Road Trip Custom Sightings

 

ROAD TRIP CUSTOM SIGHTINGS

 

David Conrad shared some neat pictures he took in the 60s and 70s. Interesting and sometimes abandoned Custom Cars he came across while on the road.



In July 2018 I shared a photo of an early 1940’s restyled 1940 Mercury ones owned by the mr. Williams and later owned by Marsh Baldwin. I was wondering what had happened to the restoration on the care when David Conrad shared a few photos of some old 60’s and 70’s road trips with including one of an Mercury that looked a bit similar. The picture David shared, of a greene padded topped Mercury at a car lot in San Diego in 1963, had a very similar very heavy chop, but it looked to be a ’39 and not the ’40 I was looking for. But the photo was very interesting, and the ’39 Mercury looked vaguely familiar, reminding me a bit at the James Etter ’39 Mercury restored in the late  1970’s, early 1980’s by Karl Jonasson. But I did not pay much attention to that at the time.

When David shared the photos he mentioned that he took some photos back in 1963 when he and a friend towed David’s 31 Model A pickup to San Diego to the Model A Restorers Club national meet. On the way they stopped at several locations and David took some photos of interesting cars he saw on their way.

David saw this 1940 Mercury with some Ayala Inspiration at the Easy Jack’s junk yard in Kansas in 1963. He always wondered what happened to it. Anybody knows?
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The rear shows an interesting Panoramic rear window treatment on the chopped canvas covered top, as well as ’48-49 Cadillac rear fenders molded into the body. I wonder if the car was ever finished and on the road, or if it was an abandoned project?
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David took this ’40 Ford convertible in the early 70s in a friends back yard. He has no idea what ever happened to it. This is in St Louis, mo.
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It appears to be an channeled ’40 Ford convertible with a much molded body that was done in the late 1950’s, early 1960’s. Perhaps it evolved over the years.
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In November 2018, the photo David had shared of the 1963 San Diego was shared again on Facebook. Anthony White made a comment on it. “Tried to make a case for it being the James Etter car but that‚Äôs a long stretch”. Anthony’s comment brought me back to the original thought I had when looking at that picture, and I started to look into it a bit more. I had recently discussed the Etter Mercury with Henrik Forss, and things look like they are falling into place, and the car in the picture David took might be the Jim Etter Mercury. David mentioned this about the Green Mercury photo. “I saw this Merc. on a used car lot in 1963 in San Diego. It had real heavy green metalflake paint on it. Paint was very thick.”

David took this very neat picture of a green metalflake ’39 Mercury at an unknown used car lot in San Diego in 1963.
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In an old Swedish Wheels Magazine article on the ’39 Mercury that Karl restored it was mentioned that the car had a green metalflake paint job under the primer. It also showed that the rear had a ’41 Ford bumper mounted. When David took the photo in 1963, it looks like the Mercury had ’41 Ford bumpers and it also looks like the running boards were shortened, just as the Jim Etter Mercury has. We are now trying to see if we can get a better scan, or info from David if he can see on the original slide if the hood has the characteristic scoop on the side, and the louver’s cut in the hood. All other details on the San Diego Mercury seem to match with the Jim Etter Mercury…

The original scan from the color slide David shared is not very big, therefor the details are rather blurry. This is the best I could do blowing up the image to have a better look at the car. It does appear to have the hood side scoop… but because the scan is so blurry, that could be just shadow and an optical illusion.
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This is how the car looked that Karl got to restore in the late 1970’s. Notice all the similarities with the Green one David photographed.
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Part if the Wheels Magazine article showing some more details, including the ’41 Ford rear bumper.
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This is how most people will recognize the James Etter 1939 Mercury from the 1980’s. The heavy chop, the shortened running boards, and molded in headlights. Karl added the exhausts behind the running boards and the ’49 Plymouth bumper. The Barris Crest on the front fender is an replica added after Karl restored the car.
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To be continued…..










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Historic Customs USA Road Trip P4

 

HISTORIC CUSTOMS USA Road Trip Part 4

After spending some time with Gene Winfield, the guys are now on their way to Hot Rodding Mecca El Mirage, and the Los Angeles Roadster Show.



