- 1 Uncle Bill
- 2 "I'm a worker. Not a teacher!"
- 3 First Car
- 4 The scallops on the Victorian
- 5 Kalifornia with a K
- 6 First Custom: The X-Tremist
- 7 No Brakes - California or Burst
- 8 Back to Barris Kustoms
- 9 Teddy Zgrzemski's Cars
- 10 Cars Painted or Scalloped by Teddy Zgrzemski
- 11 Cars Restyled by Teddy Zgrzemski
- 12 References
Teddy was born in 1943. He is Bill Hines nephew, and it was his uncle that got him interested in cars. In 2019 Teddy told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama that his mom and dad got divorced when he was five, "I started hanging around uncle Bill's shop when I was about twelve years old." One day he stopped by Bill was busy painting a 1949 Mercury. "He was two-toning it down at the body line. My aunt was gonna go down and tape it off so he could paint the other color, but uncle Bill said "Let Teddy do it! Teddy can do it!" So she stayed home and watched the kids while I went down and taped it off. He put the first tape on, and I had to fill it up with paper."
"I'm a worker. Not a teacher!"
The next time Teddy went over to Bill, he was busy painting a 1949 Ford. Teddy recalled that he let it sit out in the winter, so the tape was hard to get off. "I had to peel all the tape off one inch at the time." Next project was a 1931 Ford roadster that Bill was painting the front frame rails on. "Here is a 400. Go sand it," Bill told his nephew. "That's what I did, and from then on, I kept doing it." One time Teddy was pissed off, and he told Bill, "All you ever want me to do is sand, sand, sand. Just sand!" Bill looked at Teddy and replied, "Well, what do you wanna learn to do?" Teddy told him he wanted to learn how to weld. "So, he took a wrecked fender that he cut in half, and he said, "OK, go weld that fender back together." " Teddy welded it back together and put in a wise making a jump on it. "Finally broke it, but it broke about an inch away from my weld. He then looked at me and said, "You know how to weld, so go ahead back to sanding!" That was the end of my lesson." Bill told Teddy that he was a worker, not a teacher. "You wanna learn, you just watch me," so that's what he had to do. "But he was a good man," Teddy added before he chuckled.
When Teddy was 14 years old he had a 1932 Ford 5 Window Coupe that he was chopping at his uncle's shop. Dick Dean, who was 16 years old at the time, stopped by one day and helped Teddy with the chop. Teddy's Coupe was the first car Dick chopped the top on. "After the chop, the neighbors complained to my uncle Bill Hines," Teddy told Sondre, "and I had to sell it with the 4 inch chop. I learned a lot on that car, and just before the chop I got mad at my uncle. "I said all you want me to do is sand." I told him I wanted to learn to weld. He cut a wrecked fender in half and said "weld it together." I welded it. He tried to break it apart. He couldn't. He then said you know how to weld, so go back to sanding."
The scallops on the Victorian
Teddy did the scallops on Sy Gregorich's 1955 Ford Crown Victoria in 1960, when he was 14 years old. "I went over to his garage and taped them all off," he told Sondre, "then my uncle painted them." The next day Teddy came in and pinstriped around the edges. "I got 15 dollars for doing it," he still recalled in 2019. "Back then I was into customizing, and money wasn't that important. It was the second or third scallop paint job that I ever did on a car." Known as the Victorian, Sy's Crown Victoria went on to become a pretty famous car. "White Pearl with Candy Apple Red scallops. That was a beautiful car. The nicest car the Alexander Brothers built I thought."
Kalifornia with a K
Teddy recalls going to California for the first time in 1958. Then he moved out there and landed a job working for Barris. "Back then I was 14, and Barris, you know, everybody had heard about Barris, so when my uncle told me he was working for Barris I went out to visit him and he said, "I think I can get you a job there." I got a job there and I was making 40 dollars a week for 43 hours work, making 85 cents an hour as a painter's helper. I was only 14 you know, and it couldn’t get any better working for Barris."
First Custom: The X-Tremist
In 1959 Teddy moved back to Michigan with Bill and his aunt. Back home, Teddy bought a 1954 Ford. The first car he got on the road. ""I paid 350.00. 33.00 a month. I was 15 when I bought it. For 3 months all I could do was look at it and wash it." After returning to Michigan, Bill had opened up a new shop, and that's where the Ford was built. Teddy wanted a mild custom, but Bill had other plans for the car, and one day when Teddy came home from school Bill had cut the whole front end up. Bill told Teddy he would front clip it if Teddy tackled the rear. "I always thought the front end was ugly, and he always thought my back end was ugly." They completed the build in the summer of 1960, and Teddy recalled that George Barris stopped by to check it out when he was visiting Detroit for a show. "He pulled it out of my parent's garage, that's where I stored it, I didn't have a garage at the time, and they were shot right there at the side street, the photos for the article in Car Craft."
No Brakes - California or Burst
In October of 1960, Bill decided to close up his Michigan shop and move back to California. Teddy recalled that he had just built Jerry Yatch's 1959 Chevrolet Impala custom and sold The Bat before leaving. After selling The Bat, Bill bought a 1954 Buick. "The Buick was a stock car. All he did was paint it a white pearl just before he left for California." In Oklahoma, the brakes on the Buick went out, and they had to jack the car up, "with the trailer and everything on it." The brake line had rusted out, and Teddy and Bill had had to replace it before they could continue the trip out west. Bill with the Buick. Teddy, with his 1954 Ford custom, The X-Tremist. "When we got to California, we were coming down the mountains, and he had this homemade trailer with all the tools on it. I was following him down the mountain, but man, I couldn't keep up with him. When we got down to the bottom of the mountain, I said, "Man, uncle Bill, why were you going so fast?" He said, "I didn't have any brakes!" The brakes had gone out from all of the weight of that trailer with all of his tools in it. You know, it was just a stock 54 Buick, and the brakes got hot, so he had no brakes going down that mountain, so I couldn't keep up with him," Teddy chuckled.
Back to Barris Kustoms
Teddy was now 16 and went back to work for George Barris for about two and a half years. "All I ever was was Junior's helper, basically," Teddy told Kustomrama. "I never did any painting or stuff. I was just the prep guy. I blocked, sanded the cars, taped them off, and got them all ready—stuff like that. Once in a while, George would lay down one side of scallops on a car, and then he would tell me to duplicate it on the other side. Like on Shirley Barris' 58 Thunderbird. I had to duplicate that one. And Chilli Catallo, The Little Deuce Coupe, he laid out one side of the scallops, and I had to duplicate them and do the other side before Junior painted em."
Teddy Zgrzemski's Cars
Cars Painted or Scalloped by Teddy Zgrzemski
Dick Bailey's Model T - The Wild One
Clarence Catallo's 1932 Ford 3-Window Coupe - The Little Deuce Coupe
Sy Gregorich's 1955 Ford Crown Victoria - The Alexandrian
Shirley Barris' 1958 Ford Thunderbird
Cars Restyled by Teddy Zgrzemski
- Teddy Zgrzemski
- Teddy Zgrzemski
- Dick Dean
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