No matter what is written about the incredible styling and custom car cultural contribution of Barris' Ala Kart, it wouldn't be adequate. Leading the hot rod hobby into
the show car era which eventually degenerated into awful silliness, the Ala Kart set a new standard for the entire custom car and rod world.
In the future, we'll present the full text of historic magazine coverage on this great car. The Kart is presently under going restoration in Roy Brizio's shop after a brief stay
at Junior Conway's shop. It's too bad the recently-released, new AMT kit of the model is full of significant errors, though the original kit is pretty good.
However, the just-released die cast from Danbury Mint is an excellent scale reproduction!
The first kit issue is at the top, with the second version (just below) following the first issue by just a few months. The original kit was bastardized over the years,
with key parts being lost while other parts survive. The latest kit, at the bottom, is a new tool, and it misses the mark in several important way (hood is too flat, the
engine is laughingly too small, and other flaws). The late 2002 issue of AMT's 1929 Ford roadster kit contains most of the original version Ala Kart body parts (no
explanation for this anomaly, especially since AMT also issued the new tooling. Go figure . . . .
This great shot is apparently a still from movie. Of interest here is not just the car but the too-cool look of the unnamed actor. Note how the low the car sits at the
front – both versions of the AMT kit didn't catch this important detail. Mark S. Gustavson Photo Archives
This shot was probably taken in 1958 at an unknown show (but maybe at the Fresno, California show), and is rich in detail: Note how low the rear fender was to
the tire/wheel assembly, the simplicity of the display, the detail of the door upholstery next to the chrome door hinges. Gary Minor/Mark S. Gustavson Photo Archives.
Taken at the Fresno show, the front shot reveals the delicate pinstripping, the airbag front suspension (decades from the current hi-tech trend), the show card and
the vehicle identification signage at the front of the car. Gary Minor/Mark S. Gustavson Photo Archives
This may be the only known vintage shot of the interior – even the vintage publications didn't give this much detail. Check out these details: what appears to
be connecting-rod steering column mounting bracket, the uneven carpet against the driver's kick panel, the unexplained half-round shape on the dash, the
plastic/composite shift knob (made by Bob Hirohata?), and seatbelts! Also, wonder why one of the mounting screws on the driver's kick panel is chrome while the other one is painted? Gary Minor/Mark S. Gustavson Photo Archives
This shot is a promotional offered by Barris for sale. The color is probably fairly accurate, though the colors lack the vibrancy reported by contemporary observers. Gary Minor/Mark S. Gustavson Photo Archives
For more info on the AlaKart, go here...
http://canneysgarage.canney.net/diecast/alakart/ (Die cast review)
http://www.dahms intl.com/ALAT.html (Closed cap redux of truck).
http://www.hotrodsonline.com/HallOfFame/AlaKart/ (dated, brief history, good
http://www.streetrodbuilder.com/News.asp?ID=12 (contemporary update from
Street Rod Builder)
http://www.showrods.com/gallery_pages/ala_kart1.html (nice built up model by Australian Andy Douglas)
"For a good review of the Ala Kart kits, read Dave Darby's smart and insightful review at: