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custom cars

June 6, 2016

Anthony White Collection

 

ANTHONY WHITE COLLECTION

 

Anthony White, Pin-striper extraordinary, historic Custom Merc owner, collector of vintage photos and walking Custom Car encyclopedia, an introduction.



I have been in contact with Anthony White for many years… well on the computer that is. We “met” for the first time on the HAMB where he was one of the die-hard custom car guys. One of the guys that always shared his knowledge in word and pictures. I soon found out that Anthony was an authority when it came to historic Custom Cars, both from the 1950’s and especially from the revival of the 1980’s and 90’s. His knowledge of especially the east coast cars from this last period is astonishing. If somebody asked a question about a specific red Merc that he had seen at an 1986 show, then Anthony would reply with the name of the owner, the builder, the body modifications… and a little later if at all possible a photo to proof it as well. Anthony loved everything Custom Car, and absorbed as much as he could, and best of all he shared everything he knew and had, with everybody who wanted to know about it.

Over the years we have stayed in contact, and for the last couple of years mostly on Facebook, when he shares photos from his huge collection, pictures of his latest incredible fine, straight and detailed pin-striping jobs, and all kinds of Custom Car trivia. A new facebook post from Anthony is always a pleasure.
Now its time to pay some attention to Anthony White here on the Custom Car Chronicle. In this article we will highlight a few of the many photos from his collection, and share some info on the historical Custom Merc that was owned by his family since 1985. We will share much more of his photo collection on the CCC-Forum, and will continue to update that with new material when Anthony shares it on his Facebook or Instagram pages.

CCC-anthony-white-Collection-photo-11Anthony White with his Frank Maratta ’49 Mercury original built in 1956.

 



Anthony White was born in NYC and raised in Rockland county New York. He lived in South Florida for 6 years until 2009 and now he lives in New Jersey.His interest for Custom Cars started in kindergarten when his mother bought him a copy of the book “Grease Machines“. His father sam Anthony with the book and started to read in it as well. He started telling tales of his mild custom 49/50 Mercs he had when he lived in Washington Heights NYC.

Anthony read the book cover to cover, over and over again. He noticed the creativity in the restyling and terms like nosing, decking and his use of ’55 DeSoto side trim captured his attention immediately! His Custom Car brain-data-base was starting to take shape back when he was a little kid. Shortly after that, (at age 7) Anthony was taken to Lead East where he met Barry Mazza and Bob Nitti and the Kustom Knights. These Custom Car hero’s were all very impressed with young Anthony’s knowledge of Custom Cars and were all very eager to help him any way they could from then one. Anthony remembered that at one point ath the Lead East show he yelled at his mother, “Look mom, a Barris Merc with fadeaways” Of course, it wasn’t.


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Anthony continued to visit as many east coast Custom Car shows as he could, and started to take as many pictures as his allowances allowed him to. He kept every single photo he has ever taken. He also started to buy the magazines that covered Custom Cars and at each show he went to he tried to find the old guys who could tach him more about Custom Car history. He also was introduced to one of the most knowledgeable Kustom Historians on the planet, Mr Ray Soff of Saddle Brook N.J. and they would become good friends. Years later Mr Ray Soff’s incredible photo collection would help Anthony identify the family Custom Mercury.

I never forgot a single true 50s/60s style KUSTOM I’ve ever seen. I remember every curve of every modification of every car I see and have since childhood




The Frank Maratta Remington ’49 Mercury

To give the family something to enjoy at the Kustom Car hows shows, which had become like religion for the White family, they bought an old chopped Custom Mercury in 1985. They knew it was an old custom car, but nobody knew anything about it, who had built it, or when.  Anthony had seen a picture of this car in an old magazine when the car was first built in 1953 as a mild custom, but he could not proof it was the same car, since the car was now chopped. Not too long after the car was bought the had taken it to a Kustom Knights picnic. While Anthony was browsing thru a pile of Ray Soff’s old pics he spotted the family Mercury among the photos. Anthony was then able to verify what he already suspected, that it was the George Remington car from Astoria, Queens in NYC with certainty. The funny thing was that Ray was very well aware of the photos he had, but did not know it was the White family Merc until Anthony pointed it out.


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The car was done first as a mild custom car with DeSoto grille and spare tire cover on the back, typical for the east coast style. The car like this was featured in Car Life magazine in February 1954. It was this magazine that Anthony had seen it for the first time. The photos had already been taken in 1953, since later in 1953 the car was crashed in a New England sanctioned road race. George Remington took the damaged car to Frank Maratta’s body show in Hartford Connecticut in 1953. Over a period of time Frank turned the ’49 Mercury in an great looking full Custom. He did the collision work, rounded the hood corners with a large radius, Chopped the top Did the tail lights which are 4 frenched stock lenses and painted it bright gold. The car’s restyling was inspired by the Ayala brothers built Wally Welch Mercury. (Anthony once found several Wally Welch Mercury clippings in the material he had received from George Remington.) 


