yosemite sam radoff

‘Yosemite’ Sam Radoff started customizing cars at the tender age of 12 yrs old– way before he was even old enough to drive! That was back in the mid ’50s, and he went by handle ‘Little Sam’ then. Some 45 years later Radoff is one of the most respected flamers (I love his ol’ crab claw flame jobs), pinstripers, and metal sculptors the kustom kulture scene has ever known. Dr. ‘Yosemite’ Sam, PhD (Phlame Doctor) has also produced custom motorcycle and pinstriping shows across the country.

Despite his vast exposure, he is not widely a household name like Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth, Kenny Howard AKA Von Dutch, Dean Jeffries, George Barris, Arlen Ness— but those in the know recognize and respect Sam Radoff as being just as important. His legendary work and countless awards over the years speak for themselves.

yosemite sam radoff paint

Continue reading


Having grown up a good chunk of my life in Arizona, it was of particular interest to me when my buddy from the internets and writer extraordinaire, Bart Boule, clued me in on this interesting bit…interesting if you’re into this sorta thing, that is–

“…Von Dutch had a studio in the netherlands riverbottom between Scottsdale and Tempe — where the amazing club JD’s was, that Waylon Jennings and the Waylors were in residency, so that cowboys and fratboys could kick each others asses when Paul Revere and the Raiders or Buffalo Springfield played there…”

This sent me on a quest to dig up whatever I could find on this lost chapter of Von Dutch’s eccentric & electric existence.  Then, what I’d been looking for turned up during a google image search (better than porn any day…heck, Von Dutch and “Big Daddy” Roth are my porn…), a long lost article, “Von Dutch is Still Alive and Living in Arizona.” Bingo.  It’s chock full of priceless, colorful quotes from hizzoner, Mr. Von Dutch– and written by his good friend, Bob Burns, for the March, ’72 issue of Road Rider magazine.

This was a time when Von Dutch had moved to Phoenix from California with his wife, Sheila, and their kids to “get away from the race.” He wanted no part of California any longer.  Dutch wanted to take it slow and easy– and do and honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay…


“Steve McQueen had the first two Honda Fours in this country– and he gave them to me to tear into and customize.”

Continue reading


A young Kenny Howard, self-named Von Dutch, perfects his pin-striping craft.

A young Kenny Howard (Von Dutch) perfecting his pinstriping craft at Bud Ekins' shop, 1965.


Before the cheesy namesake clothing and accessories line that threatens to destroy his cred forever, there was the self-invented and slightly mad genius Kenny Howard– better known as Von Dutch. He was a real Renaissance man– legendary custom painter, artist, motorcycle mechanic, and a skilled metal worker who hand-crafted his own knives and guns.  He had a strong aversion to money and felt it was detrimental to his art– which makes the clothing line even more of an ironic abomination.

“I make a point of staying right at the edge of poverty. I don’t have a pair of pants without a hole in them, and the only pair of boots I have are on my feet. I don’t mess around with unnecessary stuff, so I don’t need much money. I believe it’s meant to be that way. There’s a ‘struggle’ you have to go through, and if you make a lot of money it doesn’t make the ‘struggle’ go away. It just makes it more complicated. If you keep poor, the struggle is simple.“  –Von Dutch


Von Dutch (Kenny Howard)


Continue reading