Joe Bailon Elton Kantor Ford

 

ELTON KANTOR FORD

 

Joe Bailons second major Custom Car was restyled for Elton Kantor based on a 1950 Ford Convertible. It would end up with the prestigious Oakland Roadster Show Elegance Award.



Joe Bailon always had his own ideas about styling, about what he thought the ideal Custom Car should look like. With his personal car, the 1941 Chevy Miss Elegance he had already shown the world a little bit about his unique sense of car styling. A combination of the smooth flowing Detroit car styling lines combined with unique, unexpected lines and intricate trim details. Miss Elegance already had all the typical Joe Bailon styling cues in it.

Joe Bailon’s second major Custom was based on an 1950 Ford convertible. Owner Elton Kantor from Oakland California took his near new convertible to Joe Bailon after being very impressed with Miss Elegance. Together with Joe the discussed the design possibilities, and decided that the car needed a. Hard Top look, with smooth flowing lines, longer and much lower appearance and a completely smoothed body highlighted in a super glossy dark colored paint job.

Probably the best viewing angle on the Kantor Ford is this slightly higher rear quarter view.All the lines of the car seam to work at its very best then. The original version is so smooth and vintage looking with all the trim removed.
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Joe set out to incorporate a ’51 Ford Victoria roof, welded that to the 4.5 inch chopped windshield frame, and at the back to the body sides. In the process the lower edge of the roof was moved forward a few inches. The c-pillars needed a lot of work to get the desired look. The back of a stock Victoria top is rather upright, which became even more evident after the chop. The stock three piece rear glass made it impossible to get the top to flow in the more swooping lines Joe and Elton wanted for the rear of the top. So it was decided to create a top with the perfect flow, an then hand made a new rear window to get everything right, instead being dictated by factory products.

Joe hand formed the rear of the roof from sheet metal until both were happy with the look. Then the new rear window shape was created into the new roof, and later fitted with plexiglass that was cut to size, heated and shaped to fit the new opening. The whole unit was dressed up with some aftermarket stainless steel strip, shaped to fit and screwed in place, a technique taken from upholstery shops who used the same technique for some of their padded top designs.

Color slide from the 1953 Hop Up magazine photo-shoot by Ralph Poole is a bit on the dark side, but I think it shows the color better than on the actual cover of the magazine.
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A detail photo showing all the restyling Joe added to the rear of the car, shortened trunk, added molded in continental kit, set in license plate in the reshaped lower panel, molded in splash-pan, and stepped extended rear fender with hand made taillights and the heavily restyled 1950 Ford rear bumper.
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Next up where the fenders on the car, both front and rear fenders were molded to the body, and to create the long and low effect the guys were after the rear fenders were lengthened with no less than 12 inches. Joe and Elton really liked the stepped panel below the trunk on Joe’s ’41 Chevy, so this design element was incorporated into Elton’s Ford as well. To make that happen the bottom of the trunk was raised around a foot and a new bulbous shaped panel was added below the new trunk line. The new lower body panel was molded to the splash-pan with a nice radius. Joe added a metal continental cover to the rear of the trunk, that starts at the bottom of the trunk and molded it into the trunk at a pleasing angle. The bulbous shape, below the trunk, was duplicated on the rear fenders with the lower section of the rear fended being extended more than the top. This lower section was next reshaped with round rod to form an taillight opening in which Joe later would add hand shaped clear red Lucite taillight lenses. While extending the rear fenders Joe had removed the stock wind-splits that lead to the stock Ford taillights the result was a completely smooth side of the car.

At the front Joe welded the stock headlight rings to the fenders and slightly peaked the top of the fenders. Joe had already nosed the hood, which enhanced the factory peak of the hood, and the new peak at the top of the fenders worked really well with the hood peak. Joe used two 1949 Mercury grille shells to form the new much smaller grille opening for Alton’s Fords. One was used in its regular place, the second one turned upside down and welded to the splash pan that was molded to the front fenders. This together formed a really nicely shaped smooth grille opening in the car, the hood center peak was repeated below the grille and into the splash pan for a nice uniform look. At the back Joe removed the factory stock outside hinges of the trunk and installed some inboard units. In the bulge below the trunk he created another inset license plate behind glass that he liked so much.

