Custom Auto Design and Shaping
Gum Springs, Virginia
Marty Martino grew up in the 1950s in Richmond’s West End, and like so many other car fanatics, his fascination was already at fever pitch while still a toddler. “This was really the golden age for automobile design,” Marty reflects. “They were all just gleaming, so forward-looking. They looked like the future.” At three years old, his mother asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, and he told her that he intended to be a car designer.
To say that Marty fulfilled his childhood aspirations would be a massive understatement. Marty pursued car design throughout his childhood and adolescence, seeking out local masters of the craft. Marty applied himself in the automotive arts, and built his first custom car in his parents’ driveway at the age of 17. He then joined the Navy in 1970, and was fortunate to be stationed in Southern California—the veritable mecca of the era’s car culture. There he had the opportunity to shadow the likes of George Barris, who famously designed the Batmobile for the fledgling Batman television series, along with countless other iconic vehicles. Yet Marty credits his employment at Wahoo Boats upon his return to Virginia as his greatest educational experience. “I was kicked out of ninth grade,” Marty admits, “but Wahoo Boats was where I got my PhD.”
By the late 1980s Marty was widely regarded as among the most creative and sought after custom car designers in the country. He fulfilled a longtime obsession by recreating the Lincoln Futura—the inspiration for Barris’s Batmobile. Million-dollar-vehicles have rolled out of his unassuming Louisa County studio, and he shows no signs of slowing down. Marty will share the unique art of fiberglass body shaping and other tricks of the trade at the 2019 Richmond Folk Festival.