Kustomrama Styling Studio no. 5 - Boulevard Cruiser

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The Boulevard Cruiser

Back in 1953 Andy Graybeal happened to cruise by Gordon Vann's Body Shop in Berkeley, California. A beautiful Ferrari was parked in the entrance of the building. It belonged to a San Fransisco attorney named Alfred Ducato, and it had been featured in Sports Car Illustrated. It was designed by Vignale. Andy, who was an inspiring young designer at the time, decided to stop by and check out the car and the shop. He met the owner of the shop Gordon Vann, and they started to talk. Andy carried a sketchbook with him, containing some autos he had designed. As can be seen in those early sketches, Andy had no ellipse guides, no sweeps, not even straight edge. He might have had a wooden school ruler and a compass. According to Andy, Gordon was a non-conformist. Andy "marched to the beat of a different drummer as well", and they hit it off, so Gordon asked if Andy might like to try his hand at designing an aluminum coupe he had scheduled to build. Andy agreed, and Gordon gave him a little office space with a window at the West end of his shop. Later on he enrolled at the Art Center School of Design. At the Art Center Andy became classmate with Syd Mead, and he remembers that everyone in transportation design was inspired by Syd, and that it was a real stretch to equal his design concepts. After graduating from Art Center, Andy landed a job at General Motors designing cars in 1960. Andy consider the time at Gordon Vann's shop as a valuable incubator. Andy has kept on to his old sketchbooks, and will share some of his designs in the Kustomrama Styling Studio. First out is a neat little two-seater roadster that Andy designed in 1952 called the "Boulevard Cruiser". The "Boulevard Cruiser" was designed to fill the personal runabout market, like the T-Bird or the first Corvette, only about three years in advance of them as it turned out. It featured tunneled-type headlights and flush rear wheel covers.[1]


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