Kustom Kulture Forever – with a history

The backdrop was unparalleled. Ewald – once the most important colliery in Herten, the largest mining town in Europe – was last weekend once again the meeting place for one of Europe’s biggest custom and hot rod shows. This year, the meeting could be construed as being the harbinger of a new scene attraction. From 2018 the former mine will be the home of MOTORWORLD Zeche Ewald, which will get this fascinating location rolling, in the truest sense of the word, throughout the year.

The Ewald Colliery has formed the backdrop for the “Kustom Kulture Forever Show” since 2013. This year, around 250 customised cars, hot rods, low riders, modified air-cooled VWs, accompanied by almost 150 choppers and bobber bikes, rolled into Ewald. They were flanked by custom artists, including pinstripers and airbrushers, who paraded their skills. And those who were so inclined could let themselves be adorned by stars of the tattooing scene right here at the Classic Tradition Tattoo show.

Long tradition of customising

Even though some members of the classic car scene may take a sideways look at the customised car community, the show is well worth a visit, and many of the cars are works of art. And it follows a very long tradition, since customising is an art form that is just as old as the automobile itself. In the 1940s, customisers in the United States began modifying mainly Ford B models from the 1930s. In the early days, they only removed the wings and enhanced the engine performance. Customising experienced its heyday in the 1950s. Disused vehicles were extensively rebuilt, entire body parts were altered, and roof lines and suspensions were lowered. The engines were naturally also tuned as well. Legends of the customising scene included Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, George Barris, Gene Winfield, Larry Watson and John D´Agostino. Even today, new designs are based on their styles. Consequently, some really interesting motoring works of art were to be seen at this year’s Kustom Kulture Forever Show at Ewald.