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The Parking Lot Scene


One of the most incredible out door photos of the Golden Age of Custom cars is this birds eye point of view photo taken at the Custom Car and Hot Rods show held at the Thrifty’s drug store parking lot in Los Angeles May 15, 1954. This store was located at Rodeo Rd and LA Brea.
The photo shown here is a colorized version of the original black and white photo I did for the Rodder’s Journal #33 and their Annual Poster. The original Kolorized Photo is photoshopped to make it look a bit old.

There are some really amazing cars in this photo.

In the right row from top to bottom:

  • Earl Bruce’s 1940 Ford coupe
  • Fuzzy Luscari’s 1940 Ford pickup
  • Bob McNeil’s black Chuck Porter-built 1932 Ford three window coupe
  • unidentified 1929 Ford highboy
  • Jack Pere and Lou Banta’s red track nose model T Ford

In the middle row from top to bottom: 

  • Bob Hirohata Barris built 1951 Mercury
  • Ray More’s 1952 Ford which would later get a wonderful Larry Watson paint job in maroon and gold outlines
  • Jay Johnston’s cream and orange version of his 1949 Ford

And in the Right row from top to bottom:

  • Tommy Thornburgh’s 1947 Studebaker convertible built by Barris
  • Don Carroll’s 1949 Ford convertible built by Gaylord
  • Jack Nethercutt’s Barris built 1952 Oldsmobile
  • Buster Litton Barris/Cerny built 1949 Ford
  • Chuck DeWitt’s Barris built 1950 Ford convertible
  • Jesse Lopez Barris built 1941 Ford coupe by now owned by Danny Lares which can be seen by the longer piece of side trim on the hood, something Danny had Barris added to the car after he bought it from Jesse.
  • The last car in this row is an unidentified mild customized 1953 Ford coupe.

On the far left in the bottom we can also see the front end of the Bettancourt Mercury pecking into the photo. And hard to spot is another unidentified Custom Roadster all the way on the top to the right parked on the street in front of the red Chevy. So far I have not been able to figure out who’s car is it, but it looks to be based on a 1940’s Cadillac or Buick Convertible.







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)

6 thoughts on “The Parking Lot Scene

  • this was already an amazing picture in black and white, but your work on it made it even magnificent ! i’ve got one on my garage wall, and it’s pure motivation

    • Would like to say, I see may self walking around in the great photo, damn I was only 12 years old at the time this picture was taken and we all know 12 year old don’t drive. Very cool photo……………………..

  • I was recently working in orange county and had a chance to go check out this Holy parking lot. It wasn’t hard to find. The old Thrifty 3 legged sign is still standing and is being used as a Rite Aid sign. The apartments in the background are also still their, that are directly above the Jay Johnston Ford. It was very exciting to be standing where this Historical photo was taken. Their is a speed bump now roughly where the Hirohata mercury sat.

    • Thanks Michael…. That sure must have been an exciting moment to be there and to walk around, look around and knowing people had no idea what was going on in your head, but you saw all those beautiful Customs from back in the early 1950’s. Great to know the sign is still there.

  • This is one of my all time favorite snap shoots….! When I saw this in the RODDERS JOURNEL and Rik had added kolor to the snap shot I was just amazed…….!!!

    Well done Rik with such a great talent for kolor, When Rik did this as a poster print I could not buy one fast enough…!

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