Kustomland: The Custom Car Photography of James Potter, 1955-1959

by Thom Taylor & James Potter (photographer)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I am by no means a petrolhead (as we say over here) but I do have a weakness for 1950’s American cars & the whole American Grafitti vibe. We had a great time at the Beach Hop earlier this year – never seen our little town so alive!

A brother-in-law who is really into these old cars (he owns a Ford Fairlane) couldn’t make it this year. To make up for the disapointment we are giving him this very collectible book for his birthday shhhhh!

& when a book enters my house (other than sports biographies) of course I have to read it.
This is Kustomland an area in Southern Los Angeles – mainly around Bellfower & Lakewood.

This is such a boys’ (& a few girls world) where their lives revolve around their cars & the customisation of them. One fanatic told the author when he bought an uncustomised car that he drove it to his auto shop as fast as he could, as he was so embarrassed to be seen out & about in it.

There are pictures of the artists at work & of groups of young circling these beautiful cars. There is a helpful glossary of the terms.

But this is a book celebrating the beautiful artwork on these cars & the talented photographer, the late James (Jim) Potter. He was a freelance photographer at this time before he moved to Newport Beach in 1961 and purchased the Powerboat Magazine.

A montage of some of the cars. I don’t like the tongues of flame paintwork so much. All personal taste.

Was this a working phone or a joke?

& I have a weakness both for the fins & the paint job on this particular car, which is described as “candy raspberry over platinum pearl.”

This should be a keeper, but I know Jeremy will get more pleasure out of this book than I will.

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