Detail shot from the front shows the molded in grille surround created from two ’49 Mercury grille shell’s, the grille created from round tubing, sheet metal and two bumper guard bullets. Notice how Joe molded in the splash-pan with a similar radius as the Mercury grille opening. The shaved bumper is unique for the time the car was build.
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Elton’s Ford had the perfect ride height, slightly lower in the rear for that attractive and desired speed boat look.
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All the outside trim was removed, including door handles which were replaced with solenoids. All the holed were filled and everything was completely smoothed. A set of ’49 Mercury fender skirts was modified at the bottom to sit level with the Ford body and reshaped to fit the Ford body contours.

With all the body work completed Joe painted the car in many coats of dark metallic blue paint. The car was lowered front and rear, to sit near level, and four wide white wall tires were mounted on the dark painted wheels that were dressed up with aftermarket smooth wheel discs.

The grille that Joe created for Alton’s Ford is another typical Joe Bailon trademark. With all the body so super smooth, Joe likes to add some super fine and wild details with the grille. He used two bumper guard bullets, sheet stock and tubing of different diameter to hand shape the unique grille. The whole assembly was welded together, smoothed and chrome plated before being installed as a floating grille bar in the new grille opening.

Another Joe Bailon trademark in the early 1950’s was the welded bumper bolts for the ultimate smooth bumpers. The Front unit is stock but smoothed 1950 Ford with the guards removed, and the rear is made from the stock ’50 Ford rear bumper combined with wrap around end sections, which enhance the already very long rear fenders even more. Joe also incorporated square exhaust tips in the lower edge of the rear bumper.


Custom interior was done in bone and black with black piping on the bone sections, and bone piping on some of the black sections. The dashboard was painted to match the interior.
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The color image used on the cover of the June 1953 issue of Motor Trend magazine was flipped horizontal so that the composition of the photo looked more attractive on the shelves in the book stores.
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The interior was upholstered in bone and black with the dash board treated with the same colors to match the upholstery. A set of Appleton Spotlights was added as the finishing touch.

Alton’s Ford was a huge success at the 1953 Oakland Roadster show were it won the top award at the full Custom Glass, the equivalent of the National Roadster Award, but then for Customs. The car was in color on the cover of the July 1953 issue of Motor Trend magazine, which helped boost business for Joe’s body shop.

Alton Kanter receiving the award at the 1953 Oakland Roadster Show.
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New Owner Manuel Azevedo

After having enjoyed his new Custom Ford for a while, Alton was ready to move on, and offered his price winning Ford up for sale. Manny Azevedo, who also lived in Oakland and who ad seen the car at local shows bought the car. He enjoyed the car for some time and entered it in some more CA shows, then decided it was time for a round of updates. Around that time Manny visited Joe Bailon’s shop with the Ford and when leaving he backed up the car, and there was this metal pole he did not see. He hit it and damaged the complete passenger side of the car. Not good, but an perfect opportunity for a remake, and update.

The front of the car showing the damage.
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Manny backed up the car at Joe Bailon’s Shop and did not see a metal pole causing major damage to the passenger side of the car.
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Manny wanted to have a two tone solution for the car, and Joe came up with a new side trim created from 1954 Chevy side trim pieces and an unknown front section. The new side trim is slightly wider at the front then tapers very slightly towards the rear, creating instant speed. The new side trim also makes the bulge at the rear of the fender look right at place. Joe also modified the rear fenders, where he reshaped the original taillight opening and modified a set of 1954 Chevy taillights to fit inside these new openings. For this version Joe hand made a new set of fender skirts, nice long skirts that matched the lines of the fenders, and enhanced their length. At the leading edge, which was curved forward to flow with the C-pillar of the top, Joe installed three elegantly styled trim pieces.

