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Norman Wesp Barris ’59 Chevy Recreation


Another Barris Custom recreation is underway. This time it is the 1959 Chevy Impala originally owned by Norman Wesp from Anoha, Minnesota.


CCC-Norman-Wesp-59-Chevy-01-WThis is how Norman’s 1959 Chevy Impala looked like in the early 1960’s (Phot0 by George Barris)

in November 2013 the Vescios Customizing shop posted some photos of the new candy red paint on their Facebook page. At first we thought that the original Barris Chevy had been found and completely restored. But it soon turned out that a stock 1959 Chevy was used to recreate the Norman Wesp Barris Kustoms created custom from the early 1960’s.

A pretty decent shaped 1959 Chevy was found by Byron W. Bode and used as the base for the recreation. The body was fine tuned and customized in a similar way as the Barris shop did so many years ago. When all the work was done the team put on the wonderful new candy Apple Red Paint job.













Norman Wesp took his 1959 Chevy Impala to the Barris shop to have the Barris Team create a wonderful mild Chevy Custom for him.
The Barris shop reshaped the front of the car. They filled in the hood air scoops, extended the hood ends and rounded the corners on it. The grille was replaced with a 1954 Chevy units with 21 teeth flanked with the stock 1959 Chevy headlights. At the back the taillight housings were reshaped and filled with 1957 DeSoto station wagon taillight lenses. Emblems were shaved, but the door handles remained on the car. Barris painted the car Candy Red.


CCC-Norman-Wesp-59-Chevy-02-WPhoto taken by George Barris at the Compton Drive-in.


CCC-Norman-Wesp-59-Chevy-03-WScan from the 1961 Custom Cars Annual showing a full page on Norman’s 1959 Chevy.

Vescios Customizing
21010 Commerce Blvd. Suite E
Rogers, MN. 55374


Update April 11, 2015

The finished Chevy debuts at the 2015 GSTA (Gopher State Timing Association) 59th ANNUAL CAR SHOW. The car has been finished with a few details different from how we know it from the magazines back in the early 1960’s. The car has been lowered a little further and is now running on chrome reserve wheels. Mark Moriarity and John Tretten took a few photos of the car at Set Up day at the GSTA show. Hopefully we will be able to show you some more outdoor photos of this Chevy Recreation at a later date.


Kustom Kar Books Golden Sahara



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)

4 thoughts on “Norman Wesp Barris ’59 Chevy Recreation

  • Always loved this car, One of the main inspirations on my 59 El Camino (that and Gene Winfield and the Alexander Brothers stuff)

  • Just to clarify, I am the one redoing this custom. Norm Wesp was the original owner. I had the car in 63 & 64 always liked it and had a lot of fun with it in High School. Remember the saying “All show and no Go” well this car had both as it was a 348/335hp 4 speed with a 3.70 posi.. Unfortunately, the original car was too rusted to save so this is a recreation and a tribute to Barris Kustoms. I am still in touch with Norm Wesp and he is excited to see the car finished. Currently, I am just waiting for the new engine, it will be a stroked 348 (just 436 inches) and will be hooked to a 5 speed. The car is wired and ready to run when engine is installed. Chassis is upgraded with modern geometry p/s, air ride,power disc brakes etc. All glass and trim (except Grille) are installed. (Can’t find enough 54 Chev Grille teeth at reasonable prices, then have to have them rechromed). When engine is in it goes to upholstery shop. I will provide more details and photos in future posts. If you have specific questions or wish to contact me e-mail

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