Sundays With Von DutchBook - 2007
A famously crazed presence in the hot rod movement of the 1950s, rediscovered in the 1980s when ’50s nostalgia swept pop culture, Kenneth “Von Dutch” Howard spent more than a decade essentially missing-in-action from the scene he’d helped to create and define. It was during that time—on four consecutive Sundays in 1970—that Richard Karl Koch visited Von Dutch in his Calabasas, California, home to photograph the father of modern pinstriping and soul of the hot rod movement for a cover story for the Los Angeles Times’ Sunday supplement, West magazine. Koch’s candid and colorful photographs from those shoots, the vast majority published here for the first time, provide a window on Von Dutch’s missing years.
Here we see the enigmatic icon in his many guises, from cantankerous genius to freewheeling goof, machining handgun parts in his famous workshop/bus, casually clowning with vehicles left at his home by his friend Steve McQueen (including the car Von Dutch built for McQueen’s 1969 film, The Reivers), and working at the pinstriping that sealed his fame. Accompanied by captions that bring to light further facets of this period of Von Dutch’s life and career, these photographs illustrate a little-known and largely fascinating chapter of hot rod history.
Over 150 photographs from 1970 offer a rare look into the “missing years” in the story of Von Dutch, the soul of hot rod culture.