After Joe repaired the damage on Manny’s Ford and with the new updates, the car is ready for the new Car Show Season. Photo taken at the Joe Bailon Shop.
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Color image by Spencer Murray used on the cover of the June 1955 issue of Rod & Custom magazine. By now Joe had repainted the car in metallic purple, with white inside the new side trim. Notice the contrast of the red painted wheels, and how the side trim made the car look even longer than it already was.
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The front of the car was also updated with the latest trend, hooded headlights. Joe created his own style of hooded headlight using sheet metal and round rod, for a unique look, and a styled that would become another of Joe’s trademark restyling touches. The hood corners had remained square on the early version, but were rounded with a nice large radius this time around.

Joe painted the car in a metallic purple and added white inside the side trim. The new side trim, and added white color added even more optical length to the car, than the previous version of the car. For this version Joe also added a bit of extra flash by painting the wheels bright red before installing a set of 1954 Oldsmobile hubcaps. The all redone Ford was featured and appeared in color on the cover of the June 1955 issue of Rod & Custom magazine.

Joe also modified the taillight openings to accepts 1954 Chevy taillights.
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Rear window was hand formed from heated plexiglass in a custom made opening. The trim material was the same as some of the upholstery shops used for rear windows in padded tops. The fit and finish looks a bit sloppy by today’s standards, but it sure did not stand in the way of winning some of the big Custom awards in the early-mid 1950’s.
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A better look at the modified taillight openings and 1954 Chevy taillights fitted into it.
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For the new version Joe handmade a set of fender skirts, with a functional scoop at the front and dressed it up with three little chrome plated teeth.
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A good look at the hood center peak that was extended thru the grille and also below the grille. Joe also rounded the hood corners for the new version, which made the front look more attractive than before. This front view also shows the all new above the headlights scoops.
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Joe Bailon’s Miss Elegance image used on the Bay Area Customs club plaque.
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These photos were taken by George Barris at Joe Bailon’s shop. Most likely the car was painted purple and lime by then.

Scanned from a 35 mm negative proof sheet most likely photographed by Frank Faraone, who was the staff photographer of the Oakland Roadster Show up into the early 1960’s.
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After that the car was repainted at least two more times. At one point the car was painted metallic purple with a lemon lime top and inside the side trim, which gave the car a nice classic look. So far we have not been able to find any color photos of this version of the car. The 1955 Oakland Roadster Show program lists the car with this color combination. Later in 1955 Joe repainted the car in bright red with white on the top and in between the side trim. The interior was redone for the newly painted version as well using white and red material. Manny had pet goldfish, and wanted to have a small aquarium below the dash which was created by Joe Bailon.

In 1955 Joe repainted the Ford in red with a white top and in side the side trim.
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Nice side view of the red and white version of the car.
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Manny showed his car in red at the first Monterey Carcapades Show. The show was organized  by the Slow Pokes Inc. C.C. of Seaside, Ca. and was held at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in March 1956. The photo shows that the car now had a light colored headliner
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These two photos come from some movie footage taken at the 1956 Oakland Roadster Show, it shows the small aquarium Manny had installed for his pet goldfish. It also shows that the complete interior was now redone, and the dash was painted to match the rest of the interior.
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A better look at the interior and fish-tank Manny had installed. Notice the small fuzzy dice. hanging from the windshield divider.
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Ron Brooks provided a list of colors used on the Ford as how the car was listed in various Car Show programs. It shows that the car was repainted a few more times. (From most of the colors listed we have some proof, but from others like the Gold and Maroon and Purple and white we only have these listings.)

  • 1953 Oakland, Elton Kantor Blue paint.
  • 1954 Oakland Manual Azavedo Blue.
  • 1955 Oakland Feb. purple and lemon lime.
  • 1955 Sacramento Feb. purple and white.
  • 1955 Monterey March Red and white with red and white interior.
  • 1956 Oakland Gold and maroon with red and white interior.

