build was completed.
Sam Barris' 1940 Mercury Convertible. This was Sam's driver, and the car was restyled around 1948-1949.
Barris's Custom Shop. A Compton Avenue business card that showcased George Barris' 1941 Buick custom.
A group of hot rods and customs parked in front of the "Barris's Custom Shop" on 7674 Compton Avenue in Los Angeles. Dick Fowler's 1938 Ford coupe can be seen below the "Auto Painting" sign. The new shop was located in an old double garage, and the man who owned the property ran a brake shop in the same building.
George Barris' Track Roadster outside the 7674 Compton Avenue shop circa 1948. George built the channeled roadster that sported one of his first flame paint jobs, in 1948. Lanky Oran Breeland can be seen on the right. Oran worked for Sam and George, and George lived with him and his folks at the time. Photo by Dick Bertolucci, courtesy of George Barris.
Another photo taken in front of the Compton Avenue shop.
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A photo from the Compton Avenue shop taken sometime after the war. The photo was published in Hop Up May 1953, in a featured story about the history of Barris Kustoms. Photo courtesy of Hop Up Magazine.
Another early Barris Kustoms photo from the Hop Up May 1953 article. The Buick in the photo supposedly belonged to Sam Barris. Photo courtesy of Hop Up Magazine.
An early photo of Bob Creasman's 1940 Ford coupe taken outside of the 7674 Compton Avenue shop in 1948. Photo courtesy of eBay.
Another early photo of Creasman's taken outside the 7674 Compton Avenue shop. Photo courtesy of eBay.
A business card from the shop at 4120-1/2 East Florence Avenue in Bell. After about 6 months in Bell, they moved their shop to Atlantic Blv in Lynwood. The top of the business card reads Barris - Hector - John. Hector and John referred Hector Savadra and John Manok who were bodymen at the shop.[2]
The first version of Tom Hocker's 1940 Ford Coupe was restyled by Barris Kustoms circa 1949.
Marcia Campbell's 1949 Chevrolet Convertible of Los Angeles, California. The car was restyled by Barris Kustoms in 1949.
An unknown 1940 Ford top that Barris chopped.
A combined Barris Kustoms and Gaylord's Kustom Shop ad from Motor Trend November 1949. The shop was still located in Bell when this ad was made.
A Color photo showing the Barris Kustom Shop on Atlantic Blv in Lynwood, California.
Barris Kustoms did some work on Vic Grace's 1941 Buick Special Club Coupe around 1949 - 1950.
Ben Mario's 1947 Buick Super Convertible of Hollywood, California. Mario's Buick was restyled in 1949.
Dick Arkline's 1941 Chevrolet. The car was restyled by Barris around 1948 - 1950.
Jesse Lopez' 1941 Ford, of Bell, California. Restyled sometime between 1948 and 1950, Jesse met George and Sam Barris at the 1948 Hot Rod Exposition, where George won top honors with his George's 1941 Buick Convertible. Early in 1950, the car was shown at the National Roadster Show in Oakland.
Carl Abajian's 1949 Chevrolet Convertible was repainted dark blue by Barris in 1950. It was first restyled by Barris for Marcia Campbell in 1949.
Cliff Rockohn's 1947 Mercury Coupe. The car was restyled by Barris around 1948 - 1950.
Larry Robins' 1948 Mercury of Beverly Hills, California. The car was restyled in the late 1940s or the early 1950s.
Les Callahan's 1922 Dodge Roadster Pickup of Long Beach, California. The little hot rod featured body and paintwork by Barris. The build was completed around 1950.
Jack McDermott's 1929 Ford Roadster was painted by Barris Kustoms in 1950.
Gil Lippincott's 1934 Ford tudor, of South Gate, California. Gil's sedan was painted by Sam Barris in 1950.
An unknown 1950 Ford custom by Barris. The car has been dressed up with a Cadillac grille and hubcaps.
Nick Matranga's 1940 Mercury Coupe. Completed late in 1950, Barris spent 15 months building the iconic Matranga Merc. Nick wanted his car to look different, so they chopped it up and tacked it together in order to find out how low they wanted it. After cutting the post out of the top, Nick liked what he saw and told George that he didn't want to put the post back. With this in mind, George came up with the design for the curved hardtop windows. A classic was born, and George and Sam had given the world what would become the most imitated 1939 - 1940 Mercury Custom.
Joe Urritta's 1941 Ford of Fresno, California. Chopped, channeled, and sectioned. Restyled by Sam Barris in 1950, Joe's Ford became the most radical build that had ever rolled out of Barris Kustoms. Once completed, the radical custom was only 49 inches high.
Jim Skonzakes' 1949 Buick. The car was shown at the 1950 Motorama.
Bill Taylor's 1949 Chevrolet Convertible. Restyled by Barris, the car started appearing in magazine in 1951.
Sam Barris' 1949 Mercury. This was Sam Barris daily driver. He bought it brand new late in 1948 and drove it around as a stocker for a few months, figuring out how to chop it. Rumored to be the first ever chopped 1949 - 1951 Mercury, the build was completed late in 1950, or early in 1951. The car was entered at the 2nd Oakland Roadster Show, held February 20 - 25, 1951, where it won 2nd prize in the full custom class.
Jerry Quesnel's 1949 Mercury of Venice, Caliofrnia. Rumored to be the first 1949 - 1950 Mercury ever chopped, photos of the car in white primer appeared in Popular Science October 1951.
Richard Riuz' 1949 Chevrolet Convertible. The car appeared in Trend Book 101 Custom Cars in 1951.
Bob Muccilli's 1950 Hudson Pacemaker. Restyled by Barris, the car was featured in Hop Up December 1951.
Larry Ernst's 1951 Chevrolet Bel Air. The car is also known as the Bel Air Royal. Larry was a roman catholic priest who drove from Toledo, Ohio to have the famous Barris Brothers restyle his brand new Bel Air. Larry's Chevrolet was the first Chevy hardtop that Sam chopped, and he took 6 inches out of the rear, and 2 1/1 inches out of the front. The rear fenders were lengthened 12 inches before fender skirts, and a spare tire were added. An unusual treatment for a West Coast Custom. Completed in 1951, the first version of the car took three months and $5400 to complete.
Fred Calvin's 1950 Ford Convertible was restyled by Barris in the early 1950s.
Anne De Valle's 1942 Ford Club Coupe. The car was restyled by Barris in the 1950s.
Jack Brumbach's 1942 Ford Coupe. Jack's Ford was restyled by Barris in the 1950s.
George Sinamark's 1947 Buick. The car was restyled by Barris Kustoms in the 1950s.
Jack Stewart's 1941 Ford was a joint effort between by Kenny Lucas, the Ayala Brothers and Barris Kustoms. The build was started in 1947 and completed in 1951.
Bob Tormey's 1941 Mercury Business Coupe. Known as The Titian, the car was restyled by Barris for an unknown owner around 1951.
Bob Hirohata's 1951 Mercury Club Coupe. Known as the Hirohata Merc, the car is often referred to as the most famous custom of the classic era. The first chopped 1951 Mercury, and the first hardtopped 1949 - 1950 Mercury. Unlike other custom cars of its time, the Hirohata Merc was not painted in a dark metallic lacquer. George Barris painted it right at the beginning of 1952 in a two-tone Sea Foam Green with Organic Green below the trim spears. Add curved hardtop windows similar to Nick Matranga's 1940 Mercury Coupe, and you have a winning combination.
Earl Wilson's 1947 Studebaker. Completed in 1952, the same year as the Hirohata Merc, the Grecian was considered to be one of the country's most highly customized cars. The body was chopped, channeled and sectioned. What really makes the Grecian stand out is the functional air scoops in the hood and fenders. A groundbreaking trend yet to arrive and gain popularity.
Bob Petersen's 1948 Cisitalia 202 Coupe was painted by Barris in 1952.
Clark Gable's 1952 Jaguar XK 120 of Hollywood, California. The car was mildly restyled by Barris in 1952 before it received a padded top by Carson Top Shop. This photo shows Gable in front of the Jaguar at Barris Kustoms.
Tommy Thornburgh's 1947 Studebaker of Gardena, California. Restyled by Barris, the build was completed late in 1952.
Lawrence Kilty's 1949 Cadillac of Hollywood, California. Restyled by Barris Kustoms for the organizers of the Hot Rod and Motor Sports Show in 1952. The Cadillac was a door-prize car for the 1952 show, and it was won by Lawrence Kilty.
Michael Violante's 1949 Ford Convertible of Wilminton, California. Restyled by Barris, the car was featured in Motor Trend December 1952.
Ralph Testa's 1950 Mercury Convertible of Hollywood, California. Restyled by Barris, the car started appearing in magazines in 1952.
Wally Welch's 1950 Mercury of Burbank, California. Wally bought the Merc brand new, and he drove it for a while before taking it to Ayala for a restyling. Late in 1951 he took it to Barris for a makeover. The Barris version started appearing in magazines in 1952.
Pete Chiello's 1951 Ford Victoria of Carlsbad, New Mexico. Restyled by Barris, the car started appearing in magazines in 1952.
Frank Airheart's 1951 Oldsmobile 98 Convertible of Los Angeles, California. Frank bought the car brand new. He handed it over to the Barris brother in 1952 with orders to build an eye-catcher. The build took six weeks to complete, and the total cost was $1500 USD.
Anthony Heinsbergen's Muntz Jet of Los Angeles, California. The car was restyled by Barris in 1952.
Dick Simoni's 1952 Chevrolet Convertible. Restyled by Barris, the build was completed in the early 1950s.
Dan Landon's 1949 Chevrolet. The Dan Landon Coupe was completed late 1952 or early 1953. Don wanted the top as low as possible, so the Barris Brothers chopped the top 5 inches up front and 7 inches in the rear. The roof was further sectioned 2.5 inches above the top of the door opening for an even lower profile.
Buster Litton's 1949 Ford of South Gate, California. Known as The Panoramic Ford, the car featured custom body work by both Barris and Cerny's Paint and Body. Barris chopped and hardtopped the top for original owner Allen Anderson in 1951. Allen sold the car to Buster, who had Barris finish the front-end modifications. Cerny then restyled the rear before Gaylord's Kustom Shop finished off the build with a custom interior in 1953.
