-->
Drop Down MenusCSS Drop Down MenuPure CSS Dropdown Menu

CLASSIC

Try with us

Thursday, December 15, 2022

The Bill Cushenbery Space Coupe as towards its completion

~Dreaming Car~ The creating process of an automotive work does not always go according to plan, so many of them are not finished due to various factors. Previously, we also talked about one of them, such as the Galileo Concept, which is a concept car inspired by the fighter jet of the 1950s, built by Joseph Galileo in 1957, and until its creator passed away 2010, it was never completed.
The Silhouette II Space Coupe is a streamlined bubble top show car designed by Bill Cushenbery of Cushenbery Custom Shop back in 1960s. (Picture from: Barry Gremillion)
On this occasion, we once again encountered another unique automotive creations that the creators never had time to complete. Unmitigated, this unfinished car named Space Coupe was one of the creations of an American car customizers Bill Cushenbery of Cushenbery Custom Shop. Well, for some of you who may feel unfamiliar with the automaker's name mentioned above, here is just information for you about him.
Bill Cushenbery was one of the team of builders of the “Dream Rod” and was invited to join the Ford Custom Caravan along with ​George Barris and Gene Winfield. (Picture from: SpaceCoupe)
As quoted of the Wall Street Journal, Bill Cushenbery was one of a handful of car customizers at the top of the game during in the late 1950s to the mid-1960s. Cushenbery’s creations frequently landed in magazines. He did custom work for Steve McQueen and Frank Sinatra. And his phenomenal work is the original Batmobile which he worked with George Barris (arguably the most well-known car customizer of his era) for the 1960s television show.
A sketch of the Bill Cushenbery's Space Coupe as it appeared in Popular Customs January 1966. (Picture from: Hemmings)
As quoted of CustomCarChronicle, the Space Coupe was designed by Jim Roten for Bill Cushenbery back in the 1960s, and if we look at the shape, it is a streamlined bubble top show car. This unique shaped classic car has also been known as the Silhouette II Space Coupe. According to Barry Gremillion, the car got its Silhouette II name due to mistakes made in many magazine articles back in the days.
The Space Coupe was found discarded among tall weeds on a property in El Cajon, California by Carl Green in late April, 1999. (Picture from: Hemmings)
The car project was first presented to the public in January 1966 as an article published by Popular Custom. In the article Bill refers to the car as the Scorpion, but he also states that the name probably didn't stick because he felt it had too many unflattering connotations. The car is described as a show car like other cars made by him, which was a sleek small, streamliner displaying a nice mixture of influences between the Bonnevile cars and racing sports.
The Space Coupe while sat on display at Darryl Starbird’s Rod and Custom Hall of Fame Museum in Oklahoma for 8 years before moved to Southern California in 2007. (Picture from: Hemmings)
It was also stated at the time that the car used an original chassis of a rectangular two-by-four-inch tube, which was then mounted on top with an aluminum bodywork. The mechanical components of Corvair are then used as the driving force, which have been adapted to suit this unusual vehicle configuration.
The Bill Cushenberry's Space Coupe shown to public after arrived in Southern California In 2008. (Picture from: KustomRama)
After the car design sketches had finished, initially Bill started working on the all-aluminum bodied car at his Monterey, California shop in 1963, then moved in 1964, and bringing along the project to his new shop in North Hollywood, as quoted of Kustomrama. Reportedly, the moving workshop was triggered by a dispute between Bill Cushenbery and his financiers. By then Bill took all the car parts with him and moved to a new shop, hoping to complete the rest of the car once the dispute was settled.
Barry Gremillion, an old friend of Carl Green stepped up to be become the financiers for the Space Coupe's restoration process and began making documentation about it entitled 'The Cushenbery Project' in 2008. (Picture from: SpaceCoupe)
Surprisingly, the car mysteriously went missing and it was not stated why the car could be disappeared (presumably seized by the backers). It surfaced a couple of times in other shops during the 1960s, before it vanished completely. Bill tried to trace it down without luck, and his hunt ended when he passed away in 1998. 
Barry Gremillion, an old friend of Carl Green stepped up to be become the financiers for the Space Coupe's restoration process and began making documentation about it entitled 'The Cushenbery Project' in 2008. (Picture from: SpaceCoupe)
In late April 1999, Carl Green, another car customizer from Kansas found the remains of the Space Coupe. The car was found discarded among tall weeds on a property in El Cajon, California. At the time, the owner was preparing to have it hauled off and crushed. Carl Green cleaned and patched the car up, and sent it to Oklahoma where it was displayed at Darryl Starbird’s Rod and Custom Hall of Fame Museum
Documentation of the bubble top making of the Cushenbery's Silhouette II Space Coupe during the final restoration process. (Picture from: SpaceCoupe)
Unfortunately, he unable to raise enough funds to restore it, and the car should be languished for another 8 years until he moved it back to Southern California in 2007. And in 2008, Barry Gremillion, an old friend of Carl Green stepped up to be become the financiers for the Space Coupe's restoration process and began making documentation about it entitled 'The Cushenbery Project.'
In June 2016, the Silhouette II Space Coupe returned to Southern California, where Barry Gremillion is overseeing the final restoration process. (Picture from: SpaceCoupe)
The restoration process initially involved a renowned aluminum body man from New Zealand named Willie Newman. He made great progress on the body and chassis while Jeff Williams at California Corvairs re-built the chromed engine and drivetrain. 
The Bill Cushenbery's Space Coupe at Outlaw Garage in July of 2017. (Picture from: KustomRama)
And in December 2008, when the holidays came, Carl returned to Kansas while Willie went to New Zealand. The project was originally targeted for completion in the spring of 2009, but Carl and Willie never returned, and a series of events occurred which again delayed the project for another 7 years. The car remained with Carl's nephew, Rodger Green, in a shed in Nebraska until Carl's passing in 2015.
In February of 2021 the Space Coupe drove for the first time in the car's 58 year history. (Picture from: KustomRama)
In June 2016, the Silhouette II Space Coupe returned to Southern California, where Barry Gremillion is overseeing the final restoration process. And in July 2017, Barry made a deal with Nelson Vels of Outlaw Garage, and the project was moved to his shop in Santa Clarita Valley, California.
As quoted of Hemmings, Barry Gremillion did not provide an estimate of when the car restoration would be completed, but he did say he'd like to give the Silhouette II Space Coupe's public debut at the same Bob's Big Boy in Toluca Lake where Cushenberry first sketched out his ideas for the car. We'll wait and see. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | SPACECOUPE | PROJECTSPACECOUPE | KUSTOMRAMA | HEMMINGS | WALLSTREETJOURNAL | CUSTOMCARCHRONICLE | CURBSIDETV ]
Note: This blog  can be accessed via your smart phone.
Kindly Bookmark and Share it: