Bobby Massaron's 1956 Chevrolet Convertible - The Venturian
1956 Chevrolet Convertible restyled by the Alexander Brothers for Bobby Massaron of Detroit, Michigan. Bobby bought the car in 1958, after selling his first car, a 1948 Ford Tudor. He had heard about the Alexander Brothers and seen some of the cars they had restyled, so he decided to have them do some work on his car. "The first thing I had them do was put the sunken aerials in with a little peek between them," he told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in 2021. "Then they filled the hood and the trunk and shaved the door handles." Bobby started restyling the car while he was in high school. "I started going out to their very first shop and having them do a little work at a time on my car." Back then, he worked in a body shop in Detroit. While having the car reworked, he got laid off. He told the Alexander Brothers, and Larry Alexander said, "Well, why don't you come work for us?" Bobby worked for the Alexander Brothers in the late 1950s and the early 1960s before he went into the Army. "I used to prep and sand cars. Then after a while, I started doing custom interiors." Known as The Venturian, the first iteration of Bobby's 56 was completed circa 1960. It was painted Candy Apple Red and ran a white custom upholstery and a white padded top.
The Second Iteration
Designed by Harry Bradley, the second iteration of the Venturian was restyled in 1964. In 1965, it won the prestigious Don Ridler Memorial Award at the Detroit Autorama. James Giovanni grew up reading the rod and custom magazines in the 1960s. He lived down the street from the Alexander Brothers last shop, and in 2019, James told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama that he remembers well the first time he saw Bobby's Venturian; "I was maybe 10 years old, sitting in the back of my parent's car, stopped at a traffic light on West Outer Drive Boulevard at Hubble Avenue, in the summertime, with the windows of Dad's new Chrysler New Yorker all down (only wealthy people in that era had the means to afford air conditioning in their expensive luxury cars, the New Yorker was the mid-line model). Daydreaming about what in the world I was going to occupy myself with at my grandparents' home nearby during our impending, hours-long visit (they spoke mostly Italian and little English that I could understand), I was suddenly and stunningly brought back to consciousness by an utterly gleaming, gold metal flake wall of color. As I began to comprehend what I was looking at, I spotted the unmistakable Alexander Brothers gold and red emblem glistening on the front fender. As I took in all that brilliant gold metal flake, a full view came into focus of a stunning custom car capped by a brilliant white roof, by nonother than my neighbors, Mike and Larry Alexander! I was painfully envious that this young, handsome, white t-shirted, swept-back dark haired, super cool guy at the wheel could be so fortunate as to be piloting such an incredible automotive art form...at that moment, I knew that someday I would certainly own such a creation by these masters of the custom car. Little did I know at the time that I was lusting over "The Venturian.""
Not happy with the top that was on the car when it won the Ridler Award in 1965, Bobby told Mike Alexander around 1970 that he would like to redo the top. "So I took it off," Bobby told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in 2021. "Took it all apart, and Mike welded a new structure, and we put in a GTO back window in it."
Sold in 1975
Bobby sold the car in 1975, as he wanted to build a house and needed some money. The car was later owned by Al Liverman of Norfolk, Virginia. According to Bobby, somebody in Ohio painted the car from the Candy Gold he had on it when he sold it to Red with scallops on.
Candy Red by Greg of Akron
Around 1979-80, a guy from West Virginia had Greg of Akron paint the car Candy Red. Milt Wheeler worked on the car, painting the metal spare tire cover to match it. According to Milt, it was an excellent job.
Back to Bobby
As Bobby is getting up there in age, he has decided to sell the Venturian. He is currently looking for a new caretaker of the old custom, and he is asking $150.000 for the car. Please contact Bobby at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 313-608-6100 for more info and details.
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