Darryl Starbird's

National Rod & Custom Car 
Hall of Fame Museum


FIFTY YEARS AND COUNTING

Yes it has been fifty years since the first custom rolled out of the doors of the then unheard of Star Kustom Shop in Wichita, Kansas. The first of many that were to come out of those doors built by Darryl Starbird. Today, fifty years later we are proud to say they still keep coming and get better as they come.

Darryl started his legacy in 1954 when the art of customizing was still brand new. 

Following in the footsteps of his mentors George and Sam Barris, Joe Bailon and those first custom pioneers Darryl began his dream. With no commercial body shop experience to draw from he picked up his know how as he went along, usually repairing crunched in fenders, noses, etc. with the old metal and lead and playing around with his 1947 Cad, which was to become his first show car. 

His talent flourished as his love for the art grew and soon a 1955 Plymouth was featured on the cover of Rod and Custom Magazine, just a stepping stone to what was to follow.

In 1959 at the NHRA National Custom Car show in Detroit the Sweepstakes and Top Custom Shop Achievement awards were given by a virtual landslide decision to a candy coated 1957 T-Bird, called the LePerle and the Star Kustom Shop. The Le Perle and Starbird were swept into national prominence. Then in 1960 at the famed Oakland Roadster Show after taking eleven weeks to complete, Starbird introduced his first bubble topped creation, The Predicta. First of its kind the car featured stick center steering, drivability from both driver and passenger sides, push button controls, TV and much more. It took home the sweepstakes for car of the future and found its way onto the cover of four national magazines. Motor Life picked it as the Top Custom of 1960 and Car Craft presented a plaque for being in its Top Ten Roundup. During a seventeen week tour in fifteen states, the Predicta took home almost every possible award, copping the twelve foot trophy as an overall winner at Miami’s International Motorama.

The “Predicta” lead the way for fifteen more bubble top cars such as “Forcasta”, “Futurista” “Cosma Ray”, “Illusion” each one gaining national magazine covers giving Starbird the title the “Bubble Top King”. He went on to build over hundreds of fabulous cars over the years with all kinds of body modifications and all made out of metal, no glass here! His cars have been featured in every major national automotive magazine with over fifty covers to his credit.

Building is not only Darryl’s talent for in l963 he became consultant for Monogram Models Co, subsidiary of Mattel where fifteen models of his original designs found their way into 1/24th scale and 1/8th scale kits selling over one million world wide, one of them being the “Predicta”.

In 1957 Darryl stepped into promoting Rod and Custom Shows starting with Wichita, Kansas he soon rose to over fifteen top shows throughout the US, one becoming the famed Oakland Roadster Show after Al Slonaker passed away. Today three of them are on their 48th Annual. Darryl’s Tulsa, Oklahoma show has gained the title of being the largest indoor car show.

In 1966, Darryl retired from competition and started showing professionally as a feature paid attraction and soon after quit building cars for a service to others and started building only feature cars. He toured them in a brigade of thee semi-trucks, called the Star Car Caravan that all together would hold ten cars and traveled throughout the nations major cities.

Darryl has always been a leader in the sport and is always looking into its future growth with the founding of NRCA in 1975, the National Rod and Custom Association, to the management of ISCA, International Specialty Car Association in 1993. Today he is still concerned with preserving the sport and in 1995 founded the National Rod and Custom Car Hall of Fame museum in Oklahoma. The museum is set up as a national nonprofit foundation to honor and preserve the efforts of the outstanding contributors to this great sport. The museum holds 50 cars of which 25 are of Darryl’s personal creations

Darryl Starbird one of the most prolific custom car builders of all time also has built his house and shop on the 80 acres on the shores of Grand Lake O’Cherokee in Delaware County Oklahoma about 60 miles north east of Tulsa. There in his shop since the opening of the museum in 1995 Darryl has built the “Debonair” a 1995 Lincoln Mark VIII featured on the cover of Custom Rodder, the “Donnabird” a custom Jaguar built especially for his wife as a 50th wedding anniversary present and has just completed his “Cristina Mark IX” a radically custom built 1941 Lincoln Continental, a beautifully designed custom to celebrate his 50 years in the car building business and will be touring the major shows throughout the country.


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