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  • Futurama TV Show uses Tiki Chris Pinto’s Car in Season 6 Episode 16!

    Posted on July 11th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 1 comment

    Futurama's hot rod on top, my CUSTOM 53 Chevy hot rod with fins I designed myself on the bottom.

    Futurama's hot rod on top, my CUSTOM 53 Chevy hot rod with fins I designed myself on the bottom.

    YES, it is true. The proof is in the photos! There is only ONE 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air in the WORLD with my custom-made shark fins, and it’s sitting in my garage. Now, another appears to exist 1000 years in the future.

    Imagine my surprise while watching the new episode of Futurama last week, a show I’ve watched and dug since it first aired in 2000, when the “Tron” motorcycle cop/car chase scene so obviously used my own, custom designed hot rod as the car being chased! My jaw dropped, as you might have guessed. Good think I had it on TiVo so I could rewind it and watch over again to make sure I wasn’t nuts.

    Futurama's car, and my 1953 Chevy, from the back. The fins are exactly the same. And I designed them.

    Futurama's car, and my 1953 Chevy, from the back. The fins are exactly the same. And I designed them.

    It’s not just the fins…the overall look of the car is absolutely an early 1950’s GM vehicle, which is common in the show (Futurama was the name of the GM auto shows in the 50s, and also their shows at the World’s Fairs). Specifically it has the same rounded look as the 1954-54 Chevy, and even has a similar grill and side molding. But none of those cars had fins. In fact, all the GM cars of the 50s had fins that mimicked jet planes and rockets, never sharks, like these.

    The front-side view of the Futurama Car, and my 1953 Chevy. Tell me they didn't copy mine! I dare ya.

    The front-side view of the Futurama Car, and my 1953 Chevy. Tell me they didn't copy mine! I dare ya.

    Now, of course the cartoon car is highly stylized…for the cartoon. Plus it’s in “TRON” mode. But the similarities are unmistakable. I really can’t imagine anyone else in the world pairing these exact style sharkfins with what is absolutely an early 1950’s stylized Chevy. Sure, there’s is a 2-door, and, well, it’s a hovercar. But…

    I’m actually very honored that they used my personal custom design in an episode. That puts my lil’ old 53 Chevy Star Dust right up there with The Warecar (The CAR), Christine, the Original Warecar (the original Batmobile) and the 59 Caddy hovercars that appear often in the show.

    My '53 Chevy Hot Rod

    My '53 Chevy Hot Rod

    If anyone from Hollywood sees this, please tell Mat Groenig thanks, and I’d really like a signed cell or photo of the cast as a thank you.

    Check out my car’s website at 53ChevyHotRod.com, and see for yourself how close it is!

    You can see the clip the car is featured in at Comedy Central.

    -Tiki Chris Pinto reporting from the garage at Tiki Lounge Talk.

  • May 22 Marks 20 Years Since I Bought StarDust, The Smokin’ 53 Chevy Hot Rod

    Posted on May 22nd, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 1 comment
    StarDust, the Smokin' 53 Chevy Belair Wild Custom

    StarDust, the Smokin' 53 Chevy Belair Wild Custom

    20 YEARS!

    That’s right kats and kittens, May 22nd means I’ve had this beauty for 20 years on the button. That’s half my life, by the way. Longer than I’ve known my wife and most of my friends, longer than I’ve been able to legally drink.

    You’d think by now it would be done!

    But when you have an antique car that you work on yourself, you’re never really finished. The short story is, I bought her at a yard sale in a little community that went by the name of Birdland in South Jersey, and drove it home.

    My 1953 Chevy Belair StarDust in 1992

    My 1953 Chevy Belair StarDust in 1992

    Within a few months I’d added a set of tires, rebuilt the carb, got the brakes working, put new seat covers, installed a new fuel pump and did some bodywork, enough to get her primed. By summer she was on the road. I drove her around primed gray for over a year while I got the lettuce together to get her painted, and by September 1991 she was seafoam green with a white top and chocolate interior.

    I drove it around like that for ten years, to fun places like Wildwood and Cape May, Ocean City and Smithville, NJ. Then in June 2000, we moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. StarDust came with us on a flatbed behind the 22′ moving truck.

    FINS! 1953 Chevy Belair Custom Hot Rod

    FINS! 1953 Chevy Belair Custom Hot Rod

    Once down here (with a two-car garage) I decided to totally re-think her, make her a wild custom ride. I started with engine – adding a 4-banger carb and headers with duals to the original six, then cut the top like a cabriolet, then…the FINS. Yes kids, in true 1950’s custom fashion, I hand-built 33″ fins on the back of this baby, working them into the contours of the car.

    Then I installed the leather seats from my Father’s Cadillac in, added a purple rug and custom center console with a pop-up DVD player, and chrome spokes. Recently I rebuilt the braking system from the ground up, and added a new high-torque starter to make her start up easily and more reliably. She’s running great now, and looks decent although she’s still in black primer (I plan to paint her metalflake candy purple before I kick the bucket).

    53 Chevy in Primer

    53 Chevy in Primer

    I’d really like to put a Mustang II front suspension and a dual master cylinder on her in the near future, but that front end’s more work than I can handle myself. I’ll have to take it to a shop for that, and frankly I ain’t met no kats in SoFla that I’d trust her with!