The car was finished in 1956 and showed at the 1956 Hartford Autorama. Frank had painted the car gold, possibly inspired by the lime gold on the Ayala built Wally Welch Mercury. But George Remington never liked it, so he repainted it ’56 Chrysler maroon as soon as he picked it up from Maratta. George hold on to the car until 1972 when he sold it to Ed Soffco, who put a 445 engine out of a ’37 Chevy gasser in the car.  When the White family bought the car in 1985, it was owned by John Burgess. When John owned the car he got hold of some of the color photos of the mercury in red. He later donated them to Anthony. Back in 1985 John was aware of the name Frank Maratta, but at the time he did not know who he was, and that he was the builder of the car. So Franks name was not mentioned when the White family bought the car. Much later when Anthony talked to John again the puzzle was coming together.

CCC-anthony-white-Collection-photo-19This photo was taken at the 1956 Hartford Autorama. Frank Maratta from Hartford Conn. had recently finished the 1949 Mercury and painted it gold. It was like this how it appeared at this show. 

 


CCC-anthony-white-Collection-photo-02This was a pic taken by George Remington in the mid 60’s of his Merc. The color was 56 Chrysler maroon which was immediately done after picking up the car and hating the fact that Maratta painted it gold!

 


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CCC-anthony-white-Collection-photo-13Anthony tracked down Mr George Remington, the original owner of the  Merc, and he drove to his house when I was 15. The man showed up in the same customized Volkswagen bus that he got rid of the Mercury for in 1971. He gave Anthony the 2nd place cup that the car won in the Hartford Autorama! George Remington sitting in his old Merc and a young Anthony standing.

 



The White family found the Mercury in ’85 when Anthony was 11 years old. Can you imagine what that must have been for a kid who was to full of Custom Cars, to have an historic Custom Merc parked in the garage. After having enjoyed the Mercury for many years it was time for a rebuild in the early ’90’s.

In 1991 the car was sub-framed by Barry Mazza, and the 455 Olds (which came out of a straight axle ’37 Chevy) was removed and replaced with a small block. In 2002 -3 David Adamski (Slag Kustom) did a lot of work on the car. He makes and repairs the splash pan and does some painstaking structural repair in his free time. Bob Falco did patches on the door and quarters to fix some of the rot on the car.

CCC-anthony-white-Collection-photo-10This is how the Merc looks in 2016, wearing black primer… for now.

 


After moving to Florida, where he stayed for 6 years Anthony did not work much on the Mercury. The only work he was able to do during this time was on the engine bay and some bodywork on the nose. Anthony did all the body work on the engine bay, smoothed out all the panels and painted it the bay in Barcelona red. In 2010, Anthony was back in New Jersey, when Russ Montelbano dedicated himself to the car. Russ is owner of North Jersey Kustoms and he really came to the rescue. He want over everything mechanically, making sure it is road worthy before countless hours of bodywork and dealing with decades of previous owners mistakes. His work ethic and ability to make what was so hard for Anthony seem easy. The car is now in black primer and all back together, and perhaps more important, back on the road! Russ will be resuming work on the car before long, with finally a gloss color on the body again.




The photo collection

Over the years Anthony has searched for, and found many old photos of custom cars. He has his own collection of photos that he took from a very young age at the Custom Car shows he visited with his family. He also traded material with other collectors and friends. And the best of it all, he loves to share it. Anthony loves to share his passion for Custom Cars, his knowledge and he hopes to inspired others to do the same, and be inspired to create better looking Custom Cars. When we asked Anthony if he made notes on the photos he took and others that are part of his collection he said… “No, I memorized everything”. Amazing! 

CCC-anthony-white-Collection-photo-05This wonderful pic was introduced to me by one of the most knowledgeable Kustom Historians on the planet, Mr Ray Soff of Saddle Brook N.J. It was taken outside of Tony Bruskivage’s North Jersey shop in the early 60’s. The car is in South Florida now. I last saw it 8 years ago as an unfinished street machine with flared wheel wells, a few lifetimes from what you see here!

 



CCC-anthony-white-Collection-photo-08If it looks like Herb Gary and it smells like Herb Gary, it most likely be. But right now wer are not 100% sure. Anthony is still checking for more info on this beauty.

 


CCC-anthony-white-Collection-photo-12This is Anthony’s person favorite photo from all the photos shared with the world! He got it from the man you see pictured, Mr Bob Barkoff of New Jersey. Bob would chop the top not too long after this photo was taken. The car later known as “Bob’s Chopper” was the first chopped Merc Anthony would see in person! When he saw the car it was owned by Sammy DeJohn. Bob now has a candy magenta 51 and you can almost tell the same guy owned both, 55 years after the pic was taken!

