Tom Carroll's 1949 Chevrolet
1949 Chevrolet Business Coupe, restyled by Barris Kustoms for Thomas Franklin Carroll Junior of Culver City, California, around 1954. Tom was 19 years old at the time, and he worked at MGM Studios in Culver City. At Barris, Tom's coupe was nosed, decked and shaved for door handles. The shaved doors were operated by starter solenoids that Barris installed in the doors. The solenoids were operated from the inside only. Two push-buttons were installed on the driver side door panel, and one on the passenger side. The front end was modified to accept a 1954 Pontiac grille bar. Before, or after Tom had Barris restyle the car, it was also fit with a 1950 Oldsmobile one-piece windshield and dual spotlights. The interior was upholstered in white vinyl. The seats were rolled and pleated, while the doors and kick panels were upholstered in plain white vinyl. The headliner was done in white vinyl with black trim, and the carpets were custom made in black with white trim around the edges. The window moldings and the glove box compartment door were chrome plated. The rear end of the car was lowered by installing 2.5 inch lowering blocks, and the front coils were cut. The stock 216 inline 6 engine was equipped with an Offenhauser three-jug manifold, three chromed Stromberg BXOV2 carburetors, a finned Offenhauser valve cover, a Mallory dual point distributor, a Mallory dual point coil and Fenton headers..
In 2015 Edie De Lano told Kustomrama that she remembered Tom's 1949 black Chevy; "I lived in Mar Vista, California, but went to St. Augustine Catholic grammar school in Culver City. I went to Notre Dame Academy girls High School in West Los Angeles, class of 1957. Getting out of school at 3:00 pm the parking lot some time's looked like a custom car show. You had your pick...cars and guy's. I was dating a guy that lived on Fairbanks Way and Dobson Way, Dick Jones. Dick's car was a 1947 Ford with a chopped window. Tom lived in Fairbanks Way. If I remember right, Tom had a younger brother Mike, with red hair. My brother Andy De Lano hung out with him. At this time Culver City had a lot of guys with custom cars. Car clubs were very in. The guys lived and worked to get and have their cars. I remember seing Tom driving his Chevrolet around. It was painted purple in 1955. It was then repainted black around 1956 - 1957. When Tom went into the service, I think the Navy, it was put on block's in the garage."
In 1959 Tom blew the inline six engine in the car. By then it had been painted black. After the engine blew, Tom bought a brand new 4bbl 1956 Oldsmobile Rocket V8 replacement engine with a stick shift transmission from the local dealer Albert Oldsmobile. Motor mounts that allowed the engine in the Chevrolet was bought as well. In 2015 Edie's brother Andy told Kustomrama that he remembered Tom, the car and the engine; "I knew Michael Carroll from my childhood days. We went to grammar school together and did hang out a bit as kids, in the later years we were at different high schools. During the junior high days I recall seeing the '49 Chevrolet' in Mikes garage. Yes it did belong to his brother Tom. Tom was 3-4 years older than we were. It was in any-ones view a real sharp looking rig. The car was a jet black, very shiny, and on the floor in the garage was a new and crated large V-8 Oldsmobile engine waiting to be installed. If it ever got installed I do not know. " The engine was 100% complete, and it came with a starter, fan, etc. Tom never got around to install the engine. He removed the blown inline six and cut off the parking brake bracket before the car was abandoned. Around the same time he bought a 1957 Buick Century that he fit with chromed and reversed wheels, so there is a big chance he got tired of the old Chevrolet.
