Bob “Bikini” Keeney, a legend when it comes to custom paint jobs on hot rods and motorcycles, was well-known at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the 1970s and ’80s for the colorful paint jobs he applied to cars for such drivers as Lloyd Ruby, Salt Walter, Mark Donohue and Johnny Parsons Jr. and team owner Roger Penske.
A graduate of Southport High School, Keeney is known as one of the best pinstripers in the Midwest, having pinstriped his first car – his mother’s 1948 Jeepster – when he was 13. He frequently pinstriped his schoolmates’ cars.
After graduating in 1957, he went to work for Hamilton Displays and hand-painted commercial advertising displays until 1961, at which time he started working for Indiana Wire, where he designed display racks for companies like John Deere, Coca-Cola, STP, Kodak and Proctor & Gamble.
At one time he was annually painting as many as 200 murals on custom vans and cars for a conversion company.
Keeney still works 40 hours a week out of Bikini Studios, where he restores porcelain and metal antique signs, as well as doing custom paint work. He’s responsible for the colorful designs on the trucks operated by Laura Kopetsky Tri-Ax. He often sees cars he painted 30 years ago with their artwork holding up nicely.
He got his nickname by taking his first initial and combining it with Keeney.