“The Aesthetics of Customized Cars” Backstory

Ever since I earned my first driver’s license (age 14, in Texas), I’ve loved customized cars. The car itself meant freedom and status as an adult (or, at least, no-longer-a-kid), and to customize one’s ride meant to put a publicly-visible, personal stamp on the new symbol of freedom and status.

After going to many car show over the years, I put together my thoughts on the different kinds of car customization I had seen, and presented the results at a meeting of the Popular Culture Association in (appropriately enough), Los Angeles, the original birthplace of the “kustom kar” movement.

My first customized car was this 1955 Chevy. It sported many of the features we  customizers love: rolled and pleated naugahyde seat covers, lake plugs and moon hubcaps, both of which can be seen in the (alas) grainy photo taken many years go:

1955 Chevy copy.jpg

In a later car, I had this dragon painted on the dashboard (I’m also a flutist):