Louie Bettancourt's 1949 Mercury. Originally restyled by the Ayala Brothers, Bettancourt brought the car to Barris for a makeover late in 1952 or early in 1953.
Chuck DeWitt's 1950 Ford Convertible was restyled by Barris Kustoms for Chuck DeWitt in 1953.
In 1953 Hop Up Magazine ran a featured story on Barris Kustoms called "The Barris Story" in their May 1953 Issue. The story was written by Spencer Murray.
A photo of George and Sam from the Hop Up Magazine May 1953 featured story by Spencer Murray. Photo courtesy of Hop Up Magazine.
When Spencer Murray stopped by to do the featured story on George and Sam for the Hop Up May 1953 article, the brothers were working on Jack Nethercutt's 1952 Oldsmobile Holiday 98. Photo courtesy of Hop Up Magazine.
A photo of the Lynwood shop from the Hop Up Magazine May 1953 featured story by Spencer Murray. Photo courtesy of Hop Up Magazine.
A photo taken inside the Lynwood shop circa 1953. Sam is finishing the door top on a Mercury, while George welds the chopped top on a Studebaker. The photo was published in the Hop Up Magazine May 1953 featured story by Spencer Murray. Photo courtesy of Hop Up Magazine.
An unknown Barris Kustom Mercury with Buick side-trim. Photo by Charles E. Davis.
Sam Barris' 1950 Buick Sedanette. Sam spent 22 months of hard work turning the remains of a burnt 1950 Buick into a full-fledged custom. The build was completed in 1953, and Sam admitted that he never would do another car for himself, requiring as much job as the Buick did. He used the car as his daily driver for some months before he, in 1954 decided to sell it in order to afford eye surgery for his son John Barris.
Barris Kustoms built and painted the body on Chet Herbert's Streamliner around 1953. The build took three weeks.
Bob Lund's 1950 Mercury Convertible. The car was restyled by Barris around 1952-53. Once completed, it was featured in Rod & Custom December 1953.
Don Vaughn's 1947 Buick was restyled by Barris Kustoms around 1951 - 1953.
Helen Manning's 1950 Chevrolet Fleetline of Ventura, California. Restyled by Barris, the car was featured in Rod & Custom May 1953.
Robert La Briola's 1949 Oldsmobile Convertible. The car started appearing in magazines in the summer of 1953.
Dale Marshall's 1950 Mercury. Restyled by Barris, the car was featured in Rod & Custom December 1953.
Fred Rowe's 1951 Mercury Convertible, of Los Angeles, California. Restyled by Baris, the build was completed in 1953.
Jack Nethercutt's 1952 Oldsmobile Holiday 98 of Santa Monica, California. Known as the Viennese, the car was restyled by Barris in 1953.
Dick Meyer's 1953 Ford. Restyled by Barris, photos of the car started appearing in magazines late in 1953.
Bill Busch's 1949 Mercury fourdoor. The car was restyled by Barris circa 1953-1954, and it was featured in Trend Book 109 Custom Cars 1954 Annual.
Ed Sloan's 1953 Plymouth Cranbrook Belvedere was restyled by Barris circa 1953-54.
George Barris gave Tom Pollard's 1929 Ford Roadster, of Monterey Park, Los Angeles, a flame paint job in 1954. Von Dutch pinstriped the car thereafter.
The second version of Fred Rowe's 1951 Mercury Convertible, of Los Angeles, California was restyled in 1954. This version was featured in the movie Running Wild along with Bob Hirohata's 1951 Mercury.
Bruce Bartlett's 1953 Studebaker Starlight coupe of Long Beach, California. Bruce was a member of the Ramblers of Long Beach car club, and his Studebaker was restyled by Sam Barris at Barris Kustoms. The build was completed in 1954.
Don Chapman's 1954 Studebaker of Long Beach, California. Restyled by Barris, the build was completed circa 1954-55.
Jim Skonzakes' 1953 Lincoln Capri "The Golden Sahara" of Dayton, Ohio. Restyled by Barris, The Golden Sahara made its public debut in 1954 at the Petersen Motorama held at the Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles.
Liberace's 1954 Cadillac Convertible. Most of the restyling featured on Liberace's car was found in the piano-keyboard interior upholstery designed by Sam Barris o. The interior was assembled by Bob Hauser of Carson Top Shop. The black and white Naugahyde keys were individually sewn, as were the initial "L" and Liberace's famous candelabra sewn in the back arm panels. The bottom parts of the front and rear seat were covered with parts of the score from his theme song, "I'll be seing you." Liberace's car won the interior design award from Motor Trend Magazine in 1954.
Tom Carroll's 1949 Chevrolet Business Coupe of Culver City, California. Built around 1954, Tom was 19 years old at the time, and he worked at MGM Studios in Culver City.
A couple of guys sanding Frank Sonzogni's 1950 Mercury in front of the Atlantic Blvd. shop. The photo was taken around 1953-1955.
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Barris built two identical 1948 Chevrolet customs for the 1958 movie High School Confidential. One of the Chevrolets was to be rolled over a cliff, so inner struts were installed in that one to prevent injury to the stunt man. Both cars were chopped 6 inches, and the rear quarter windows were blanked. Hoods and trunks were smoothed, custom grilles installed, and the doors equipped with pushbuttons.
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Tod Clare's 1954 Austin-Healey was restyled by Barris in the 1950s.
Nobby Miyakawa's 1952 Mercury Monterey. Known as The Japan, the build was completed circa 1954-55.
Dick Jackson's 1954 Mercury Monterey of Lynwood, California. The car was restyled by Dick and Sam Barris circa 1954-55.
George Sein's 1932 Ford 5 window coupe, The Flamer, was restyled by Barris Kustoms around 1955.
Frank Monteleon's 1941 Ford. Two-tone paint jobs were the latest rage in 1955. A guy from Burbank called "Hoot" started restyling Frank's Ford in the late 1940. Hoot chopped the top and tacked on 1950 Oldsmobile fenders before Frank brought it to Barris Kustoms for completion and that popular Barris touch. Once the bodywork was done, the car was painted shocking pink, charcoal metallic, and finishing white. The scene was now changing, and the car was, of course, equipped with a TV and a record player.
Archie Moore's 1953 Nash-Healey. The car was mildly restyled by Barris in 1955.
Milton Melton's 1954 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible of Beverly Hills, California. Known as The Parisienne, Milton bought the car brand new. He drove it straight to Barris for a custom treatment. It made its debut at the 1955 International Motor Review in Los Angeles, where it was a hit with its smooth white body and black-trimmed top, and chrome wire wheels.
Harry Hoskin's 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air of Maricopa, California. Restyled by Barris, the car went through several iterations. The first version was completed in 1955.
James Dean's 1955 Porsche Spyder 550. James bought his car in September of 1955. He brought it down to Barris, where they made some minor changes to it. Dean Jeffries painted the name tag "Little Bastard" on the rear and the number 130 on both doors and hood. James picked it up from Barris on September 30, 1955. Later the same day, he crashed the car and was killed, only 24 years old.
Don Coulter's 1955 Oldsmobile 88 of Pittsburg, California. Restyled by Barris in 1955, the car was exhibited at the 6th annual Motorama on October 14-23, 1955.
Frank Sonzogni's 1950 Mercury Club Coupe of Lynwood, California. Frank worked part-time for Barris and was a full-time police officer in Lynwood. He handed his car over to Barris Kustoms for a makeover in 1953 It started appearing in magazines in 1955.
Chuck DeWitt's 1953 Ford Station Wagon of Los Angeles, California. Restyled by Barris, photos of the car started appearing in magazines in 1955.
Barris Kustoms gave Fred Pape's 1940 LaSalle a Pearlscent Green Mist paint job in the mid 1950s.
Originally restyled by Tony and Joe Pisano, Barris Kustoms freshened up Herb Ogden's 1941 Buick in the mid 1950s.
Sam Barris' 1952 Ford Convertible. Known as the Practical Ford, the car was shown at the 1955 Motorama.
Merlin Windham's 1955 Buick. Built in 1955, Merlin's Buick was dubbed the Dragon Wagon. Barris Kustoms rerouted the exhaust tips through the taillight housings on the car, giving the car the appearance of the super deluxe Buick models.
Dave Bugarin's 1951 Mercury of San Pedro, California. Dave wanted a car that gained as much response as Bob Hirohata's 1951 Mercury, so he brought his Merc over to Barris for a full makeover. Photos of the car started appearing in magazines in 1955.
George Barris' 1956 Continental Mark II was restyled by Barris Kustoms in 1956. The Lincoln was George's personal driver, and he owned it for about a year.
Buddy Alcorn's 1950 Mercury of Dominguez, California. Ayala originally restyled the car for an unknown owner in 1952. Buddy Alcorn bought it and brought it to Barris for a makeover in 1955. The Barris version started appearing in magazines in 1956.
Junior Conway's 1950 Ford of Compton, California. Junior Conway went to work for Barris as a trainee after graduating from high school in 1955. At the time, he drove the Ford and got guidance and assistance from the guys at the shop during the build. The Teardop version of the car was completed late in 1956, and it featured some details and work by George Barris.
A photo of Sam Barris as he is staring the chop on Lyle Lake's 1952 Buick in August of 1956. Photo from The Ron Dragoo Photo Collection.
George Contaoi's 1955 Ford F-100 of San Bernardino, California, was restyled by Dick Richardson's Custom Shop and Barris Kustoms in 1956. Von Dutch striped it and made a mural on the tailgate along with Dean Jeffries.
Gene Harkins' 1949 Ford Club Coupe of Orange, California. Restyled by Barris, the car started appearing in magazines in 1956.
Martin and Morris Srabian's 1954 Ford F-100 Pickup - The Wild Kat. Restyled by Barris, the build was completed in 1956. The Wild Kat was one of the first vehicles ever to feature quad headlight styling, beating Detroit by two years.
The order for Allen Bobys' 1953 Dodge Convertible. Allen came from Corpus Christi, Texas to have his Dodge restyled by Barris. The estimate from Barris Kustom Automobiles included a front end reparation, a custom grille shell, a custom grille, molded hood, deck, and side emblems. Photo from The Brad Masterson Collection.
Johnny Zupan's 1949 Mercury. Originally restyled by Ayala and Barris for Louie Bettancourt, Zupan bought the car from Bettancourt in 1956. After buying it, he brought it back to Barris for a makeover.
Trend Book 175 Custom Cars 1959 Annual claimed that Barris Kustoms and Dick Williams restyled Bill Burnett's 1955 Ford Crown Victoria around 1955-1956.
Ted Long's 1955 Ford F-100 Pickup of Downey, California. In May of 2017, Ted told Kustomrama that he bought the truck in 1956, when he was 17 years old; "By then I was a long time car builder. It was lowered at Service Center in Paramount, and the Barris shop did everything else. Because I was a customer at the shop I was able to get involved on a low level, sanding, prep work etc. Sam Barris was gone before I got there. At the time I never saw George do any body work, just paint." Known as The Green Mist, The build was completed the same year.
The first version of Dave Cunningham's 1940 Ford Sedan, The Li'l Beauty, was restyled by Barris Kustoms around 1957.
Mandy Holder's 1951 Mercury Convertible of Springfield, Illinois. Mandy's Mercury was restyled by Bob Maisenbacher and Barris. Barris worked on the car in 1956, and photos show it completed in 1957.
Larry Lee's 1952 Chevrolet Bel Air of Pasadena, California. Several custom body shops in Southern California cooperated on the work of Larry's car. These shops were Barris Kustoms, Valley Custom, Norm's Body Shop, and Cerny's Custom Shop. Build photos of the car started appearing in magazines in 1956. The build was completed circa 1956-1957.
Sam Barris' 1955 Chevrolet Convertible. In 1957, Sam's convertible took home First Place in the Convertible Class at the National Roadster Show.
George Barris' 1955 Chevrolet truck, the Kopper Kart, was built as a promotion vehicle for Barris Kustoms of Lynwood, California. The build was completed in 1957.
Frank Monteleone's 1956 Ford Convertible was restyled by Barris in 1957.
Lyle Lake's 1952 Buick of Orlando, Florida. Known as the Blue Danube, photos of the car started appearing in magazines in 1957.
Bob Zoll's 1953 Mercury. Restyled by Barris, photos of the car started appearing in magazines in 1957.
Buck Gallegos' 1953 Mercury of Pasadena, California. Restyled by Barris, photos of the car started appearing in magazines in 1957.
Dick Jackson's 1957 Ford Thunderbird of Lynwood, California. Dick's Thunderbird was restyled while he worked as a painter at Barris Kustoms. He had just sold Buddy Alcorn's 1950 Mercury, and he used the money to buy the Thunderbird. This photo shows an early iteration of the car as it appeared in 1957.
The shop as it appeared in 1957.
A photo of Carol Lewis' 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air taken in front of the Barris Kustoms Lynwood shop. Carol was Dean Jeffries High School Sweetheart, and her Chevrolet featured a licking flame paint job by Dean. Developed in June of 1957, the photo was taken before the tragic shop fire that took place on December 7, 1957. Photo from The George Contaoi Photo Collection.
Ron Guidry's 1936 Ford 5-Window Coupe, of Long Beach, California was dropped off at Barris Kustoms December 6, 1957 so Dean Jeffries could apply green iridescent scallops on it. Ron had received a written invitation from the Oakland Roadster Show, and he wanted to redo the car a little before the show.
Wednesday, December 7, 1957, during a windy and wet early evening storm a power line strung along the boundary at the back of the shop and sent a shower of sparks on the rear of the shop and started a smoldering fire. 14 cars were destroyed, and this photo shows the remains of the Wild Kat and Archie Moore's 1954 Jaguar after the shop fire.
Bobby Yamazaki's 1954 Mercury. Featuring work by Barris and Jay's Custom Shop, Yamazaki's Mercury was one of the customs that were destroyed in the shop fire.
Some unknown cars that were damaged in the shop fire.
Ron Guidry's 1936 Ford and Bobby Yamazaki's 1954 Mercury as they looked after the shop fire.
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An unknown 1941 Ford that was damaged in the shop fire in 1957.
An unknown Thunderbird that was damaged in the shop fire in 1957.
Archie Moore's Jaguar was restyled by Barris, and it was one of the car that was destroyed in the tragic shop fire.
George Barris did the body and paintwork on the Ala Kart. The Ala Kart was one of the few cars that survived the shop fire December 7, 1957 as it was in a separate room. The Ala Kart made its debut at the 1958 National Roadster Show February 15-23, 1958 where it won the prestigious America's Most Beautiful Roadster award.
Jim Seaton's 1955 Chevrolet of Santa Maria, California. The car was restyled by Barris cica 1957-58.
Johnny Zupan's 1956 Ford F-100 Pickup of Hollywood, California. Restyled by Barris, the build was completed circa 1957-58. It featured a scallop paint job by Dean Jeffries.
Harry Karl's 1953 Cadillac Le Mans Concept Car was restyled by Barris in the 1950s.
An ad for Wilford Manuel's Kustom Auto Interiors at "Barris Custom City" from the 1958 Renegades Rod & Custom Motorama Souvenir Program.
Spencer Murray's 1958 Chevrolet Pick Up was restyled by Barris Kustoms. Spence used this as tow-truck for the Rod & Custom Magazine’s Dream Truck.
Curt Mendalson's 1950 Ford of Los Angeles, California. In 1958 Curt's Ford was nominated as one of 28 "Top Customs of the Year" in Motor Life July 1958.
Don Fiedlar's 1950 Ford Convertible. Restyled by Barris, Dick "Fuzzy" Fuerholzer has some photos of the car in his collection taken in 1958, after Barris had restyled it.
Don Hurley's 1951 Oldsmobile 88 of Ohio. Known as The Kopper Dust, the car was restyled by Barris late in 1958.
Ron Fagundes' 1952 Ford Victoria of Napa, California. Ron's Ford, known as The Ronbardue Kart, was restyled by Barris Kustoms, A-1 Body Work, Hall's Top Shop and Andy Southard. At Barris, the car received a chopped 1954 Mercury top. The build was completed in 1958.
Bill Carr's 1955 Chevrolet Convertible of Hollywood, California. Known as the Aztec, the car was shown at the 1958 National Roadster Show in Oakland, where it won the Custom Car D'Elegance award. Due to excellent craftsmanship, both the Aztec and Joe Tocchini's 1951 Ford Victoria won the Custom Car D'Elegance that year. Later on, in 1958 Bill's Chevrolet was nominated as one of 28 "Top Customs of the Year" by Motor Life magazine.
A later iteration of Dick Jackson's 1957 Ford Thunderbird as it appeared in 1958. That year it was nominated as one of 28 "Top Customs of the Year" in Motor Life July 1958.
Andy Southard's 1958 Chevrolet Impala of New York. George Barris installed a pair of Appleton spotlights on the car for Andy in 1958.
Bill Hines shaving and molding a Chevrolet hood at Barris Kustoms in 1958. After arriving in California, Bill took the Bat to Barris Kustoms. At the time, George was out of the shop, showing the Aztec and the Kopper Kart on a national tour. Bill talked to Gene Simmons, who was the manager at the time. He saw the Bat and asked Bill who did it? Bill told him that he had built it himself. This was a Wednesday, and Gene told Bill that he could use someone in the shop right now. Bill told Gene he could start on Monday, but Gene replied, "How about tomorrow?" Bill loaded his toolbox and started the next day. Photo by George Barris, from The Brad Masterson Collection.
Larry Watson's 1958 Ford Thunderbird. Larry bought the Thunderbird brand new in 1958, and he told a seller at Downey Ford to give him a call as soon as the first car with a tuck n' roll interior arrived. Larry brought it almost directly to Barris Kustoms for a mild job before he gave it a burgundy and silver panel paint job. Larry's Thunderbird was known as "Vino Pasiano" and "The Burgundy Bird," and the first iteration was completed in 1958.
Barry Goldwater's 1953 Jaguar XK-120 of Phoenix, Arizona. Restyled in the 1950s, the car was featured in Trend Book 156 Custom Cars 1958 Annual.
Barris Kustoms modified the instrument panel on Joe Barnett's 1941 Ford Pickup around 1957 - 1959.
John McLaughlin's 1955 Chevrolet of Sapulpa, Oklahoma. In the late 1950s, Jim sent the car on a train from Oklahoma to Barris in California to have them finish the build and paint it.
Leo Lyons Ultra Modern Merc of San Bernardino, California. The build was started in 1950, and completed in the Summer of 1959. Leo wanted to do something different. He wanted to build a custom car mostly from scratch. His initial plans called for building 10 identical custom Mercs, but only one, the prototype, was ever built. Leo had the car at the Barris shop, on and off for nearly a year, as Sam Barris guided Leo on how to do leadwork. George and Sam did also help Leo with techniques that would enable him to finish the car.
Louie Stojanovich's 1947 Plymouth. In the late 1950s, while Teddy Zgrzemski was working for Barris, Louie brought the Plymouth in after Gene Winfield had restyled a new front end. "Junior and I block sanded it and prepped it," Teddy told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in 2019. "Then Junior painted it a Candy Tangerine."
The second version of Dave Cunningham's 1940 Ford Sedan, The Li'l Beauty, was restyled by Barris Kustoms in the late 1950s.
Al Hentch's 1950 Ford Convertible featured custom work by Barris.
Jerry Reichman's 1950 Mercury 4-door. Restyled by Barris, the car was given a deep Candy Apple Red paint job. The car was featured in Car Speed and Style January 1959.
Richard Axcell's 1955 Ford F-100 Pickup of Lynwood, California. The truck was restyled by Richard, Earl's Custom Shop and Barris. The Barris version was featured in Rod & Custom January 1959.
