Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Justin Kudolla's Custom Cars Trend Books

There are not to many strictly Custom Car related magazines and book published these days. Back in the 1950's and early 1960 this was quite different. One of the strictly magazines or perhaps we can even call them books where the Custom Cars annual put out by Trend Books.  The first was published in 1951, and the last was done in 1962. It was almost an annual published report on the latest trends in Custom Car world. 

The books are filled with nothing but Custom Cars. And Justin has been able to find Custom Cars that where not published before, or seen to much on the internet. Quite an achievement today. And besides the features of Custom Cars there is a styling Studio, Book review, Custom Model Cars and as far as I think, the best part of the magazine, a wonderful interview with an old timer Custom Car who tells just great stories how it all was back in the days. 

The first 2009 book had an interview with Gerald Twamley and his famous 1954 Chevy Custom Car. Gerald also shared many of his great Custom Car photos from his personal photo album. 

In the 2012 book Justin interviewed Johnny Zaro who had two famous Barris Custom Cars and he also shares his amazing early Custom Car photo album. (below)

Justin has been so kind to share some of the unused material for both of these early time Custom Car guys with us to share. Thank you Justin Gerald and Johnny for sharing these amazing photos.

Justin Kudolla has been in love with everything Custom Car for as long as he can remember, and when he read one of the first articles publisher Luke Karosi from Kustoms Illustrated magazine put in his own magazine. The article was called "Attack Of the 1/2 Foot Zines,"  which had articles about Rolls & Pleats and some of the other magazines along those lines.  In the article he said something about "with the advent of personal computers and desktop publishing systems, things that were once solely done by professionals can now be done in your own home, such as magazine publishing."  

Well, that got Justin thinking!  
He always liked the old Annuals, they were my favorites.  And he had hoped that someone would bring them back, and not do them in an updated way, but continue them as they were before.  
Back around 1994, there were two issues published of Hop-Up magazine, in the little size how it was in the 1950s. (In Justins opinion, these two issues were far better than the Annuals that were later published, after the rights to the Hop-Up name were purchased by a new owner.)  They were very good quality, on thick paper, and had some color inside, but many of the layouts and even the ads were done the way the old ones were.  
That is exactly what Justin wanted to do with his Annual.  There may be some modern style customs in the new Annuals Justin created, but he still wanted to give all of the articles an old look, so it would be like looking at something new through the eyes of something old, like a Twilight Zone experience or something!

"I don't know if you have copies of, or have ever seen the Tex Smith's Custom Cars Magazine from the late 1980s?  He only did 4 issues, but it was a great magazine, one of the best in my opinion.  He was another big inspiration.  It folded because he couldn't meet his quota for paid subscriptions, (which was 5,000) but I would always think of how much I liked that magazine and how much he could have accomplished with it if people would have supported it.  I wanted to do something to help get custom cars out there, to help make up for what he sadly wasn't able to accomplish since he didn't have much support.
Even though my first Annual came out about 20 years after the last issue of Tex's magazine was published."

If you have not ordered one of these great Custom Car books, do yourself a favor, and go to Justin's website and order one, or two. You wont be sorry. The interviews with Gerald Twamley and Johnny Zaro alone are worth the price. 


Here are some of the photos that Justin scanned from the Johnny Zaro Photo Album.

Great low angle front view of Johnny's 1940 Mercury.
Rear view of Johnny's Mercury.
Wonderful flow of lines.

A bit hazy snapshot in between the trees.

Johnny proudly shows the freshly upholstered Mercury.

Johnny bought this unfinished 1941 Ford project.
George Barris had been building it for John Vara, but he
decided to sell it before it was finished.
George Barris finished it for Johnny Zaro.

Great side view shows the wonderfully done upholstery.

Especially nice is the very rounded shape of the tuck&roll
inset panel on the rear bench. The upholstery was
done by Chavez in red and white leatherette.

Channeled 32 Ford 3-window coupe at the
Compton Avenue Barris shop

And here are some of the photos from the Gerald Twamley Photo album

Very nice front shot of Gerald's Chevy

Gerald's 1959 Pontiac

Kookie Kar that Gerald photographed at an outdoor show.


  1. Justin's Trend Custom Car Annuals ROCK!

  2. Luke Karosi - Kustoms Illustrated MagazineNovember 16, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    Support custom cars - Buy these annuals!

  3. bought 2 editions! Thanks for the tip!

  4. Justin is a great guy. talked with him for over an hour on the phone. there are some great cars and the interview was great also.

  5. Justin does a great job with his journalism skills on the publication he works on.

  6. The blog was absolutely fantastic! Lot of information is helpful in some or the other way. Keep updating the blog, looking forward for more content...Great job, keep it up.
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