had at least two cars displayed at the 1956 Hartford Autorama
. This 1953 Buick
Skylark convertible was restyled for a Doctor that Bozio can’t remember the name of. The Doctor worked at the Hartford Hospital, that was just down the street from Frank’s shop. The build was started in 1955
, and completed in time for the 1956 Hartford Autorama
in February. The build was not completed when the souvenir program for the show was made, so that contained under construction shots of the car. What is interesting about this custom is that it has quad headlights, or as the souvenir program described it “dual-twin headlights”! The first production cars in the US to have quad headlights could be seen on the streets late in 1956
models. Titled “New Customizing Ideas”, the cover of Motor Trend June 1956
contains a quad headlighted 1954 Ford
F-100 truck belonging to Martin
and Morris Srabian
. Known as the Wild Kat
, the iconic truck was restyled by Barris Kustoms
have for a long time been credited as the originators of the quad headlight styling with this truck. Andy Southard
photographed the Wild Kat
at the 1956 Monterey Kar Kapades
in March of 1956
. By then the scallops
had been pinstriped. The photos that appeared on the cover of Motor Trend June 1956
shows it prior to the pinstriping
, so those photos were at least taken before March of 1956
. John Bozio
believes that Frank finished the Skylark late in 1955
, so it might happen that Frank was ahead of the famous Barris Brothers
! According to the book “Barris Kustoms of the 1950s
”, “the Wild Kat
was the first vehicle ever to feature quad headlight styling, beating Detroit by two years.” Well, at least their production cars. In 1954
Cadillac debuted two concept cars named the “La Espada
” and the “El Camino
” at the GM Motorama
. Both these featured dual headlights controlled with an Autronic Eye. Photo from The John Bozio Photo Collection
New England Auto Body was a custom body shop run and operated by Frank Maratta.
Cars Customized by New England Auto Body
Frank Maratta's 1940 Mercury
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