Tom kept on to the car, and in the late 1970s he moved to North Hollywood with his wife. He brought the old Chevrolet with him, and stored it outside in his new backyard for about 30 more years. The backyard was very shady, but Tom decided to cover the car up as well to spare it's paint from the intense sun. In the late 1990s, Tom got ill, and May 1st, 2002 he passed away. Tom's wife was left behind. She kept on to the old custom until she passed away a year later. In May of 2004, Dieter Balogh of Woodland Hills, California bought the car from the widow's estate. In addition to the old custom, Tom had about 10 more cars stacked away in his backyard. The other cars included a 1959 Plymouth Fury, another, bone stock 1949 Chevrolet business coupe, a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, a 1955 Chevrolet pickup, a 1959 Chevrolet El Camino, and the 1957 Buick that Tom had bought after he blew the engine in the Chevrolet. The cars were covered with leaf and sand. They were pulled out of the backyard, through a small garage. The garage was full of junk, parts and documents belonging to the cars. It was amongst this stuff that Dieter found the old Barris Kustoms receipt for the car. The 1954 Pontiac grille bar was also found amongst all of the junk in the garage, and it was then Dieter realized that the bar actually came off the mildly customized Chevrolet. In the trunk of the Chevrolet, Dieter found four 1956 Oldsmobile flipper wheel covers. He advertised these for sale on Hemmings Motor News as custom hubcaps that could be traced to George Barris in 2004. Kurt Atkinson of Illinois bought the hubcaps due to the history. Dieter had also advertised the NOS 1956 Oldsmobile Rocket engine that Tom Carroll had bought for the car. It was still complete carb to pan with carb, bell housing and transmission, and Dieter wanted $1 500 for it. Kurt wanted to buy the engine as well, but could not talk Dieter into shipping it to Illinois. Kurt believes that someone bought it to install in a 1932 Ford. Except for the Chevrolet, the other cars in the estate were sold to Denmark. The Chevrolet was sold to Ron Ellis. Ron later advertised it for sale on eBay, but the auction ended without any bids. It was also listed for sale on Hemmings. The car did eventually sell, and it ended up with Swedish custom car and hot rod enthusiast Conny Östlund, that at the time was living and working in California. Conny got the old custom in trade for another car. He kept on to it for a while before he decided to pass it on. Being a custom car enthusiast, Conny wanted the old custom car to be sold to Sweden. In 2009 he found a buyer, and the car was sold to Thomas Nilsson of Sun Cars AB in Sunne, Sweden. The car arrived in Sweden in September of 2009, and it became the first documented Barris Kustoms in Sandinavia.
October 23, 2009, Coupe Devils member Sondre Kvipt of Oslo, Norway, found the car advertised for sale on the website www.blocket.se. It was listed as an old Barris Kustom, and the title of the ad read: ""Cheva 1949 kustom, barris byggd"". Skeptical about the listing, Sondre called the seller, and asked about the story of the car, and if he had any documentation. Thomas told Sondre that the car had been driven until 1959. In 1959 the engine blew up, and the car was put in storage. Thomas claimed that the car hadn't been driven under own power since 1959. Thomas also told Sondre that he had the original receipt from Barris Kustoms, so Sondre decided to jump in his car and hurry up to see the car. At first sight, there was no doubt that the advertised car was an old well preserved mild custom car, so after Sondre had seen the original paperwork from Barris Kustoms, a deal was struck and Norway had finally gotten its first Barris Kustom.
A week after the deal was struck, Sondre and his friend Terje Rusthaug returned with a car and trailer to pick up the car. It was brought to Sondre's garage in Oslo, where Sondre started to prepare it for a technical inspection, in order to get Norwegian license plates on the car. Thomas had gone over the brakes, but the car had no parking brake as Tom Carroll had cut of the bracket when he was preparing the car for an engine swap. A new bracket was located and welded in. After the car was sold from Tom Carroll's estate, someone had installed a bigger 235 inline 6 engine in the car. The engine was mounted in place, but not fully installed. As a full technical inspection was required, Sondre had to make sure that everything was working on the car. The car was also missing its gas tank and exhaust system, so these parts had to be ordered and installed along with some other missing pieces. After two days of intensive work, without sleep, the car was finally fired and slightly tested for a couple of minutes before Sondre had to drive it over to the DMV. He came too late for his appointment, and once he reached the station, the engine died and refused to start again, so Sondre had to be towed back to the garage without license plates. All this happened a couple of days before the planned debut at the second annual Coupe Devils Rod & Kustom Bonanza car show in Blaker. Back in the garage, Sondre went over the engine, cleaned and adjusted the carburetor, and got it running for the show. Driving on temporarily license plates, Sondre finally made it up to Blaker. At the show, he had 1948 - 1952 Cadillac Sombreros installed on the car. Before Sondre left for the show, he had planned to change the oil on the rear end. As he ran out of time, he decided to do this right after the show instead. That was a bad judgement, and on the way back home from Blaker on Sunday the rear end broke on the car. He filled some oil on the rear end at a gas station, and managed to get the car back home by driving carefully on back roads. He removed the rear end cover, and found metal and bearing balls in the oil. A used rear end was located and bought from Ronny Lundell in Oslo, who also had provided the parking brake bracket earlier. With good help from his brother Olav Kvipt, a new rear end was installed, and the car was brought back to the inspection station for a second try. As the parking brake didn`t take good enough, Sondre was told to come back again when the parking brake was fixed. He adjusted the parking brake, and returned the next week for a third try. The car passed, and Sondre could finally install Norwegian license plates on the car. While working on the car, Sondre noticed two hooks mounted on the underside of the rear splash apron. In 2015 he asked Edithann and Andy DeLano if they remembered if Tom was a member of any clubs. None of them believed he was ever a member of any clubs. According to Andy, Tom was kind of a loner type who did not hang much with groups of people.
