OUR FRIEND, MIKE ALEXANDER, PASSED AWAY FRIDAY, JULY 18th, 2014, AFTER A LONG BATTLE WITH CANCER. MIKE, AND HIS BROTHER LARRY, WHO DIED AUGUST 25, 2010, WERE TWO OF THE ROD & CUSTOM INDUSTRIES MOST LEGENDARY BUILDERS & HALL OF FAME MEMBERS.
I WAS PRIVILEGED TO KNOW THEM BOTH AND, FINALLY, AFTER MANY YEARS, MIKE & I GOT TOGETHER IN 2012 AT THE 32nd ANNUAL KKOA LEAD SLED IN SALINA, KANSAS TO FINALLY DO A LONG-AWAITED INTERVIEW.
MIKE WAS ONE OF THE KINDEST, MOST-GENEROUS INDIVIDUALS I'VE EVER MET. A TRUE GENTLEMAN IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD. I WAS PROUD TO KNOW HIM. JK
MIKE & LARRY ALEXANDER, from Detroit, are two of the most Legendary Customizers of all-time. Many of their cars were Award Winners from the time they hit the Show Circuit: The Victorian, The Golden Indian, The Golden Chariot, and, the Ridler Award Winning Dodge "DEORA", are a few. But, one of the most famous to leave their shop was, a '32 Ford Coupe.
I'm sure that, by now, most of you reading this are familiar with that Lil' Deuce, because it became, arguably, one of the most-famous 32's in R&C History after being immortalized in a song by the equally legendary Hall Of Fame singing group "The Beach Boys": "The Little Deuce Coupe".
MIKE ALEXANDER & I FIRST MET at Darryl Starbird's Induction Ceremonies at the National Rod & Custom Car Hall Of Fame in 2001. Mike & I were staying at the Host Hotel in Oklahoma, and when I went down to get into the INVICTA to go to the Show Grounds, Mike was standing there looking at my car. I introduced myself, and we had a good weekend there. Later, in 2003, Mike brought his brother, Larry, to the Event and we spent some quality time that weekend.
Larry passed away in 2010 (see my Tribute to Larry at the link on the bottom of this Page), and, Mike had not been to the KKOA Lead Sled in Salina for many years, but when our mutual friend, LOU CALASIBETTA, told me that he would be at the 32nd Annual Lead Sled in 2012, I immediately said "This year we've gotta get Mike's history recorded !".
SO, ON THE MORNING OF JULY 28th, before we headed-out to the Lead Sled, Mike, Lou, and, myself, got-together for a Saturday Session that turned out perfectly !______________________________________________________________________
MIKE'S REMEMBRANCES OF THE BUILDING of that legendary '32 are remarkable, and, you'll hear the story first-hand as only he could tell it.
From the time the Clarence "Chili" Catallo brought the Deuce it to the "A-Brothers", to its being towed to California, to the changes that GEORGE BARRIS made , to its being featured on the cover of that infamous Beach Boys LP...you'll hear the whole story !
WHAT YOU'LL ALSO HEAR, is Mike's take on the work that George did on the Coupe, what Mike & Larry's opinion was when they saw the album cover, and, you'll hear some cool comments from LOU CALASIBETTA, and, what both Larry Alexander & "Chili" said about the picture on that cover.
We also cover Clarence's buying the Deuce back to restore it...and, his son, Curt's, eventual full-restoration of that beautful little '32. AND, though you've seen the Barris crests on it, Mike & Larry also left their mark on the Coupe !
My sincere thanks to Lou Calasibetta for bringing the "Golden Indian" to the Lead Sled, and for his help in putting this Interview Session together ! JK
SPECIAL NOTE: "THE LITTLE DEUCE COUPE STORY" CONTINUES...GEORGE BARRIS adds his work & skills to Clarence's '32 Deuce Coupe...and, gets the call from Capitol Records that would launch that little Ford into the R&C History Books ! SIMPLY CLICK-ON-HERE and it will take you to George's part of the story !
(Above Photo: Mike Alexander, Jonnie King, Lou Calasibetta, at the 32nd Annual KKOA Lead Sled in Salina. July 28, 2012. Photo Courtesy of Lou Calasibetta)
NOTE: Photo info for this Page. Top of Page: Beach Boys album cover, Courtesy of Capitol Records; Alexander Brothers business card, Courtesy of Kustomrama; Hot Rod Magazine Cover, July, 1961, Courtesy of Hot Rod Magazine.
SEE THE "TRIBUTE TO LARRY ALEXANDER", PLUS, hear Lou Calasibetta's Story on the Alexander Brothers & "The Golden Indian" ! Simply click-on this Link and you'll be there !