An 80-Year Brotherhood of Auto Craftmanship

Though undeniable talent was the driving force behind each Alexander Brothers custom, it was their work and design principles that drove them to fame. Growing up in Detroit, Michigan during the Great Depression in the 1930s, Larry and Mike bonded over their passion for cars. Throughout their adolescent years, they consistently held night jobs to help support their family. Their modest upbringing and the necessity to work at a young age instilled entrepreneurial spirit and strong work ethic that carried over to the future Alexander Brother’s shop.

The brothers also remained true to their design philosophy: make something clean and neat. Mike and Larry were just as skilled as they were humble. Even in the infancy of their career, they turned away work that compromised their aesthetic. The A’s exclusively customized cars they believed could be improved. Their legendary take on the Dodge Deora perfectly exemplified their design and engineering expertise. After tapping Harry Bradley to design the A100 pickup, Mike and Larry spent four years building the legendary Deora. Their understated aesthetic was even apparent in their final car: Vision 33. Designed by Chip Foose and built by Mike, the ’33 Ford Roadster’s modifications were modest but complex.

Despite the stream of flawless cars that drove out of Mike and Larry’s garage, all of their customizations were built with the intent to be driven rather than parked in a showroom. The marriage of elegant design and practicality set the brothers apart from their peers. Their renowned customizations of both Clarence ‘Chili’ Catallo’s '32 Ford Coupe and Bobby Massaron’s '56 Chevrolet demonstrate their knack for balancing form and function. The Ford Coupe, called the Silver Sapphire, was built for Catallo to drive while he was at college in California. Similarly, their customization of Massaron’s Chevy, was built with utility in mind. Though the Venturian was the first Alexander Brother’s custom to win the Ridler Award, Massaron, regularly drove the car once it was complete.

When the brothers closed up shop in 1969 they continued to impact the automotive world through their new jobs. Larry was regarded for his modeling skills at Ford and Mike became head of design at American Sunroof Corporation. While working at ASC he was granted at least 19 patents in folding metal and became integral in the development of hardtop convertibles. The impact that Mike and Larry had on the custom car industry is immeasurable. Their immaculate design and craftsmanship inspired car enthusiasts nation-wide and continues to influence the custom car industry today.