Since the beginning of the automobiles, there have always been some special people who want to add a personal touch to their vehicles. From the addition of basic components for comfort, style, or safety, to the more complicated modifications of complete restyle and power upgrade. People have embraced the form of expressing themselves through their cars. Car modifications is a worldwide trend to create better, stronger, faster vehicles or creating new styles that fit their personality. In America, multiple car communities have been formed for various styles and forms of custom automobiles. One of the most popular ones is the hot rod community that started building affordable Ford roadster during the 1940s and 1950s.
Oldsmobile V-8 Engines: How to Build Max Performance Paperback Book – Click To Look Inside The Book
The hot rod scene has evolved through the years and branched out to different styles. From the early roadsters and dragsters that raced through dry-lakes, to the crazier “Customs” during the ‘60s. In the late 1950s, hot rodders started to create radical designs through customizing existing cars. Most of them used the 2-door American coupes from the ‘40s and ‘50s. They lowered the suspension, smoothed out the body, chopped off the roof, bodies mounted on different frames, and other modifications they could think off. Through the 1960s, the hot rod scene became more competitive and the builders were filled with creativity.
A representative of the glory days of the Custom community is “Joanne’s Dream”. This beautiful hot rod began as a 1954 Oldsmobile Supper 88 coupe and was converted around the 60s. Before its complete transformation, Tom and Joanne Archer used it as a regular driver. It was Joanne who wanted to have a custom show car and their Super 88 was the perfect project car. Instead of going for a simple custom build, Tom went crazy and converted the Super 88 into a completely new and one of a kind Kustom car. It was a complete makeover. The completed Custom Super 88 featured a unique roof line and a hand built El Camino-style truck bed. In the front, the customized 1955 DeSoto grille stands out and goes well with the 1957 Plymouth quad headlights that are embedded into the Oldsmobile fenders. The original hood was stripped away of its trims and badges and layered with louvers. The Corvette-based coves on the sides were custom built and are complemented with the 1959 Plymouth Belvedere trims. The roof line was heavily chopped and embedded with 1951 Corvair air ducts.
For the rear, the awesome custom truck bed is made with red oak planks that are matched with 1963 Impala taillights and 1958 Corvette taillights. This Super 88 has 6 exhausts exits. 2 from the rear, 2 lake pipes mounted on the sides, and 2 more pops out above the truck bed and behind the cabin. Every detail is incredibly well done and all the parts taken from different cars blended perfectly to create this beautiful masterpiece.
This Super 88 is powered by its original 371 ci Rocket 88 Oldsmobile engine that has been upgraded with various performance goodies which include a Weiland dual-quad intake manifold and Offenhauser finned alloy valve covers. The power steering reservoir, pulleys, generator, and heater motor have all been chrome plated.
In 2008, Joanne’s Dream was found sitting behind a hot rod shop in Fort Worth, Texas. Alan Lewenthal was the one who found the car and said that he has never encountered anything like it. He later found out that this Oldsmobile is a one of a kind survivor from the glory days of the Kustom Car era. He did an extensive research on the history of the car and had it restored by Marquis Auto Restorations from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Restoring a Kustom car as complicated as this one required talent and special skills. Just identifying all the trims and other components that came from various cars was not easy. Traditional techniques such as lead fillings were used in restoring this Super 88’s body and now looks just as stunning as how it was in its glory days. It comes in its original Lurid Purple finish with white coves. Period correct reverse chrome wheels were installed. The 1962 Impala bucket seats are fitted with white upholstery as well as the custom rolled dash pad and the Impala center console with the unique shift lever. The sides of the truck bed are trimmed with matching white vinyl. The restoration took a lot of effort but they were able to bring back the same beauty when it was an auto-show celebrity in the mid-60s.
The restoration of Joanne’s Dream was featured in National Geographic’s program Dream Car Archaeology. Joanne’s Dream became a star again, it was featured in the 2009 Chicago World of Wheels show, received the George Barris Elegance Award, Best In Class and was given the title of Most Outstanding Radical Custom Hardtop. Joanne Archer must be really proud of her dream car that is still celebrated even today.
References & Photo Credits: