JOHN'S STORY BEGAN IN 2008...
BUT THE ORIGINS OF THIS RARE PACKARD STARLIGHT, goes back 50 years earlier...to 1958. The ENTIRE auto industry, including the then-recently merged Studebaker-Packard Corporation, was hit hard in 1958 by a Nationwide recession. Automotive sales slumped across-the-board, and dealers were almost begging the public to come into their showrooms just to look at the cars they had available...hoping that someone would buy something !
Over fifty years later, most of the cars that actually were sold during that fateful year (with the noticeable exception of '58 Impalas, and a few rare '58 Edsels) have long since been sent to that big Automotive Graveyard in the sky.
BUT, leave it to my "Cuz", Hall Of Famer John D'Agostino, to latch onto one of the rarest Super-Rare 1958 rides to build into a SureFire Award Winner !
IN 2008, John scored an Ultra Rare 1958 Packard Starlight Hardtop, seen here in the very first stages of its build. When I say "rare" I mean it: a (2016) revised-figure shows that only 675 of these cool cars, priced at $3,262.00, hit the streets in 1958 !
PLUS, in this Interview that we did in July, 2008, you'll hear some comments about future plans that John, and our good friend, GEORGE BARRIS, had about spreading Kustom Kar Kulture around the WORLD !
...BUT, THAT WAS THEN.
THIS IS NOW...
JOHN'S FINISHED CONCEPT- PROJECT: "RITA" ! MY CUZ, JOHNNY D'AGOSTINO called me recently to give me the update on this FANTASTIC one-of-a-kind kustom, and how it was finally finished and put together in 2016.
AT THE TIME OF OUR 2008 INTERVIEW, that cool '58 Packard didn't have a name...but John has since given this beautiful, true Concept Kustom 2 Seater "Sportster", this fantasy-come-to-life Dream Car, the name of one of Hollywood's true Dream Girls: the gorgeous woman who dominated the Silver Screen in the 40's & 50's, RITA HAYWORTH !
John sent me exclusive photos of this superb kustom that you'll see only here on the Hall Of Fame Legends Series Site, both from its debut on Father's Day at the Concours On Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, AND, of its build stages, with work being done by Hall of Famer's OZ WELCH & BOB DEVINE.
SO, LET'S HAVE A LOOK AT "RITA":
Above Left: A true Concept Kustom in everyway, every inch of "Rita" has been modified, lengthend, chopped, and, perfected beyond belief ! This photo shows the already award-winning beauty at the Concours On Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, June 19, 2016; Above Right: In the early stages of the build, you can see how much work there is to do....but it's on the way.
Above Left: From any angle, "Rita" shows grace, form, and, what a true Concept should be; Above Right: The same-style rear view gives a glint at what the future of "Rita" will look like...the top is already off the car.
Above Left: Here's Hall Of Famer, OZ WELCH, applying paint to the meticulous body work he's created with the build of "Rita"; Above Right: A close-up of this stunning masterpiece that "Rita" has become !
Above Left & Above Right: A close look, and a comparison of the right rear quarter of "Rita"...can you imagine the unbelieveable amount of work that Oz has done to get the Packard from John's original vision & design to the "finished product" ?!
Above Left: Here's Hall Of Fame Upholsterer, BOB DEVINE, in the early-stages of mapping out the phenominal interior that will grace "Rita"; Above Right: Nothing but the best for "Rita" ! The pearl steering wheel was fashioned in Sydney, Australia, the lambs wool carpet that Bob installed was created in New Zeland. Bob not only created the eye-popping interior, but did everything else in there...including the console !
I COULDN'T LET A CHANCE go by to let you see the utterly, thorough craftsmanship of Bob's working every detail possible into the trunk of this awe-inspiring, rare, '58 Packard Concept...loving dedicated to "Rita"...Hollywood's loveliest "Queen of Love & Beauty": RITA HAYWORTH !
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS...
MY SINCERE THANKS TO JOHN for not only sharing these exclusive, personal photos from his collection with us, but for designing & creating one of the most-beautiful Concept/Dream Cars that has ever been built !
I guarantee that you will see this stunning Packard in many mags & on many other sites in the coming months...but, thanks to John, you've been able to have a first-look, a "Sneak Preview" of what will await you in the future by visiting with us right here on the HOF Legends Site. Thanks again, Cuz ! JK
FOR A BETTER LOOK AT some of John's fantastic cars & some cool merch you can obtain, visit his WebSite: http://www.celebritykustoms.com
ALSO, YOU HAVE TO check-out the Legendary George Barris' Site ! Just "click" on this link and it will take you there: http://www.barris.com/