Timeline

1954

After returning from their military tours, Mike and Larry began to study auto body under the GI Bill. While juggling their day jobs and school, they began to operate their own auto repair shop at night.

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1959

Mike and Larry opened their first custom car shop. To attract new business, they bought a '31 Ford pickup. The car became known as the Grasshopper for its vibrant green color and won Best Paint at the Detroit Autorama later that year. Encouraged by the Grasshopper’s success, Mike and Larry embarked on three projects beginning in 1959. Their iconic customization of Clarence Catallo’s '32 Ford Coupe, in particular, gave them traction in the custom car world.

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1960

In 1960 the brothers began working on a Ford Starliner known as the Adonis for Bill Whetstone. Soon after, they partnered with young designer, Harry Bradley, to submit a proposal to modify a 1964 Ford Galaxie. The team went on to win the Ford Caravan contest, received the Galaxie for $1, and created the trendsetting Alexa.

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1961

Mike and Larry moved to their second shop at Littlefield and Grand River on Detroit’s west side, due to highway construction that razed their first shop. The brothers quickly gained popularity as car customizers in Detroit, they struggled to get West Coast exposure. This changed when they met a prominent West Coast customizer, George Barris, in 1961.

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1964

Mike and Larry hired 14-year-old, Ken Yanez, to help in the shop. Together they customized a '56 Chevrolet, called the Venturian, which won the Ridler at the 1965 Detroit Autorama. The Venturian's tasteful design aesthetic commanded the attention of Chrysler and led to the creation of the iconic Deora.

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1967

After three years of working on the Deora, the Dodge A100 pickup was featured at the 1967 Autorama, and won nine awards including the Ridler. Once again, the brothers' superb design aesthetic got the attention of Chrysler and gave them the opportunity to modify a 1966 Barracuda for their next project.

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1969

Due to the impressive reception of the Deora, the car was manufactured to be included in the first Hot Wheels line. While the brothers continued to celebrate the success of the Deora, they received news that the city would, again, raze their shop in order to make way for a highway. Larry took a job at Ford Motor Co. while Mike and Ken continued to work at the shop until it was demolished.

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2012

From 2008 to 2012, Mike worked on the last Alexander Brothers custom: Vision 33. The customized '33 Ford Roadster debuted at the 2012 Detroit Autorama and was selected as one of Pirelli’s Great Eight. It also made the cover of Street Rodder later that year.

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