Tommy Ivo's 1952 Buick

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16 years old Tommy with the stock buick in front of his girflriend Nancy Davidson's house. Photo from the Tommy Ivo collection.[1]
Photo from the Tommy Ivo collection.
Tired of being harrased by jealous students, Tommy painted his car flat black with yellow polka-dots and large pink footprints. Photo from the Tommy Ivo collection.
The buick as it appeared after Tommy had restyled it.[1]

1952 Buick Super Straight 8 owned by Road Kings of Burbank member Tommy Ivo of Burbank, California. The Buick was Tommy's first car, and he bought it brand new at age 16. As Tommy had appeared in several movies and TV shows by then, he had been able to stash away enough money to buy a brand new car.[3] After going through a bunch of new car brochures, Tommy and his girlfriend Nancy, decided that the Buick looked best, so he bought a bright-red Super for $3,000 while on a family vacation in Denver in the late summer of 1952.[4]

As soon as he got the car back home, neighborhood friend Tom Jandt suggested that he take the car to the drags. Tommy who had never attended any type of auto race in his life, didn't understand what a drag was by then, but he went anyway. On his first run, Tommy 's Buick ran 66.66 mph in the quarter mile. Not too fast, but after all, it was his first run down the track. On his second run that day, he achieved the same speed. "Drag racing didn't seem so good to me, so I came home and started peeling the car apart" he said. He shaved away the trim, door handles and portholes. In order to learn the techniques doing so, he bought every Hot Rod Magazine and Car Craft he could find. After a while the car was so spotted up with primer that the other kids at school were giving him a hard time. As he was the only kid, or person, with a brand new car at Burroughs High, he was an easy target for harrasing. One afternoon after school, using a small, portable sprayer, Ivo painted the car in flat black primer and put large yellow polka-dots all over the body and big pink footprints across the trunk. The he used heavy wire and fabricated eyelashes over the headlights. Hid did this to mess with the minds of the schoolmates that harassed him. It worked, and he chocked the students and teachers at the school. People started to talk about what a warped mentality someone who would take a brand-new car and destroy it like that must have had.[4]

After a while, Ivo gave his car a worthy treatment. The car was nosed and decked. The headlights were frenched and hooded, and the stock grille was replaced by a 1954 Chevrolet grille. The taillights were frenched as well, and the body was painted red with a black roof. Dual Appleton spotlights and wire-wheels were installed as well.[2] Tommy drove his Buick from 1952 to 1955.[4]


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