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Business Cards: Barris Kustom Automobiles


In the series about Custom Car Business Cards, we like to highlight an nice and early Barris Kustoms Business Card.



This particular card is from the David E. Zivot collection, and was given to him by Nick Matranga. Interesting about this business card is that the name Barris only appears rather small on the card. Most of the attention is drawn to the car, George Barris’ personal 1942 Cadillac, and the name KUSTOM AUTOMOBILES. The production date of this this car is not exactly known, but it must have been somewhere in 1948-49.

Could it been that George Barris originally named his shop “Kustoms Automobiles”, and not to long after these cards were printed, decided that Barris Kustoms would be a better name for it?
Barris, John and Hector’s name appear in the same size on the car. Barris are, of course, George and Sam Barris, and John Manok and Hector Sacadra. The last two were body-men at the Bell shop, and apparently their position in the shop was so, that their names also appeared on the Business Card.

The address on the damaged card is a bit difficult to read, but it reads:
4120 1/4 E. Florence Ave, Bell. Calif. Phone LAFayette 1978

Interesting to see is that the card also advertises Kustom Tops & Upholstery. Most likely, a deal about this was made with Bill Gaylord. The two shops worked together a lot, in the later part of the 1940’s early 1950’s. And all upholstery work that Barris go went straight to Bill.

The car on the card is George Barris’ personal 1942 Cadillac convertible with 1947 Cadillac grille, chopped windshield and a Gaylord’s Padded Top. The Custom Car Chronicle will is working on a full feature on this fantastic early custom which will be published in the near future.



We were unable to locate a photo showing the actual Barris Bell shop. But this photo from the Barris archives, shows George Barris working on Larry Robbins 1948 Mercury Coupe outside of the Barris Bell Shop.




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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