Speakeasy Customs

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SPEAKEASY CUSTOMS

The Jim Street Golden Sahara II is being restored at the Speakeasy Custom and Classic Shop. A closer look at who they are.

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In May, 2018 Larry Klairmont acquired the Golden Sahara II at the Jim Street Estate Auction. We have tried to stay in touch with what was going to happen to this Iconic Custom Car. On September 23rd, 2018 we were notified that the fairly unknown Speakeasy Customs & Classics Shop in Chicago was going to handle the restoration of Jim Skonzakes Golden Sahara II.  ‚ÄúIt’s official! Klairmont Kollections has awarded Speakeasy the full restoration of the Golden Sahara II. Work has already begun!”

The Golden Sahara II in its glory days.

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The announcement made by Speakeasy Customs on their Instagram page.
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We had never heard about the Speakeasy Custom & Classics shop before, so we were intrigued. I contacted the shop to share a bit of information how I had a very special connection with the Golden Sahara, and its former owner Jim Street. And how I would love to be kept in the loop on the restoration and how I was very interested to know a little more about the Speakeasy Shop and their relation to the Klairmont Museum.

Greg Alonzo, the owner of Speakeasy soon got back to us, and informed us that when time permitted he would love to share a bit more about the history of his shop. But that he would be very busy for a while with the Golden Sahara restoration. Greg had already shared some photos and info of the start of the restoration on the companies Instagram.  But now The Klairmont Museum had set a new deadline for the restoration, for a special event, and the complete restoration would be documented in a film. Because of that Greg would not be able to share any new photos, or info on the Golden Sahara, until the movie was released. As soon as we can we will be sharing the full story on the restoration and the special even here on the Custom Car Chronicle.

The Speakeasy shop visiting the Klairmont Museum to inspect the Golden Sahara and to discuss all aspects of the restoration.
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The Golden Sahara as it sat in the Museum prior the restoration. The car was cleaned up and detailed from being in storage for several decades. The ones pearl white paint had turned yellow brown.
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Interior and engine details. Everything will need to be cleaned, and or fixed during the restoration.
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Before the Golden Sahara was relieved to the Speakeasy Shop the shop started the project with restoring the Henry Meyer/ Bob Metz created hubcaps. Originally the hubcaps illuminated the Good-Year glass tires and the center of the hubcap lite up as turn signal.
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It is rumored that Good-Year will be reproducing the special “Glass Tires” for the Golden Sahara II.
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The restored Golden Sahara arriving in Geneva at the Geneva International Motor Show, 2019. More photos of the Restored Golden Sahara on the CCC-Forum

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About Speakeasy

My name is Gregory Alonzo, I am 43 years old, I live in Chicago Illinois and I am the owner of Speakeasy Customs & Classics. We are the shop that has been chosen by Klairmont Kollections to restore the Golden Sahara II and bring it back to the public eye. Because the restoration is being filmed I am unable to talk much about that just yet, but I wanted to share with the world who I am and where my shop came from.

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Greg posing with the Golden Sahara II shortly after it was delivered at his Speakeasy Shop in Bedford Park/Chicago.
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Speakeasy Customs & Classics is in Bedford Park, Illinois. We are a full restoration shop that specializes in Customs and Lowriders. We do everything from metal work to paint and everything in between. We do all types of custom work like air ride and hydraulic suspension, custom interior work, and of course custom paint work. Besides being owner I am also the welder/fabricator as well as the social media/marketing guy and so much more. However I have not always worked with cars. As a matter of fact I have spent the majority of my working career behind a desk. But it was never anything I really enjoyed, mostly corporate jobs, I was even a doorman for a downtown high rise for a few years.

I have however always had a passion for classic cars of all types. When I was a kid I would build model cars and of course always find a way to customize or modify them somehow. I still have a few of them. Then when I was in High School my first car was a 1966 Plymouth Fury III, with a 383 and a 4 barrel carb. Probably way too much car for a 17 year old kid but man that big boat could move! That car was actually my first taste at restoring a car. My older brother Alex smashed the front end one day! So I took on the task of fixing it myself. I had to find parts the old fashion way, with a Hemmings catalog I found a new hood and fender from Arizona. I had no idea what I was doing, but I managed to swap out the damaged parts, and even straightened out the damage to the grill and headlight bezel. I never repainted it, but at least she was whole again. I of course did what most do and eventually sold that car to buy a more reliable one that would get me to work every day!

Fast forward about 20 years and you pick up where my life of cars really began. In 2014 I found myself in a deep depression that was brought on by the sudden passing of my mother at only 58. Soon after that my father-in-law, who had been a part of my life for over 20 years, was diagnosed with cancer and passed 5 months later.

At the time I was working from home with my wife. She owns a pet sitting and dog walking business in the city. Only I was not much help still be depressed. I woke up one morning and I knew I had to make a change. The thing that brought me the most joy were cars, classic cars and I decided that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to build cars. Easier said than done right?

I figured a good place to start would be school, well there are not any restoration schools in the Chicago area, plenty of automotive programs but none that were only about restoration. So I got involved with a mentoring program that uses classic cars to mentor youths, there I started to learn there everything I could about restoring them in return I would help out with the program where ever I could. I started with some basic body work and then a few months later I took a welding class and that was it, I was hooked! A year later I decided to go back to school and enrolled in the automotive program at Morton College, where I have completed 23 credit hours with a 4.0 GPA. Now my specialty is welding and metal fabrication, however I can also do bodywork, paint and I know a lot of basic mechanics as well as hydraulics and air ride systems.

Greg posing in fron of “La Coonster” 1953 Chevy Pick-Up.
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This is “La Coonster” It was originally built by Hollywood Customs.
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The Pick up was brought to us for a Mustang II front end with rack and pinion steering.
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We also did a “C” notch of the rear frame and redid the hydraulic setup to hide it all under the bed without having to raise the bed. We also did a ton of custom art work under the hood.
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The 1953 Chevy won first place in the “Bomb” category at the World of Wheels Car Show in Chicago in March 2018.
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Two and a half years ago I started working for Armando Alba, at his shop Mando’s Customs, which specialized in building Lowriders with a Midwestern style. There I was really able to hone my skills since I was able to work on so many cars and learn more than ever. During that time I had begun to develop my plans for Speakeasy. I really enjoyed working for Mando but in my heart I knew I wanted to own my own shop someday. Well towards then end of 2017 Mando informed me he may have to close the shop. But I was not ok with that. When he first told me I tried to work with him to find a way to keep it open, but in the end he decided he really did not want to run a shop anymore. In January 2018 he asked me if I would be interested in buying him out and changing Mando’s into Speakeasy Customs & Classics. I was hesitant and first but in the end I took over the shop on March 12, 2018. My first task was to hire Mando as my shop manager and painter!

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Greg with Armando Alba and Manny Lopez with a client’s 47 Chevy in front of the Speakeasy shop.
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Armando Alba is the glue that keeps the shop together. He has been working on cars pretty much his whole life. Born in Juarez Mexico he moved to El Paso Texas when just a few years old and lived there till he was in his teens, he then moved to Chicago. As a teenager he was very into drawing and all types of art work. He began his career in custom work when he started to customize his bikes. He would paint them over and over, swap seats and other parts, and personalizing them. As he got older he was leaning more and more towards cars and he found a passion for Lowriding. Mostly because of the culture that came with it, but also because he was able to incorporate his love of art into his building of cars.

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1958 Chevy which was just painted.
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His first job was at a parts store in 1999 and he worked there till he got a job managing an auto shop in 2006. In 2011 he opened his first shop, a regular repair shop. While he ran that he was building his 1963 Impala lowrider ‚ÄúMedio Oeste‚ÄĚ, which means Midwest in Spanish. When he started to show it is when he started to get requests from people to build their cars and Mando‚Äôs customs was born.

He continued to run that shop until he decided to work with me to turn it into Speakeasy Customs & Classics. Mando is an amazing painter that can do all types of artwork with paint including pin striping, silver/gold leaf, patterns of all types and so much more, but not only that he can build a car from start to finish on his own if he had to.

Mando’s 1963 Chevy Impala “Medio Oeste”, and his Daughter’s Pedal car, all work on both was done by Mando.
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Mando’s daughter posing with the pedal car here father created.
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The rest of my team consists of Angle Alba, Mando’s son. Angle is 19, and started working in the shop in 2017 when he moved to Chicago to live with his father from El Paso, Texas. He started to work with him and began learning body work and paint and he also helps with a lot of the finishing work and final assemblies. He is currently enrolled at Lincoln Tech College where he is taking collision repair so he can advance his skills. He is working on a 1964 Bel Air Lowrider that should be ready by next summer.

1965 Chevy Impala the shop built for a client in California, that’s unique because normally people send cars to California for this type of work, so it was very cool to have a Cali car sent to us.
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Adrian Arreola, Mando’s stepson, is 23 and has been working with his dad on cars since he was 13 years old. He does a lot of the wet sanding and buffing after paint, helps with final assemblies and does a lot of metal finishing as well. Jesus Gonzalez does a lot of our electrical work as well as mechanic work. He helps with engine swaps and suspension work including air ride and hydraulics. He is 29, born in Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico.