Joe Previte's 1958 Chevrolet Impala of Belmont, Massachusetts. In 1958 Joe drove his brand new Impala across the country to have Barris restyle it. The build was completed circa 1959.
Mitch Nagao's 1957 Ford Thunderbird. Known as The Xtura, Nagao's Thunderbird was shown at the 4th annual San Mateo Custom, Rod & Sports Car Show in January of 1959. It started appearing in magazines the same year.
Shirley Barris' 1958 Ford Thunderbird. Shirley was George's wife. The car was restyled by Barris Kustoms, and photos of it started appearing in magazines in 1959.
Jim Seaton's 1959 Chevrolet El Camino of Santa Maria, California. The car was restyled by Barris in 1959.
In 1959 Barris Kustoms debuted the futuristic XPAK 400, and according to George Barris, space styled customs was the latest rage of the year. Supposedly translated from Martian, the name meant air car, and that’s what it was. It had no wheels, transmission or rear end, but it moved on a five-inch cushion of air, and it was driveable on both land and water. In addition to huge fins and a groundbreaking sparkling Metalflake paint job, the XPAK 400 did also feature a plastic bubble top that had been vacuum formed over a male mold. A soft introduction and a hint about what the future held.
One of Junior's paychecks from Barris Kustom Automobiles. Issued in November of 1959, this was advertised for sale on eBay in March of 2020. Click here to check out the auction listing.
A photo of Barris Kustom City taken in the late 1950s or early 1960s while it still was located on Atlantic Blv in Lynwood
Accessories by Barris Kustom Automobiles.
An ad for Barris Kustom City "Goodies" and "Sneekers."
Barris-kustom-city.jpg
Don Fletcher's 1957 Chevrolet 210 of Del Paso Heights, California. The car is known as the "El Capitola," and it was the last collaboration between Sam and George Barris. The car was entirely built by Sam at his own shop in Charmichael near Sacramento, California. That is why the car was called El Capitola, as it was built in Sacramento, the capital of California. The build took two years to complete, and in February of 1960 it was shown at the Sacramento Autorama.
Joe Burgasser's 1959 Chevrolet Impala of Torrance, California. Restyled by Barris, the car was featured in Hot Rod November 1960.
George Barris bought Art and Lloyd Chrisman's 1930 Ford coupe in the early 1960s. After buying it, George modified it for its new roles in television’s “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” and on the traveling car show circuit.
Clarence Catallo's 1932 Ford coupe , also known as the Little Deuce Coupe, was chopped and repainted by Barris Kustoms around 1960/1961.
Chuck Potter's 1955 Chevrolet of South Gate, California. Restyled by Mersearu's Body Shop, the front was modified by installing a set of split quad headlights which were frenched to the fenders. The hood was nosed and recontoured to fit the 1958 Chrysler 300 grille that was mounted upside down. The taillights were frenched 1956 Packard units. An unique feature was the square Continental Kit that Barris Kustoms made. A photo of the car appeared in Trend Book 197 Custom Cars 1961 Annual.
Barris Kustom's 1957 Ford Ranchero. This was one of their shop trucks. In 1961 it was featured in Trend Book 197 Custom Cars 1961 Annual.
Ray Strappazon's 1958 Chevrolet Impala of Joliet, Illinois. In the early summer of 1961 Ray drove his Impala out to California to have Barris Kustoms restyle it.
Norman Wesp's 1959 Chevrolet Impala of Anoka, Minnesota. Restyled by Barris, the car was featured in Trend Book 197 Custom Cars 1961 Annual.
Tom Von Pertz's 1960 Chevrolet Impala of Lynwood, California. Tom was a member of the Tridents of Southern California, and his Impala featured a bright red paint job with a bright pearl stripe painted by Barris Auto in Lynwood. Barris painted the stripe circa 1961.
Yonny Koyama's 1959 Pontiac Bonneville was restyled in the 1960s.
Bob Crespo's 1940 Ford Coupe. Known as Les Po Po, the radical custom was restyled by Barris Kustoms, Cushenbery Custom Shop, and Hal Hutchins. In January of 1962, the car was shown at the 7th San Mateo Custom, Rod & Sports Car Show.
George Barris the customizer, trendsetter, and innovator. When Bob Behme of Car Craft Magazine asked George about his predictions for 1962, George told Bob that 1962 customs, whether made from new or old cars, would tend to be asymmetrical, built with styling embodying off-set design. "Asymmetrical styling has been exhibited in the past, but such designs have been rare," George told Behme. "Asymmetrical styling will be the big design news in 1962. You will see floating headlights and off-set scoops coupled with the concept of off-balance, radical styling." This photo shows George behind his desk. Several of the concepts on the wall behind George features asymmetrical styling. Photo from The Brad Masterson Collection.
Dick Axcell’s Candy Red Pearl 1962 Ford Thunderbird was one of the first asymmetrical customs to appear on the West Coast. Restyled by George Barris and his talented crew of craftsmen at Barris Kustoms, the build made its debut in 1962. The list of modifications included a unique off-set headlight, an asymmetrical grille, and an asymmetrical hood scoop. Mild alterations that still resulted in a dramatic and futuristic front end.
In an attempt to get into the youth market, Ford Motor Company teamed up with AMT to launch the "Custom Car Caravan" in 1962. Together they wanted to create and campaign customized and performance-themed Fords. Or, as Ed Roth described it in his book, "making sure all of Ford's stuff was in the car shows around the country." The first cars were built in-house, but it didn't take long before Ford started to commission famous customizers such as George Barris, the Alexander Brothers, Bill Cushenbery, and Gene Winfield to dream up and execute life-size Ford customs.
Barris Kustom City - The World's Largest Automotive Center. George Barris was a businessman with big ambitions, and in the 1950s and the 1960s, he wanted Barris Kustoms to be the place for all your custom needs. A one-stop custom shop offering services such as designing and construction, color and paint perfection, and accessories and speed equipment. But, as you can see on this business card, insurance, stock collision, and paintwork were also important sources of income for the shop. Photo courtesy of The Kustomrama Business Card Collection.
Jeannie O'Neal's 1962 Ford Thunderbird of Bakersfield, California. Barris restyled the Thunderbird for Jeannie in 1963.
Larry Johnson's 1962 Sanger SK drag-boat. Known as "Tutoom," Johnson's boat featured a pearl red, white and blue paint job by George Barris. It was upholstered by Eddie Martinez in pearl white. Photo courtesy of Larry Johnson.
George Barris' 1963 Buick Riviera of Encino, California. George, who owned and operated Barris Kustom City in North Hollywood, California, designed the car himself. Known as "The Villa Riviera Buick," the build was completed in 1963. In 1964 a white iteration of the car appeared in the popular Surf-movie "For Those Who Think Young".
Bob Nordskog's 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, The Asteroid, was restyled by Barris Kustoms in 1963.
The Cosma Ray was a bubble topped Corvette that was restyled by Barris and Darryl Starbird circa 1964.
Ken Cohen's 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was also restyled by Barris.
A photo of Jay Everett's Astra Coupe in front of Barris Kustom City. When the photo was taken, Astra’s new owner was Dick Hoy, another one of the gear heads associated with George Barris’ shop, who reportedly took the car to Barris’ for a freshening that probably included a repaint in blue. It’s believed Barris was eager to get his hands on the car as it had been upstaging other custom creations on the show circuit for some time.
George Barris designed an asymmetrical single-headlight radiator grille shell for Andy Kassa's 1932 Ford 3-window coupe circa 1964-1965. George did also fit the Coupe with a unique taillight assembly, and he came up with the idea of painting the car in multiple tones of violet, purple, and lilac.
Barris did also restyle a matching 1957 Ford Thunderbird for Andy Kassa.
Don and Milly Lokey's 1927 Ford Model T Roadster Pick Up of Fresno, California. Known as "T Plus II," the car was designed and built by Barris Kustoms circa 1964-65. In 1966 Don and Milly won the America's Most Beautiful Roadster award with the car. Photo by Bud Lang, courtesy of the Petersen Archive.
George Barris with his employees at Barris Kustom City. Photo courtesy of Jeffrey B. Goldstein.
Barris Kustoms built the Tastee Big "T" show rod for Tastee Freez fast food company in 1966.
The Geoffreymobile was a double-decker hot rod bus that Barris Kustoms built for Toys 'R' Us. Used as a promotion vehicle, the design of the truck was a group effort by the CMO of Toys 'R' Us Gordon Summer, George Barris, and Dick Dean. In April of 2021, Gordon told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama that they had a giraffe family as their mascots. "There was Geoffrey, his wife Gigi, Baby Gee, and Junior. They were featured in our advertising on TV and in newspapers. They made personal appearances at store openings and at special events, like the White House Easter Egg Hunt. But how could they travel from one location to another? Answer: a London Double Decker style hotrod bus with the second floor removed in order to fit the giraffes. I hired the infamous George Barris (of Batmobile fame) to build it for us. We debuted it at the New York Auto Show in 1981, right at the top of the escalator in the Coliseum with George, himself, greeting guests and signing autographs."[3]
Justin Hocking's 1951 Ford Coupe of Melbourne, Australia. Originally owned by California customizer Johnny Miranda in 1980s, the car was sold to Australia in 2015. Rumored to be an old Barris Kustom, it came with a Certificate of Authenticy signed by George Barris.

