yoko 55

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Others say “Every picture tells a story.” Well, some do and some don’t . As you will see in future episodes of this column, there are many photos that may not look all that interesting, yet have significant–perhaps surprising–stories behind them.

If this is one of those photos, I really don’t know. The fact is, there are quite a few pictures in my large collection that I know little about. People have sent me all kinds of things over the years. Images appear on my Google page–supposedly related to my name, somehow–that I’m clueless to explain. And I’ve got binders and file folders full of photos I have taken myself over the past four or five decades, some of which I just plain can’t remember the story behind. Don’t get me wrong, I know exactly what most of the material in my archive is. But there are exceptions.

This picture broaches at least a couple of pertinent topics. To start, I know it’s from the big Yokohama custom car show staged annually by Mooneyes of Japan, and I have a strong hunch Mooneyes owner Shige Suganuma sent it to me, along with other coverage of the show. It’s labeled “Yoko 55,” so that’s probably the owner’s name. The point is, if I were using this photo in a book or magazine article, I would make some calls, do some research, and find out more of the story behind the picture: who owns it; who built it; how they came up with the concept; etc.  (As an aside, I hate this recent trend for magazines to run photos with no captions. That’s lazy. But that’s another topic.) The point here is twofold. First, this isn’t a magazine or a book. It’s a topical column about a variety of things that spark my interest, and hopefully yours. Second, I’m retired. I’m done doing the heavy lifting and deep research that good books and in-depth articles require. I’m doing this for fun.

More pertinently, this photo–and this car–is cool in itself because it’s unique. It’s a real double-take. At first glance you think it’s a nice, mild-custom ’56 Ford Fairlane or Victoria. But then you go “Whoa. No. It’s a ’55 Chevy with Ford Victoria trim.” Who’d of thought of that? Well this builder did, and did it very tastefully. It looks to me like he used ’56 Olds headlights, and the Mercury Turnpike skirts and the small windshield visor complement the sorta-Ford theme.

The wide whites and chrome reversed rims are period traditional. But what I like is that the rest of the car isn’t. You know I’m a huge fan of traditional period-correct rods and customs. But they don’t all have to be, by any means. I’m also an ardent fan of creativity, pushing the envelope, starting new trends, and just doing your own thing. That’s what personalizing a car is all about.