The Emperor - 29 Ford Roadster - Barris Kustoms

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Message  Predicta le Dim 28 Juin - 11:21

The Emperor - 29 Ford Roadster - Barris Kustoms 0103sr10
So how do stories about emperors go? Oh yeah, "Once upon a time." Well, alrightey then. . .Once upon a time in the fertile, grape-growing region of California's Great Central Valley, in the kingdom of Fresno, there lived a high school student with a dream. And even though he wasn't old enough to drive, young Chuck Krikorian wanted to have his very own hot rod. To this end he procured a '31 Model A frame and '29 roadster body, and set to work. He Z'd and boxed the frame, then channeled the body a full 8 inches (a trick that in itself was more of an East Coast thing) until he came up with just the right altitude--the end goal being one fast street and strip rod. He was even building a 406-cid '57 Cadillac mill to facilitate his dream of conquering the quarter-mile at Kingdon Dragstrip. Then, as luck would have it, two local Fresno rodders, Blackie Gejeian and Richard Peters (the latter of which just happened to be married to Chuck's sister), dropped by to check on the roadster's progress. Together these two seasoned veterans of hot rodding, themselves but young men, talked Chuck into building a showcar instead of a drag racer, their reasoning being that owning and maintaining a drag car would be much more expensive than displaying at shows. And Blackie should know, as he had already won the AMBR in '55, and Richard was underway with a '29 roadster pickup that would become known as the Ala Kart, winning both the '58 AND '59 title of America's Most Beautiful Roadster. The car, which Chuck christened the Emperor (for the type of grape that is harvested last in the season), took some four long years to build, but was ready in time for the 1960 Grand National Roadster Show, a.k.a. Oakland. Now as brother-in-law Richard had won for the last two years, he graciously pulled the Ala Kart from competition so that Chuck could have a shot at the gold, even though the two were displayed side-by-side. This poses an interesting scenario though: would the Ala Kart have won three years in a row? It's doubtful, but we (and Chuck) will never know for sure. Nonetheless, it does make for interesting speculation.

The Emperor - 29 Ford Roadster - Barris Kustoms 0103sr11
When Chuck had done all he could do to the car, including modifying the front and rear crossmembers to bolt-ins, and fabricating a new transmission crossmember for the Zephyrs-geared '48 Ford trans equipped with an Ansen Posi-Shift kit (floor shift conversion), he disassembled everything, including the 3.78:1-cogged Halibrand quick-change rearend (complete with torque tube driveline and un-split wishbone) and trucked it all over to California Chrome Co. in his hometown of Fresno. A side-note is that the chroming done over 40 years ago is still in great shape--a tribute to a time when craftsmen took great pride in their work. Chuck also finished building the Cad motor; installing a Chet Herbert cam, pushrods, and lifters; Jahns pistons (making for a compression ratio of 12.50:1); and a Vertex magneto. He also installed a sextet of Stromberg 97 carbs for both looks and performance.
The Emperor - 29 Ford Roadster - Barris Kustoms 0103sr12

With both chrome work and engine building finished, Chuck then assembled the chassis, mounted the body and, following in his brother-in-law's footsteps (when he did the Ala Kart), made it down to Lynwood, California, putting his handiwork in the capable hands of George Barris (who, in a recent conversation, recalled committing his ideas into drawings from which Chuck chose a design). And even though we have different classifications in today's hobby, there is no doubt that both the Ala Kart and Emperor were customized rods (okay--"Kustomized")--what else could one call them?

The Emperor - 29 Ford Roadster - Barris Kustoms 0103sr13
The car seen here is pretty much time-vault authentic with a couple of exceptions, which might be considered as modern concessions. Blackie Gejeian is not only a good friend of the original owner, but has been the caretaker of the car for some 30 years now. Blackie also knows how to restore a hot rod to era-perfect condition, down to the last refurbished, original nut-and-bolt, as witnessed by his '55 AMBR-winning Shish Kebab Special that was reintroduced to the public at the 50th Anniversary Grand National Roadster Show (where it was displayed with other of Blackie's automotive treasures, including the Emperor). All but a handful thought the Special had perished back in '56 when Blackie's Speed Shop went up in flames, but thanks to the tireless efforts of both Blackie and Chuck (yes, the very same Chuck) who handled body and paint, the car exists exactly as it did that fateful evening early in '55 when it won the big 9-foot trophy. So, any non-original touches on the Emperor do have a rhyme and a reason--after all, it IS Blackie's car.

The Emperor - 29 Ford Roadster - Barris Kustoms 0103sr14
Going over the car today, there are some obvious differences than when it won Oakland. For starters (and reasons known only to Chuck), the original wheels and tires were sold when he put the car in storage back in the '60s, where it remained for years, wrapped in blankets, with WD-40 down the barrels to keep the engine from freezing up. According to Blackie, the cycle fenders were so heavy from their leaded fins that they would both vibrate and snap mounting brackets, so they were never re-installed. But never fear, as Blackie has them safely sequestered away. At the time, wide chrome rims and raised white-letter blackwalls were the rage, so they were installed to give the jaunty little roadster a more contemporary flair. And even though they too are now dated, Blackie reports they provide a smooth ride and great handling.