Barris Kustoms was a Southern California custom body shop owned and operated by the brothers George and Sam Barris.


The Early Years

George and Sam Barris were early custom pioneers. Little brother George learned the craft in the Sacramento area before World War II by hanging around Harry Westergard's garage.[4] George began helping Harry whenever time would permit. He carefully followed the instructions of his new friend who eventually taught him such necessary formalities as layout and paneling. Doing these odd jobs at Westergard's shop brought in a little extra money. With the money George bought a 1936 Ford Coupe, the first car in which he had sole interest. Between the staggering amount of school and working with Westergard, George also found time to work on his coupe. The Ford was completed in 1941. Interest in his various studies was still foremost, and George began studying harder than ever. In addition to the courses already mentioned, he took up shop work, mechanical drawing, designing, and an additional course including singing and orchestration. In 1942 Sam Barris joined the Army, while George was turned down. George turned to the Merchant Marine, and was subsequently told to go to Los Angeles and await assignment to a ship. George packed his belongings, including what body tools he had managed to accumulate, and headed southward in his customized 1936 Ford convertible. His new friends in Los Angeles lauded George on the fine job. Such things as push button doors and deck lids were practically unknown, so his new friends urged him to stay and do body work if he could arrange it.[4]


Jones's Body, Fender & Paint Shop

George was never assigned to a ship. He got a job in a body and fender shop, but that didn't last long as the foreman demanded George to straighten fenders. George wanted to chop or channel something,[4] so he quit the job and went to work for Jones's Body, Fender & Paint Shop instead. At Jones' he worked his way up to foreman. According to George he gained a lot of basic experience while working at Jones's Body, Fender & Paint Shop.[5]


George's First Shop in Bell

A couple of different stories on how Barris Kustoms was born exists. According to the books The Big Book of Barris and Barris Kustom Techniques of the 50's Volume 1, George opened up his own small shop on Imperial Highway in Bell, California late in 1944. When Sam was discharged from the Navy the following year, George persuaded him to join the venture despite his lack of experience. In Hop Up May 1953 another version of the story is told. According to that story Sam looked up his long lost brother in Los Angeles in 1945 after being discharged from the Navy, in order to find out what he was up to. George and Sam sat down and talked about old times. The old 1925 Buick came up, and the boys had a good laugh remembering the work they had done to the old jalopy. In the middle of the conversation George said "Hey, man, I've got an idea. Let's go into the custom business together!" Sam reminded him that he had no experience as either a bodyman or as a painter, except from the work he had done to the old Buick. George began teaching Sam, and after a few weeks, he decided that his older brother would pass for a body man.[6]


The Imperial Avenue Shop

After Sam had knocked out some reasonable bodywork, the two brothers pooled their resources and rented a small shop on Imperial Avenue in Los Angeles in 1946. The first few months of the new enterprise were hard, but as Sam became proficient at bodywork the business began picking up.[6]


The 7674 Compton Avenue Shop

It didn't take long before Sam and George had outgrown the Imperial Avenue shop, so they quickly moved to a larger location at 7674 Compton Avenue in Los Angeles. The new shop was located in an old double garage, and the move is believed to have found place later on in 1946. After moving the shop, they changed the name to "Barris's Custom Shop". According to Barris Kustom Techniques of the 50's Volume 1, they were an official Brake Station at the time, something that helped improve the cash flow day to day.[7]In 2011 Johnny Zaro told Trend Books Editor Justin Kudolla that there were actually two shops on that Compton Avenue address. "The one next door, I can't even think of the fella's name, but he rented that to George. It was the fella who owned the property, he had a brake shop right on the corner. They put in one of the magazines that George had the brake shop and all of that, but he didn't have anything to do with that. He just rented the one side out."[8]


The Zaro and Andril Mercs

After being discharged from the Navy in 1947, Johnny Zaro and Al Andril decided to buy a pair of 1940 Mercury's to cruise around in. During their conversations about the coupes, they decided to have the tops chopped. Al had heard about the Barris brothers, so the buddies decided to pay the young customizers a visit. In 2011 Justin Kudolla interviewed Johnny about his Merc. Johnny told Justin that he and Al were both down in San Pedro at the time, waiting to get discharged when Al found the shop. George and Sam Barris convinced Johnny and Al that several other modifications should be done to the car as well, in addition to the chop. Sam started out restyling Al's coupe. Every time Johnny and Al had a chance, they would get out and go up to Barris Kustoms and work on the cars. "See, when you had George work on your car in those days, it wasn't going to be done unless you got down there and worked on it too. Most of it was easy work, like sanding or some little thing, they did all the major work, believe me. It was at nighttime a lot of times. We couldn't get up there in the daytime. Sometimes George would be there until 12 or 1 am, something like that, if he was spraying something. But as far as bodywork, he would get done at maybe 5 or 6 o' clock. And when I knew George he was living in nothing but a garage with a dirt floor and a little bathroom in Huntington Park. And from there, he got a step up; he started living in Warren Breeland's mother's home over near the shop. Warren, he was going to UCLA. I don't know where George lived when he had the shop in Bell." Johnny told Justin that there used to be a fellow that lived right across the street from the shop named Gordo. Gordo used to work for George doing body and fender work.[8]


George Barris' 1941 Buick Convertible

Running Barris Kustoms was a struggle until George's 1941 Buick custom won top honors at the first Hot Rod Exposition Show at the National Guard Armory in Los Angeles in January 1948. Winning that show put Barris on the map.[7] George soon realized that their shop on Compton Avenue was slightly out of the magazines' reach, so in order to get their cars promoted through the growing amount of hot rod and custom magazines, he learned to take magazine quality photos of their cars and work. When Robert E. Petersen founded Hot Rod Magazine in 1948, he called George and asked if he had some pictures he could contribute with in the magazine. This resulted in a lot of press, both in the form of full features, and how-to stories in many different magazines from all over the country. As a result of this, customers began bringing cars in from the middle West and the East.[9]


