In 1954, Darryl Starbird rolled up the doors to the Star Kustom Shop in an old chicken coop with dirt floors at 734 E. Mt. Vernon in Wichita, Kansas. The shop wasn’t much, and it sat so close to a railroad track that in the middle of the night a train took out the back end of a ’51 Ford, but that didn’t de-rail (no pun intended!) a 21 year-old bright-eyed kid bound and determined to bring the profession of customizing-a virtually unknown craft in a town built on the prominence of the aeronautical and aerospace industry-to the streets of Wichita. Within several years those meager, and humble beginnings, turned out customs and hot rods that not only flooded the streets of the now aptly named “Kustom City,” but all across America as well. The cars of Star Kustom Shop were featured in every magazine title from the Pacific to the Atlantic and beyond. By the end of 1960 Starbird’s signature touch, bubbletops, had also swept the rod and custom world by storm making Darryl and Star Kustom Shop a prominent foundation in a booming industry. Star Kustom Shop kept its doors open a mere nine years, (Due to the fact Darryl opened the much larger and upscale Starbird Custom Auto Creations in 1963) but in those few years some of the most legendary cars, plus dozens more, in the rod and custom world (including the Le Perle a ’57 T-bird with the first ever chromed undercarriage on a full-size custom, Jim Minor’s ’55 Plymouth, The Big T, The Big Deuce, the Li’l Coffin (as seen on the 1960 Car Craft cover), the Futurista and of course the Predicta, the ground-breaking futuristic bubble toped custom) came to fruition entrenching Star Kustom Shop as an icon in the industry.
Fast forward to the year 2008 and it’s like a flashback to ’54, because another bright-eyed 26 year-old kid, this time Dakota Wentz, was bound and determined to once again see the streets flooded with rods and customs bearing the Star Kustom Shop crest. After seven years in the hot rod publishing industry, including stints as Associate Editor of Super Chevy and Custom Classic Trucks magazine, Dakota set off to follow in his grandfathers footsteps, Darryl Starbird, and continue on the tradition of hot rods and custom cars. Growing up the grandson of Darryl, Dakota is versed and skilled in the ways of old school customizing, but has blended his own new school style to once again create a signature look that belongs to none other than Star Kustom Shop. Just like years before Star Kustom Shop has rolled up the doors, this time in Riverside, CA, to bring back the art customizing, frenching, shaving, nosing, decking, channeling, chopping, sectioning and all things hot rod to the streets. Oh yeah, in case you were wondering . . . the shop that brought you the first bubbletop custom is once again outfitting creations with Lucite tops! Other than customizing SKS also offers chassis work, electrical, custom paint, turn-key rides . . . well let’s just say SKS is capable of all things hot rod except stitching upholstery!
They say history repeats itself, and just like it took Darryl several years to get SKS into the limelight, Dakota has followed suit to bring Star Kustom Shop back from the ashes. In only a few short years Star Kustom Shop has graced several covers of Custom Classic Trucks, been featured in Rod and Custom Magazine, Street Rodder, Custom Car Deluxe and various other national and international magazines. They’ve also been seen on the floors of the biggest stages, including the Grand National Roadster Show, Darryl Starbird’s Tulsa Rod and Custom Show, SEMA, West Coast Kustom’s Cruisin’ Santa Maria, KKOA’s Lead Sled Spectacular, Long Beach Motorama, and various NSRA shows-including two entries in the coveted Builders Showcase at the Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, KY.
From the smallest job, to hot rods or full on show cars Star Kustom Shop is your destination for all things custom and hot rod related. SKS works hard to fulfill your needs on pretty much any make, model or year. To learn more, or inquire about how Star Kustom Shop can apply its iconic touch to your ride check out the contact page to get you and your wheels that much closer to seeing the pavement!