Russ Grady's 1957 Oldsmobile

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An album containing a photo of The Oriental at the 1960 National Champion Custom Car Show in Detroit was listed for sale on eBay in October 2011.
Developed in April of 1962 this photo shows Herb and some of his helpers in action, cutting out the roof skin on the car, making it ready for its plastic insert. Photo from The Ray Soff Photo Collection.
The Oriental at an indoor car show at the New York Coliseum in 1962. Photo courtesy of The Jalopy Journal.
Walt Koda was a kid from Stamford, Connecticut. Named "Rigamortis," Koda's 1948 Harley-Davidson gained significant attention in the 1960s for its unique design and appearances in several national magazines and custom shows. The bike was inspired by the works of Jimmy Karcher and Russell Grady, two prominent figures known to Koda from Stamford. Koda gave his bike a new paint job each year. This 1968 version with root beer fogging was inspired by Grady's Oldsmobile. Koda and Grady showed their vehicles together, and Koda believes that one of the shows was the 1966 Hartford Autorama. Photo courtesy of Walt Koda.
A yellow iteration of the Oriental. Photo from The Ray Soff Photo Collection.

1957 Oldsmobile restyled by Herb Gary of Gary's Auto Body for Russell Grady of Stamford, Connecticut. In 1960, the Oriental came second in the full custom class at the first annual National Champion Custom Car Show in Detroit. This version was painted black. After coming second, Russ decided the car had to be a lot more radical to win. During the second restyling, the front was modified, and the roof was cut out and plastic inserted. Herb Gary painted the wild paint job.[1]

In 2010 the Oriental was supposedly being restored by Jim Torok for Russ' cousin. When Russ died he left the car to the cousin.[2]

Magazine Features

Kustoms Illustrated #19



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