Custom Car Chronicle
custom carsEarly Custom CarsThe Howard Gribble Collection

The Howard Gribble Collection Part 1


This is the first article in a series the Custom Car Chronicle will do about the wonderful photos from the Howard Gribble Collection. This first article concentrates on photos, Howard has found at various locations over the years.

Howard Gribble has been sharing his collection of 1960’s and 1970’s custom car, and low rider photos on his own Flickr photo site since 2006. Since 2008, Howard also shares his collection on the Custom Car Photo Archive. In addition Howard supplied great material for some of the magazine articles the CCPA has published in the past years.


This photo shows part of the 1960’s and 1970’s photos Howard Gribble is best known for. We will get to those in the next articles on the Howard Gribble Collection.


In this first article on Howard’s Collection we are concentrating on the photos he has found, rather than the ones he took himself. The photos he took himself, mostly during the late 1960’s and 1970’s, show the wonderful and colorful custom cars and lowriders that drove around in SoCal during those years. The quantity and quality of these photos are amazing. Stay tuned if you’re interested in these cars for the forthcoming articles. Besides taking photos, Howard also loves searching for old photos at swap meeting or antique stores. Over the years he has found some very nice,  mostly 1940’s, photos showing hot rods, custom cars, bikes and interesting people. This article will show a fine selection of this collection.

Lets us first tell you a little bit about Howard Gribble.
Originally from Wilmington, North Carolina Howard Gribble moved to the Los Angeles, South Bay area, when he was 8 years old. A few years later Howard was introduced to custom cars, when a relative joined the Navy. When at sea, he parked his milady customized 1950 Ford sedan at the Gribble Family house. The Ford was maroon, with a custom white interior. Lowered some, with loud dual exhausts. Howard’s father would drive the car once in a while, to keep the battery charged. But he was afraid of getting a ticket for the pipes. Howard thinks he drove it once. Howards and his sister (both in the picture below) were fascinated by the shaved door handles.


Later, Howard started to notice more custom cars on the road, and around town. Cars that had custom paint jobs, flamed, scalloped, and pinstriped. Others having mild body work done, like shaved door handles, and custom grilles. During that time, Howard had developed a likening for art, and started to draw these custom cars, and cars he would love to own one day. Around this time, he also started to notice the car related magazines on the news stand. Magazines like Custom Cars, Rod & Custom, were bought with his allowance money, or the money he earned doing small jobs around the house. Magazines which are still part of his present day collection.

Howard bought his first car when he was 15 years old, even before he had a drivers license. It was a 1950 Ford sedan, just like the car that introduced him into custom cars several years back. And Howard of course, took the door handles from his car as well, creating a mild 1950’s style custom car. However due to lack of money the car was never finished. His second car, a 1961 Ford was built, inspired by Don Loster’s 1959 Ford Galaxy, which was painted by Larry Watson.

In the mid to late 1960’s, Howard got interested in photography. First using an instant Polaroid camera, he later bought a much better 35 mm camera, and took it with him where ever he went. His interest in cars, and especially custom cars, took him to many custom car, and hot rod shows in the later part of the 1960’s and early 1970’s.  With him his trusty photo camera, and several rolls of films. He took pictures of all the cars, and bikes he loved.  In an era were not many photos were taken! This makes Howard’s collection so unique. He captured the era where mild custom cars slowly developed into low riders. An era were all you need to stand out, was a wonderful custom paint job in pearls or candies, lowered suspension and the right set of wheels. The next article will show many of these spectacular photos, and tell a bit more about Howard and his involvement in the scene.


The first photo of his old photo collection Howard shared with the Custom Car Photo Archive, is this mildly customized 1940 DeSoto.  Photographed in the early/mid 1940’s.




Howard found this great early 1940’s photo at the Pasadena City College antique fair. All the best mods from the period and it looks professionally built. Great lines showing in this side view. The signature appears to be “Bill Reed”.




I love this late 1930’s photo, showing a mildly customized 1937 Ford coupe, and a 1935 Ford in the background. The ’37 looks great with the wide whites, and single bar flipper hubcaps.




From the same collection comes this 1935 Ford coupe photo with some mild period customizing.



This photo, taken in 1946,  shows a 1936 Ford with a Packard Clipper grille mounted on top of the stock ’36 Ford grille. The bumper seems to be doubled up with another center section turned upside down. Something we have seen in some early Coachbuilt cars as well.



The California license plates on the cars in the back ground, indicates the year this photo was taken was 1942. Happy kids with, especially for that time, a very nice, fully dressed Harley.



Howard also takes the hot rod photos as he comes across them. These two examples show some early Californian Hot Rods. A Model T Roadster with ’32 Ford grille and flathead V8 on the dry lakes, and the other, a Model A with four banger engine driving on the streets of So Cal.

CCC-Sponsor-KKB -602-01



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)

One thought on “The Howard Gribble Collection Part 1

  • rik, awesome photos from a great person. met kid duece.. howard grible early this year, how neat to meet howard thats been covering shows from way back an present, memo,

Leave a Reply