The Custom Car Revival Celebrates 10 Years of Chopped, Shaved, Sectioned, and Candy-Colored Creations
Many vintage cars are customized, but not all customized vintage cars are “customs.”
That might seem like a bit of pretzel logic, but it makes perfect sense to fans of traditional-style custom cars who returned to Indianapolis June 8-10 for the 10th edition of the Custom Car Revival. These are the diehard enthusiasts who celebrate traditional-style customs as they were built from the classic period of the mid-1930s through the mid-’60s. Or, as event organizer Kevin Anderson likes to say, “the Harry Westergard through Larry Watson era.”
“These cars have been shaved, nosed, decked, de-badged, chopped, and custom painted entirely for their aesthetic beauty,” Anderson says. “There is no other organized event like this in the country.”
Traditional customs have almost always had a smaller following than their hot rod brethren, but the Custom Car Revival has cultivated a loyal base of attendees and followers. Limited to around 200 participating vehicles, which are vetted to ensure they meet the criteria, the show strives for a laid-back, old-school, low-key feel. This year’s show featured customs from 35 states, from California to New York, Minnesota to Texas, and even Canada. “These participants travel long distances entirely because the event requires that each car meets the show criteria of a ‘traditional custom,’” Anderson says.
The show itself is technically one day – Saturday – but the overall event encompasses several days, with some people arriving as early as Wednesday evening. Thursday afternoon and evening are designated as hangout times for people to catch up and clean up their cars, while Friday is a “drive day” dedicated to cruising to cool sights and stops around the Indy area. After Saturday’s show and shine, most people head for home on Sunday.
Because this event has been so steadfast in its adherence to traditional custom style, it continues to attract great examples of the latest traditional-style custom builds, plus a strong number of historic customs. This year’s show welcomed more than 20 historic customs, five of which were built by the legendary George Barris, plus others by The Alexander Brothers, Bill Hines, Valley Custom, and other well-known shops and craftsmen.
If terms like “chopped Merc” or “candy apple red” or “fender skirts” are part of your vocabulary, the Revival is likely your type of show. “We like to say that if your car looks like it could have rolled out of George’s, Joe’s, or Gene’s shop back in the day, this event is for you,” Anderson says.
Photos by Ron Hensley