Ralph Ferks' 1954 Oldsmobile

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Construction photos from Dave Puhl's shop. Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection.
Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection
Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection
Ralph's Oldsmobile at the 1962 Indianapolis National Custom Show. Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection
Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection.
Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection.
Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection.
Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection.
Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection
A photo of Ralph's Oldsmobile taken at an outdoor car show. Photo by Carl Zimmerman.
The Startling Starfire at the 1962 Spring-O-Rama Rod & Custom Show in Belvidere, Illinois. Photo by Richard Fuerholzer.
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Ralph-ferks-starfire.jpg
The Olds as it appeared after Bob Dzemske had bought it from Ralph. Bob gave it a new color and added a peek-through hood. Photo courtesy of Bob Dzemske.
Ralph-ferks-1954-oldsmobile.jpg
Startling-starfire.jpg
Startling-starfire2.jpg
Startling-starfire3.jpg
Photo courtesy of Bob Dzemske.
Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection
Startling-starfire4.jpg
Ralph-ferks-54-oldsmobile-fuzzy23.jpg
The Olds repainted in a two-tone color.
Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection
Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection
Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection
Ralph-ferks-1954-oldsmobile-71.jpg
A photo of the Startling Starfire taken in Bob's garage in Milwaukee. Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection
Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection
Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection
Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection
Bob advertised the car for sale in Hot Rod Magazine.
Kurt McCormick sold the Olds to a guy in St. Louis. In St. Louis the car sat outside for several years. Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection
Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection
Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection
Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection
Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection
Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection
Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection
Photo from the Dick Fuerholzer Collection
The Startling Starfire as it sat in 2018, when it appeared in an episode of American Pickers on History Channel. Photo courtesy of Claire Abendroth, Michigan Live.

1954 Oldsmobile 98 Convertible restyled by Dave Puhl for Ralph Ferks of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The car, also known as the Startling Starfire, was designed by Bob Dzemske, a Milwaukee show promoter.. Dave modified the car by chopping the windshield 4 inches. The front fenders were extended 3 inches and reshaped to accept a pair of frenched quad 1958 Mercury headlights with Lucas lenses. A Studebaker lower pan was molded in with the fenders and grille shell. Dave also fit the car was fit with 1959 Pontiac Bonneville side trim. The taillights on the car were constructed from a 1958 Mercury Park Lane taillights. The taillights were placed inside a groove that ran the entire length of the rear fender. Many components in the engine compartment, and all undercarriage components were chrome plated on the car. The car was upholstered in pearl white throughout, including the padded dash, steering column, door panels, kick panels and the custom made center console. The car was also modified with front swivel seats for easy entry and exit.[2]


Ralph sold the car to Bob Dzemske. Bob painted the car blue, and fit it with a clear plastic "peek-a-boo" hood so spectators could get a view of the chromed engine compartment. The car was later painted in a two-tone blue and white. The car swapped hands before it ended up in Kurt McCormick's posession. Kurt sold the car to a guy in St. Louis where it sat outside for several years. The Startling Starfire is still around, and is currently undergoing a restoration.[3]


Rick Klibenski

In February of 2018 the Startling Starfire was owned by Rick Klibenski of Parma, Michigan, and the car appeared in an episode of American Pickers called "Double Bubble Trouble."[4]


Magazine Features

Popular Customs Winter Issue 1963


References



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