Fred & Rose Golsner's 1952 Chevy Custom
(from Volume 13, Issue 143)

Over the years we have made it a tradition that the vehicle which wins the Best Of Show award at our annual Beach Blast car show at the Holiday Inn Cocoa Beach Oceanfront Resort (to be covered in next month’s issue) will not only be featured on the following year’s event T-Shirt, but also receives the cover and center spread in Mike Kelly’s Cruise News as well. Our thinking is that since it is a participant judged show, and the Best Of Show winner is the vehicle that received the most participant votes, that obviously it is what fellow enthusiasts like and would enjoy seeing in our magazine. When all the votes for Beach Blast 12 were tallied, the honors went to Fred and Rose Golsner of Dunnellon, Florida for their very uniquely customized 1952 Chevy which they call “Rags To Riches”. After the show we talked Fred and Rose into staying for a little while longer, and snapped these photos on the winding brick promenade that makes up part of the show site.

Fred, a retired house painter from Long Island, has always had a keen interest in cars. Up to about 8 years ago all the cars he worked on had to be 100% original - but interestingly enough Rose liked customs. Fred’s first custom was a mild one, a 1963-1/2 Ford Galaxy 500 XL. After that he bought a stock 1939 Ford Coupe and started cutting. He chopped the top (something he had never done before), made the doors longer, crafted custom running boards, plus many other modifications.

Next, Fred had an idea for a 1952 Chevy and found the body in a junk yard. He knew he wanted an early Cadillac rear for the car, and found it in the same junk yard. This was a good start! Fred drew it on paper and decided the body was too high, so another drawing depicting a 3-inch section looked better. He started in on the real thing, sectioning the metal body, taking on another technique he had never done before. Next up he frenched the headlights, then put on the Cadillac rear quarters. Now the original Chevy trunk appeared to have a hump in it, so it was back to the junk yard to get the Cadillac trunk. This was molded into the original Chevy trunk, and the splash pan was made to fit the Cadillac bumper.

Fred picked up a ‘60 Corvette grill and accessories at a swap meet, then hand made all the metal around it to fit the Chevy. That was quite a project! Now the shape of the ‘52 Chevy top didn’t look quite right, so he bought a ‘54 Chevy just to cut off and use the top. After removing 2-3/4 inches and putting the top on the ‘52 it looked much better. The Corvette theme was continued by using a ‘64 Corvette dash and side view mirrors. The dash had to be widened by making a wider center section, and the Corvette coves on the sides really finished it off.

All the glass was cut to fit the car, and swivel seats were added inside. Fred designed and cut out the upholstery, and Rose did the sewing. After Fred had completed all the body work and primed the car it was block sanded three times, with his good friend Andy applying the base coat, clear coat paint. Chrome Rally rims, wide whites and cruiser skirts finished off the exterior nicely.

For power Fred went with a 327 Corvette motor with TPI injection by Street & Performance, a 700R4 overdrive automatic, and a Nova rear end. Plenty of plated and polished parts lend flash to the engine compartment, making it look as smooth as it runs.

Using his imagination and patience Fred pulled off a cool combination of unique custom modifications all by himself. After 3-1/2 years “Rags To Riches” was ready to show, and it has gotten quite the reception. Those in attendance for Beach Blast 12 in Cocoa Beach certainly respected Fred’s unique vision and quality craftsmanship, as it received the most participant votes on May 21st, 2006.

In addition to the custom ‘52 Chevy pictured here, Fred and Rose told us they still own the 1963-1/2 Ford, the ‘39 Ford Coupe, a ‘39 Studebaker Pickup, an original 1956 Crown Victoria, and Fred is currently working on a 1970 Barracuda. They now have 10 garages, including a “show garage” for their show cars. However they were quick to point out that all of their cars are driven to shows, wearing smiles all the way. CN