"THE AZTEC" IS ARGUABLY ONE OF THE MOST PHOTOGRAPHED CARS IN ROD & CUSTOM HISTORY !
BUT, ITS ORIGINS WERE that of an out-of-the-showroom 1955 Chevy Convertible, like the 3 girls on the left are riding in. BILL CARR was the owner, and he decided right upfront that he wanted to customize his Chev. It's first incarnation was not really too radical, SO Bill made the move to put together a Show Car that would get MAJOR attention.
If you've followed the History of the Aztec, you know that Bill's next step was to enlist Bill DeCarr at Barris' Shop to help him get the work done, and they worked mostly after-hours putting the car together.
George & Sam BOTH weighed-in on the Project too, with George adding some sketches, helping with the build, and, eventually, painting the car. in what he termed "Golden Honey"...a beautiful shade that fully complimented the outstanding work done on the car. And, SAM BARRIS did the perfect chop for the Cantilever roof before he moved to Sacramento. (Sam would later do the chop & body panels on the "El Capitola" in Sacramento and send the car back to George for finishing.)
Bob Hirohata, of Hirohata Merc fame, made the Lucite knobs for the dash, and custom-formed the wild Lucite lenses that take up real estate as the taillights; Bob Houser of the Carson Top Shop fabricated the front-removable portion of the roof & did the interior; "Junior" Conway, sanded & preped the car for painting; Dean Jefferies did the scallops.
THE AZTEC was honored as Custom Car Of The Year in 1958, and magazine features, photo shoots, and, many, many car shows followed. However, in the early 1960's (1961 or 1962), Bill Carr sold the car...and a string of strange incidents, and a very interesting history followed the car for many years until current owner/restorer Barry Mazza acquired the AZTEC and began a serious restoration. (Scroll down to the "Did You Know" Section of this page for Information on "The Curse of the Aztec".)
SO, WHEN GEORGE BARRIS, JOHN D'AGOSTINO, and myself joined together for our yearly Sunday Morning Session at the KKOA 30th Anniversary Leadsled on July 25th, 2010, I wanted George's story of his memories of the build, and his thoughts on Barry's Aztec restorattion, because this is one car we had never talked about before.
The Aztec, along with the Hirohata Merc, The Predicta, The Jade Idol, and the Golden Sahara, are among my personal favorites, so it was a real pleasure to hear George tell how it all came together. And, as you listen, you'll hear how George stresses the "family spirit" in ALL of the builds that they were, and are, involved in.
GEORGE BARRIS WAS just a class act all the way, and I was proud to have him for a friend. JK
THE AZTEC AT THE 2003 KKOA LEADSLED...thanks for bringing it Barry !
HERE IS THE ORIGINAL OWNER, Bill Carr (l), with owner/restorerer, Barry Mazza (r). Bill got a chance to get behind the wheel again thanks to Barry ! (Above photo Courtesy of Rik Hoving)
SPECIAL NOTE: Photo at Top of Page: Bill Carr & George Barris as pictured on the cover of the August, 1958 Issue of Hot Rod Magazine (Courtesy of Kustomrama); Center Photo: Luke Karosi's Kustoms Illustrated Magazine, Issue #11 (Courtesy of Luke Karosi)
Above: Left & Right... Original Ads for the New 1955 Chevrolet !
"THE CURSE OF THE AZTEC" !
I mentioned above that after Bill Carr sold The Aztec an interesting story unfolded, and actually it lead to being called "THE CURSE OF THE AZTEC" !
THIS MAN, BOBBY RANDALL WILCOXSON, who was on the F.B.I. Most Wanted List, was fully involved and his story, along with the eventual fate of The Aztec, can be found at this link: http://barriskustomcity.blogspot.com/2011/01/aztec-and-bank-robber-one-eye-bobby.html
Rik Hovings WebSite: http://public.fotki.com/Rikster/
Kustomrama WebSite: http://www.kustomrama.com/index.php?title=Main_Page
Kustoms Illustrated WebSite: http://www.kustomsillustrated.com/