Archive for August 17th, 2010

Dick Bertolucci at the Living Library: 7PM Sunday, August 22

I’ve been excited about most of the Sacramento Living Library guests, but I am SUPER stoked about this Sunday’s guest, Dick Bertolucci.

Dick Bertolucci is exactly the type of person I’d hoped to spotlight when Time Tested Books asked me for some input on speakers for the series.  The word ‘legend’ gets bandied about quite a bit these days, but Dick Bertolucci actually deserves the label.  Although he is best known in Sacramento as the owner of an East Sac autobody shop, he is renowned worldwide as one of the originators of the California ‘Kustom’ automobile.  One fan from the Netherlands maintains an extensive online database cataloguing Bertolucci’s work.  This Sunday will be an opportunity to hear the story from the hometown boy himself.

Sacramento has long been a hotbed of auto enthusiasm (see ‘Hot August Knights’ from the August ’08 MM).  The central valley may lacked an oceanfront and mountain ranges, but we had plenty of long straight roads, and even more important, plenty of military/aircraft/engineering activity.  The jobs in those industries provided both good wages and an intimacy with machines; those dual components of Sacramento life encouraged innovation in auto design – both for functional and aesthetic purposes.

Dick Bertolucci began ‘improving’ the looks of stock automobiles in the late thirties.  Leaving most of the mechanical work to his father, Bertolucci focused instead on the aesthetics of the automobile.  Along with a few local contemporaries like Harry Westergard and Sam and George Barris, Bertolucci played an integral role in creating the styles that eventually came to epitomize the Custom car movement: lowered stance, fadeaway fenders, chopped tops, and deep finish paint.  Bertolucci, though very young, was regarded as a master for his ability to shape metal body panels that were better than those from the factory.

In conversation with local auto historian Bruce Woodward, Bertolucci will discuss his life, his role in the birth of the ‘Kustom’ movement, and his times with Westergard and the Barris Bros.   The aesthetic that Dick Bertolucci helped create has gone from the mark of a small regional subculture to become ubiquitous.  From American Grafitti to Hot Rod Magazine to the design for the PT Cruiser, California ‘Kustom’ touches are everywhere.

Don’t miss this chance to hear it straight from the master himself.

Dick Bertolucci
in conversation with Bruce Woodward
Saturday August 22, 7PM
Time Tested Books, 1114 21st Street
All Ages, Free