The James Handy Photo Collection

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A photo of Louie Stojanovich's 1947 Plumouth Coupe taken at the 1962 San Jose Autorama. Louie was a member of the San Jose Rod and Wheelers car club. The build was started by Axle Busters of San Jose member Leroy Heinrichs. Louie bought the car from Leroy in 1957 and restyled it further. Photo by James Handy.
Dick Flecther's 1950 Ford at the 1962 San Jose Autorama. Fletcher's Ford car was restyled by Gene Winfield at Winfield's Custom Shop. Photo by James Handy.
A Mercury with a chopped and padded top that James shot at the 1962 San Jose Autorama. Photo by James Handy.
A rear-end shot of the Mercury from the 1962 San Jose Autorama. The 1953 Studebaker belonged to Gary Elmore. Photo by James Handy.
A photo of Gene Boucher's 1956 Ford from the 1962 San Jose Autorama. Named "Marquis," the car featured extensive bodywork by Bill Cushenbery of Cushenbery Custom Shop. The build was completed early in 1962. Photo by James Handy.
A mildly restyled Chevrolet coupe from the 1962 San Jose Autorama. Photo by James Handy.
A photo of Joe Boliba's 1956 Chevrolet Convertible taken at the 1962 San Jose Autorama. Joe's radically restyled Chevrolet was restyled by Joe Bailon at Bailon's Custom Shop. This iteration of the car was known as The Golden Corona, and this photo shows it as it appeared before it received a DeSoto grille as a bumper. Photo by James Handy.
A customized Ranchero from the 1962 San Jose Autorama. Photo by James Handy.
A 1955 Ford custom that belonged to a member of the Golden Gears car club. The car was photographed at the 1962 San Jose Autorama. Photo by James Handy.
Photo by James Handy.
A 1958 Chevrolet Bel-Air custom from the 1962 San Jose Autorama. The car belonged to a member of the Golden Gears car club. Photo by James Handy.
A photo of Mario Ghiorzi's 1958 Chevrolet Impala taken at the 1962 San Jose Autorama. Photo by James Handy.
A second iteration of Frank Goehring's 1958 Chevrolet Impala from the 1962 San Jose Autoram. Restyled by Flyers Body Shop and Winfield's Custom Shop, this version of the car was known as Sheen II. Photo by James Handy.
A photo of Carl Mecchi's 1959 Ford Thunderbird from the 1962 San Jose Autorama. Known as "Feathers," Carl was a member of the Golden Gears car club. Photo by James Handy.
A photo of Jack Snyder’s 1956 Chevrolet from the 1962 San Jose Autorama. Jack's Chevrolet was restyled by Joe Wilhelm at Wilhelm's Custom Shop. Photo by James Handy.
A 1955 Pontiac custom from the 1962 San Jose Autorama. Photo by James Handy.
A photo of Joe and Jerry Valdez's 1921 Ford Model T roadster that James took at the 1973 or 1974 National Roadster Show. Photo by James Handy.
Another photo of Joe and Jerry Valdez's 1921 Ford Model T roadster that James took at the 1974 or 1975 National Roadster Show. Photo by James Handy.
A flamed iteration of Joe and Jerry Valdez's 1921 Ford Model T roadster shown at the National Roadster Show sometime between 1975 and 1977. Photo by James Handy.


James "Jim" Handy is a well-known automotive photographer. In 2019 Jim told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama that photography started for him in high school when he was part of the yearbook staff. In 1960, while still in High School, he attended the 1960 Phoenix Autorama. After that, he was hooked, and he started photographing shows in the area the same year.[1]


After High School, Jim moved out West to attend the San Jose State University. He got to know the guys in the area and started hanging out at the drive-ins and the cruising spots. Living in San Jose, Jim also started photographing car shows in Oakland, San Mateo, San Jose, San Francisco, Napa, Monterey, and Sacramento. He began shooting the Oakland Roadster Show in 1962, and six decades later he had documented almost all of the now Grand National Roadster Shows ever since.[1]


In 1967 James and Tom Meyer were asked by the late Jim McLennan to be Track Photographers at Fremont Drag Strip. Every Sunday for the next three years, Jim and Tom photographed and reported the day's results to National Dragster and Drag News via overnight express mail. The two good friends also traveled up and down the West Coast, photographing action at various drag strips in California.[1]


Between 1964 and 1972 Jim shot 25,000 negatives and slides at California drag strips. "I started freelancing for Tex Smith at Rod Action which led to assignments for Rod & Custom, Custom Rodder, Truckin' and Street Rodder," Jim told Sondre.[1]


Jim's fulltime job as an aerospace service engineer on US Navy ships kept him busy during the week. "I moved from Navy ships to Polaris rockets in 1981, freelancing along the way to fund my street rod projects." From 1970 to 1980 he did the slide show for the Grand National Roadster Show Awards Ceremony, and in 2005 he was inducted into the Grand National Roadster Show Hall of Fame along with Chip Foose.[1]


Along the way, Jim managed to raise a family, and in 1989 he and his wife opened a frozen yogurt and ice cream shop near Sacramento. He sold the ice cream store and retired from the daily grind in 2006. Today Jim is retired, currently living in Northern California with his wife, Sandy. He is still photographing hot rods and dragsters, and he spends his time working on his website www.jameshandyphotography.com/ and cataloging some 25,000 drag racing and car show negatives and slides. Jim has also been kind enough to share some of his photo treasures with Kustomrama and our worldwide tribe of enthusiasts, that we will upload and share on this page.[1]


References



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