He moved to the Chicago area in 1994 when he was 5 years old, and also started working on cars with father when he was only 13. Later he took the same automotive program that I was enrolled in at Morton College. He has specialized in installing stereo equipment and mobile electronics of all types and he assists Mando with the wiring and plumbing of hydraulic and air ride systems. He is in the process of building a 1967 Chevy Camaro.

This is “Crush” as in Orange Crush. All of the paint, gold and silver leafing art work and pin striping was all done in house by Mando.
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Mando also did the custom trunk and hydraulic set up. I did the trunk panels all out of 1/4″ thick PVC panels. 
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Finally we work with a freelance designer, Mike Herbert, who does all of our art work and renderings and even came up with our Logo. He has the ability to help us work with our clients and help them see their final product before we even begin to work. He can even take a client’s build to a whole new level by designing one of a kind parts that he can then design in 3D that be turned into reality by means of 3D printing, engraving and even casting. Mike has experience in the product design industry and is involved with a local car design community called Old School Car Class that integrates automotive history and future with students and enthusiasts.

One is of the 1949 Cadillac Coupe De Ville we are building, its a full custom that will be in bare metal and have custom designed interior by Mike Herbert, the final interior has not been settled yet but here are 2 examples of what we are going for.
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The last picture if of Greg’s personal 1966 Corvair Monza that they are building for a show car for the shop. We have designed it to have the feel of a 60’s Ferrari, hence the egg carton grill!

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Kenneth’s Vintage kustoms Shop

 

VINTAGE KUSTOMS SHOP

 

Vintage Kustoms is a relatively new shop in the South of Sweden, where owner Kenneth Kristiansson creates wonderful period Hot Rod’s and Custom Cars.


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Vintage Kustoms Contact info:

Shop name: Vintage kustoms.
Web address: www.vintagekustom.se
phone nr:
+46 (0)70 2147884

For more info or to get in touch with Kenneth Email Kenneth
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Kenneth has been into Hot Rods and Custom cars for as long as he can remember. As a kid he saw some of these special cars around town, and later in life he started to read the magazines that featured the Hot Rods and Custom Cars. Kenneth slowly started to develop a passion for nostalgia stuff, including the cars he liked. Period Hot Rods and Customs Cars were part of that. He started work as a metallworker doing mostly heavy constructions from blueprints to finished products. Kenneth already performed Hot Rod and Custom work from his small home garage for the last few years. Recently Kenneth relocated into an old forge building. After spending month or cleaning up 60 years of collecting stuff from the previous owner, Kenneth was finally able to get his new dream shop open a couple of month ago. And a decades old dream of opening his own Hot Rod, Kustom Car and Race Car shop became reality.

CCC-kenneth-vintage-kustoms-shop-11Kenneth personal 1931 Ford coupe Hot Rod in front of the new shop.
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He named his shop¬†Vintage Kustoms¬†and he works on¬†Hot¬†Rods and¬†Customs built in traditional style.¬†But¬†Kenneth¬†also takes on building historic racing cars and¬†he¬†does everything from chassie to body works. 1940¬īs and early 50¬īs styled¬†Customs and¬†Hot¬†Rods is what really turns¬†him¬†on, but¬†he¬†also enjoys working on¬†early 1960¬īs mild kustoms. Kenneth recently finished a chopped 1932 Ford Tudor for a¬†well known Swedish hot rodder. He also finished the chop on a 1936 Ford coupe for a client from Denmark and is currently working on an¬†1950 Mercury that came in to the shop for some rust repair and a chopped top. The progress on the 1950 Mercury can be followed on the CCC-Forum thread Kenneth started. Kenneth is also working with his eldest son on a 1959 Chevy period mild custom. And for the Racing part Kenneth has a¬†DeTomaso Pantera in the shop that will be built into a group 4 racing car and will be raced in the european historic racing series.

Below are a few of the Vintage Kustoms shop projects that are either still in progress or have been finished recently. At the end of this article you will find the contact info to get it touch with Kenneth if you have any questions for him.