 


CCC-anthony-white-Collection-photo-09This was my friend Harold Olsen moments before I met him when I was 11. After He heard that I knew that Vern Lacey, Joe Wilhelm and Rod Powell worked on his famous 54 Buick, I got introduced to Gene Winfield, Rod Powell, The Alexander Brothers and Les Pratt in the next hour!! What a day that was at the Lead sled Spectacular in 85. R.I.P. Harold!!! What a wonderful friend you became!

 


CCC-anthony-white-Collection-photo-14Anthony at age 9…

 



CCC-anthony-white-Collection-photo-04 This 57 Olds was a wild old Kustom that I photographed at the 1990 James Dean run in Gas City Indiana in 1990. The car was owned by Chuck Reeves.

 


CCC-anthony-white-Collection-photo-03Anthony took this picture in Springfield Ohio in 1985 at age 11. He never saw the car again!

 


CCC-anthony-white-Collection-photo-06This wonderful old Kustom from Va. captured my heart in Gettysburg Pa in the late 80’s. The guys with the car didn’t have much information. Since then, I’ve seen it on the net in the Maryland or Pa area with a patina 53 DeSoto grille in it but have yet to talk to the owner in person.

 


CCC-anthony-white-Collection-photo-07This was a beautiful 50 Merc chopped by Terry Rielly and when this pic was taken, owned by Joel Scheipe, then of Elmont NY. It is being redone today by Lugwig Kustoms in Pa.

 


Anthony sees a lot of great Customs at the cars shows he visits, both for fun and for striping. He always takes plenty of photos of the cars at the shows and shares the most interesting with his friends on his Instagram and Facebook pages. It is one of his ways to share his passion for Kustom Cars, and share the style and details he enjoys best. He also loves to discuss every Custom Car in detail, and what was done to it, and what should have perhaps done to it. Anthony is a walking Custom Car dictionary. His knowledge of Custom Cars their history, who build them, what happened to them and where they are now is just beyond believe.


CCC-anthony-white-Collection-photo-18Anthony loves Bob Mishko’s 49 Ford 4-door with a coupe roof because it carries the short door coupe idea from 41-48 into a 49-51 model! He has seen this treatment done on Mercs and it didn’t work nearly as well. Bob came up with a successful phantom body-style that never existed!

 


CCC-anthony-white-Collection-photo-01This Merc, owned by Tommy Delv was clearly influenced by Larry Lorenzo’s famous chopped Merc convertible! Tommy is a Kustom nut who still has the little scooter I striped for him and his dad when he was 11. The chopped Merc on the right is Anthony’s Frank Maratta built ’49.

 


The Anthony White Photo Collection is way to big to be shared here on the main CCC-Site, so we have opened an thread on the CCC-Forum where we will be sharing the photos from his collection. We will add material to it over a period of time, and continue to do add new material when Anthony is sharing more. Both from his vintage collection as well as the most interesting material from the Custom Cars he captures these days. The sign below will bring you to the CCC-Forum-Post with the Anthony White Photo Collection. Enjoy…



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Anthony’s Artwork

At 15, Anthony began a mission to do the most tasteful technically perfect Pinstriping possible. He has done thousands of jobs in a style rooted in the early kustom scene but as organic and technical at the same time. His super straight extra thin lines are legendary.

According to Anthony he was really a Custom Car artist, he was an illustrator or at least he thought he was, then 15 years ago he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis which changed everything. He only did two drawings out of his head in the past 6 years. He mentioned “Maybe it’s lack of practice because I’m in pretty good shape considering”.
We have seen several of Anthony’s drawing and they are really fantastic with lots of little restyling ideas, the Custom Car builders can find inspiration from for many years to come.

Pinstriping is my trade and it has driven me to the brink of insanity but Kustoms are my passion and my obsession


CCC-anthony-white-Collection-photo-17Anthony striping a Thunderbird trunk.

 



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CCC-anthony-white-Collection-illustration-01Anthony created this from memory, with no reference material 2 years ago.

 


CCC-anthony-white-Collection-illustration-02Anthony designed this car for a friend… if she was a car in her past life!

 


My best memories are discussing builds by top guys and seeing cars influenced by our discussions



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About the Author

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)




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4 Comments


  1. Thank you for sharing. Inspiring story. This CCC just keeps getting better and better, as folks like Anthony share with us.


  2. Great article – thanks Rik and Anthony!


  3. Bringing memories to life for the rest of us – and then carrying them forward to current times with all the histories and photos.. Thank you!!

    Dave


  4. Well deserved spotlight on a living, breathing genius of kustom cars. Bo Huff was spot on when he called Anthony the Rainman of Kustoms. His striping is fantastic, kustom ideas and knowledge are off the charts. And he has an eye for spotting a great pair of feet. Pile all of that together with his sense of humor and you’re in for a treat. I wish you and I were on the same coast…we’d probably be pretty good friends until you got sick of me hahaha. PS- I still want you to stripe my dash.



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