The Art Himsl Photo Collection

From Kustomrama
(Redirected from The Art Himsl Collection)
Jump to: navigation, search
There was never a lack of cool cars in front of the Himsl house in Concord, California back in the 1950s and the 1960s. This photo shows three of Art Himsl's high school hot rods parked on the street. Photo courtesy of Art Himsl.
After Art had won the America's Most Beautiful Roadster Award in 1969, Andy Brizio came by Art's shop to talk about paint. Brizio had won the Sweepstakes a few years in a row with his Instant T, but he couldn't quite get it over the top, so he stopped by Art for some advice. Art told Andy to leave the car with him for six months so he could paint it. "If you don’t like it, we can paint it after the show," Art told Andy. Art laid down a psychedelic ribbon paint job, putting the car over the top. It won the America's Most Beautiful Roadster Award in 1970, also putting Art over the top, as he by now had become known as one of the best painters in the custom car business. Photo courtesy of Art Himsl.
Andy Brizio's 1915 Ford Model T C-Cab Panel Truck featured a ribbon paint job by Art. Named "Instant T," the car was built mainly to drive to the Street Rod Nationals in Memphis, Tennessee, in August of 1971. At the show, it won the "Best Appearing Car" award in competition with 1,500 other cars. Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham bought the truck and shipped it to England, where it later appeared in the film The Song Remain the Same. Photo courtesy of Art Himsl.
Andy Brizio's Instant T C-Cab Panel Truck featured an Art Himsl paint job with character drawings on each side by Art's wife Ellen, showing the people who had a hand in building it. This is the character she made for Andy. Photo courtesy of Art Himsl.
"I don’t know. It was OK," that’s how Art described The Alien in 2019 "It did what it was supposed to do. All I wanted to do was to win that show (America’s Most Beautiful Roadster Award). And it worked. I named it The Alien, just because it was kind of strange-looking. It ran good and everything, but I didn’t like it, so I sold it.” When Sondre Kvipt asked Art why he didn’t like it he replied; "Number 1. You couldn’t see anything with the top on. So I didn’t like it, and I sold it at the show." Art sold it the car to Bill Roach who owned a Budget car rental agency. Photo courtesy of Art Himsl.
A photo of Oakland, California pinstriper Tommy the Greek with his 1936 Ford custom. According to Art, there were only three or four stripers in Northern California when he started pinstriping. "There was Tommy the Greek, myself, and one or two other guys." Tommy restyled his 1936 Ford in 1937, and when this photo was taken, Tommy had removed the running boards and added a DuVall Windshield. Art has no idea how he ended up with this great photo. Photo courtesy of Art Himsl.

Paint trends come and go but Art Himsl is forever. Art has been called the hot rod Rembrandt of our generation. In 1964 he decided to quit his daytime job. He was fed up. Tired of selling his life for 2 dollars and 78 cents an hour. He took a leave of absence and decided to follow his passion, opening up Himsl Custom Paint Studio in a little one stall shop in Concord, California. It worked out pretty good. Art never went back to work, and he has spent most of his life laying down some of the worlds most beautiful custom paint jobs. We spent a couple of days with Art in Concord during our California Roadtrip in March of 2019 to look through his many boxes of photos and record his story.


Did you enjoy this article?

Kustomrama is an encyclopedia dedicated to preserve, share and protect traditional hot rod and custom car history from all over the world.

Can you help us make this article better?

Please get in touch with us at if you have additional information or photos to share about The Art Himsl Photo Collection.

This article was made possible by:

SunTec Auto Glass - Auto Glass Services on Vintage and Classic Cars
Finding a replacement windshield, back or side glass can be a difficult task when restoring your vintage or custom classic car. It doesn't have to be though now with auto glass specialist companies like They can source OEM or OEM-equivalent glass for older makes/models; which will ensure a proper fit every time. Check them out for more details!

Do you want to see your company here? Click here for more info about how you can advertise your business on Kustomrama.

Personal tools
Help us