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The ’55 Rod & Custom magazine article mentioned that Manny and Joe are contemplating a more modern grille update for the car. But so far we have not found a photo proof it this ever happened. Manny eventually sold the car to someone in the Bary Area and never saw it again. If anybody knows anything more about this Joe Bailon Ford after around 1957, please let us know, we would love to find out what happened to it after Manny sold it.



Special thanks to Bruce Heather.



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Joe Bailon Miss Elegance

 

BAILON MISS ELEGANCE

 

Joe Bailon turned this once wrecked 1941 Chevy Coupe into the show winning Miss Elegance, his personal Masterpiece.



Joe Bailon bought his 1941 Chevy Coupe, which had severe frontal damage on the right side from rear ending an Navy truck and paid $50.00  He removed the damages sheet metal and fixed the radiator fan and drove it home. He ordered all new front fenders and a hood, and when installing them he tarted to customized those right away. In the late 1940’s Joe chopped the top on the car around 3 and a half inches, and moved the rear of the top forward the same amount.



First Versions

The first version of the car had a regular chop, but with the rear quarter windows and the stock, but canted forward  rear window in place. At the front Joe had created a full width grille surround, and filled it with hand bend chrome plated rods creating vertical grille bars. Over time Joe created no less than 7 different grilles before he ended up with the one we are all familiar with. The front bumper was replaced with an 1946-48 Chevy unit.

This is the oldest version of Joe Bailon’s 1941 Chevy with the full width home made grille. Chopped with the quarter windows still in place and with the stock rear window and primer paint. Notice the pointing forward of the Appleton Spotlights, black wall tires and moon hubcaps.
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A little later Joe had added a new smooth front bumper and the car was now painted.
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Addition of a license plate surround inside the grille opening.
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Second Version

Joe added a set of 1941 Cadillac rear fenders to the car and molded them in. They are similar in shape as the Chevy units, but longer, which fitted the design Joe had in mind better. Around 1951 Joe redid the top and filled in the rear quarter windows, and create a wrap around rear window by extending the windows sideways around the corner of the top. The new rear window would be a three part unit with chrome dividers. A license plate was set at the back below the shortened trunk.

Joe had created a custom dash for a client and wanted to go a bit wilder for his own personal Custom. He started with black sheet metal top and bottom, welded together to which he welded gauge surrounds from the junk yard. He added a total of 13 gauges and 32 dash-knobs to the unique dash. The plan was to have the dash chrome plated, so all the work had to be done extremely precise and everything needed to be metal finished. It took Joe several month of spared time to create the dash. He spend $50.00 to have the end result plated, and then spend some more money to fill all the holes with Steward Warner gauges that were all wired by Joe and all of them lit up and worked. Amazing considering Joe always mentioned he had absolutely no idea what he was doing. The interior on Joe’s ’41 Chevy was upholstered by Joe’s second wife, who used a dark red velvet drapery material found at a surplus store. The interior looked very luxurious, enhanced by all the glitter from the Chrome dash. and window moldings.

Photo taken around 1951 shows that Joe now had filled the rear quarter windows, widened the rear window, extended the front fenders using 42-48 Oldsmobile fender units, added the ’41 Cadillac rear fenders, hood side bulges, and reshaped the grille opening and front of the fenders and added new hand shaped 3/4 inch round tubing grille bars.
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This photo comes from a baby book for Carolyn Jo Bailon born April 10, 1950 it shows the baby sitting on the primered front fender of Joe’s ’41 Chevy. Interesting is to see the hand-made hubcaps without the Studebaker ornament. That’s Joe Bailon on the left side of the photo.
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A little later shows the car still in primer, but now with the ’48 Studebaker stars added to the hubcaps.
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The first versions of the car had the stock short ’41 Chevy front fenders molded to the body, but later Joe added 1942-48 Oldsmobile door fender sections to the car and matted them to the Chevy units. This gave the car a whole new different look, longer and lower. At the same time Joe also added material to the front of the fenders, possibly from a late 30’s Cadillac adding a more bulbous section below the headlights. A half round cut out was made under the headlights and the headlights rings were molded to the headlight pod. This all created a unique new look. Joe further modified the grille opening, and narrowed it compared to the earlier versions. Then Joe hand bend 21 grille bars from round tubing, smoothed then before having them plated and then installed them into the new opening. A custom made splash pan was molded to the front of the car, and the center section, where the grille bars are, was made as a separate part and chrome plated.



