Bill Cushenbery's Silhouette

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A photo of the Silhouette taken at the Philadelphia Hot Rod Show. According to the Free Library of Philadelphia, the photo was taken in 1962. The car supposedly made its debut at the 1963 Oakland Roadster Show, so chances are it was taken in 1963. Photo courtesy of Free Library of Philadelphia.
The Silhouette next to James Greene's Wild Child trike. The Cushenbery show car was in for a new paint job at Wild Child's Custom Shop. Photo courtesy of Justin Greene - Wild Child's Custom Shop.
Another photo of the Silhouette outside Wild Child's Custom Shop. Photo courtesy of Justin Greene - Wild Child's Custom Shop.
The Silhouette as it appeared after James Greene of Wild Child's Custom Shop had painted it.[1]

The Silhouette was a futuristic show car designed and built by Bill Cushenbery of Cushenbery Custom Shop. The Silhouette was the first scratch built custom car to roll out of Bill's shop. The build was based on a shortened Buick chassis, and was originally powered by a Buick engine. By 1966, the Buick engine had been replaced by a Ford 427. The wheels on the car were fully exposed, but the angular body was strictly space age in shape, and crowned by an bubble top. The Silhouette was fully operable, as Bill meant that a car should be a car, and not a piece of abstract sculpture mounted on wheels. The Silhouette was equipped by electric switches and buttons on the dash and concealed in the exterior trim to raise and lower the bubble top, open the hood and trunk, start the engine, turn on the lights, and operate the blower fans.[2]

Bill entered the Silhouette in the "Tournament of Fame" contest at the 1963 Grand National Roadster Show. The "Tournament of Frame" is a strictly professional contest only open to the top custimzers. Bill won first place in the class with the Silhouette, and he and his wife won a free trip to Europe.[2]

The Silhouette was stolen in Bakersfield, California in 1983, and has not been recovered.

Movie Appearance

The Silhouette appeared in the movie Beach Ball from 1965.

Magazine Features

Hot Rod Magazine May 1963
Popular Customs January 1966
Hot Rod Deluxe May 2009



Rik Hoving Custom Car Photo Archive


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