Kenneth’s Personal 36 Ford Coupe Project

CCC-kenneth-vintage-kustoms-janne-kutjaFinish Custom Car and Hot Rod illustrator Janne Kutje created this visual of kenneth’s project…¬†
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CCC-kenneth-vintage-kustoms-36-chop-01Kenneth’s personal 1940’s styled 1936 Ford coupe project during the chopping process. Kenneth loves to work with metal and metal finished the body as much as possible as these photos show.
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CCC-kenneth-vintage-kustoms-shop-06This photo of Kenneth’s ’36 Ford gives us a good feeling of the project and the style he is after. The main chop is done in this photo, and a new metal roof insert has been shaped to fit the factory opening.
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CCC-kenneth-vintage-kustoms-shop-05Kenneth shaped his own solid hood sides and had a friend push some great shaped louvres in them for extra cooling. Look at the shape of the side windows after Kenneth was done chopping.
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CCC-kenneth-vintage-kustoms-shop-07Work on the top with Kenneth’s Hot Rod in the corner, and the new client project 1950 Mercury on the right.¬†
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CCC-kenneth-vintage-kustoms-36-fenderRepair work on the drivers side front fender.
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CCC-kenneth-vintage-kustoms-36-SkirtsKenneth has been¬†asked many times about fender skirts for ’36 Ford fenders. For his own ’36 Ford project he created these all hand made skirts shaped after the ’39 Ford units, but with dimensions and specially fitted to ’36 Ford fenders.¬†The skirts¬†meassures 19 3/4‚Ä≥ high and 40‚Ä≥ long.¬†If you need a pair for your own ’36 Ford, just contact Kenneth for more info.
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1932 Ford Sedan



CCC-kenneth-vintage-kustoms-shop-03A very happy client picks up his 1932 Ford Tudor that Kenneth chopped and did some rust repair on.
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Lars Kjaer 1936 Ford Coupe



CCC-kenneth-vintage-kustoms-36-chop-02Lars from Denmark drove his 1936 Ford up to Kenneth’s shop in Sweden, after he had seen the work Kenneth performed on his own personal 1936 Ford. Lars his coupe was chopped¬†3‚Ä≥ at the front and 4‚Ä≥¬†at the back, slightly different than Kenneth his own Coupe.
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CCC-kenneth-vintage-kustoms-shop-01Another nice overview photo of the Vintage Kustoms shop shows Lars his 1936 Ford almost ready to be picked up for his home voyage to Denmark. In the back are some of the other shop projects.
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CCC-kenneth-vintage-kustoms-shop-09This photo shows the beautiful flow on the new¬†shaped top on the day Lars picked up the car. Lars is currently repainting the Ford and will slowly finish this car as early 1950’s period custom.¬†
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CCC-kenneth-vintage-kustoms-shop-08Kenneth likes to step back from his projects and walks around his projects to view his work from all angles. Ensuring that¬†no mater from which angle you view his handy work, it always flows, and looks at it very best. The top on Lars his ’36 Ford is a perfect example of that.
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CCC-kenneth-vintage-kustoms-lars36-finalLars’s his ’36 Ford coupe freshly finished in the summer of 2015.
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1959 Chevy 60’s Custom


CCC-kenneth-vintage-kustoms-shop-04The 1959 Chevy early 1960’s period mild custom is the project Kenneth works on with one of his sons. So far a lot of work has been done to make the 1960 Buick headlights flow into the Chevy body, create a stainless tubing grille, remove the “eye brows” grilles from the front¬†and reshape and round the corners on the hood.
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CCC-kenneth-vintage-kustoms-shop-10At the back a new extended shape for the taillights was created from bent tubing and shaped sheet metal. A hand shaped wooden buck was shaped to fit the new opening and used to vacu-form new taillight lenses. A sample in clear plastic is shown in the photo on the far right. Once everything is perfect new units will be shape in clear red. 
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1948 Chevy Coupe chopped top

CCC-kenneth-vintage-kustoms-chevy-01Half way thru the chopping process of the ’48 Chevy. The main work has been done, but the¬†curve from the top to the cat-walk still needs to be shaped.¬†
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CCC-kenneth-vintage-kustoms-chevy-02New sail panels, rear quarter window corners and sections to connect the cat-walk to the top were shaped by Kenneth. 
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1950 Mercury chopped top

CCC-kenneth-vintage-kustoms-50-merc-01Early in the process, the main roof has been tacked in place, the sail panels removed and the shape of the rear quarter windows it finalized.
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CCC-kenneth-vintage-kustoms-50-merc-02New sail panels and sections of the top were shaped to make a perfect flow. Lots of time was spend on the window openings to get everything to look like this is how it came from the factory.
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CCC-kenneth-vintage-kustoms-50-merc-windowsChopping and reshaping of the rear quarter window and creation of an all new rear window trim. 
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Vintage Kustoms Contact info:

Shop name: Vintage kustoms.
Web address: www.vintagekustom.se
phone nr:
+46702147884

For more info or to get in touch with Kenneth Email Kenneth
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To Follow Kenneth’s work progress on the CCC-Forum.





