Friday, June 03, 2011

Harry Bradley's 1951 Custom Chevy, the LaJolla

This is a famous car I was reading about a short time ago, the well crafted custom was Harry's first car, and he'd made a deal with his parents not to customize it. Ha!

As Harry put it in a 1985 ­article in Super Rod & Custom magazine, "They had gotten to me -- 'they' being Pinin Farina, Harley Earl, Joe Bailon, the Barris brothers. My parents didn't have a chance against the likes of them." Harry immediately began an extensive customizing process.

Harry Bradley, was one of the most respected custom car stylists in history. A well-known designer for General Motors and Mattel's Hot Wheels brand, Harry kept his hand in the custom car arena throughout his career. The La Jolla was acquired in 1954 when he was still in high school in La Jolla, California. Stricken with polio at a young age, Harry couldn't drive a conventional car, so he had friend Floyd Martin make hand controls for the throttle and brakes. Under the hood, Harry installed a new 283-cid Chevy V-8 engine. For paint, he chose a deep chocolate-ebony candy pearl color. The La Jolla is unique among custom cars in that Harry owned it for more than 45 years, driving it much of the time. It followed him through college, family, and his automotive design career. Harry eventually sold the car in 1999 to noted custom collector Jack Walker. Jack worked with Harry to restore the car, adding two Bradley-approved changes.

Jack has an extensive collection of customs and even replicated the Hirohata Merc, except for Von Dutch's pinstriping on the dash and bumper guards
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