Video: 1965 National Hot Rod & Custom Show

Live from the golden age of hot rodding, here’s an awesome Universal Newsreel item on the 1965 National Hot Rod & Custom Show in New York. From the Munsters Koach to the Surfite, see the hot rod stars of ’65 right here. 




The scene is the grand old New York Coliseum at Columbus Circle in Manhattan, the date is November 18, 1965, and the event is the National Hot Rod & Custom Show. Though this newsreel piece on the event is short and sweet, there are plenty of famous hot rods crammed in, including:

+   Casper’s Ghost, the over-the-top custom show rod created by Carl Casper, winner of the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) award in 1965, hot rodding’s greatest prize.

+   Big Daddy Ed Roth’s adorable Surfite, a fanciful mini-rod designed to transport one surfer and one surf board to the next bodacious wave.

+   Another surf-themed rod from George Barris, the Surf Woody, a sort of motorized tiki bar with twin-supercharged Ford V8 power that became an AMT model car kit.

+   The fabulous and absurd Munsters Koach, also constructed by Barris, which first appeared in the CBS television comedy The Munsters on October 15, 1964, permanently warping the minds of a generation of gearheads.

+   Alex Dreier’s extreme bubble-top custom based on a 1956 Continental Mark II, which starred in Classic Car Wax print ads all through the ’60s and still exists today. Oddly, here the car is presented as a car of the future.

…and many more, as we say. If the announcer sounds familiar, he’s the famed Ed Herlihy, NBC and Universal broadcasting talent and the voice on Kraft food commercials well into the 1980s. Now let’s step back into 1965 and visit with the finest hot rods and customs of the day.


2 thoughts on “Video: 1965 National Hot Rod & Custom Show

  1. The Surfite is wonderful but what a travesty on the Continental MK II. Oh well, I suppose it was only a used car at the time.

  2. We definitely cannot overlook the creations of the past. I’ve put together model kits based on some pretty wild hot rods. I think of cars like the Outlaw, the Beatnik Bandit, the Uncertain T, the Li’l Coffin, and my favorite, the Ala Kart. These are all icons from an era that begat customizers the likes of whom we may never see again. At the time of this show I would’ve been 12. I remember being a custom car fanatic back then. I’m sure I bored my friends to death.

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