The Automobile As A Hobby

The Automobile as a Hobby

“It was a great time [after World War II] for car nuts. The streets of southern California, particularly Los Angeles County, were thick with interesting cars – hot rods, custom cars, and the occasional imported sports car.”- Dean Bachelor, Editor of Road & Track

From pin striping to chopped hot rods, the art of the auto was in many ways a California phenomenon. And the 1950s and early 1960s were the golden age of customized car culture.

The Golden State led the way in “krazy custom” auto art. Professional and custom car designers Harley Earl and George Barris gave the world a new vision of what the automobile could become – whether it was the Corvette or the Batmobile. Others, such as Joe Bailon, the inventor of “candy apple red” paint, and Harry Westergard, “the father of customizing,” helped to advance the automobile as a work of art.

Auto races and car shows became sought-after venues for auto collectors and customizers to showcase their treasured vehicles, whether they were classic cars, sport cars, hot rods or custom cars.

California State Capitol Museum – The Road Ahead Exhibit

This is a website specifically for the “The Road Ahead: The Automobile’s Impact on California” Exhibit. Dates: May 23, 2018 – April 29, 2019 at the California State Capitol Museum.

For Museum-related information such as contacts, hours and location: Visit