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Marcia Campbell Famous photo shoot




One of Marcia Campbell’s better known photos, is this custom car line up, taken in 1950-51. Actually there are two very similar photos: one of the owners posing next to the cars, and an other one, just with the cars.

These two photos are actually part of a series, Marcia Campbell did on this location, with a couple of Customs created at the Barris Kustom Shop. It is very well possible that the photo session was organized for the Dan Post Blue book of Custom Restyling. 12 photos taken by Marcia that day were used in the last two editions of the Dan Post book.


The Barris created custom cars in this amazing custom car line up photo are from left to right:

  • Nick Matranga, 1940 Mercury
  • Bill Taylor, 1949 Chevy Convertible
  • Carl Abajian, 1949 Chevy convertible
  • Richard Riuz, 1949 Chevy convertible
  • Gordon Anderson, 1949 Chevy fleetline

CCC_Marcia_Campbell_LineUp-01This scan from the photo without the owners, was made from a copy of an original proof sheet from Marcia (thanks to David E. Zivot). Not the best quality, but all we have in the Marcia Campbell Collection at the Custom Car Photo Archive. If you look carefully, you can see that both the cars and the background are exactly the same in both photos. The only difference is the presence of the people. Proof that Marcia used a tripod for this photo shoot.

Some of the other photos from this photo shoot  were also used by the Barris Shop to help promote their business at car shows, in the early 1950’s. Nick Matranga‘s 1940 Mercury was shown at the 1951 Oakland Roadster show. And the wall, behind his car, was decorated with some of the photos Marcia made at this photo shoot. George Barris also used the photos for his Barris Kustom techniques of the 50’s books. The photo without the owners, was as far as we have been able to find out, never before published. Until the Rodder’s Journal used it, in issue 51 in the article on Marcia Campbell. The line up photo with the owners posing next to the cars, has been used several times before.
George Barris once commented that this Marcia Campbell photo really shows how the Barris shop was able to make every car look different, using different techniques, and in this case different grilles on 4 different 1949 Chevy’s.

As Marica Campbell told before: she often took photos of the cars and went straight home, where she developed and printed them herself at her dark room. Then she returned to the Barris shop, and gave the freshly developed photos, to the owners of the cars…and to George Barris as well. In this particular case, Marcia also gave a set to her good friend Dan Post. Another interesting detail we can see in these two photos, is that Marcia actually used a tripod to take the photos. When we compare the photo with the owners, and the one without the owners, we can see that the cars, and the background line up are exactly the same. Which can only be done if the camera is fixed, most likely, with the aid of a tripod. As far as we know, a lot of the photos taken back then, were taken by holding the camera in the hand. We have not been able to find out where this location is. Probably a High School, not to far from the Barris shop. In those days, the roads were not all that good, and to drive a long distance for a photo shoot was just not happening that much.

UPDATE July 28, 2013.

The location has been identified by Mats Olsson. Marcia Campbell took these photos at: 8616 California Avenue, South Gate, California. Read all about it on the CCC-Forum here.

MarciaCampbell-DanPost_PhotosThe images show the line up photo, and the other photos (plus a few other shots) taken at the same photo shoot by Marcia. These are all photos taken from the 1951 edition of the Dan Post Blue Book of Custom Restyling.


Sources and for more info:

  • Dan Post Blue book of Custom Restyling 1951 & 1952-53 edition
  • Barris Kustom Techniques of the 50’s Volume 1 & 2
  • The Rodder’s Journal Issue No. 51



(This article is made possible by)





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 “Marcia Campbell Famous photo shoot

  • Looking at Marcia Cambells lovely lineup pictures we owe those that took pictures of the fantastic customs back then big , Marcia Cambell , George Barris and others photographers that made history with their camera making it possible for us that was not even born back when it happend to appriciate these lovely custom car happenings !

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