Jack Stewart’s original Kustoms Plaque

KUSTOMS OF LOS ANGELES BRASS PLAQUE

George Barris came up with the idea to start a car club for Barris-built customs. An early way to promote his business, and have a great time with friends at the same time. He named the club “Kustoms Of Los Angeles”. Each member received a brass “Kustoms Los Angeles” plaque to put on his car.

Jack Stewart was very good friends with George Barris, and still is nowadays in 2013, when we write this story. When Jack’s 1941 Ford was brought over, from the Ayala shop to the Barris Kustom shop, to be finished by George Barris, Jack became a member of the Kustoms of Los Angeles club. George gave Jack a brass Kustom Los Angeles plaque. And Jack joined the other members when they went out for special events, like the Balboa Easter weekends, that George organized for the club members. When Jack’s 1941 Ford was first finished in white primer, Jack installed the brass plaque on top of the rear bumper; right above his license plate. The license plate and brassed plague were illuminated by the custom made lights set inside the center of the bumper where the plate was installed.. That must have been a very special sight.

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Only few photos have surfaced of the Jack Stewart Ford in its early white primer stage. This is the only one we have been able to find, that shows the Barris plaque mounted above the license plate.

 

When Jack’s Ford was painted and prepared for the 1951 “Los Angeles National Guard Armory Hot Rod Show”, and Jack and George realized the interior would not be finished in time, they put white cardboard in all the windows. Then Jack decided to take the Kustoms plaque from the rear bumper, and display it with the trophies, along side the car. Even back then, the Kustoms Plaque already had a certain importance.

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Here we see Jack with the Best of Show trophy, he won at the 1951 Hot Rod show. We can see the cardboard in the windows, to hide the fact there was no interior yet. Below Jack, we can see the Kustoms Los Angeles plaque, sitting against one of the trophies. In this photo we can also see the small hole drilled in the top right corner of the plaque.

 

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In another photo, taken at the 1951 Hot Rod show, we can see the whole plate sitting against the base of the trophy.

 

When Jack decided to sell his 1941 Ford in 1951, he removed the Kustoms Plaque permanently, and took it home. Jack was really fond of that Plaque, and the fact that he was a member of this club.
When Jim Skonzakes bought Jacks 1941 Ford, he put his own Kustom’s Plaque on the car. Jim was also a member of the club, and he had owned at least two Barris plaques. One plaque he put on the Jack Stewart Ford, and the other one, he used on his 1949 Buick.

Jim Skonzakes (Street) donated one of these plaques to Palle Johansen for the restoration of the Jack Stewart Ford. But as far as we can tell, the one that is currently on the Ford, is the plaque that Jim used on his Buick. Just like the one on the Buick, this plaque had no holes drilled into it, as we can see on the photos. On Jack’s Ford, there are two holes, drilled in to the plaque on the top corners. This was done, both on the plaque Jack still has, as well as on the plaque Jim installed, when he owned the 1941 Ford. In any event, the plaque on the car is an original Kustoms Los Angeles plaque.

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Here we can see the original Jack Stewart Kustoms of Los Angeles plaque from the Jack Stewart Collection. The plaque has no painted background like some other do.

 

The plaque shown in this article however, is the original one from Jack Stewart, and the original he used on his 1941 Ford in 1950 and 1951. Jack has create a display board for two of the plaques he really has fond memories of. An aluminum So. Gate Ram-Rods plaque, and the brass Kustoms Los Angeles plaque. It is amazing that Jack Stewart still hold on to this plaque, after more than sixty years. The fact that it is hanging on his wall, says it all.

CCC_Jack_Stewart_Plaques-01 The display Jack made from the two plaques.

 

CCC_JackStewart_Plaque-04 The Kustoms Plaque, donated by Jim Skonzakes, has a black painted recessed section, and no holes.

 

CCC-RJ-Photo-Rear-W This photo from the Rodder’s Journal Photo Shoot by Geoff Miles shows the custom made lights fitted to the bumper ends. The center portion of the bumper was cut away so that the license plate could be recessed. 

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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)

5 thoughts on “Jack Stewart’s original Kustoms Plaque

  • August 23, 2013 at 04:39
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    Hey Rik!
    thanks for putting up the story! remember when we visited Jim Street, and he told me he had this plaugue somewhere..and that he felt i should have it! he wasnt sure where it was, but promised to look out for it
    Jim found the plague, and he wanted it to be in a nice condition..so he gave it to a guy down town, to clean it up, before sending it over here. the plague got stolen in the shop..after some months, one of Jim’s friends called Jim, and said: i am in a swap meet, and theres a guy trying to sell a plague that looks like yours! Jim went there, and got the plague back!..and shipped it over here to Denmark! qrazy story! Thanks Jim!
    -Palle

  • August 23, 2013 at 17:24
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    A very interesting story on the Kustom’s plaques. Those brass plaques have a great history of custom cars and their owners. Glad that Palle’s Jack Stewart Ford has one on the back!

  • August 23, 2013 at 21:35
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    Hi Tom..is it right that you visited Denmark this summer without calling Tim and I haha!! if so please do that next time..we will be happy to take you out for a little spin in our cars!
    -palle

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