    The Trunk

    The Trunk

    Twenty years is a long time to have a car. I have a feeling this car will outlast me. I have a lot of neat pix and info on how I built it at the StarDust Chevy website, http://53ChevyHotRod.com. Check it out if you have some time. It’s a gass, baby!

    -Krazy Chris reporting from under the car, next to a palm tree in Sunny South Florida

  • 53 Chevy Belair Custom Hot Rod “StarDust” Video!

    Posted on April 28th, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments
    Rusty Tiki Car Club at Tiki Lounge Talk

    Rusty Tiki Car Club at Tiki Lounge Talk

    errrr rrr rrrr rrr  Vrrrooooom  Vrumm Vrumm Vrumm Vrumm VARRROOOOMM VARRRROOOOOOM…

    The throaty sound of a hot split-six in the night. The engine revs up, falls off, revs up, falls off. Red-hot exhaust headers ticking. Juiced-up carb spitting gas down the throat of the this monster as fast as it can take it.

    I’ve been working on (and driving) my 1953 Chevy Belair Hot Rod since May of 1990. As the 20-year mark of owning this 57-year-old classic 1953 Chevy Belair Hot Rod "StarDust"approaches, I decided to do some major service ops on her to get her better suited to Florida’s roadways. I recently rebuilt the Holley 390 carb, tightened the front end and just this last few months completely restored the entire braking system, from new shoes to new lines, wheel cylinders and rebuilt master cylinder.

    So last night, just for fun I took her out of the garage and drove her around the neighborhood. She ran smooth and fast. Stopped pretty good, too. Then, for fun, I decided to throw together a quicky video (with Christine in mind!)

    Her name is StarDust. And she’s a beast. http://53chevyhotrod.com

    Tiki Chris reporting from the Tiki Culture Web Lounge (Blounge™)

  • Happy Easter from the Tiki Bar!

    Posted on April 4th, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 3 comments

    2-bunniesIt’s time to celebrate rebirth and spring and all that jazz, whatever your religious views are, here at the Tiki Bar we hope you all have a Hoppy Easter and wonderful spring. The Easter Bunny stopped by our house twice this year, bringing double Whopper eggs, Reeses Eggs and jelly beans. (can you guess what happened? It has to do with trying keeping your basket plans a surprise, eh hem).

    There’s a million kool places to go for Easter Sunday in South Florida, but we decided to stay at Pirate’s Cove Tiki Bar this year (our house, that is). I had an idea to do an old-style (yeah, sorta retro) Easter Dinner, diner style. We’re having open-faced turkey sandwiches, stuffing, and macaroni salad in the diner-kitchen. (Ok, that may not be traditional, but I and a lot of my family and friends went this route when we couldn’t get together for big family dinners.)

    As for big family dinners…I come from an Italian family, who of course had to overdo everything when it came to food. For Good Friday my grandmother would make the seven-fishes thing. I don’t eat fish (allergic) so I always wound up eating spaghetti or rigatoni or something. But for Easter Sunday, they pulled out all the stops. We had a baked ham, a roasted turkey, and all the American vegetables and sides that went with them, PLUS we had a full Italian dinner including Antipasto, AND Salad, AND manacotti AND ravioli AND a big plate of meatballs, sausage and chunks of steak. Then came dessert, with assorted Italian cookies, pies, pastries, and ice cream. It’s a wonder I don’t weigh 400 pounds.

    Scooter in a Pirate CostumeSince Easter represents rebirth, or ‘newness’, I need to mention a couple more things that are happening today. Our latest rescue puppy, Scooter, got a brand new home today with a wonderful family. He’s off to a great start now and is sure to have a wonderful life.

    StarDust, my 1953 Chevy Bel Air Wild Custom Hot Rod

    StarDust, my 1953 Chevy Bel Air Wild Custom Hot Rod

    Also this weekend, after months of being laid up due to a bad starter, I finally got the ’53 Chevy Hot Rod running again! Today, if all goes well, I’ll be taking her out on a test drive.

    Later tonight, after our diner dinner, we’ll probably relax by the pool, sipping a cocktail or two (or more probably a glass of wine for my wife Colleen). And eat lots and lots of Easter Candy!

    -Tiki Chris, for Tiki Lounge Talk, The Tiki Culture Blog

    (PS – I’ll bet you thought I was going to do some goofy story about how the Easter Bunny comes from Easter Island, and the Moai originally all had bunny ears or something. Maybe next year 😉

  • The Kraziest, Kookiest ’53 Chevy Hot Rod on the Planet, Daddy-O!

    Posted on May 27th, 2009 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    53chevymay08-171It’s Wild. It’s Hot. It’s my Smokin‘ ’53 Chevy Bel Air Hot Rod! She’s a blast from the chased with a double shot of the future. 33″ Shark Fins, Frenched ’59 Caddy tail lights, shaved door handles, Cadillac Eldorado interior, souped up engine…so much kraziness going on I had to build a whole website to showcase it!

    http://53ChevyHotRod.com/

    Check it out…lots of kool pix, stories and info on this one-of-a-kind classic. If you like Retro, you’ll love this site…and this car, baby!

    Make sure to leave a comment on the last page!