Third Version

The car was primered once again and driven for some time. Then Joe was inspired by the 1948 Tucker cars, and decided to redo the rear fenders on his Chevy. He handmade the top and front portion inspired by the Tucker’s front and rear fenders. He included a hand made chrome plated mesh for the working scoop. At the back Joe created a new bumper made from a center section with end pieces combined from Studebaker bumper guards placed horizontal. In the bulge section he create the exhaust outlets, again with home made bars. Later in his career one of the things Joe Bailon would be famous for where his hand made round rod grilles and bumpers. It all started with his personal ’41 Chevy.

Joe was very much inspired by the design of the Tucker when he redid the rear fenders, Here we can see Joe adding new sheet metal to the top and front of the ’41 Cadillac rear fender.
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Now with the new shaped rear fenders with an air-scoop in the leading edge of the rear fender. Cadillac fender skirts and ’49 Ford taillight housings. This photo also shows the shape of the wrap around rear window and how Joe added a drip rail around the door. Also notice the shortened trunk and bulged section below the trunk leading into the molded in splash pan.
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Joe painted his ’41 Chevy in a home mixed maroon to which he added silver for some sparkle and painted it over a yellow base. The end result was a very nice brilliant and deep color. The humble beginning of what he later would develop into his famous Candy Apple red. Joe entered the finished car in the 1952 Oakland Roadster Show and won first place (National Award). At the time Joe’s car was nick-named “the Dashboard”. The name “Miss Elegance” was given to the car a little later.

