The Venus show car was built by Joe Flowers from Columbus, Ohio in 1959 and won the 1960 Semi Radical Custom Class at the first National Champion Custom Car Show in Detroit. Crowned the first Autorama International Champion for 1960 and 1961.
It started out life as a nearly new 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible. It was nosed, decked and shaved for door handles. Antennas were tunneled behind the headlights and a late Buick grille was installed up front. The engine compartment was fully upholstered and a lot of components were chrome plated. The side-trim was modified by installing a front piece trim to the rear quarter sections, which gave the car a longer and sleeker appearance. The rear end was restyled by molding in a 1955 Pontiac grille shelf, making the rear end rolled. Split bumper halves were made from front bumper sections from a 1955 Buick. 1956 Lincoln taillights were nicely frenched and hooded. The car was fit with a Parisian-type roof and chromed lakes pipes, housed in frenched sheath. The interior was fit with button-tuffed swivel seats, angora-like rugs, white safety belts, padded dash, white phone, customized panel knobs, etc.
Joe’s wife traveled with him to all of the car shows and remembers picking ice out of the grille when they drove it through snow to events in the north including Canada! Recently she donated over 40 original trophies won by the Venus at various custom car shows.
The original Venus is lost and has never been found. Bob Larivee searched all over and followed dozens of leads to find the original car for an anniversary celebration of the Autorama but was unsuccessful. This car was built with the help of original builder Joe Flowers. No expense was spared to create the car to be identical and period perfect to the original.