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Vintage '60s era Tiki Carving Photos

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I publish a magazine on custom cars from the '50s era and occasionally have people give me photos of their cars. Recently I was handed a stack of vintage car pictures, and while I was sifting through them, came across these gems!

So Cal early '60s

Aw Man, those are nice!

Do you have any guesses as to what city those might have been taken in?

:up: looks like maybe another tiki sitting up on the roof of this building?

[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2010-11-15 12:51 ]

That kid must have been part of Dirty Mike Gildea's crew, cuz those Tikis sure are his work:


Wacky stuff, man. Great find!


Cool stuff! Does anyone know if Mike is still with us, or has he since passed?
I tried googling his name for the hell of it, but came up empty in relation to this Mike Gildea...(except it returned all of the TC topics that mention him!) I was wondering if he might be alive still carving, or an artist retired somewhere now?

Cool pics!

Right again, as usual, bigbro!

Same tiki on the roof, same brick wall:

This must be that small lot on the corner of 36th Place and Manhattan Ave near Manhattan Beach, mentioned in your news clipping.

Actually, I believe it is the 300 block of 38th Pl.
That is based on the direction of the major powerline grid, and specifically the unique staircase railing design with garages below as seen in the vintage picture.
I'd also guess that, what google shows as El Porto Surfboards(now a Liquor store), was actually the workshop, and that is where the tiki is on top of the roof in the old pic. The now current parking lot was most likely where a small bungalow once stood, but was leveled sometime after to make a parking lot for the business building(El Porto Surfboards/Liquor store). It was probably done years before El Porto Surfboards or liquor store was even a thought.
Check the arial photo in google below;


and look at the street view;


compare it to

For me, the powerlines and stair railings sealed the deal for me, as I thought the article said 36th Pl. too.
If you scan East up 38th Pl., you'll see the major powerlines as seen here;

And this photo shows the roof tiki,

which by today would be located up top the liquor store/El Porto Surfboards location. Obviously the bungalow in the vintage photo is now gone, along with the corner brick wall and is now a paved lot.

[ Edited by: Tom Slick 2010-11-16 00:18 ]

And that's why I love this place!

Sven, sending you a PM


Found this while Googling, it's from a Spokane Washington Newspaper ~

If Mike Gildea was 22 in August 1960 that would make him 73-74 now.

It'd be great if he found this. :D


I do know the guy in the top photo. That is Bob Barns, co-owner of Vernes Chrome Plating. He has done almost all of the chrome on my '51 Ford Victoria project. This is him at work now in the middle picture: http://www.verneschromeplating.com/chrome-plating.html
Bob showed me that and some other pictures of his Tiki Daze a couple of years ago. I should ask him if he can scan them and send them to me.

Tom Slick,
You sound like the Tom Slick with the '65 Lincoln that I know from Belmont Shore and other assorted shows around the Los Angeles South Bay. I have the Brown '51 Vicky and my son has the '64 Valiant wagon with the flaked roof. If not, nice ta meet ya anyway.
You sure know your way around El Porto. I grew up in Manhattan Beach. I reside in Torrance now. There used to be a couple of thos fuzzy headed tikis at the Manhattan Beach Pier on the north east corner of the strand and MB Blvd in the '60s. Bob said he had a hand in them.


[ Edited by: Tiki Slob 2012-03-06 15:41 ]

Hi, Mister Slob, definitely ask Bob Barns for those pics, please. Also, would he know what became of Mike Gildea, perhaps?


I just talked to Bob. He said he used to work for a guy back in the day named Dirty Doug in El Porto. The picture posted up top as I discribed to him he said was his senior year in high school. He is going to dig up some pictures for me and I'll scan them and post them. He has a bunch but doesn't do the internet thing.
So...more to follow near week's end.

Doug? Not Mike? Here is a post by Jeff Bigtikidude:


...where he quotes someone's dad with:

(it was)Not me, it was Dirty Mike, or Tiki Mike that did those. He was a character in El Porto. Had an old Model T truck..


Theres a Mike Gildea on FB from San Diego....old enough to be Mike the carvers son..????


Well, I'll tell ya bigbrotiki...Given Bob's memory it could have been. I will ask him again when I get the pictures. Bob was supposed to get me pictures today but did not get around to it. I asked if he could have some for me on Monday and he thinks that he can do that. We'll see. I might swing by his place casually and remind him on Saturday. If there was a Dirty Mike in El Porto and given the Model T hint, Bob might get a brighter glimmer of those names. Thanks for the clue.
A hui ho bro,


If anyone is waiting for pictures from Bob, don't hold your breath. I called him a couple of times. He is enthusiastic about sharing but can't seem to find the time to dig up his pictures. I have some parts for chrome to bring to him which might entice him to pull the pictures together by the time I pick them up. I let ya know when they are available.
Tiki Slob

Appreciate the notice, I'm not holding :) If it happens, great, if not, c'est la vie. Now you can appreciate some of the difficulties of researching for the BOT. Bringing that along for show'n'tell (like the TIKI Apts, p.221) might help with the motivation.

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