There were a few changes to the Predicta through the years, and at one point Starbird sold it to Monogram so it could be scaled to make model cars. The models were made, and then the car was given away in a magazine's sweepstakes.
The winner later sold it to a motorcycle company in California, and Starbird eventually bought it back in the mid-1970s.
It was early in that decade that the movie “American Graffiti” was released. In it, one of the characters said of a friend's car that it might be even be better than “Darryl Starbird's superfleck moonbird!”
“Of all the cars I've built and all the recognition I've had fortunately, I probably have more people comment on that little phrase in ‘American Graffiti' than anything,” Starbird said this week. “It's the Predicta it was referring to. It was never called the moonbird, but it got Darryl Starbird in there, and that's the main thing.”
There it was, a 1934 Buick in Starbird's pasture for years. Starbird decided to work on it a few years ago and finished in 2010 with what he calls Spaced Out, also displayed at the state fair.
“I completely changed it, narrowed it, shortened it, sectioned it and bubble-topped it,” Starbird said of Spaced Out.
Whether it's driving cars or talking about them, Starbird enjoys it when others enjoy his work.
Although he created more than a dozen bubble-top cars, Starbird built more than 100 custom autos. Among those were Monogram's Big ‘T' and the Li'l Coffin, each displayed at the state fair.
Cars such as these added to his popularity in the United States and abroad. In the 1980s, Starbird took six cars to Europe for a tour. He made stops in 24 cities.
Within the past year, he traveled, without cars, to a big show in Switzerland to sign autographs.
“People like to reminisce,” he said.
“It still makes me feel good that people recognize the cars.”
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