Another photo from the Carolyn Jo Bailon baby book shows a crown Carolyn polishing here fathers freshly pained Chevy. Notice the molded headlights, with extended froward fender sections and molded in splash pan. The center section of the splash pan was a separate piece and was later chrome plated.
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Joe’s ’41 Chevy at the 1952 Oakland Roadster Show.
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Joe’s freshly bright maroon over yellow painted Chevy looked brilliant at the show.
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The unique hubcaps were created by Joe out of farm equipment plow discs made from made from heavy spring steel. Joe cut them to fit the 16″ wheels added two narrow grooved towards the end and had them chrome plated. Later Joe added 20, ’48 Studebaker front fender vent door ornament stars to it. The heavy metal of the disk made in necessary to torch the holes for each of the stars. The working knock-off in the center was also designed and hand made by Joe.
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Life Magazine did a series of photos taken at the Hot Rod show in the National Guard Armory in Los Angeles held at April 24-27, 1952. Beautiful detailed photos of the Hand made front of the car, and smoothed bumper.
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Not to many cars had their bumper bolts shaved back in 1951-52. But that is what Joe liked. Notice the reflection of the grille bars in the chrome plated section of the splash pan. Joe had picked up numerous awards with “Miss Elegance” already.
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I like how the Life Magazine photographer captured the audience expressions when they looked inside to see the velvet maroon interior and chrome plated home made dash with 15 gauges.
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Photo taken at the 1952 Oakland Roadster Show. Nita Nelson checks out the 13 gauges and 32 push-buttons on the Joe Bailon 1941 Chevy Miss Elegance. An news paper article in which this photo appeared mentioned the costs for the Dash alone was a staggering $1160.00
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Joe’s amazing all hand made dash created from sheet metal and gauge surrounds he found. All carefully welded together and metal finished over a period of several month of spare time. It cost him $50.00 to have it plated back in 1951.The steering wheel comes from a 1952 Lincoln.
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Close up shows that Joe hand made the shifter handle from clear Lucite.
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This photo gives a good impression how luxurious the interior looked with the maroon velvet upholstery on the seats’ side panels, and also the headliner. With chrome accents on the garnish moldings and of course the 13 gauge dash.
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Beautiful higher point of view shows the great lines of the Chevy. The front bumper is either a smoothed ’46-48 Chevy unit, or ’47 Oldsmobile.
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Fortunately we have a few color photos of the car from around 1952 showing the Joe Bailon added metallic dark red over yellow. The car must have been stunning to witness in person.
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This fade color photo is the only photo I was able to find that shows off the bulge in the rear of the body really well, just below the shortened trunk line.
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Side profile, we always need a side profile to show off the cars proportions. Beautiful lines, with it nice flowing chop, the Oldsmobile extended front fenders, longer ’41 Cadillac rear fenders with Tucker inspired front sections of the rear fenders. The low mounted ’49 Ford taillight pods give the rear even more optical length.
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The heavy chrome and maroon velvet upholstery gave the car a high end luxurious feel.  The added tool box in the door panel and chrome plated top of the shortened running boards add to that high end feel.
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Joe had been very impressed with set in license plated since he first saw one on Tommy the Greek’s ’40 Mercury. So he knew he had to have one on his own full Custom Chevy. The ’49 Ford taillight housed use hand shaped clear red Lucite lenses. The rear bumper is mostly hand made using Studebaker Bumper guards welded to a center bumper piece. The bulged guard section was cut to have the exhaust tips sit into.
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Joe Bailon offered his car For Sal in the November 1952 issue of Hop Up Magazine. Asking price was over $4,000.00. Quite a some of money for an 1941 model car at a time a lot of those that might have been interested were heading to Korea. Joe ended up selling the car for around $400.00 a year or so after this ad.
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Fourth and last Version

After Joe had not been able to find a buyer for the car he decided that for the 1953 Oakland Roadster Show he wanted to make a few more changes to the car.  The grille surround was modified to accept chrome plated bullets next to the toothed grille. Joe also modified the bulge he had added to the hood sides in 1951, the front bulge was cut off and reshaped to form a functional scoop. He once again painted the car in a brilliant dark red, and won prices with the car at the show again.

Photographed at the 1953 Oakland Roadster Show. By now Joe had modified the grille opening by adding space for two side bullets. And the front of the hood bulge was opened up to for a functional scoop.
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Customs Bay Area Car Club uses an image of the Joe Bailon Miss Elegance.
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Joe also won awards with the ’41 Chevy at the ’53 Oakland Roadster Show. less than a year after the show Joe sold the car for around $400.- (Which is in strong contrast with the worth 12.000 sign on top of the car)
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After having showed the car for 2-3 years Joe ended up selling the car around 1953-54. The car was once estimated to be worth $12,000.00, but only brought Joe around $400.00. Older Custom Cars, no matter how successful and or popular just did not bring much money around that time. And Joe needed the money and Dick Carter of “Dickering” used car dealer knew that and had the deal of his life he though. He offered the car for sale for a very high price and sat unsold for a long time at his lot. Joe remembers that he later saw the car in Hayward looking very bad with caved in roof. Later it went to a new owner in Castro Valley who repaired the roof damage, put an Hemi engine in it, removed the skirts, opened up the rear fenders so that huge racing tires would fit and drag raced it for some time.



