At the age of 8, Joe Sulpy IV was learning to do bodywork in his father's garage. Three years later, he was welding. At 13, he chopped his first top, lowering the roofline of a 1941 Willys sedan.
Before long, Joe IV was running his own business, Joe Sulpy's Custom Paint & Metal Fabrication shop, in Whippany, N.J., where, like his father and his father's father, he was doing custom car modifications.
In part because of the economy and in part because the already too short collector car season on the East Coast seems to being cut even shorter by a succession of rainy weekends, Joe Sulpy IV moved his business in the fall of 2008 from New Jersey to Buckeye, Arizona, just west of Phoenix.
Thirteen months after his move, Joe IV has four vehicle builds underway in his new garage. To showcase his work, he had perhaps the world's most unusual 1957
Chrysler Saratoga on display at the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association's 12th annual Southwest Nationals the weekend of November 20-22 at the WestWorld equestrian and show grounds in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Not only was Sulpy's the most unusual Chrysler on the grounds, it may have been the most unusual of all the 3000 or so vehicles gathered for the Goodguys' season final.
Sulpy's car was a project started by his father, but when Joe III became seriously ill, Joe IV finished the work (and is glad to report that his father has recuperated from his illness).
The car is clone, a tribute to the "Parisienne" created back in the early 1960s by Richard Korkes and his Korky Kustoms shop in New Jersey. Joe Sulpy III as a high school student who used to try to sneak peeks of Korkes' project but was repeatedly chased away by Korkes and his crew.
Korkes started his "Parisienne" project with a 1954 Ford. The Sulpys started with a Chrysler, though all that remains from that vehicle are the frame, the windshield and the tail lamps.
Though the low-slung, landau-roofed car is radical from every angle, what truly sets it apart is the shape of its tail end, with the center point of the rear bumper and fascia set several feet ahead of the trailing edges of the bumper and rear fenders, as though someone took a large pie-shaped slice out of the back of the car.
Like Joe Sulpy IV, Richard Korkes also moved west, not to Arizona but to southern California, where he worked for customizer George Barris as part of the team that created cars such as the Batmobile.
Speaking of Arizona, Joe Sulpy IV has learned that the Korky Kustoms' Parisienne has survived and recently was purchased by a car collector in Tucson, so the original and the clone might end up parked together at a show sometime.
Perhaps even back at Scottsdale the weekend of March 12-14 when the Goodguys open their 2010 season with the inaugural Spring Nationals show.
The Goodguys Rod & Custom Association was founded in 1983 and with more than 70,000 members is the largest such custom car club in the world. The rest of the 2010 schedule includes:
March 27-28, 28th All American Get-Together at Pleasanton, California
April 9-11, 10th Del Mar Nationals at Del Mar, California
May 15-16, 4th Orange County Get-Together at Costa Mesa, California
May 21-23, 5th Nashville Nationals at Nashville, Tennessee
June 4-6, 13th Colorado Nationals at Loveland, Colorado
June 5-6, 17th Summer Get-Together at Pleasanton, California
June 11-13, 32nd Hot Rod Nationals at Indianapolis
June 25-27, 19th East Coast Nationals at Rhinebeck, New York
July 2-4, 19th Heartland Nationals at Des Moines
July 9-11, 13th Goodguys PPG Nationals at Columbus, Ohio
July 23-25, 23rd Pacific Northwest Nationals at Puyallup, Washington
August 13-15, 9th Great Northwest Nationals at Spokane, Washington
August 20-22, 9th Blue Suede Cruise at Norwalk, Ohio
August 27-29, 24th West Coast Nationals at Pleasanton, California
September 3-5, 9th Mid-Western Nationals at Kansas City, Kansas
Sept. 17-19, 4th Chicagoland Nationals at Joliet, Illinois
September 24-26, 6th Great American Nationals at Pocono, Pennsylvania
October 1-3, 18th Lone Star Nationals at Fort Worth, Texas
October 15-17, 3rd Nostalgia Nationals at Bowling Green, Kentucky
October 29-30, 17th Southeastern Nationals at Charlotte, North Carolina
November 13-14, 21st Autumn Get-Together at Pleasanton, California
November 19-21, 13th Southwest Nationals at Scottsdale, Arizona
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