I WAS AT DARRYL STARBIRD'S 48th ANNUAL TULSA ROD & CUSTOM SHOW. Lot's of noise in this gigantic venue that holds over a thousand cars. The place was filled with people, music over the speaker system, cars being set-up, and I thought I heard someone calling my name from behind. Sure enough...it was HAROLD MURPHY ! Murph had chased me down two aisles, was out of breath, and said that he had some important information for me concerning the "El Matador".
We got to an area of the hall that was a little quieter and Murph told me had found some of the "correct" parts/pieces that had eluded him for awhile and installed them on the car. The correct DeSoto gauges, the US Royal/UniRoyal Tires (which came from a true racing Legend: DON GARLITS !), an Olds V8 with the added J2 option, and he had cut the steering wheel. ALSO, and this was the Major News: He had been approached by an individual that had wanted the El Matador since he was sixteen years old...and had sold it to him !
BUT, and this was the important part that had convinced Murph to sell, the potential new owner stated that Murphy could take the car to any shows that he wanted, anytime he wanted...and the rest of the time it would be housed in the new owner's garage. In other words, Harold still had the freedom to display the El Matador just as he always has since he found & restored the car over twenty years ago. It was a win-win for all concerned !
Murph told me he chased me down because he trusted me and wanted me to have this story first, so that all would understand what had transpired, and there would be no confusion about his selling of a car he's loved so much through the years.
So we got together for this Interview before I left the Tulsa show on Sunday afternoon. In addition, Harold gave me another piece of timely news: On February 25, 2012 he was to marry his longtime love of twenty-three years !
Congrats, and thanks, Murph ! You're a true gentleman, a craftsman, and a Winner all-the-way !! JK
NOTES ON THE ABOVE PHOTOS: Pic at Top of Page Courtesy of Rik Hoving; Above left: The El Matador in Salina, 2011 from my personal collection; Above right: Murph fitting the hood on the El Matador from his collection; Lower Photo: Cover "Customs Illustrated" Magazine, May, 1962.
My sincere thanks to HAROLD MURPHY for his help in putting together this fantastic story of his finding & restoring of one of the most legendary customs of all-time: "THE EL MATADOR", and, now giving us the Updates !
Need To Reference PART 1 For Information, Pix, And, To Hear The Story ? Just Click-On Here !
Want To Hear Murphy's Story PART 2: "The Restoration Of The El Matador" ? Simply Click-On Here _______________________________________________________________
FOR MORE INFORMATION & PIX OF THE "EL MATADOR" CHECK-OUT THESE SITES:
1. Bob Nugent's HOT RODS ONLINE...A truly great Site ! Plus, you'll get a comprehensive look at the El Matador from one of its former owners !
2. Rik Hovings Fantastic Photo Site for Rods & Customs with a full grouping of El Matador photos !
3, The KUSTOMRAMA Site: This Site is a "labor of love" for its owner, Sondre ! Get more info & see super-pix of El Matador !