Built by Gary "Chopit" Fioto, multiple first place winner
1955 Ford "Beatnik Bubbletop" Custom
Chassis no. U5UG116632
In the annals of hot rodding, Ed "Big Daddy" Roth and Darryl Starbird pioneered the "bubbletop" Kustom, creating the quintessential reflection of Atomic Age futurism and excess. And it was with this inspiration that noted customizer Gary "Chopit" Fioto created his tribute to that era using an amalgamation of Ford, Lincoln, Cadillac, and Chrysler components combined with modern running gear. Sharp-eyed enthusiasts will notice the 1959 Cadillac front bumper and grille, canted 1958 Lincoln headlights, 1960 Chrysler taillights and fins, and 1958 Cadillac front bumper used for the rear. However, few will notice that the Beatnik Bubbletop started out as a 1955 Ford riding on a modified 1988 Lincoln Town Car chassis. The original cowl is still there, as are the insides of the doors and a few other elements. However, the rest of the car, from the front and rear fenders, the door skins, and the entire rear section, are all hand-formed steel. While it would be logical to presume that propulsion comes from a jet or rocket motor, Gary kept things practical with a 350ci Chevrolet with period six-carb induction jutting through the hood, the obligatory steel-braided hoses, a serpentine belt system, Moon valve covers, and Hedman Hedders. And, with all that glass over your head, air conditioning is a welcome accessory.
The top, gas cap, and doors are controlled by remote control, and hydraulics control the suspension front and rear. The interior continues the Jetsons theme with its aircraft-inspired steering wheel and protruding dashboard pod surrounded by rolled and pleated pearl white Naugahyde. Gary's extensive four-year project has garnered a multitude of awards, such as the "Roth Rageous" trophy and First Place in the Hand-built Custom category at the Detroit Autorama. However, the ultimate honor came from Gary's idol - Grand Prize at the Darryl Starbird's National Rod and Custom Car Show in Tulsa.
The Beatnik Bubbletop is a seminal latter-day Kustom a wheeled masterpiece that is the ultimate tribute to American automotive culture.