The “Kookie Kar” that made “77 Sunset Strip” a hit with car savvy fans started life as a $100 Model A Ford that hot rod God Norm Grabowski purchased in 1952 and later bolted a ’22 Model T body to. The car started its film career in 1955, but the 1958-1963 TV show “77 Sunset Strip” made it famous and inspired LIFE magazine to do a hot-rod-themed issue that featured the Kookie Kar. According to Johnnie Overbay, the owner of Reno Rods & Customs in Oklahoma City, OK, the original Kookie Kar is still in existence, but has been so extensively modified that it would be impossible to return it to its most famous for. Overbay knows this because he and his crew — Doug Burba, Chuck Warman, Gordon Burba, Chris Gutierrez and Bill Norris — spent three years researching a very exacting replica of the car that they then constructed over a period of 13 months. Their car was a big hit at the 2009 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
Gunner’s Garage with John Gunnell
"Gunner" is one of of the most prolific authors and most visible characters in the old car hobby. He has written dozens of books about old cars for Krause Publications and is the former editor and publisher of Old Cars Weekly. His collecting pursuits range from old Pontiacs, to MGs, to retired police cruisers, to Indian motorcycles. He remains a frequent contributor to Old Cars Weekly and owns and operates Gunner’s Great Garage, a classic car restoration and gift shop in Manawa, Wis.
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