Sunday, October 17, 2010

Some Barris Cars Had Bad Luck! Part 4 - The Ala Kart

The Ala Kart was one of the only cars to survive the Lynwood fire and make it's mark in Kustom history. It was sitting next to the paint booth and just happen to be where the fire stopped. While George felt like it was the end of his career the support from his wife Shirley,
the guys in the shop and the good friends from Northern California like, Blackie who would make the drive down and help George finish the car kept him going! the Ala Kart went on to win the Grand National Roadster Show in 1958 and in 1959 and became the first show car model kit from A.M.T.

In 1960, Owner Richard Peters father demanded him to sell the car so he could focus on the family's agri-business. George had by then made an agreement with AMT to make a model of the car, without involving Peters. In order to rectify the deal, Peters ended up selling the car to AMT for promotional purposes. 

AMT bought the Ala Kart in 1961 and the model kit was released late that year. The Ala Kart model kit sold more than 1 million kits the following year.

In a weird twist of faith the Ala Kart in the possession of A.M.T caught fire. In order to make the car more drivable in and out of shows, the Hilborn injectors were swapped for four Stromberg 97 carburetors. In November of 1963, while the Ala-Kart was being driven by AMT's Budd Anderson, an electrical wire shorted out and melted the plastic fuel lines which allowed gasoline from the electric fuel pump to set the engine compartment ablaze doing serious damage to the hood and leaded cowl. The February 1964 issue of Rod & Custom reported the story in an article titled "The End of the Ala-Kart". For the next year, the winner of 2 AMBR awards and over 200 other top trophies was stored in a Detroit garage. After receiving many letters from Ala-Kart fans, AMT sent the Ala-Kart back to Barris' North Hollywood shop for restoration, coinciding with a re-release of the kit, which was chronicled in the September through November 1965 issues of Rod & Custom. At that time Rod & Custom proclaimed it "America’s most popular Hot Rod."

Words: Piero Deluca -

If you look to the far right of this picture you can see the cowl of the Ala Kart

What it became

The End Of The Ala Kart

The Rebirth of the Ala Kart

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Barris Kustom City is dedicated to the preservation of early Barris Kustoms history, images and merchandise.