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King Kustoms Workshop Spotlight

KING KUSTOMS SPOTLIGHT

King Kustoms is small one man shop in Temecula, California turning out state of the art custom work. Based on period styling with modern day precision and high quality.

We know Rob Radcillfe, the owner of King Kustoms for many years, and have become good friends. We always love to talk vintage custom cars over the email, and the few times we met in person. Rob really knows the history of custom cars, he knows how to recreate the historic styles and details in his custom projects today. Rob has an amazing feel for what is right for the cars he works on. During the work on his project he often takes a step back, pushes the car out of the garage and stares at the project to make sure everything works together.

Rob Radcliffe, owner of King Kustoms, tells the story of his workshop.
As far as the story of my very small shop goes, it began as a side business and hobby. My first “professional” metalworking job was working for Sal Marchese at Temecula Rod and Custom and we have since become very good friends, still collaborating on projects today. I had done some small metalwork in my garage, but it was Sal who pushed me to consider doing it professionally, and I thank him for that. King Kustoms began very slowly in 2003 and my first customer was Xeno from Riverside, California and I did a 5.5″ chop on his ’49 Ford, which he still drives daily. Over the years I have taken my tools on the road with me, doing chops and kustom metalwork in Wildomar, Riverside, San Diego, and even some Porsche 911 rust repair in Costa Mesa.

My home base is in Temecula, California and I specialize in ’49-’51 Ford and Mercury kustoms, as well as other makes and models. I like to do traditional kustom metalwork, and I am always open for any challenge the customer might have. My brother specializes in ’65 and up Ford Mustangs and handles all of the electrical/wiring work on the earlier Fords and Mercs. We do everything but final bodywork/paint-prep,paint and interior. But we have various shops that we use who are specialized in the parts we do not do at King Kustoms.
 
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CCC-WS-King-Kustoms-02-WRob Radcliffe’s own personal project is this great looking 1950 Ford sedan.

 

CCC-WS-King-Kustoms-03-WThe taillights on Rob’s Ford, were replicated from the Barris-built Chuck deWitt Shoebox.

 

CCC-radcliffe-shoebox-almost-done-04Update from November 2014 shows Rob’s¬†nearly finished personal 1950 Ford sedan.
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CCC-WS-King-Kustoms-04-WCustomer Rick’s 1951 Mercury convertible is in for a complete remake. Reshaped front-end with extended fenders, custom grille bar, lipped wheel openings, flush skirts, hand made taillights created from the stock Mercury grille are just a few of the modifications King Kustoms handle on this car. (the grille and taillights are based on a design by Wolf Christiansson)

 

CCC-WS-King-Kustoms-05-WThe fiberglass top has since this photo was taken been replaced with a new frame that will be the base for a padded top with the use of the stock 1951 mercury rear window. Side trim is 1951 Lincoln.

 

CCC-WS-King-Kustoms-06-WGreg’s ’50 Ford was chopped by King Kustoms with a well proportioned chop with angled forward B-pillars.

 

CCC-WS-King-Kustoms-11-WProject cars are often pushed outdoors to check proportions and over all design. In this case the new side trim was checked on Greg’s Shoebox.

 

CCC-WS-King-Kustoms-12-WLee’s 1951 Mercury is another King Kustoms project. Rob chopped the top with slanted B-Pillars, shaved drip rails and a 1950 rear window. The front was modified to work with 1952 DeSoto grille teeth. At the back the fenders were reshaped to have 1952 Lincoln installed in a similar way as the Hirohata Mercury. The 1951 Cadillac rear bumper was narrowed and reshaped to fit. Lee’s Mercury was a complete frame-off project for the shop.

 

CCC-WS-King-Kustoms-08-WBoth bumper and body needed reshaping to make all the units look like the belong together.

 

CCC-WS-King-Kustoms-10-WThis photo shows how well the 1951 Cadillac bumper works with the reshaped Mercury rear fenders.

 CCC-WS-King-Kustoms-013-hubcap

Another King Kustoms specialty is to convert Cadillac hubcaps to fit your own wheels.

 
Want to see more of King Kustoms work Check out the folders of King Kustoms on the Custom Car Photo Archive Or if you are on Facebook, check out their Facebook page for many more photos. CCC-WS-King-Kustoms-address [divider] King Kustoms

  • Owner Rob Radcliffe
  • Location Temecula, California
  • Phone (951) 415-7330
  • email chopt50@msn.com

 

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CCC-Sponsor-KingKustomsTShirt-602Contact Rob Radcliffe at King Kustoms for more info on these T-Shirts Email Rob

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