Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Different Twist on an Old Theme

I have always been a fan of spots on customs, like Jesse Lopez' metallic green '41 Ford with the Cadi grille.
Or Nick Metranga's 1940 Merc...

And even on the very famous customs like the Hirahota Merc and Moonglow.

But I wanted to do something a little different than these.  I was watching a Jimmy Stewart movie titled, Anatomy of a Murder.  And in that movie, he drove a 1950 Pontiac convertible.  He had a spotlight on the driver side door.  It was much more utilitarian then say an Appleton spot or a dummy spot.  First of all, after examining my A-pillar long and hard, I realized I would not be able to get a real, functioning spot through it.  And I couldn't bring myself to use metal screws to affix a fake spot to the car.  'Just couldn't do it.

So, Jimmy Stewart, being the custom car guru that he was, sent me on a journey to locate his spotlight.  The journey's first step brought me to the Internet Movie Car Database (  A car fanatic's derivation of the original human site listing all actors and the like involved in the movie industry,  In the vehicular version, you can type any car into the search engine and it will list the movies that car is in.  It is pretty in-depth, even listing cars that are just driving in the background.  So if you are watching a movie and you can't figure out what year, make, or model that car is, then check out this site.

The site had a couple shots of the Pontiac that gave me a better look at my spotlight.

Even though I liked the spot and I liked the fact that I hadn't seen it on any other customs, the fact that it was on some old fogies car was a little unsettling.  But I have never really followed the crowd on anything else before, so I figured, why not?

THEN I bought the movie Hot Rod Girl.  Made in 1956, it is the classic story about hot rodders out killing themselves racing against each other, and the cop trying to get them to race in an organized, bracketed league, on a drag strip.  The title is actually a misnomer since there is no girl hot rodder except Lori Nelson taking her T-Bird down the strip in the opening credits.  It is a classic movie, I am glad I bought it, but FYI you can watch it free in its entirety HERE.

Anyway, the antagonist in the flick drives a 1950 Oldsmobile.  His ride is clean.  Its been nosed and decked, and lowered a little bit with a custom grille.  The motor has been hopped and it is really nice.  Then as I was looking over the car, there it spotlight/mirror.  In my mind it negated all of the dorkiness that Jimmy's car brought to the mirror.  And don't get me wrong, I am a huge Jimmy Stewart fan.  Here is the only shot of the car from

It is difficult to see the spotlight, but trust me, its there. So I started looking on eBay and found out they were pretty expensive. They were going for $150.00 or more for ones in decent shape. I started watching one that claimed it was for the passenger side door. I examined the photos pretty intently, had the seller send me additional pictures focusing on the mirror side. I knew that would tell me what side of the car it was made for. It turned out he didn't know what he had, and fortunately no one else read past the "passenger side" title and I walked with it for $40.00.

Another great eBay purchase was this J.C. Whitney & Company Automotive Accessories catalog.  It was the best $5.00 I have ever spent.  

This catalog from 1957 is 226 pages of custom car accessories. I have spent days drooling over page after page of these custom accesories that are no longer existent. As I was thumbing through the book for about the 10th time, I saw this advertisement:
And then, though it was a little different than the one I purchased, This was similar.  Pretty cool.

I get the car back in a week or so.  Going to get as much of it wired as I can get done.  My buddy Chris Parese is going to help me wire as much of it as we can.  I am clueless on wiring, especially when it comes to connecting 12v wiring harness to my 6v gauges.  The folks and I are going to try our hand at installing 4" lowering blocks and removing a leaf or two.

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