BUILT TO SUIT:
The customization of mass produced automobiles has been around since the first time someone painted the wheels of their Model T Ford a different color than they came from the factory with. The spirit of changing your car to fit your tastes has never went away. It's just that some are willing to take it to the extreme.
The Custom Car craze reached its height in the '50's & early '60's. Some of the most iconic custom cars were created during this time period. If you've been following the Custom & Hot Rod Life tribe or the Shoebox Ford '49-'51 tribe you've read a few stories on these wild cars! When Muscle Cars arrived on the scene in 1964, Customs and Hot Rods lost popularity, but they never died. Mainly because you can't stop a good thing!
A '49-'51 Mercury Coupe. Radical top chop, Oldsmobile frenched headlights & shaved door handles are just a few mods on this slick Custom. From the 2008 Bunny Run in Jackson, TN.
Just like Hot Rods, Customs would come back to popularity during the Mailasie years. Characterized by their low stance, multiple sheet metal alterations, headlight, taillight & side trim swaps, Customs are some of the wildest cars around.
A '49-'51 Mercury 2-door Sedan. This Custom includes a hard top conversion. From Ink-N-Iron Nashville 2015.
BIRTH OF THE KUSTOM CULTURE MOVEMENT:
Along with increased interest in the cars of the '50's & early '60's, there has been a general interest in all cultural aspects of this time period, recently. When Kustom Cars are mixed with Rockabilly music & period dress you are witnessing the Kustom Culture Movement.
A chopped top, 1937 Ford coupe. From the Redneck Rumble 2014.
BEATERS(RAT RODS) + KUSTOMS = A MATCH MADE IN CANDY COLORED, METAL FLAKE HEAVEN:
The current Kustom Culture movement has found a odd ally in the Automotive world: Beaters or Rat Rods. This seems weird at first, because Kustom's are still as slick as ever, while Beaters, tend to distance themselves from refinement. It's an odd thing to witness, at first.
It's weird until you figure out the thing that both movements have in common. You see both groups tend to build their own cars. The DIY ethos is prevalent throughout both scenes. Respect is extended to those that are able to do the most with the least amount of resources.
This 1949 Ford Coupe isn't chopped, but it does have Buick side trim and frenched headlights. From The GoodGuys Nashville Nationals.
EXTENDING THE AGE RANGE... BACKWARDS.
While '50's cars tend to be the most popular candidates for receiving the Custom touch '30's and '40's cars can be customs. A few other characteristic of Customs are: flashy paint jobs, fresh chrome, wide white wall tires, and steel wheels with full hubcaps.
A 1940 Ford Coupe, with a chopped top & ribbed bumpers. From the NSRA Southern Nationals in Knoxville, TN.
IT'S A HAPPENING SCENE:
The DIY attitude is the thing that attracts most people to these types of cars. Shows specific to customs happen all over the U.S. I will be attending a Custom/Beater show later this year that has expanded every year for the last 10 years I've attended. You are going to want to look for that extensive coverage next week! I hope you have enjoyed this DIY post about Custom cars on DRIVETRIBE the DIY automotive website! Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to...
Keep on Cruisin'!
Art by: Chris Breeden
Check out the Know Your Cars! series!
About the Author:
"Chris Breeden is a Social Media content creator for Custom & Hot Rod Life on DRIVETRIBE, YouTube and Facebook. After spending 5 years in Southern California, a.k.a. Hot Rod Heaven, while serving as a jet engine mechanic in the United States Marine Corps, he moved back home to Tennessee with an even greater love for Hot Rodded Vintage Tin. Since then he has worked in retail sales and the transportation and logistics industry. In 2018, seeing a gap in Hot Rod and Custom Car coverage on DRIVETRIBE, Chris began advocating for their inclusion on the platform. During the summer months, he can be found all over the Tennessee region covering car shows, meets, and cruise-ins. During the winter months, he can be found in the garage working on his custom 1949 Ford two-door sedan and 1954 F100 truck."