Photograph by Christina Gandolfo
For generations Angelenos have been transforming wheezing junk-ers into the flashy dream machines that define Kustom Kulture. Jacked up and lowered down, chopped and polished to a blinding luster, these cars have inspired fashion designers, musicians, and artists. In the 1950s, legends like Von Dutch and Ed “Big Daddy” Roth helped spawn the fantasy world of flames and eyeballs and sculpted silhouettes that had existed only in cartoons. Brothers Sam and George Barris of Barris Kustom Industries (10811 Riverside Dr., North Hollywood, 818-984-1314 or barris.com) started crafting one-of-a-kind vehicles in the 1940s. Their creations for TV, which included rods for Batman and The Munsters, spread their gospel around the world. Today Edgar Hernandez of Starlite Rod & Kustom (1407 W. Carson St., Torrance, 310-328-5222 or starlitegarage.com) counts the Barris brothers among his influences.
Photo: Edgar Hernandez, co-owner of Starlite Rod & Kustom, with a 1960 Ford Starliner that took him and his partner seven months and $80,000 to build