Back to Bell

The Compton Avenue shop that had seemed so large in the beginning proved to be too small to house all of the cars that customers brought in, so the brothers were forced to move to an even larger shop at 4120-1/2 East Florence Avenue in Bell in 1949.[10] On the top of the business cards from the Bell shop George put the names "Barris - Hector - John". Hector and John referred to Hector Savadra and John Manok, two bodymen that worked for George at the time.[2]


Moving to Lynwood

Barris Kustoms were only in the Bell shop for a short time, long enough to run a 1/2 page ad with Gaylord in Motor Trend February 1950. Within 6 months or so, George and Sam moved their business to 11054 S. Atlantic Blvd. in Lynwood.[10] Not only did the the size of the shop have to be increased, the staff had to be expanded as well.[4] After moving the shop to Lynwood business really took off, and they were working all hours of the night and day.[10]


Dick Jackson

A 14 years old kid named Dick Jackson lived in Lynwood. He had a Whizzer bike, and used to stop by the shop everyday on the way home from school. A rope kept visitors out of the shop, so the workers would not be disturbed by curious by-passers. Dick used to stand outside the rope and stare into the shop. One day Sam said "Hey, we're getting tired of you staring at us. You want a job here?" At the time the Manok brothers, John Manok and Ralph Manok, worked there along with Bill Ortega and Sam and George. Dick said yes, and he started to sweep the floors. He was told not to sweep any tools or parts. Dick wasn't paid, but he felt lucky to be on the other side of the rope. While working at the shop George gave Dick the nickname "Peep", telling him "you're only a peep". After six months Sam told Dick that he was doing a good job, and that they were going to start paying him 22 cents an hour. He took parts off, put parts to be used in one pile, other parts in the shed up front, and on the other side. Peep advanced from being a broom boy to becoming the spotlight guy. When George got tired of installing spotlights, he passed the task on to Dick.[11]


Dick was still going to school. He had a paper route in the morning, and lived at home. He was learning at the shop, and he became good friends with Sam. Sam told him more what to do then George, and he was even his babysitter when Sam and his wife wanted to go to a show. Dick would watch the two kids as a favor, and Sam would do favors for Dick. Dick's first car was a 1939 Chevrolet sedan, a pretty, clean and stock car. The first thing Sam told Dick was that he had to put some primer spots on it to make it look like it belonged at the shop. Next he came in and gave Dick a full set of Cadillac Sombreros, telling Dick that he needed those. They found a way to screw them on before Sam told Dick that they had to lower the car. Sam gave Dick blocks for the back and they figured how to lower the knee action in front. Finally he came in with a new set of original teardrop skirts for the car. At the time Sam was teaching Dick how to sand and mask. They were taking him through phases, and Dick did a lot of block sanding on the Hirohata Merc. The first thing he ever painted on a car was the dashboard and steering column on Bob Hirohata's 1951 Mercury. By 1952 he was learning how to weld. George had strict rules, and one of these was that all seams had to be fully welded or brazed, not tacked, before leading, so they wouldn't crack later. Back then they did most everything in brazing, and the welding they did was done with coat hangers as the metal was softer and it flowed easier, almost like lead.[12] In 1952, Nick Alexander stopped by Barris Kustoms in order to find out exactly how much it would cost to have a car restyled by Barris Kustoms. The story was published in Motor Trend December 1952 under the name "What is the Cost of Customizing?". According to this story a "Conservative Restyling" in 1952 would run between $300 and $1500. A "Radical Restyling" would run around $2500, while "Complete Jobs" were from $5000 to $10,000.[13]


As Dick Jackson started making more money he bought a 1952 Ford. He started working on it in the shop, and he remembers that you could always work on your own car in the shop after hours. Everybody had their own key, and everyone worked on their cars in the shop after work. Saturday was payday, and sometimes on payday George would be short of money. He then told Dick that they were even as he had used some primer and some paper. If George wouldn't pay him, and he was short of money that week, he would go work somewhere else. When Sam heard that Dick had been working for George Cerny, he would kick him out, telling him not to work for the competition. "You are loyal to us" Sam told Dick. Both Sam and George had a temper. Sam wasn't quite as bad as George. Dick remembers that if you heard George started cussin' and yellin', everybody in the shop would duck for the floor. When Dick worked for Sam and George, George would come in clean, put his dirty clothes on, and get down on the floor weld and cut like everyone else in the shop. George would weld and lead, and he painted everything back then. Sometime around 1955 he moved up to Hollywood, sharing a house with Bill Carr in the Hollywood Hills. He wouldn't come in until after noon, and the guys would have a car ready for him to paint. Normal hours at the shop were 8 a.m. to 6 or 7 p.m. George would stay late because he came in around noon. The reason for this was primarily because he'd be at the Peterson office in the morning working on articles or books. Sam who had a family, quit at 5 p.m.[12]


As George Barris began promoting his business through stories published in hot rod and custom magazines, the little custom shop on Atlantic Blvd. became known all over the country during the mid to late 1950s. Many well known custom builders have spent some time at Barris' customizing cars. Some worked full time while other worked part time every now and then. Several went on to establish their own shop, or work for other builders. One of these was Hers "Junior" Conway. After graduating from high school in 1955, Junior went to work for Barris as a trainee. He started during the Easter of 1955, and worked until the summer, putting in 60 hours a week at $1 per hour. During the summer of 1955, George told Junior that he wasn't worth that much, so he quit and worked at another shop. Gerorge asked Junior back in the summer of 1956, and he always got paid after that. In June of 1956, one month after Junior came back, Sam left the shop.[12] As Barris Kustoms was progressing, Sam was unhappy with his life. Family pressure, the wants for an easy-paced life and the need to return to Roseville all boiled down, and Sam moved back to northern California. At the time he left there were a lot of projects going on in the shop, The Aztec was one of these. The Aztec was one of the last full custom projects Sam worked on. Sam continued to do some custom work in Sacramento at Barris North. But Sam wanted out of the industry, and the El Capitola was the last full custom he completed in 1960. After Sam left, Barris Kustoms were still creating custom cars and hot rods at fast pace. About the same time, Dick Jackson started working other places as well. He would work for shops that paid better, then come back at night and work but take it out in trade for working on his own car. When he finally was the head painter at Barris Kustoms, full time, he had around $2.45 an hour. This was just before the fire, in 1957. He had his 1957 Thunderbird then. When Junior returned to Barris in the summer of 1956 he and Curly Hulbert were the only full-time employees in addition to George. Lyle Lake came and went at the time. Frank Sonzogni was a policeman, and worked only part-time. Bill DeCarr worked full time at the Ford plant in Pico Riviera, and part time at the shop, and Dale Bird, "The Fireman" did also only work part-time. Dick Jackson left Barris not long after the fire, in 1958, to start his own shop, a body shop and custom car studio called Dick's Paint and Body Studio in Compton. Dick was typical of most employees at Barris at the time, both in coming and going and working after hours or part time.[12]


Von Dutch was working at a motorcycle shop in the vicinity and had a reputation for being a good striper and painter. George Barris hired Von Dutch on a part time basis to do paint work for Barris Kustoms. The first job Von Dutch did for Barris Kustoms was to paint the business sign on the outside of the building. According to himself he fooled with the spelling and came up with a "K" instead of a "C" to spell custom, and thereby establishing the Barris' phrase "Kustom Car."[14] While still working out of his shop on 7674 Compton Avenue "Barris's Custom Shop" used the phrase "Kustom Automobiles" and "Kustom Auto Painting" in their advertising. So I guess this kills Von Dutch's story. Von Dutch worked for a while as a "house striper" at Barris Kustoms. But according to Hersh Conway in the book Dean Jeffries 50 Fabulous Years in Hot Rods, Racing and Film, Von Dutch was too moody.[15] Von Dutch was very eccentric, and would get angry if you asked too many questions. If you said something he didn't like he would either paint something stupid, wipe the stripes off your car, or put oil in the paint so your pinstriping wouldn't dry.[14] So George eventually had to let him go. Until Dean Jeffries began practicing pinstriping, Von Dutch had been the only one around doing modern striping. After the word got out that Dean Jeffries, "The Kid" was a pretty good pinstriper George Barris called him and asked if he could do some striping on Johnny Zupan's 1949 Mercury. After he had pinstriped the car, George asked if Dean would work for him. Dean said that he didn't want to work for him, but that he would gladly rent some space from him. George agreed, and Dean moved in to a little spot next door to the Barris Kustoms shop in 1956. Jeffries had now become the new Barris Kustoms "house striper." After the shop fire in 1957 Dean moved into the front of the new building where he rented space alongside Roy Gilbert, the upholsterer.[5] Custom painting was a major part of Barris' operation, and junior Conway emphasized that most of the scallops, panels and similar designs on vehicles like the Ala Kart, Dream Truck, Chilli Catallo's 1932 Ford coupe and so on were laid out and sprayed by either Junior or George, before Jeffries pinstriped.[12]


The Shop Fire

Wednesday December 4th, 1957, during a windy and wet early evening storm a power line strung along the boundary at the back of the shop and sent a shower of sparks on the rear of the shop and started a smoldering fire. Dean Jeffries who worked at the shop at the time was having dinner right across the street. He was the first person to spot the fire and raise the alarm. He stormed into the shop and saved Carol Lewis' 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air that was located inside the shop at the moment. Carol Lewis was Dean Jeffries girlfriend at the time. The firefighters managed to stop the fire just short of the Ala Kart. According to the book Dean Jeffries 50 Fabulous Years in Hot Rods, Racing and Film, 14 cars were destroyed in the fire, including the Wild Kat, Jayne Mansfield's Jaguar, Archie Moore's Jaguar,[15] Bobby Yamazaki's 1954 Mercury and Ron Guidry's 1936 Ford[16] According to Jet December 19, 1957 the number was 12, and not 14. In the same story George estimated the total loss to be $250,000, with the cars valued at $ 100,000 USD.[17] After the fire the insurance company refused to pay compensation, and claimed the fire was an act of God.


