THE 2013 CUSTOM CAR LINE-UP
In 1951, custom car photographer Marcia Campbell, set out with 5 Barris custom cars, and their owners, to a photo location in South Gate, California, about 3.5 miles from the Barris Shop. Nowadays every custom car enthousiasts knows this photo as: “the Line-Up Photo”. But in 1951 Marcia could not have foreseen the impact this photo-shoot had. 62 Years later her line up photo would see an Annual remake.
The photo above, taken in 1951 by Marcia Campbell was the inspiration for the Line-Up Photo from 2013. The inset on the left shows the flyer Wolf used to get custom car owners interested in his project. The inset on the right shows Marcia’s photo in the Dan Post Blue book from 1951.
During the A-Bombers Old Style Weekend Event, close to Uddevalla on the Swedish westcoast, flyers for a Line-Up photo shoot were handed out to a number of custom cars that fit the period look of the early 1950’s. The goal was to recreate a Line-Up of custom cars with their owners, in a similar way to what Marcia Campbell did back in 1951, when she gathered with Nick Matranga, Bill Taylor, Carl Abajian, Richard Ruiz, and Gordon Andersson, for a photo shoot for the Dan Post Blue book of Custom restyling. You can read about Marcia’s original Line-Up photo-shoot in this CCC article.
Ulf ‘Wolf” Christiansson has been inspired by this Line-Up photo, when he first saw it in one of the Barris Kustom Technique books, and later in a copy of the Dan Post book he bought. Wolf is a die hard, early 1950’s custom car enthusiast from Sweden. He has lived in California for some time, were he worked with Art Christman and Gene Winfield. His passion for early Custom Cars only grew in those years. And ever since, he is trying to promote the look and feel of the period custom’s from the early 1950’s. An engineer by profession, Wolf is building custom cars in his spare time, and his 1951 Mercury – with one of the best ever hard-topped chopped tops -, is world famous. For many years Wolf has tried to recreate Marcia’s Famous Line-Up photos with a number of Scandinavian custom cars.
When the A-Bombers event was getting closer, it became evident that a nice number of early style Custom cars would attend the event. The perfect opportunity for the recreation of the Line-Up photo. To be able to participate in the Annual Line-Up the custom cars need to fit certain requirements. The car needs to look and feel like and 1940’s, or early 1950’s custom car. It needs to be chopped, needs to sit at a real custom car stance (level or speed boat style), and preferably need a set of Spotlights. New, 2013 edition, flyers were copied, and handed out to a few selected custom car owners at the event.
This little event is not part of the actual Old Style Weekend organized by the A-Bombers. it just uses the fact that there are many custom cars in the same location at the same time.
The plan was to gather, and drive in convoy on the Saturday morning of the Old Style Weekend, to the photo shoot location. Unfortunately one of the cars, the 1947 Cadillac of Palle Johansen had an overheated engine. So he had to wait a while to let it cool down. In the meantime, a few of the other cars already took of to the location. What was planned as “a nice driving line up to the location, so people could take some photos”, ended up in “everybody on their own to the location”. Something to improve on for next year.
The cars selected for this Line Up photo are:
- Bert Gustavsson, 1940 Buick convertible
- Tim Kirkegaard, 1939 Mercury
- Magnus Karlsson, 1949 Oldsmobile
- Andreas Åberg, 1950 Ford
- Palle Johansen, 1951 Mercury
- Palle Johansen, 1947 Cadillac
- Wolf Christiansson, 1951 Mercury
- Dan Lindberg, 1946 Ford
The location picked for the line up photo shoot was: “Riksväg 2, Vägminne” A very nice looking restored cobblestone road. It took some time to get the cars all lined up perfectly on this old road, and once the line up was realized, they came to the conclusion that the grass on the road side was to long. It covered up the lower sections of the cars in the photos. So, all the car owners, friends, and photographers were cutting the grass close to the road – by hand! – until they had a free shot.
Photographers were running around in the grass field to be able to get the best positions. And to be able to shoot the Line-Up of wonderful custom cars from every possible angle. Wolf Christiansson had organized the event, he made sure the cars were all properly lined up, was taking photos, and was glowing like a kid in a candy store. This was, by far, the best ever attempt he made, to gather a bunch of: fine early style custom cars for a line up photo shoot.
The owners of the cars were all looking at the line up with huge smiles on their faces. It was a wonderful sight. Seeing these, period perfect, wonderful colored custom cars, sitting in a perfect location side by site. Once the cars where photographed, Wolf ordered all the car owners to step beside their car, hold one arm on the drivers side belt line, and then it was time to take the ultimate photo. The recreation of Marcia Campbell’s world famous Line Up photo, with the owners.
All in all, the photo shoot took less than an hour, and when everybody was done taking photos the cars, went off back to the event terrain, or go to the Hill Climb event that was held close by at noon.
The 2013 Scandinavian Custom Car Line-Up was a big success and a fantastic photo opportunity. Plans are already in the making for the next Line-Up. Which, again, will be invitation only. Ideas are to gather even more period custom cars, and park them in a different way, at an even better location. The only “problem” from the Line-Up, is that it only works if there are just the cars, a few photographers, and the owners of the cars. Just like a proper photo set: everybody out of view when the photo shoot is started: cars, and drivers/owners only.
This article shows some of the best photos taken by Christer Ehrling, and Palle Johansen. More photos of this Photo Shoot can be found on the CCC-Forum.
Bert Gustavsson, 1940 Buick convertible
Tim Kirkegaard, 1939 Mercury Coupe
Magnus Karlsson, 1949 Oldsmobile
Andreas Åberg, 1950 Ford “The New Panoramic Ford”
Palle Johansen, 1951 Mercury (Dick Dean Custom)
Palle Johansen, 1947 Cadillac Convertible
Ulf “Wolf” Christiansson, 1951 Mercury
Dan Lindberg, 1946 Ford Coupe