Posts Tagged ‘Vintage Stuff’


Paso Robles T-Birds 2002

Travel back a little in time to when the beautiful Californian town of Paso Robles hosted the famed West Coast Kustoms car event over the Memorial Day weekend in May. Just before the earthquake a year or two later, and then the show moved South.

We travelled there in 2002 (little did Tracy realise that the entire 6-week round-the-world trip was choreographed to this one weekend).

These video snippets (amateur warning alert!) capture some famed show T-Birds (including the electric green 1963, which now resides in the U.K.; the renowned ‘Time Machine’ which has won more than its own weight in shiny trophies; plus a couple of 50s Birds) and a taste of West Coast car culture.

Plus to recreate the atmosphere, some very high-pitched American accents, extremely loud car noises, and a couple of em-Barrised moments (“is that a 61 or 62?”).

And the $10,000 question: why-oh-why didn’t Paul ask Barris for his autograph? or Von Franco? or Shige?


Barris Tbird Kustoms pt. 1

George Barris 58 Ultra-Bird

Perusing Paul’s extensive collection of car books (I mostly look at the pictures), I was struck by the number of cool Tbird customs by legendary George Barris.

For all our square-Bird friends, here’s a beauty: the 58 “Ultra-Bird”. Barris customised this t-bird for his wife Shirley’s birthday, painting it in 30 coats of Candy Red with white pearl outlining, adding 18 side louvres and illuminated hubcabs. It won the Motor Life ‘Car of the Year’ in 1959. Shirley is marvelling at how George managed to convert a miniature car into a full-sized version just by the application of Kolor Crome products!

So blog readers, what do you think of custom cars? Sacrilege… or you can’t get enough of the chopped, channelled, sectioned and lowered?

Check out some background on George here.

Image from Barris Kustoms of the 1950s by George Barris and David Fetherston.


The Wonders of Advertising

Turquoise Tbird with equestrians

Swimming Pool with Square Bird

The 50s and 60s represent the pinnacle of aspirational advertising, the reassurance of “you’ve-earned-it” rewards, and a better-looking version of yourself driving a wondrous new Thunderbird…

Elegantly coiffed ladies in acres of chiffon alight from Tbird convertibles outside the country club, houndstooth-checked equestrians admire the latest-release model, and jet fighters race alongside a stylish gent in his new ’59…

Then there’s the copywriting: “A Thunderbird is a promise”, “Your ‘someday’ car could be yours tomorrow”, and “That special excitement is waiting for you now”.

Where’s the dream in a Hyundai Getz or a fuel-efficient Ford Focus?


City Beach 50s House

This fab modernist home in City Beach was recently for sale.
It was used some years ago in the little-known retro film “Love in Limbo”.
At least, Russell Crowe is hoping it remains little-known.