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Man vs. Machine: Old World Kustomizing in Modern Times

feature_brad_masterson-copy_manVSmachine In the kustom car world, that’s kustom with a “K”, a few names come to mind for even the lesser of car enthusiasts – Barris, Winfield, Westerguard, Bertallucci, and Hines. There were many more but this is where our story begins, these were the guys who punished the Detroit heavies back in the ‘40s and ‘50s. Truly “Man vs. Machine”, as under these able hands metal is seemingly melded to their desires. Born a half century later, but like time’s page never flipped, Brad Masterson keeps the spirit of Kustomization alive today. kustom_car_photography_brad_masterson_tim_sutton_16 While there are many specialty body shops that can turn old jalopies into customs, Brad brings something different to the table with his old world techniques. Picking up where the Masters left off, he’s keeping alive an art form otherwise lost under the banner of progress. kustom_car_photography_brad_masterson_tim_sutton_01 You might say Brad was sort of born into hot-rodding. Falling in love with customs while growing up in Sacramento, California – the place where Kustoms began back in the 1940s. Brad’s house was literally a stone throw from where the Barris brothers first got their start in their garage. Maybe it’s in the water, as they say. kustom_car_photography_brad_masterson_tim_sutton_13 Later in life, Brad would cross paths with George Barris and learn a thing or two about traditional car customization (yes, the same Barris who designed the original Batmobile). George refers to Brad simply as “The Kid” like many of the other old world guys do. kustom_car_photography_brad_masterson_tim_sutton_11 Early in Masterson’s career, he landed a job in Barris’ shop – and when things got slow there, Barris instructed Brad to go over and ask Bill Hines for some work so he could learn from him.  Aptly named “The Lead Slinger” Bill Hines is the original master in leading cars – a skill necessary in a time before Bondo and other such fillers were invented. Working for Hines is where Masterson really learned the brass tacks of leading – one of the old world skills he still practices today, setting him apart from your average kustomizer. kustom_car_photography_brad_masterson_tim_sutton_09 Masterson Kustoms was born after Brad had “cut his teeth” in twisting metal for the Legends of the industry.  Taking over residence of the original Barris shop at 11070 Atlantic Avenue in Lynwood, California – the building Brad works in is steeped in as much history as his metalworking. The move to owning his own shop has taken Brad on more twists and turns then he puts into the cars he loves – but he’s managed to continue keeping the old world spirit alive and well there, all while turning out some of the world’s most traditional Kustoms. kustom_car_photography_brad_masterson_tim_sutton_03 I urge you to pull out your shiny, or not so shiny, street machine and pay a visit. Brad’s work speaks for itself and Masterson Kustoms shop is a step straight back in time to 1950 – even the tools are the same! While you’re there, you might have a chance to hear some stories, see the history, and experience the old world craft of kustomization for yourself. -Tim Sutton kustom_car_photography_brad_masterson_tim_sutton_12 kustom_car_photography_brad_masterson_tim_sutton_05 kustom_car_photography_brad_masterson_tim_sutton_10 kustom_car_photography_brad_masterson_tim_sutton_07 kustom_car_photography_brad_masterson_tim_sutton_14 kustom_car_photography_brad_masterson_tim_sutton_02 Continue reading in the "Man vs. Machine" monthly series:


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