WITH THE CREATION OF THE "EL MATADOR" BILL CUSHENBERRY launched one of the most iconic customs of All-Time.
The EL MATADOR was based on a 1940 Ford Coupe and, to turn it into the legend that it eventually became, Bill chopped the top 3 1/2" inches & sectioned it 4 1/2" inches. But that was only the start !
Lucas canted-quad headlights, scoops cut into the rear quarters, Pontiac-sourced nerf bars, a custom grille shell & grille, a windshield from a Nash-Healey, a translucent paint job that seemed to flow from red to amber to gold, and power from an Oldsmobile Rocket 88 engine, were all a part of the unique, and exotic build that Cushenberry imbued the car with at the time of its completion in 1960.
It was then toured & shown by Promotions, Inc., was sold, and went through a succession of owners including the AMT Corporation, The Ford Cavalcade Of Customs, Carl Casper, Bob Nugent, John McNally, and, eventually, its current owner HAROLD MURPHY.
( Upper Photo: Early pic of original build; Center Photo: Budd "The Kat" Anderson of AMT; Bottom Photo: Bob Nugent when he owned the El Matador. Pix Courtesy of Rik Hoving)
THIS, THEN, IS HAROLD MURPHY'S STORY OF HIS LIFE-LONG LOVE OF THE EL MATADOR, and his finding it, buying it, and subsequently restoring it.
I've known Murph for a number of years, was at the KKOA Ceremonies when he was Inducted into the Hall Of Fame, and finally was able to get a time-frame where we could do an Interview to record his story about this truly legendary custom.
IN FACT, DUE TO THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS STORY, IT WAS NECESSARY TO TELL IT IN TWO PARTS...
PART 1: Concerns Murph's life-long love of the El Matador, finding it years later by accident in the garage of another builder, the fire that destroyed it, and his eventually trying to purchase it from its then-owner John McNally who kept saying "NO !"
(Above Photos: The El Matador after the fire ! Photos Courtesy of Kustomrama.)
PART 2: Deals with Murph's finally buying the car, the El Matador's restoration, the problems involved with the resto due to extreme fire damage, Murph's contact with, and, help from BILL CUSHENBERRY, and the final results...as you see in the above full-color photo taken at the KKOA 2011 Lead Sled in Salina, Kansas.
TO LISTEN TO PART 2 Just Click-On Here RIGHT NOW !
I hope you enjoy this story half as much as I've enjoyed producing it...with sincere thanks to Murph for his help, and for sharing his wonderful memories on this "One Of The Best Of All-Time" Kustoms: The "EL MATADOR" ! JK
FOR MORE INFORMATION & PIX OF THE "EL MATADOR" CHECK-OUT THESE SITES:
1. Bob Nugent's HOT RODS ONLINE...A truly great Site ! Plus, you'll get a comprehensive look at the El Matador from one of its former owners !
2. Rik Hovings Fantastic Photo Site for Rods & Customs with a full grouping of El Matador photos !
3, The KUSTOMRAMA Site: This Site is a "labor of love" for its owner, Sondre ! Get more info & see super-pix of El Matador !