Custom Car Chronicle
custom carsIna Mae Overman Collection

Mid 50’s Outdoor Car Shows part 4


Part four in the series of Ina Mae Overman’s mid-late 1950’s outdoor car shows. This time more photos from Hollywood Park, and a close up of the 1950 Ford “Del Mar”

This is the fourth article in the out-door car show series of photos taken by Ina Mae Overman. A few more photos taken at the Hollywood Park Parking lot Hot Rod and Custom Car show. So far we have not been able to find any info on this show. How many times it was held, the winners or the show promoters. In none of the magazines we have from around the period this show was held, we can find anything written about the show. No advertisements, no show features… nothing. And by the looks of it it must have been a pretty big show with some of the best known custom cars from that era.
If you happen to know anything more about this show, please let us know.
[box_light]When Ina Mae Overman showed her Valley Custom Shop created, 1952 Lincoln Capri at some of the 1950’s Californian Car Show, she always brought her camera. At these shows she took some of the most amazing color slides. Fortunately for all of us she has always kept those slides and her daughter Marry Ellen Marcy started to scan and share them several years ago. The Custom Car Chronicle is proud to be able to share these amazing photos with you.
Check out the rest of the Ina May Overman Collection on the CCC-Site.[/box_light]

CCC_ina-mae-outdoor4-03The Barris shop built this 1953 Cadillac Le Mans for Harry Karl and his wife (actress Marie MacDonald) based on one of the three experimental Cadillac General Motors built for the 1953 Motorama shows. The body of the two-seater was made from fiberglass. The Barris shop designed and built the chrome plated reverse fender cut outs below the gold plated side trim, as well as the chrome panels for the rear fenders with taillights based on turned upside down 1955 Chrysler units. The Barris shop also created the new removable top with a separate clear plex front section. The car was painted bright silver and had a red interior with a full bar behind the seats. The brass or copper plated parts really make this car stand out from the rest.


CCC_ina-mae-outdoor4-06Interesting color separation on this 1955 Chevy 3100 Pick up. The pick up bed has nicely finished wood boards with chrome plated strip on the ends and exhaust pipes following the bed. The taillights have been molded into extended pods on the rear fenders on. Note the nice cars in the background.


CCC_ina-mae-outdoor4-02Don Coulter  from Pittsburg, California had Barris do the customizing on his 1955 Oldsmobile 88. The body was shaved, headlights were frenshed with custom made extensions. At the rear two pairs of 1955 Plymouth taillights were used in the extended and reshaped rear fenders. The grille was replaced with perforated metal. On its right we can see the side of the Sam Barris personal 1952 Ford convertible. 


CCC_ina-mae-outdoor4-01Nice photo of Ina Mae’s 1952 Lincoln Capri at the Hollywood Park parking lot. The main building on the Race track still looks the same today. But the last news we heard that there is a plad to tear down the building to make place for something new. Ina mae’s Lincoln looks very good with new reshaped wheel openings.


CCC_ina-mae-outdoor4-04Dick Colarossi’s 1940 Ford custom was built at the Valley Custom Shop. It was relatively mild with radiused wheel openings. Lowered suspension which included major frame reconstruction. And a chrome plated nerv bar which constructions was used in the R&C March 1955 article. Also interesting to note are the exhaust tips that were routed thru the ends of the running boards.





Tad Hirai 1950 Ford “Del Mar”

One of the cars that Ina Mae liked to photograph was Tad Hirai’s 1950 Ford Coupe. The took at least three photos of the car. And it looks like all three were at different shows. Here is some more info about this R&C cover car.

Tad Hirai wanted his 1950 Ford coupe to be different than all the other shoebox customs he had seen. To do so he teamed up with stylist Lynn Wineland who would create the design sketch which was used on the cover of the February 1955 issue of R&C. The body shop to turn this design into reality was the Valley Custom shop, which  was a natural choice not only since Tad worked at the shop, but also since this shop was always looking for projects that could set them apart from the rest. Projects where their creativity could be used and Tad’s Ford was just that. The team created a new grille opening using 1953 Studebaker front pans. A new grille was created using steel bar, shaped and welded before getting plated. A steel bar bumper was created for the back to tie the front and rear of the car together. 1952 Mercury headlights were frenched and small custom scoops created above them. Taillights were created from 2 ‘49 Mercury taillights and a 1953 Chevy unit in custom openings and custom shades above them. The chrome A-pillar covers are an unique touch and give the Ford a complete new look. The car was painted solid white and metallic purple. R&C used 6 pages showing how the shop performed all the modifications. The April 1955 issue showed the car completely finished in another 6 page article.

CCC_ina-mae-outdoor4-09This photo taken at the Hollywood Park parking lot shows that the car has different hubcaps than the 1953 Cadillac hubcaps that were used originally on the car.




CCC_ina-mae-outdoor4-081950 Ford “Del Mar” parked in a Valley Custom Shop line up. Next to Tad’s coupe sits Glen Hooker’s 1939 Mercury convertible, and next to that we can see Ina Mae’s own 1952 Lincoln Capri. The modified 1951 Mercury fender skirts hides an opened up original wheel opening. We can see that when this photo above was taken, probably in late 1955,  Tad has his Ford for sale. The asking price of $2,500.-


The cover of the Rod & Custom Feb 1955 that showed the Illustration the car was based on.


[box_light]Go to:  Part one, Part two, or Part three in this series on outdoor car shows, photographed by Ina Mae Overman.[/box_light]







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)

2 thoughts on “Mid 50’s Outdoor Car Shows part 4

  • Rik,in early July 1955 I was on a business trip to Los Angeles with my father and mother,I was 9, years old. My father took me to the Barris shop on Atlantic Blvd and parked in the driveway was the Harry Karl Caddy! It was a truly beautiful automobile!

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