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The chrome (which constitutes a fair share of the car's surface area, mostly underneath) is all original and, as stated, in remarkably good shape, with the headers deeply blued as evidence that the car not only runs, but runs well. Well enough, one might add, to have done 106 mph in the quarter-mile at the old Kingdon Dragstrip with Blackie at the wheel. He set the record for Street Roadster Class that day, even though he also "broke" the motor. And this happened shortly after the win at Oakland, too.



Dernière édition par Predicta le Dim 28 Juin - 11:26, édité 1 fois

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We don't care the People Says , Rock 'n' roll is here to stay - Danny & the Juniors - 1958
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Message  Predicta le Dim 28 Juin - 11:21

The interior is original as well, still sporting its taut pleats and with all its buttons in place, stitched there so many years ago by Eddie Martinez. However, it was upgraded soon after the big win with carpeted kick panels, lending the cockpit a more fitted look. This fact was only discovered after comparing 1960 photos with Eric's recent photography.

The Emperor - 29 Ford Roadster - Barris Kustoms 0103sr16
The last item of note to ponder is the paint itself. As shown at Oakland, the roadster sported a wide, Tommy the Greek beltline stripe, with horizontal teardrop flourishes on the door tops. This was unusual in itself, for even though outlined teardrops were the Greeks' signature, they were always applied on an angle. Anyway, the additional paintwork must have been applied when the car arrived in the Bay Area, because Oakland was Tommy the Greek's home turf. Back then, many pinstripers, including Von Dutch, would ply their trade during the running of a show, amazing onlookers with their craft. The Greek striping is now missing--when and how did it go? In conversations with both Blackie and George Barris, the mystery of the missing striping is remembered differently. George believes the stripes were removed when the car was rubbed and buffed to bring back the original paint's luster. Blackie remembers a faulty master cylinder as the culprit, getting brake fluid on the body from the firewall back, then having George repaint it in the original color, with the nosepiece left unscathed.

The Emperor - 29 Ford Roadster - Barris Kustoms 0103sr17
For whatever the irregularities in memory of just exactly what happened and when, one thing is for sure: the Emperor still looks great in his old clothes, belying some 41-plus years as a show 'n' go hot rod roadster. Long live the Emperor!

Read more: http://www.hotrod.com/features/history/articles/0103sr-blackie-gejeian-emperor-roadster/#ixzz3eM2mGIYN

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We don't care the People Says , Rock 'n' roll is here to stay - Danny & the Juniors - 1958
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Message  Predicta le Dim 28 Juin - 11:22

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Message  Predicta le Dim 28 Juin - 11:24

The Emperor - 29 Ford Roadster - Barris Kustoms Empero10
THE EMPEROR: WORLD’S MOST BEAUTIFUL ROADSTER


Built for Charles Kirkorian and now owned by Blackie Gejian. Kirkorian engineered and constructed the engine and undercarriage. He then contacted Barris who designed and built the complete body and painted it with forty coats of translucent Kandy Burgundy over pure pearl of essence imported from Sweden with added actual crushed diamond dust. The complete frame and undercarriage is chrome plated plus all the accessories on the 550 horse powered Cadillac Eldorado engine. Racing headers extend from the side of the engine with a hidden street exhaust system.

Grill shell is hand made with oval headlights and double reversed inserts plus an added oval center tube. Seats are swivel type made from unbreakable fiberglass and covered in air foam contoured to fit your body curve. Wheels are reversed with wide base tires with triple size chrome plated hard spun wheel centers. Body is basically a O29 Ford Roadster and is built arouond the chrome frame and has a unitized body support structure.

http://www.barris.com/carsgallery/kustomshotrods/emperor.php

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We don't care the People Says , Rock 'n' roll is here to stay - Danny & the Juniors - 1958
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The Emperor - 29 Ford Roadster - Barris Kustoms Empty Chuck Kirkorian's 1929 Ford

Message  Predicta le Dim 28 Juin - 11:29

1929 Ford Model A Roadster built by Barris Kustoms for Chuck Kirkorian. The car was also known as the Emperor. Chuck's roadster featured a hand-formed grille, deck lid, and rear pan to fit the taillights, which were surrounded by a miniature version of the grille up front. Chuck wanted a fendered rod, so the car was fit with small fenders featuring tapered fins.

The Emperor - 29 Ford Roadster - Barris Kustoms Chuck-10

Magazine Features

Custom Cars July 1960
Rodding and Re-styling July 1960
Car Craft February 1962
Hot Rod Magazine July 1969

The Emperor - 29 Ford Roadster - Barris Kustoms Chuck-11

Sources

Barris Kustoms of the 1950s
Howard Gribble's Flickr Photostream

http://www.kustomrama.com/index.php?title=Chuck_Kirkorian%27s_1929_Ford

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We don't care the People Says , Rock 'n' roll is here to stay - Danny & the Juniors - 1958
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Message  Predicta le Dim 28 Juin - 11:44

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Message  Predicta le Dim 28 Juin - 12:24

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Message  Predicta le Sam 9 Jan - 8:03

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Message  Predicta le Jeu 28 Fév - 7:34

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Message  Predicta le Dim 11 Aoû - 7:27

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