Tom’s inspiration and love of cars came from George Barris, Bruce Meyers, Dean Jeffries, Ed Roth and the custom car shows of the 60’s and 70’s. While growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, Tom was influenced by the vehicles on television such as The Munster’s, Batman, Starsky and Hutch and the Green Hornet, to name a few. Rod and Custom magazine would be a monthly must have as well as the vintage copies of the pocket version of Rod and Custom. Building car models, custom bicycles and motorcycles was the beginning of the custom work that Tom became fascinated with at a young age.
Tom grew up in Florida admiring the custom and original cars that circled Clearwater Beach. Every Friday the cars would gather in the parking lot and the owners would brag about everything from their interiors to their wheels. These were the first car shows that Tom attended.
At the age of 15, Tom’s father saw the ambition that was apparent and opened a small shop called Mel’s Auto Upholstery. An experienced upholsterer came to work at the shop and Tom apprenticed under his guidance. The first completed retail job was a 1973 Sun Coupe Nova that Tom created a complete custom interior. His love for this vehicle led to Tom’s pursuit of purchasing the Nova in 1979 and proudly owning the Nova until it was stolen in 1986. Tom’s other personal creations included 1965 Dodge van, 1969 Cougar XL, several rail buggies, 1966 VW Beetle that he converted to a pickup truck, several Baja Bugs including one with an exoskeleton roll bar, conversion of vehicles to convertibles including his favorite a 1979 Camaro just to name a few. So began the search for another project. In 1988 Tom began his award winning work on his 1951 Pontiac. The Pontiac took first place trophies in all 15 car shows it was entered in. This daily driven vehicle was a catalyst to the opening of Tj Kustoms.
Tom’s new rage is designing and manufacturing molded carpets, seats, interiors and convertible top systems as well as scratch protection guards for the fiberglass dune buggys. Many other products will be released soon.
150 Engineers Drive Hicksville, NY 11801 (516) 338-TRIM (8746) 1-877-338-8746