After the car had passed inspection, Sondre, Olav, and fellow Coupe Devils member Jon Hegnastykket lowered the car again by installing 3" lowering blocks in the rear. After the car had been lowered, the exhaust had to be routed under the rear end. This job was done July 29, 2010, the day before the 15th annual A-Bombers Old Style Weekend in Uddevalla, Sweden. The car was lowered, cleaned up and packed for its maiden voyage to the biggest traditional rod and custom car show in Europe. After a hour of highway driving, the engine started to sound like a Peterbillt truck, so Sondre pulled the car out on the shoulder of the road and popped the hood. Not able to find out what was wrong, Sondre and his crew decided to drive a little longer. The noise slowly got worse, so Sondre eventually had to turn around and return to Oslo. He made it back to the garage, and swapped cars so he could make it to the show. It turned out that the engine that someone had installed in the car was poorly overhauled. The cylinder bearings were oval-shaped, and the crankshaft was shot due to someone installing too tight bearings. Sondre got hold of another 235 engine from a 1956 Chevrolet convertible that he and his other brother Kjetil Kvipt overhauled. The engine block was sent to Sarpsborg Motor, who bored it out to 260 cubic inches before Kjetil assembled the engine. When Sondre bought the car, the trunk was filled with old speed equipment that Tom Carroll supposedly had ran on his smaller 216 inch engine. The speed parts were installed along with a brand new Iskenderian camshaft that Sondre had bought at Ed Iskenderia's shop during a trip to California in 2011. The Offenhauser three-jug manifold, chromed Stromberg BXOV2 carburetors, the finned Offenhauser valve cover, the Mallory dual point distributor along with the Mallory dual point coil and Fenton headers were mounted. It was painted gold, and finished right before the 2011 A-Bombers Old Style Weekend. Sondre's plan was to drive the car to this year's show. The night before the show, the 6V starter that originally came with the engine in the car stopped working. A 12v starter followed the 235 that Sondre bought, so it was quickly fixed by installing this along with an extra battery inside the car. The first drive with the rebuilt engine, and the trip to Sweden was documented at the Mad Fabricators Volume 7 DVD. On the way back home from the show, the generator stopped charging, so Sondre had to drive most of the trip without lights on. A new 12V generator and a 12v starter was purchased shortly afte he returned home.
Later on in 2011, Sondre was invited to show the car at the X-treme Car Show in Helsinki, Finland. Sondre and fellow Coupe Devils member Tom Røine decided to drive the car all the way to Finland. They left the garage in Oslo early on the morning, and at the gas station across the street from Sondre's garage the relays that were connected to the solenoids in the doors caught fire. A temporarily fix was performed, before Sondre and Tom hit the road. In 2012 Sondre attended the Coupe Devils Rod & Kustom Bonanza, the Hammers Back to the 50's Weekend car show, and at the A-Bombers Old Style Weekend with the car. Sondre was invited to display the car at the 2013 Elmia Custom Motor Show at a Barris Kustoms tribute stand along with Andreas Åberg's 1950 Ford, a tribute to the Panoramic Ford that Barris restyled in 1953.
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