Richard Korkes

Richard "Korky" Korkes was born April 1, 1935 in Whippany New Jersey. Korky's dad was a union carpenter and was very knowledgeable when it came to cars. According to Korky his dad showed him much of what he knew when he started his customizing career.

Korky attended and graduated from Morristown New Jersey high school, he went on to engineering college but his love of cars and his ability to customize replaced the goal of completing his studies. His first car was a 1946 Ford convertible and he got the car when he was just 17 years old in the year 1952. Naturally Korky could not leave the car alone and soon it had a full race engine, two speed rear end and other Korky improvements including a metallic blue paint job (Korky admits he did not paint the car as he was just learning how to paint). Korky attributes much of his inital car knowledge to his father Joseph Korkes and tells us that he then learned much of his craft on his own.

Korky's second car was a brand new red 1954 Ford convertible. Korky was 19 then and more into customizing. This car eventually became the Parisian. The Parisian is one of the most famous cars of its day and won many many car shows on the east coast. About the same time Korky created the Freewheelers Car Club.

At the age of 28 Korky built a futuristic bubble top Jaguar for Bobby Freedman. The car was instantly famous and won many of the major car shows So famous in fact George Barris then wanted to tap into Korky's talants and solicited Korky to work in California.

Korky decided to come to California and go to work for George Barris in about 1963 as his shop foreman. Korky solicited Bobby Freedman (owner of the bubble top jag) to pay his way out to California. He packed up the Parisian hooked up a tow hitch, rented a uhaul, and loaded the bubble top Jaguar and headed to California with a employee / friend named the "Greek".

As shop foreman at Barris custom studios Korky was in charge of the cars that were built. George was the promotor and constantly on the road while Korky ran the shop, solved completion issues, and made certin the cars were finished on time.

Among the celebs that Korky built cars for both at Barris' and his own shop include: Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bob Hope, Farrah Faucet, Marvin Gaye, Jermaine Jackson, Tom Daniels, Harry Bradley, Reverend Ike, Bernie Cornfeld, Cher, Doug Rose, Canned Heat, .... more to come

Original golf cart customizer

While working at Barris' there were some strange requests made of Korky. One was to customize a golf cart to look like Bob Hope. Korky took on the assignment and the Bob Hope golf cart was born. It then made it way into may parades, TV shows and golf appearances.

Eventually Korky left Barris' to open his own shop in North Hollywood. Teaming up with Joey Baker, a promoter, Korky and Joey pitched and built the now famous National League stadium carts and the Major league baseball "bull pen" carts.

Korky won the prestigious Oakland Roadster Show twice. The first time for the ...

For more information see:


The bubble top Jaguar

Won NY auto show (weekend Kennedy was killed)


Won Oakland Roadster show

Cover of Annual Petersons book

Cover of Rod and Custom


Bobby Freedman was from Millburn NJ.

To date Korky has been in over 420 car magazines with articles on his work and customizing.