The KKOA, a spin-off of the mystic ’79 Merc/Deuce ReUnion, hung out its shingle for kustom business. October 1, 1980, in Wichita, Kansas. At the first meeting, 14 fateful kustom enthusiasts gathered together to become the pioneer’s of the KKOA. All who attended wanted to join, so to see who would get those low membership numbers, names were drawn from a ’52 Caddie hubcap.

Up and running, the KKOA started producing outdoor kustom shows, with the first being the 1981 Leadsled Spectacular, that attracted over 300 kustoms, and the legendary Leroy “Tex” Smith and Street Rodder magazine editor, Geoff Carter. Street Rodder gave the event national coverage, which was highly unusual those days for a street rodding mag, and once the dust had settled, the foundation was laid for kustoms to build on. From that point on, the KKOA continued to grow in memberships and kustom events. (The King of Kustomizers, George Barris coined Custom with a “K”.)

As the KKOA shows increased, the legends of kustomizing, Starbird, Barris, Bailon, Hines, Winfield, A-Brothers and many other top names started appearing at the events to meet and greet the thousands of eager KKOA members.

KKOA President, Jerry Titus  has been at the helm since the beginning, and makes no bones about it, “the members of the KKOA makes it work.” He also credits his wife, DeVona, for being the wind beneath his wings, and a major reason for the business success of the KKOA. “It’s like family at KKOA,” Titus further stated.

That attitude has remained unchanged since day one. Today, the KKOA has become known as the “polite side” of hot-rodding. Dedicated to the true kustom enthusiast.

When you join the KKOA you join thousands of fellow enthusiasts who enjoy the craftsmanship art of kustomizing. You will receive a kustom designed membership card stating your support of the KKOA and the kustom movement. You will confirm that support even more when applying your full color window sticker on your kemp for everyone to see. You’ll also receive a subscription to the 32 page (sometimes thicker,) slick cover Trendsetter magazine.  KKOA members get to advertise cars and items for sale at no charge in the popular Midnight Auto Supply section of the Trendsetter. Also, being a member lets you receive a $10.00 discount on every KKOA event you enter.

What is a Kemp? It’s a slang word used by teenagers in the late 50’s, and early 60’s to indicate a car or a truck. When you say Kustom Kemp, it means kustomized car or truck. So a kustom kemp can be any make, model or year vehicle, from 1903 to current year. The word "kemp" gained national recognition on a famous TV show called 77 Sunset Strip, where Edd “Kookie” Byrnes used it often, and in the little 25-cent Rod and Custom magazines.  So, do you consider yourself a connoisseur of automotive architecture? Okay, how about a good ol’ boy that digs on leadsleds, mild to wild kustoms and grassroot, vintage hot rodding? If so, then the Kustom Kemps of America (KKOA) is kustom built for you.

  kkoa logo