[divider]The Miss Elegance is perhaps the best know car Joe Bailon created, the Chevy has crazed many of his business cards over the years.
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Later in the 1970’s the owner got in a divorce and the car was crushed, but not before the owner had removed the hand made hubcaps, chrome dash and bumpers. The dash board eventually ended up in Ed Hagerty’s junkyard, and after some of the gauges were taken Bill Reasoner ended up with it, and gave it back to Joe years later. Joe was in the process of making a copy of his Miss Elegance using the original dashboard. He has been working on it for many years off and on, but the project was far from finished when Joe passed away on September 25th, 2017. Hopefully somebody else will be able to continue the quest of recreating Miss Elegance.

This is the last known photo of the Mis Ellegance, not sure when it was taken, but the plates on it are pre-1956. At the time this photo was taken, after Joe had sold it, the paint was in very bad shape, but other than that, it looks to be still complete.
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Special thanks to Bruce Heather







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Bailon Ranchero Restored

 

BAILON RANCHERO RESTORED

 

NEWS FLASH… The Davi Horace Joe Bailon 1949 Ford Ranchero from the 1950’s has been restored and debuts at the 2016 Santa Maria Show.



The Joe Bailon built 1949 Ford Ranchero for Horace Davi from the early/mid 1950’s restoration has been completed. The car debuts at the 2016 Santa Maria West Coast Nationals Cruising Nationals show. The last photos I had seen of the car were from the 2015 Grand National Roadster show when the car was in primer at the event. I had heard the restoration was completed, but had not seen any photos of it, until today Friday May 27, 2016. The car had arrived at the Santa Maria show host hotel parking lot, and Larry Davidson took a snapshot of it which he shared on his Facebook. It is really great to see the car back on the road again. First time I read about the car and that it had survived was in 1992. Then in 2009 I saw it in person at the Sacramento Autorama where it was displayed and offered for sale.

CCC-bailon-horace-davi-49-ford-resto-2016This is how the car sits in 2016 at the Santa Maria host hotel parking lot.
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Joe Bailon created the car for Horace Davi from a wrecked 2 door sedan.  The body was sectiond 4 or 5 inches (Several period magazine list different measurements for this) inches and the windshield chopped 3 inches. The top of the windshield was replaced by a section Joe cut from a wrecked convertible. Wheel opening were opened up and reshaped with a new round shape following the white wall tires. The rear of the body was converted to a pick up bed including a hand made tailgate. This needed a lot of work to get the body stiff enough. The front fenders were re contoured and now flow nicely in the front splash pan which is also the bottom of the much smaller grille opening. There is no real grille in the car, just a modified 1951 Ford grille surround at the top and the custom bumper at the bottom of the grille opening.  A new removable top was cut and reshaped from a wrecked Ford coupe. Pontiac taillights were added to the rear fenders and the rear bumper was replaced by an modified Oldsmobile unit.

The car looks really nice, from what I see it is almost complete, only missing the stainless around the windshield. I do notice that during the restoration something was changed on the front fender lower corners. Joe Bailon had rounded off the front edge of the front bumpers to make them flow nicely into the bumper. It looks like the restored car had the front fenders replaced and the lower edge was not modified as Joe had done in in 1954-55. The car is now owned by Bob Dron.

CCC-bailon-horace-davi-49-ford-resto-01The Ford “Ranchero” at Joe Bailons shop in 1955.
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CCC-bailon-horace-davi-49-ford-mag-01Car Speed and Style magazine article on the Ford.
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CCC-bailon-horace-davi-49-ford-mag-coverBeautiful color photo of the Ford at Joe’s shop in 1955 was used on the cover of the Car Speed and Style magazine. (thank you Ron Brooks for the scan)
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CCC-bailon-horace-davi-49-ford-resto-2009-02The car was in rough shape when it was displayed at the 2009 Sacramento Autorama.
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CCC-bailon-horace-davi-49-ford-resto-2009-01The then owner offered the car for sale at the show.
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CCC-bailon-horace-davi-49-ford-resto-2009-03The modified bumper at the front and the sectioned front fenders with frenched headlights where in bad shape and needed a lot of work, just like basically everything else on the car.
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CCC-bailon-horace-davi-49-ford-resto-2015-02In 2015 the car was displayed at the Grand National Roadster show and all the major work had been done and the car was in primer with guide coat ready for paint.
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CCC-bailon-horace-davi-49-ford-resto-2015-01Notice that the top is still in bare metal so that we can see how much work it had done to get the right shape to fit the Ranchero style body.
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CCC-bailon-horace-davi-49-ford-resto-2016-05 Santa Maria 2016.
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Candy Apple ’57 DeSoto

