Ray Farhner

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A photo of Ray Farhner's 1940 Ford Pickup that Grier Lowry took. This photo appeared in print in Custom Craft Magazine, and according to the caption in the magazine, the two men in the photo are Ray Farhner and his top aide Doug Thompson. Photo from The Ray Soff Photo Collection.
A photo of Ray Farhner's X-Ray that Grier Lowry captured on August 25, 1963. With its sleek, silver contours and futuristic body, this show car looked like it drove straight out of a science fiction novel and onto the lush backdrop of a lakeside view. The X-Ray wasn't just a feast for the eyes; its supercharged engine promised a roar as impressive as its space-age aesthetic. Photo by Grier Lowry, from The Ray Soff Photo Collection.
Ray Farhner's 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, known as Outer Limits, was restyled by Ray in 1963.
A Ray Farhner business card from Wild Child's Custom Shop. Photo courtesy of Justin Greene - Wild Child's Custom Shop.

Raymond E. Farhner (1925 - 10.20.2005) was a pivotal figure in the custom car world during the 1950s and 1960s. While many custom car builders were concentrated in California, Farhner distinguished himself by operating out of Missouri. His unique approach and strategic promotion through his custom car show circuit, "World of Wheels," positioned him as a significant influencer in the industry.[1]

Early Days

Ray was born in Deepwater, Missouri, where he grew up, graduated from high school, and served his country in WWII with the 82nd Airborne Division. Ray married Betty Phillips from Clinton, Missouri. They later moved to Raytown, and raised 3 children.[2]

Farhner Custom Shop

Ray ran and operated a custom body shop in Raytown named Farhner Custom Shop. As a teenager, Tom Davison used to drive out to Ray's shop in the hope of seeing some of his famous cars trough the doorway and perhaps be able to show him the custom model cars they had built. Within the space of a week or two, in exchange for sweeping his floor and fetching him coffee, Ray allowed Tom and his buddies the run of the shop every Saturday. This included the use of his sprayguns and his supply of expensive and exotic paints to use for their models. Tom quickly graduated to painting many of Ray's showcars, such as Ray's 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, named Outer Limits.[3]

Doug Thompson

Doug Thompson apprenticed with Ray from he was 14 years old. In 2017 Tom Davison told Kustomrama that Ray was an old-time bodyman, and that he learned all he knew of customizing from Doug.[4]

In 1959 Ray decided that the best way to promote his custom shop was to build a radical show custom that was one part hot rod and one part custom car. The result was the award winning roaster pickup known as the Eclipse.[5]

Ray owned many car shows all over the country. In the 1960s he started the World of Wheels shows. Cars like The Eclipse, The X-Ray and The Boothill Express were show cars produced for his shows. Ray eventually sold the World of Wheels shows to Promotions, Inc..[6]

Ray Farhner died October 20, 2005. At the time he was living in Kansas City, Missouri.[7] In 2013 Justin Greene of Wild Child's Custom Shop had Ray's old louver press in his shop, and he was still punching out louvers for customers on Ray's old press.[8]

Ray Fahrner's Cars

Ray Farhner's 1932 Ford Pickup - The Eclipse
Ray Farhner's 1940 Ford Pickup
Ray Farhner's X-Ray
Ray Farhner's 1963 Chevrolet Corvette - Outer Limits
Ray Farhner's Boothill Express
Ray Farhner's Boothill Flower Truck
Ray Farhner's Wake Wagon
Ray Farhner's Groovie Ghoulie

Cars Restyled by Ray Farhner

Click here to see cars restyled by Farhner Custom Shop



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