One of the most epochal of all privately constructed bubble top cars is Darryl Starbird's legendary Predicta. Built in early 1960 from a wrecked 1956 Thunderbird, the Predicta featured coachwork construction, revolutionary styling, innovative steering, and practical road manners. In an era when most custom cars were either barely disguised factory vehicles or were grotesque and misguided styling exercises, Starbird's dream car was sleek and increasingly elegant as the builder constantly refined his car. Replicated in scale by Monogram Models in 1964 and purchased at that time by the model kit company, the car was eventually given away in a contest carried in the June 1970 issue of Model Car Science magazine and won by a Revell engineer, Darrell Zipp. The Predicta was subsequently butchered by a later buyer who applied an American flag paint scheme over a silver paint job and pierced the rare hood with a silly supercharger. In the late Seventies, Darryl found and reacquired the car and restored it to its original glory.
As a result of nearly forty years of general interest in, and a quarter-century of highly-focused enthusiasm for, in this remarkable car, I have fashioned The Predicta Project to celebrate this most remarkable car and pass along to others my enthusiasm for the car and the Monogram model. The Predicta Project will allow the interested reader and custom car/model historian to fully enjoy the history of a remarkable customized automobile. The Predicta Project will be a major effort stretching across several literary and scale modeling disciplines that will report on, discuss , display and replicate in miniature the most famous of all bubble-topped custom cars: A full-length book will be published by Championship Publishing, LLC, a model project that will feature various versions of the car constructed by scale model craftsman, a multi-media scale model kit of two versions of the model that will be offered by Custom Styling Studio, and the presentation of selected copies of the original Monogram kit manufacturing engineering drawings.
With the enthusiastic cooperation of car creator Darryl Starbird, Monogram co-founder Bob Reder, Monogram kit engineer Roger Harney, photographer Don Elliott and street rod builder Darrell Zipp (who once owned the car) , and the usual gang of coconspirators (business partner Mark J. Benton, machinist Cody Grayland and photoetch artist Bob Wick), the Project is underway!
The Predicta Project will take a few years to complete, but all things worth doing are worth doing right. In the meantime, you can be a part of this effort by checking out the Project Memo to participating individuals a few of the kit engineering drawings and a review of the several kits that Monogram has offered over the year, and images of the many articles that featured the car! For a brief photo essay on the history of the car, go here for a short but remarkable photo presentatation of the Predicta. Darryl Starbird created an icon, and we'll work hard to understand, and participate with Darryl in celebrating, this most remarkable of custom cars.
Come back often for updates to this site. Long live the Predicta and Darryl Starbird!
Mark S. Gustavson
Site Updated Tuesday, June 16, 2009