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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
My passion is also my business, as I am with the Toronto based Hav-A-Kar Auto Group. I sell or lease any make of car, van or truck available in Canada. My interest in all things "car" has helped me with my many clients in Ontario over the past 20+ years. Please give me the opportunity to assist you.

Friday, March 28, 2014

March 28th: What's in a name - Von Dutch?

Sure, this makes sense, show a picture of a pink ladies T as the lead in to a blog about car stuff. So where are you going with this, Barry? Well, recently, I saw a guy at our office wearing a Von Dutch t-shirt (I know, they have been around for years) and I asked him if he knew the significance of the name "Von Dutch"? Not surprisingly he didn't. Well, pour yourself a tasty beverage, get a snack and read on......

Know who Kenneth Howard was? Again, I'm not surprised, but here is a pic of him at work in the '50's......

Ken Howard was Von Dutch. Back in the '40's and '50's he was famous around the California custom car scene as the guy who could work magic with a small brush and paint. As you can see from the pic above and below, his free hand work was extremely detailed and even close up, was smooth and free of any errors.

Although he also did single pinstrips, his forte was the very delicate and intricate designs for which he became famous. You had the Von Dutch touch on your car, you had arrived. Folks would line up at Barris Kustoms to have Von Dutch work his magic. Apparently he had perfected the art of pinstipping at the early age of 10. The name? Again, apparently as a youngster he was told he was "stubborn as a Dutchman".

You can see an example on this '32 Ford of the fine lined pinstripping that he became famous for. Do you suppose, he had 30 cups of coffee a day?

So what about the t-shirt? In 1992 Ken passed away and his family sold the rights to his name, which ended up on those T's. Seems a few Hollywood types were seen wearing them and so the sales took off. All those cool types wearing the Von Dutch name and they had no idea of who or what he was.

A controversial character in his time, one of his most unusual subjects and one for which he and the car owner were given a lot of grief is this 1955 300 SL........

Painted in a shade of bronze, which the California sun wreaked havoc on, so the owner, came to Von Dutch and asked him to "flame it", in order to cover up the bad spots. Viola'! The result stopped traffic (and not in a good way). Accused of bad taste for this paint job on such a famous car, Von Dutch probably shrugged it off. A controversial character who didn't care what people thought.

Wonder what he'd think about those t-shirts?

Until next time.......

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