 

CANDY APPLE ’57 DESOTO

 

Joe Bailon’s Candy Apple red never looked as good as on Doug Osterman’s 1957 DeSoto mild custom.


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Doug purchased the 1957 DeSoto in late 1958. The first thing that Doug did to the car was the addition of chrome reversed wheels. To make up the set used on this car, Doug went around to all the local auto junk yards and looked for Plymouth and Mercury wheels. He bought 4 Plymouth wheels and 4 Mercury wheels. The wheels were then taken to San Jose Plating and disassembled. The centers from the Plymouth wheels were riveted to the rims from the Mercury wheels after they were chrome plated. 1957 Dodge center hub caps were used to complete this look.

The car was lowered by Abe Heinrich. Abe and his son Leroy operated Heinrich’s Automotive in East San Jose, and they did a lot of custom work and lowering. The A-Frames up front were modified to lower the front of the car about 6”, and 5” blocks were used on the rear. Creating a wonderful slight forward rake which looked perfect with the long wings.

Shortly afterwards, the car was taken to Flyer’s Body Shop in San Jose. Quad headlights were installed, the hood and trunk were shaved smooth, and trim nameplates were all removed. The gas filler door was removed, filled in, and the fill pipe was relocated inside the trunk. Flyer painted the car in a bronze metallic lacquer color that he custom mixed.

After this was completed, the interior of the car was completely taken apart and redone in tuck and roll white naugahyde. The door window trim moldings were chromed, an oval steering wheel from a 1960 Plymouth was installed, and an RCA 45 rpm record player was added for some great tunes.

CCC-57-DeSoto-Osterman-00-WDoug’s 1957 DeSoto after Flyer’sBody shop had finished it in its first version.
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Joe Bailon version
The second version of the DeSoto was done about a year later. It was taken to Joe Bailon’s Custom Auto Shop in Hayward, California. Joe molded the lower front fender seams to the rocker panels to blend the two together. He then applied his special gold paint base color to the car, and followed that up with about 14 coats of his own Candy Apple Red paint. After Joe finished the work on the car, the Dodge center caps in the chrome wheels were replaced with a set of chrome spiders.


In 1960, the car was shown at the San Jose Autorama. George Barris was at this show taking some pictures, and the one he took of the DeSoto was used in the 1961 Trend Book publication “Restyle Your Car”. Doug sold the car in 1961 and started working on a 1958 Corvette.

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CCC-57-DeSoto-Osterman-01-WThe color photos above are some old 35mm pictures of Doug’s ’57 DeSoto. The photos where taken in front of the place where Doug and Clif worked.
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Doug was close friends with Clif Inman. Clif would later get “famous” with his Joe Wilhelm ’57 Chrysler. Doug and Clif worked together for years at the Star and Bar gas station in Willow Glen, and they both went on to work at the GM Assembly Plant when it opened in Fremont, California in the mid 60’s.
When Doug had just finished his 1957 DeSoto, Clif Inman started to have Joe Wilhelm do a more radical customizing project on his newly purchased 1957 Chrysler. Doug and Clif shared some of the same ideas on their projects. When Clif’s Chrysler was done, both Clif and Doug showed their cars at the 1960 San Jose Autorama.

CCC-57-DeSoto-Osterman-03-WTrend book #205 Restyle your car from 1961 showed one photo of Doug’s DeSoto on page 107.
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CCC-57-Chrysler-Inman-WClif Inman’s 1957 Chrysler by Joe Wilhelm.
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