Rebuilding the Shop

After the shop fire, George had Gene Simmons take over as general manager so George could concentrate on getting the business back in order. One section of the shop was not touched by the fire, so he set up the workshop there and renovated the rest of the shop. George also extended the shop out back, and added space up front for a Kustom Accessories store and a pinstriping shop that he continued to rent out to Dean Jeffries.[15] One day George called Larry Watson and asked if he could do some panel paint on the Rod & Custom Magazine’s Dream Truck. George had just started painting Candies, and he would shot this Candy Lime over silver. There were a few mistakes, so he called Watson and asked if he could cover them up with scallops in Candy Burgundy over silver metallic. In 1958, not long after painting the Rod & Custom Magazine’s Dream Truck George called Larry again, and asked if he could take over the paint department while he, Dean Jeffries and Bill Carr were going east on a 2 month tour with The Aztec and The kopper Kart. When George called they were building a pizza parlor in front of Larry's shop, so he said ok.[5] At the time, Junior Conway was just a prep boy, but Junior did eventually become the primary painter at Barris Kustoms, and he worked for George until 1961.[15] While George was away, Bill Hines cruised by the shop in his chopped and finned 1950 Ford named the Li'l Bat. Bill had moved from Lincoln Park to California in April of 1958. He brought the whole family in a house trailer along with the Li'l Bat. Bill met Gene Simmons, the manager. He saw Bill's custom and asked who did it? Bill told him that he had built it. This was a wednesday, and Gene, also called Gino, told Bill that he could use somebody right now. Bill told him he could start on Monday, but Gino replied "How about tomorrow?" Bill loaded his toolbox and started the next day. He can't remember what he did first, but Larry Watson said that he did all of the work on his 1958 Ford Thunderbird. When George returned from his trip, he saw Bill in the shop working on a car. He kept looking at Bill for days, without saying much. According to Bill, George was a fussy man, but the reason why he stared was that Bill was doing so good, working extremly fast, something that impressed George.[12] When Dean Jeffries returned from his trip back east, Dean and Larry were kicking ass together, knocking out three or four scallop and flame jobs a day, and pinstriping their asses off in between. After about four months Larry relocated back to his own shop in Bellflower.[5] The walls were beginning to close in on Dean Jeffries at the time, and he saw a demand for his business growing to compete with Barris instead of complementing Barris. Jeffries pulled up stakes and moved his shop to Hollywood. A move that would help start his career building cars for movies.[15] Bill Hines stayed at Barris for about 9 months, working on cars such as Dave Cunningham's 1940 Ford, Mitch Nagao's 1957 Ford Thunderbird and Shirley Barris' 1958 Ford Thunderbird. He left the day before Christmas, moving back to Detroit. He stayed in Detroit all of 1959, before he came back to Barris in October of 1960. George wouldn't pay Bill more than $100 a week, so after a couple of months, when a building came up for rent next to Eddie Martinez, Bill started doing part-time work there. One day George called Bill in the office saying "Hey Willy, I hear you got a shop" He was pretty hot-headed in those days according to Bill, and told him he couldn't make it. But Bill was there for 23 years, running his own shop named Bill Hines Kustom Auto. George had respect for Bill, they were still friends, and Bill continued doing some sub-contracting for George when the shop was busy.[12]


Show Promotions

Throughout the 1950s George worked extensively with show promoters all over the country, but especially in California. George saw the opportunity to make good money there, so with the help of his wife Shirley Barris, as his show manager, he organized several shows, including the International Motor Sports Show in Hollywood in 1959, and the first annual Bakersfield Motor & Boat Show in Bakersfield, California, in 1960. Doing the shows turned out to be very time consuming, so George went back to working with other show promoter such as Harry Costa, Blackie Gejeian, Harold Bagdasarian, and Bob Larivee.


Barris Kustom City

During the 1950s Barris Kustoms had turned out numerous TV and movie cars, and George was perfectly positioned to seek more work in that arena. The main focus of Barris Kustoms in the 1960s turned over to doing commercial work for the movie industry and the model car business. The model car business had long been one of George's great interests. He worked with AMT, which turned his long line of customs and hot rods into scale models. The Ala Kart had become the basis for one of AMT's most popular kits, and AMT Vice President George Toteff could see that his company's association with George Barris and Barris Kustoms was distinctly to its advantage. Budd Anderson from AMT and George Barris got together with Toteff and came up with a plan to create cars for AMT that would serve as prototypes for model kits. The first of these cars was the AMT Styleline Thunderbird issued in 1961. AMT created the Custom Car Caravan which toured the country showing the AMT Styline Thunderbird. The Custom Car Caravan became the seed for the Ford Custom Car Caravan. Late in 1961 George moved his business to Riverside Drive in North Hollywood. The new shop, named Barris Kustom City, was a huge facility capable of any sort of auto building and service. His association with the Ford Custom Car Caravan put enormous pressure on the shop.[12] In 1963, Junior Conway who had been George's primary painter, went on his own, and opened up Junior's House of Color in South Gate. When Junior left, George hired Kerry Camper as his new custom painter. Kerry worked for Barris Kustoms from 1963 to 1964.[18]


In the mid 1960s Barris Kustom City was busy building cars For the Ford Custom Car Caravan. One morning William Dozier, a TV producer rang George and asked how quickly he could come up with a car for the new Batman TV Series he was producing for ABC. "A couple of weeks" answered George. Working with the Ford Custom Car Caravan George had made good connections with Ford Motor Company, so three weeks later he could delivered a finished Batmobile based on the Lincoln Futura Concept Car.


After doing the Batmobile Mercury marketers had seen what George and Barris Kustom City could do, so they got in touch with George wanting him to also build them some unique cars for their own Caravan of Stars Program. David Ash, the head of Mercury Design, contracted Barris Kustom City to build two special cars: a shortened Mercury Marauder, and a full-bodied coach-built custom called the Escapade.


After the Marauder and the Escapade Barris Kustom City built the Munster Koack and the Drag-u-la for the 1966 TV season of the Munsters TV series.


Toward the end of the 1960s the customizing business changed dramatically. Detroit was building some real fun cars, and the auto accessory aftermarket was booing with wheels, body kits, decal packages, and tons of chromed and polished aluminum accessories. George could see this trend clearly, and after having created a lot of accessory items for other companies he started to manufacture items of his own. His Instant Customizing line included body kits and other conversions for Firebirds, Camaros, Cadillacs, Barracudas, and Marlins.


George Barris ran the business at 10811 Riverside Drive in North Hollywood, California until he passed away in 2015. In 2009 George told DiecastSpace that he was done with old shoeboxes and Mercuries, and that his main focus those days were in designing and kustomizing new cars such as the Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Camaro, and the Dodge Challenger.


Employees of Barris Kustoms

Bill DeCarr
Bill Hines
Bill Polk
Curly Hurlbert
Dale Bird
Dean Jeffries
Dick Dean
Dick Jackson
Dick Kraft
Dick Sellars
Earl Harman
Frank Sonzogni
Gene Simmons
Hector Ruble
Hector Savadra
Jerry Quesnel
Jesse Lopez
John Manok
Jocko Johnson
Junior Conway
Kerry Camper : 1963 - 1964
Larry Watson
Lloyd Bakan
Louie Stojanovich
Lyle Lake
Michael Gale Black
Oran Breeland
Ralph Manok
Richard "Korky" Korkes
Robert Ruble
Skip Barrett
Steve Tansy
Ted Long
Tom Chafin
Tom Daniel
Tom McMullen


