I love Sport Customs – but it took me a long time to learn to call them by this name. If you think handcrafted fiberglass specials from the 50s are rare, just try to find a sport custom. We estimate that for every 10 or more fiberglass specials that were built, there may have been 1 sport custom. But what is a sport custom?
Another term often used for these cars is “American Boulevard Cruiser.” Both terms describe a car with the following characteristics:
Sporty in nature
Most were made from steel, a few in aluminum and less in fiberglass
Larger than a sports car in size with a typical wheelbase of 110 inches or greater
A completely new body design or one so heavily restyled that it has taken on an original (or nearly original) shape
And the funny thing about American Sport Custom cars is there’s hardly any left. Connect that to the rarity of the cars to begin with and the fact that unlike fiberglass specials, nearly every sport custom is a “one-off” and you can begin to understand why I find them fascinating. And exciting when a new one is discovered. And that’s what recently happened to me when Richard Brown sent me a photo of a car that he had recently acquired. A car that he calls the “Porter Pegasus.”
Tom Cotter sure gets around the country in his ultra cool Woody Wagon and uncovers the most amazing finds. As an author, Tom has continued to pen books on his travels and we’ve been honored to be in several of these over the years (thanks Tom). And as we shared last year with you, Tom has partnered with Hagerty and has nearly 100 YouTube episodes that you can view on his travels and “finds” throughout the country. Go get ’em Tom
Alan and Jen Mortlock are getting ready to move back to the UK, and I’ll be sad to see them go. I met Alan and Jen over 10 years ago when they first acquired their Glasspar G2 sports car and I was impressed with the quality of their work and the speed of which they were able to do their restoration. I had a chance to personally see the car and Alan’s work when I stopped by in August, 2009 on my way to Bonneville with the 1946 Bill Burke Belly Tank Streamliner – but that’s a different story. Check out the photos below from August, 2009.
Alan and Jen Mortlock at their home in Sikeston, Missouri – August, 2009. I picked up Alan and off we went to Bonneville Speedweek with the Burke Belly Tank. What an adventure that was for both of us.
The History of Custom Car Literature, When Did It Start, What Did They Publish, and Why It Was Researched
In The Beginning…
Dan Post was the first to document in great detail how to build a custom car in postwar America. Being “first” is an impressive thing to say – especially when the field of customizing a car was a fledgling enterprise in the mid 1940s and cars to customize were few and far in between. Remember…during the wartime years new cars weren’t produced and those that were new before the war were treasured commodities.
Cars in the prewar era were mostly designed with open fenders. Only in the early 1940s and then in the postwar years were the designs “modern” enough to consider customizing cars in many of the ways we think of today. And it was during this time when Dan Post was there to capture, document and share what he was seeing with America at large. Dan Post was there at the beginning – writing and learning about what he saw – and sharing it across the country.