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Ultimate Custom Car Library




We often get the question here at the CCC what kind of Custom Car related books we recommend. Time to create a complete list of Custom Car related books, that make up for the Ultimate Custom Car Library, with special thanks to CCC-Member Bert Gustafsson.



If you grew up in the 1990 or earlier and you wanted to learn all about Custom Cars, you had to find the right magazines to stay in touch with what was happening around the world. There where magazines like Rod & Custom, Custom Rodder, Hot Rod magazine and many more, especially in the 1950’s and 60’s,  that devoted more or less pages to Custom Cars. If you wanted to find out even more, you could get some great books on the subject, and if you wanted even more you could try and find some old booklets from the 1950’s and 60’s. Today all you have to do it turn on your computer, your tablet or smart phone and go to your favorite Custom Car related Website, Facebook or any of the message boards to get your daily dose of Custom Car information.

As the editor on the Custom Car Chronicle I absolutely love to create articles on this site. I love to write about Custom Cars and I love to share my passion for them. But for my research on most of my articles I still relay on my collection of old magazines and books. Even though a lot of info can be found online, there is just nothing like browsing thru my old books and magazines, looking for that one bit of evidence needed for an historic article.

Custom Car Chronicle member Bert Gustafsson recently started an new thread on the CCC-Forum named: The ultimate library on traditional custom cars. in which he listed all the Custom Car (traditional Custom Car) related books he has in his collection. And Bert has quite a collection. Bert started to think what titles would be included in the Ultimate Complete Collection of books devoted, at least partly, to traditional custom cars?

Bert started the list and a few others added some more books, and most likely a few more will be added later as well. I was actually really surprised how long this list is, with books devoted to mostly Custom Cars… This list of books is the Ultimate List, and if you are into Custom Cars it is a really helpful list when you go out shopping for new books. Some books on the list are now nearly impossible to find, and when you do, they are quite expensive. But most others are still very much available from different sources. This list will help you find the right books. In time I will try to add pictures of all the covers from these books as well. If you have another Custom Car related book that is not listed here, send us an email, so that I can add it on this list.



CCC-ultimate-custom-car-library-01Just a few of the books on this rather long list of Custom Car related books.

The Dan Posts books:

  • Remodelers manual for restyling your car 1944, 1945, 1946
  • California custom car album 1947
  • Master custom restyling manual 1947
  • Blue book of custom restyling 1949
  • Blue book of custom restyling, enlarged super edition 1951
  • Blue book of custom restyling, revised edition 1952
  • Abc’s of Custom How 1954


Edgar Almquist:

  • Custom Styling Manual 1948
  • Speed and Mileage Manual 1947


The Trend books:

  • Trend Book 101 Custom cars
  • Trend Book 105 Restyle your car
  • Trend Book 107 Dream cars
  • Trend Book 109 Custom cars annual 1954
  • Trend Book 116 Custom cars annual 1955
  • Trend Book 122 Custom cars annual 1956
  • Trend Book 133 Custom cars annual 1957
  • Trend Book 143 Restyle your car
  • Trend Book 156 Custom cars annual 1958
  • Trend Book 175 Custom cars annual 1959
  • Trend Book 181 Custom show cars
  • Trend Book 189 Custom cars annual 1960
  • Trend Book 197 Custom cars annual 1961
  • Trend Book 205 Restyle your car
  • Trend Book 206 Custom cars annual 1962


Trend books by Justin Kudolla:

  • Trend Book 207 Custom cars annual 2009
  • Trend Book 208 Custom cars annual 2012


From Custom Rodder:

  • Custom handbook No.1 1961
  • Custom handbook No.2 1961
  • Custom handbook No.3 1962
  • Custom handbook No.4 1962
  • Custom handbook No.5 1962


Barris Spotlite: 

  • 20 top customs 1961
  • Custom car grilles 1961
  • Fins and taillights 1962
  • Scoops and sculpturing 1962
  • Custom painting 1962
  • Custom headlights and fenders 1963
  • Custom wheels and lowering
  • Custom dashboard and detailing
  • Custom Corvettes 1963
  • Custom Chevies 1963
  • Custom Fords 1964


From Hot Rod magazine custom library:

  • Custom Car yearbook No1. 1963
  • Custom Car yearbook No2. 1964


Consumers guide:

  • Grease machines 1979


From Hot Rod magazine:

  • Custom cars 1982
  • Custom cars 1983
  • Custom cars 1984


Tex Smith’s: 

  • How to build custom cars 1989
  • How to chop tops 1990
  • How to build shoebox Fords & Mercurys 1991
  • How to build Fat Fords 1991


Mike Key:

Lead sleds 1984
Wild lead sleds 1992


Timothy Remus:

  • Custom cars & lead sleds 1990



  • KKOA 1980-1992 1993


Andy Southard:

  • Custom cars of the fifties 1993
  • Hot rods and customs from the sixties 1997
  • Hot rods and customs from the seventies 1998
  • The Oakland roadster show 1998


Barris Kustoms:

  • How to Customize Cars and Rods, George Barris and Wayne Thoms 1963
  • Kustoms of the fifties 1994
  • Kustoms of the sixties 2002
  • Kustom techniques of the fifties Vol1. 1995
  • Kustom techniques of the fifties Vol2. 1996
  • Kustom techniques of the fifties Vol3. 1997
  • Kustom techniques of the fifties Vol4. 1997
  • Big book of Barris 2002
  • The Art of George Barris King of the Kustomizers (last Gasp) 2015


Gene Winfield:

  • The Legendary Custom Car and Hot Rods of Gene Winfield David Grant 2008

Pat Ganahl:

  • Hot rods and cool customs 1995
  • The American custom car 2001
  • Hot Rod Gallery 2013


Bo Bertilsson:

  • Classic customs and lead sleds 2001


Thom Taylor:

  • Hot rod and custom chronicle 2006
  • Kustomland 2008
  • Watson’s Custom Car Confessions, Thom Taylor and Larry Watson 2010


Mark S. Gustavson

  • The Sage of the Spencer Murray Dream Truck Mark S. Gustavson and Bill Aitchison, 2001


Strother MacMinn:

  • Hot Rods and Custom Cars 2009


Rik Hoving:

  • The Jack Stewart Ford 2012


Robert E. Larivee:

  • Show Car Dreams 2010


If you are into early Custom Cars, then I think that the Hot Rod books by Don Montgomery also should be part of your library. Although the majority of the books is about early Hot Rods, and Race Cars, each of them also have a nice number of early Custom Cars in them.

I think that Authentic Hot Rods and Hot Rod Memories are the best of them all with the most Custom Car content in them.

Don Montgomery

  • Hot Rods in the Forties, 1987
  • Hot Rods as they where, 1989
  • Hot Rod Memories, 1991
  • Authentic Hot Rods, 1994
  • Old Hot Rods Scrapbook, 2006




Rik Hoving

Rik is the CCC editor in chief. As a custom car historian he is researching custom car history for many years. In 2004 he started the Custom Car Photo Archive that has become a place of joy for many custom car enthousiasts. Here at CCC Rik will bring you inspiring articles on the history of custom cars and builders. Like a true photo detective he will show us what's going on in all those amazing photos. He will write stories about everything you want to know in the realm of customizing. In daily life Rik is a Graphic Designer. He is married to the CCC webmaster and the father of a 10 year old son (they are both very happy with his excellent cooking skills)

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