Cars Restyled by Barris Kustoms

The Cal-Loui Roadster
George Barris Track Roadster
Chet Herbert's Streamliner
The Cadillac LeMans
The Ala Kart
Les Callahan's 1922 Dodge Roadster Pickup
Don and Milly Lokey's 1927 Ford Model T Roadster Pick Up - T Plus II
Joe Graffio's 1927 Ford Model T Roadster
Chuck Kirkorian's 1929 Ford Model A Roadster - The Emperor
Jack McDermott's 1929 Ford Roadster
Tom Pollard's 1929 Ford Roadster
Art and Lloyd Chrisman's 1930 Ford Model A Bonneville Coupe
Andy Kassa's 1932 Ford 3-Window Coupe
Clarence Catallo's 1932 Ford Coupe - The Silver Sapphire / The Little Deuce Coupe
George Sein's 1932 Ford 5 Window Coupe - The Flamer
Richard Strock's 1932 Ford
Gil Lippincott's 1934 Ford Tudor
Ed Pink's 1934 Ford 3-Window Coupe
Jim Griepsma's 1934 Ford 3-Window Coupe
George Barris' 1936 Ford Coupe
George Barris' 1936 Ford Convertible
Ron Guidry's 1936 Ford 5-Window Coupe
Dick Fowler's 1938 Ford Coupe
Mickey Chiachi's 1939 Ford
Sam Barris' 1939 Ford Convertible
Bill Spurgeon's 1939 Mercury Coupe
Jim Kierstead's 1939 Mercury Coupe
Bob Crespo's 1940 Ford Coupe - Les Po Po
Dave Cunningham's 1940 Ford Sedan - The Li'l Beauty
Tom Hocker's 1940 Ford
Fred Pape's 1940 LaSalle
Al Andril's 1940 Mercury Coupe
Dick Owens' 1940 Mercury Convertible
John Vara's 1941 Ford Convertible
Johnny Zaro's 1940 Mercury Coupe
Nick Matranga's 1940 Mercury
George Barris' 1941 Buick Convertible
Herb Ogden's 1941 Buick Convertible
Var Martin's 1941 Buick
Vic Grace's 1941 Buick
Dick Arkline's 1941 Chevrolet
Dick Carter's 1941 Ford
Frank Monteleon's 1941 Ford
George Janich's 1941 Ford Business Coupe
Jack Stewart's 1941 Ford
Jesse Lopez' 1941 Ford
Joe Barnett's 1941 Ford Pickup
Joe Graffio's 1941 Ford
Joe Urritta's 1941 Ford
Johnny Zaro's 1941 Ford Convertible
Bill DeCarr's 1941 Mercury
Bob Kierstead's 1941 Mercury Convertible
Bob Tormey's 1941 Mercury
Ann Reynolds' 1942 Ford
Anne De Valle's 1942 Ford Club Coupe
Jack Brumbach's 1942 Ford
Ben Mario's 1947 Buick
Don Vaughn's 1947 Buick
George Sinamark's 1947 Buick
Cliff Rockohn's 1947 Mercury Coupe
John Logg's 1947 Mercury Coupe
Earl Wilson's 1947 Studebaker-The Grecian
Tommy Thornburgh's 1947 Studebaker
Louie Stojanovich's 1947 Plymouth
The High School Confidential 1948 Chevrolets
Bob Petersen's 1948 Cisitalia 202 Coupe
Larry Robins' 1948 Mercury Coupe
Jim Skonzakes' 1949 Buick Roadmaster
Lawrence Kilty's 1949 Cadillac
Bill Taylor's 1949 Chevrolet Convertible
Bob Hirohata's 1949 Chevrolet
Carl Abajian's 1949 Chevrolet Convertible
Dan Landon's 1949 Chevrolet
Gordon Anderson's 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline
Marcia Campbell's 1949 Chevrolet Convertible
Richard Riuz' 1949 Chevrolet Convertible
Tom Carroll's 1949 Chevrolet
Barris Kustoms' 1949 Ford Woody Wagon
Buster Litton's 1949 Ford
Gene Harkins' 1949 Ford Club Coupe
Michael Violante's 1949 Ford Convertible
Bill Busch's 1949 Mercury
Jerry Quesnel's 1949 Mercury
Johnny Zupan's 1949 Mercury
Louie Bettancourt's 1949 Mercury
Sam Barris' 1949 Mercury
Robert La Briola's 1949 Oldsmobile
Helen Manning's 1950 Chevrolet Fleetline
Al Hentch's 1950 Ford Convertible
Chuck DeWitt's 1950 Ford Convertible
Curt Mendalson's 1950 Ford
Don Fiedlar's 1950 Ford Convertible
Fred Calvin's 1950 Ford
Junior Conway's 1950 Ford
Roy Hansen's 1950 Ford
Bob Muccilli's 1950 Hudson Pacemaker
Bob Lund's 1950 Mercury
Buddy Alcorn's 1950 Mercury
Dale Marshall's 1950 Mercury
Frank Sonzogni's 1950 Mercury
Jerry Reichman's 1950 Mercury 4-door
Ralph Testa's 1950 Mercury
Wally Welch's 1950 Mercury
Larry Ernst's 1951 Chevrolet - The Bel Air Royal
Pete Chiello's 1951 Ford Victoria
Bob Hirohata's 1951 Mercury
Dave Bugarin's 1951 Mercury
Fred Rowe's 1951 Mercury Convertible
Mandy Holder's 1951 Mercury
Don Hurley's 1951 Oldsmobile 88 - The Kopper Dust
Frank Airheart's 1951 Oldsmobile 98 Convertible
Lyle Lake's 1952 Buick Riviera - The Blue Danube
Dick Simoni's 1952 Chevrolet Convertible
Larry Lee's 1952 Chevrolet Bel Air
Ron Fagundes' 1952 Ford Victoria - The Ronbardue Kart
Sam Barris' 1952 Ford
Clark Gable's 1952 Jaguar XK 120
Nobby Miyakawa's 1952 Mercury Monterey
Anthony Heinsbergen's Muntz
Jack Nethercutt's 1952 Oldsmobile - The Viennese
Allen Bobys' 1953 Dodge Convertible
Albert Gogola's 1953 Ford
Chuck DeWitt's 1953 Ford Station Wagon
Dick Meyer's 1953 Ford
Harry Karl's 1953 Cadillac Le Mans Concept Car
Barry Goldwater's 1953 Jaguar XK-120
Jim Skonzakes' 1953 Lincoln Capri - The Golden Sahara
Bob Zoll's 1953 Mercury
Buck Gallegos' 1953 Mercury
Archie Moore's 1953 Nash-Healey
Bill Glazier and Bob Glazier's 1953 Oldsmobile
Ed Sloan's 1953 Plymouth
Bruce Bartlett's 1953 Studebaker Starlight Coupe
Tod Clare's 1954 Austin-Healey
Sal Mammano's 1954 Buick Roadmaster Riviera
Milton Melton's 1954 Cadillac - The Parisienne
Liberace's 1954 Cadillac
Martin Srabian and Morris Srabian's 1954 Ford Pickup - The Wild Kat
Bobby Yamazaki's 1954 Mercury
Ronnie Dragoo's 1954 Mercury
Don Chapman's 1954 Studebaker
Merlin Windham's 1955 Buick - "Dragon Wagon"
Bill Carr's 1955 Chevrolet - The Aztec
Chuck Potter's 1955 Chevrolet
Harry Hoskin's 1955 Chevrolet
Jim Seaton's 1955 Chevrolet
John McLaughlin's 1955 Chevrolet
Sam Barris' 1955 Chevrolet
Bill Burnett's 1955 Ford Crown Victoria
Dick Day's 1955 Ford Thunderbird
George Contaoi's 1955 Ford F-100
Richard Axcell's 1955 Ford F-100
Ted Long's 1955 Ford F-100 - The Green Mist
James Dean's 1955 Porsche Spyder 550
George Barris' 1955 Chevrolet Truck - The Kopper Kart
Carol Lewis' 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air
George Barris' 1956 Lincoln Continental
Don Coulter's 1956 Oldsmobile 88
Frank Monteleone's 1956 Ford
Johnny Zupan's 1956 Ford F-100[19]
The El Capitola
George Barris' 1956 Continental Mark II
Andy Kassa's 1957 Ford Thunderbird
Barris Kustom's 1957 Ford Ranchero
Buddy Alcorn's 1957 Ford
Dick Jackson's 1957 Ford Thunderbird
Mitch Nagao's 1957 Ford Thunderbird - The Xtura
Archie Moore's Jaguar
Andy Southard's 1958 Chevrolet Impala
Joe Previte's 1958 Chevrolet Impala
Ray Strappazon's 1958 Chevrolet Impala
Larry Watson's 1958 Ford Thunderbird - Vino Pasiano / The Burgundy Bird
Shirley Barris' 1958 Ford Thunderbird
Spencer Murray's 1958 Chevrolet Pickup
Jim Seaton's 1959 Chevrolet El Camino
Joe Burgasser's 1959 Chevrolet Impala
Norman Wesp's 1959 Chevrolet Impala
Yonny Koyama's 1959 Pontiac Bonneville
Tom Von Pertz's 1960 Chevrolet Impala
Dick Axcell's 1962 Ford Thunderbird
Jeannie O'Neal's 1962 Ford Thunderbird
George Barris' 1963 Buick Riviera - The Villa Riviera
Bob Nordskog's 1963 Chevrolet Corvette - The Asteroid
Ken Cohen's 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
The Cosma Ray
The XPAK 400
The Calico Surfer
Tastee Big "T"
The Geoffreymobile


References

Barris Kustoms of the 1950s
Barris Kustoms of the 1960s
The Rodders Journal Number 39
Take a Ride on The Wild Side with George Barris!




 

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