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After leaving the Army on a medical discharge in 1952, a 19-year-old Norm Grabowski built a hot rod based on a shortened 1922 Model T touring car mated to a similarly shortened Model A truck bed. With a powerful OHV engine from his parents’ sedan, the vehicle that resulted had a unique appearance and stance, which inspired many hot rods created afterward. The car was first featured on the cover of the October 1955 issue of Hot Rod and then underwent further modifications, including a greater rake, tilted windshield and blue paint with flames when it famously appeared in color on the cover of the April 1957 issue of Car Craft, as well as in an April 1957 issue of LIFE. Grabowski’s hugely influential hot rod became known as the ‘Kookie Kar’ after it was used in the television show 77 Sunset Strip, where it was driven by the character Kookie in just about every episode. As a consequence of the exposure, Grabowski was approached about renting the car out to appear in other movies and TV shows. The contacts he made in this way led to an acting career for Grabowski that spanned several decades. In addition to the cars he designed and built, he was known as a talented wood carver, and many hot rods and custom cars feature his unique hand-carved skull gearshift knobs.
Like all our designs, this one is treated with our signature ‘relic-ing’ process which includes our own secret recipe of hand-painted chipping, cracking, fading, and just the right touch of yellowing to ensure that it looks the part of a true vintage imprint.** We lay these works of art down on premium Bella+Canvas 3001 Unisex Jersey Short Sleeve Tees, one of the softest, best-wearing t-shirts available today, via state of the art direct to garment (DTG) printing which allows us to create a vintage effect that simply can’t be accomplished with other printing methods. In short, these shirts are everything you’ve dreamed of and more – it feels soft and lightweight with just the right amount of stretch making it comfortable and flattering for both men and women.
Not sure what size is your best fit? We recommend taking one of your current t-shirts, laying it flat and measuring it. The measurements in the chart below are taken with the shirt laying on a flat surface. To get the length, measure from the high shoulder point down to the bottom of the shirt. To get the width, measure approximately 1-inch below the armhole, across the chest, from seam to seam. While our tees are all made using premium, pre-shrunk, ring-spun cotton, there can be some shrinkage depending on your personal wash and dry cycles. With that said, if you’re on the fence, we always suggest going up a size.
All sizes are provided in inches!
*Heather colors are 52% combed and ring-spun cotton/48% polyester. Athletic and Black Heather is 90% combed and ring-spun cotton/10% polyester. Ash color is 99% Airlume combed and ring-spun cotton and 1% poly. **Due to the nature of the printing process and different sizes of shirts offered, imprint position and scale may vary slightly from the product images, but we do our best to be as accurate as possible.