In early July 2016 Ronnie Lindblom and Micke Hedberg left Sweden for their dream road trip in the USA. Both guys had bought an historic custom in the month prior to this trip, and along the way the idea had grown to fix up their cars and make a road trip of a life-time.¬†After 11 long days and nights working on their cars, they finally had them ready to hit the road. You can read about the first 11 days of their journey in Part One,¬†about¬†the first time on the road for the cars in Part Two¬†and a their visit to Gene Winfield in Part Three of this series.¬†After spending the night at¬†Dave McCain place the guys are now¬†all ready to go for another trip. One they had been looking forward a lot… having a spin with their historic Customs on the dry lake beds of El Mirage.

CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-06After having had a nice breakfast, the guys are ready to hit the road to the El Mirage. 
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-07They only had a quickly drawn map from Gene Winfield and no GPS to rely on to make it to El Mirage. Ronnie was in front en soon took a wrong turn, they were now going in the wrong direction.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-01It took Mike several miles before his ’36 Ford was door to door with¬†Ronnie’s Merc. Now he could¬†tell him that they where going¬†the wrong way! The Merc has a lower rear-end ratio than the Ford, so it moves faster. And as long the engine was cool, Ronnie wanted to go fast!
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-09After they stopped to check directions it was time to let the pressure out of the Merc in the only shadow they could find in the dessert.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-06According the Gene Winfield map they needed to find a T-crossing. Eventually they found it, as well as¬†the fist sign that the Swedes were on the correct road to El Mirage…. Yaheee!¬†While the guys took¬†a brake and some fresh water for both the cars and the guys at this point, they¬†got company from a state police man. He stopped, to check out the cars, and ask if we need anything and if everything was fine. They told him the whole story, which he enjoyed, then, he wish them a good luck on the rest of their journey, and took off again.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-07The only sign of life in the dessert was this liquor store. The guys stopped for some water but the owner did not want to give them nothing. So they just hit the road again.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-08Home of SCTA… magical road sign, and first view of the dry lake on the left.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-09After some help form a local friendly old guy the Swedes found the way to their first stop for the day, visiting George Callaway who lives at the end of the lake bed.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-05Arriving at George Callaway‘s shop.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-10They had a great time at mr George Callaway. Lots of stories and a great tour at his yard. A very nice person to hang out with.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-04The sign say it… time to go… see the lake bed.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-11Leaving Mr Callaway for a spin on the El Mirage Dry Lake.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-12Ronnie took off in his Mercury as soon as they had arrived.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-13The guys made it, for the first time, El Mirage, and with two historic customs, that could have driven around here on the lake in the 1940’s, early 1950’s. A real magical moment.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-16The guys¬†enjoyed¬†the wide¬†emptiness for a some time and visualize their historic customs surrounded everything that happened during¬†an late 40’s SCTA¬†meeting at this very location.¬†¬†They took plenty¬†of photos of¬†their¬†customs at this historic Hot Rod scene, and now¬†it is time to take the cars for another spin on the lake bed.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-17Ronnie in his ’39 Mercury enjoying the dry lake with the top frame removed.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-19Hot Rodder’s dream come true.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-21Ronnie with his 1939 Mercury convertible. 
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-22Time for Micke to take his ’36 ford a spin so that Ronnie can snap some pictures of it.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-23Wonderful cracked dry lake bed with Micke in his ’36 Ford going for a spin.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-26One last photo, and its time to leave El Mirage and drive up to Los Angeles.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-27One more¬†stop to take a last look at the dry bed and snap a picture with the SCTA sign. The guys say goodbye to El Mirage¬†for now…¬†they¬†will be back!!
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Lets cruise down to LA!

ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-at-lars-la-01On the freeway to Los Angeles and later to Pomona where the Los Angeles Roadster Show will be held the next day.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-28O, yes LA traffic.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-19The guys checked into a motel for a good night rest, and capture this sweet view from the motel door.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-29Some night cruising around town is hard to beat.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-at-lars-03Despite all the troubles they had the¬†guys¬†reached their ultimate goal and¬†made it to Pomona in time for the 2016 Los Angeles Roadster Show. The guys felt really fantastic, and they parked the cars in the parking lot for a few “We made it” photos. Not long after that Kipp Winward Lined up his beautiful full custom ’36 Ford 5-window coupe. He’s a great guy.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-at-lars-02
The cars at the spot at the swap meet. They had made some posters telling some history of the cars, and asking the audience tfor help filling in the empty spaces in the history. And Yaheee they did get some new info they had hoped for.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-30Cruising at the LA Roadster Show.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-32After leaving the LARS the guys needed to get gas one more time to make it to the shipper. Suddenly this fellow (right) shows up. Mr Memo Ortega. Memo had spotted the cars at the gas station, recognized them from the CCC Forum, and managed to make a U turn in to the gas station. Memo was really happy to unexpectedly bump into the Swedes, talk to the guys about the trip, and check out the cars.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-31Busy Los Angeles afternoon traffic. Heading down to the shipper in Compton, the final destination in the US.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-33After a long trip and very long hours they finally arrived at the gate at the shipping company in Compton. Petter Dahlstöm at So Cal Classics took care of the transport to Sweden. Petter is a really great contact and a great helper and very professional.
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ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-34Before the cars would be loaded into the sea-container, the guys made sure all their extra parts, tools and other stuff were packed in the trunk and inside the cars. The, it was time to say goodbye to the cars and get back to the airport for their flight back home to Sweden. 
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After all the paperwork was handled by the shipper, the cars were loaded into the sea-contaier and send off to their boat ride From the US to Sweden. After 6 long weeks the cars arrived in Sweden, save and in great condition at the end of August 2016. Next plan is to get the cars completely restored as closely how they looked when they were first finished in the early 1940’s for Ronnie’s ’39 Mercury, and in the early 1950’s for Micke’s ’36 Ford. We will make sure to cover the restoration of both cars here on the Custom Car Chronicle.

A big thanks for Ronnie Lindblom and Micke Hedberg for sharing their amazing road trip story with us here at the CCC. I hope everybody has enjoyed it was much as we have. 

Go back to Part 1, Part 2 or Part 3




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Historic Customs USA Road Trip P3

 

HISTORIC CUSTOMS USA Road Trip Part 3

 

By Ronnie Lindblom & Micke Hedberg.

With most of the problems on the cars now sorted Ronnie and Micke are ready to get the grand tour at Gene Winfields Shop, and prepare for the rest of their amazing trip.



In early July 2016 Ronnie Lindblom and Micke Hedberg left Sweden for their dream road trip in the USA. Both guys had bought an historic custom in the month prior to this trip, and along the way the idea had grown to fix up their cars and make a road trip of a life-time.¬†After 11 long days and nights working on their cars, they finally had them ready to hit the road. You can read about the first 11 days of their journey in Part One¬†and the first time on the road for the cars in Part Two of this series. The guys ¬†worked till late into the night to get Ronnie’s Mercury fixed. They left Ronnie’s ’39 Mercury at Gene’s¬†shop and took Micke’s¬†’36 Ford to drive up to the nearest Motel to get a few hours of sleep. Early the next morning they head back to¬†spend some more¬†quality time with Gene Winshield at his Mojave Desert shop.

CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-01After sleeping a few hours at the nearest motel the guys drove¬†back to the Winfield shop with Ronnie’ s ’36 Ford¬†early in the morning.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-02New day, new challenges. The Merc was fixed late last night and now Ronnie is almost ready for a test drive.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-03Ronnie only has to¬†refill the water and check oil…
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-04The test drive went fine, and it¬īs time to re torque the heads. There¬†was nothing they could do about the crack in the head. So, they did all other things¬†they could do and hope¬†the engine will last¬†the rest of the trip.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-05The both cars are now ready for the rest of the journey. Micke, Ronnie and Mr. Winfield give the thumb up for the rest of the trip!
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-06Gene is 89 years old and still works on custom cars everyday. It¬īs really impressive to see a legend work and still enjoy it all like it was his firs day at the job. That¬īs amazing! When¬†the Swedes were¬†at Winfield’s, Gene was worked on a channeled ¬≠’40 Ford convertible.¬†
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-09Then it was time to take a tour around the shop and inside Gene own little museum. Here Gene shows the unique bed he made from a model-A Ford pickup.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-10Gene sharing memories and stories from dry lake races in the early days while showing the guys old pictures on the walls.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-collageClose up of the early dry lake collage.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-11One of Gene’s old wood shop signs with his famous logo.¬†Gene hold on to it¬†all these years, and now it’s hanging proudly¬†in his nice little private museum.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-12The “Thing”, a¬†’27 model T racer Gene built¬†in the late 1940’s.¬† Well the original is long gone, and this one is an¬†updated copy of the real ‚ÄĚThing‚ÄĚ. Gene told Micke and Ronnie lots of great stories from back in the day¬īs, It was a blast!
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-07Micke had parked his¬†¬ī36 Ford in the shadow inside the shop¬†to cool down.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-08Micke started his 36 Ford, and everything was still working fine, so they are all ready to go.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-13But before its time to go, they took Gene for a ride in the ¬ī36 Ford.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-14here we go…
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-15Can you imagine how many memories this brought back for Gene… and created¬†for Micke.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-16And of course Gene now also had to¬†get a ride in Ronnie’s Merc as well!
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-17Cruising like it was the early 1940’s…
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-18And more memories brought back, and created.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-19Then it was almost time to say goodbye to Gene, a few last photos with the cars and the shop in the background….
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-24Before the guys left Gene drew a map showing how to best get to El Mirage dry lake and to a couple of friends which Gene thought visiting would be very well worth it. 
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-20And on the way to Palmdale, the first stop
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Not long after they had left¬†Winfield’s¬†Ronnie’s Mercury started to get problems again. The engine started to run really crappy and they had to stop. After they had stopped and let the engine cool a bit¬†the engine refused to start again. The guys checked all possible reasons for the engine failure.¬†Condenser, pionts, distributor cap and several more things,¬†but nothing helped to get the engine to start. Finally Ronnie found out that the distributor was flash-over to ground and he was able to¬†fix the problem. Pfff, it was a hot day out in the middle of the desert!… but they were on their way again.


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-21Finally the guys arrived at the first stop Gene suggested. Dave McCain, one of the worlds fastest Flathead Ford drag-racers.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-22Dave showed the guys around in his shop and they talked about Flathead tune up all night long.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-25This was the first night without working on the cars since they had arrived in the US. It felt like vacation, just having a good time and making plans for the trip to El Mirage tomorrow.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-23The cars early the next morning… all ready and excited for the drive up to the Dry lake.
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Go back to Part 1, Part 2. Or go to Part 4
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CCC-Sponsor-KingKustomsTShirt-602Contact Rob Radcliffe at King Kustoms for more info on these T-Shirts Email Rob

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Historic Customs USA Road Trip P2

 

HISTORIC CUSTOMS USA Road Trip Part 2

 

By Ronnie Lindblom & Micke Hedberg.

After 11 days of hard work Ronnie and Micke got their Historic Customs on the road and ready to go.

In early July 2016 Ronnie Lindblom and Micke Hedberg left Sweden for their dream road trip in the USA. Both guys had bought an historic custom in the month prior to this trip, and along the way the idea had grown to fix up their cars and make a road trip of a life-time. After 11 long days and nights working on their cars, they finally had them ready to hit the road. You can read about the first 11 days of their journey in Part One of this series.

CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-00Tuesday afternoon and ready to take off from Squeaks place.
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With the cars now finished, all the tools, supplies and others things needed for the trip was loaded into the trunks of the cars. They said goodbye to everybody who had helped them in Bakersfield and they were ready to hit the road. Yeah!


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The¬†next, exciting phase of their trip was to drive the cars to Gene Winfield’s shop in the Mojave¬†desert. This¬†less than 100 mile trip from Bakersfield, to Gene’s place was going to be a smooth test-drive, so they thought.¬†They planned it would take them around two hours that Tuesday afternoon¬†to get to Gene. Perhaps a little more to take some nice pictures along the way…

CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-01Both cars had their trunks filled to the top with tools, spareparts and water. This made it a little tricky to fill gas!
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-17Bakersfield, California.¬†Ronnie is driving his ’39 Merc and snaps a picture of¬†Micke¬†in his ’36 Ford across the street.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-03 With the cars on the highway for the first time. Exciting and it feeeels good!
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-16What not the guys had realized¬†was the steep mountain-pass right outside Bakersfield.¬†Afterwards they remember¬†Squeak telling them all about this, but who had time to listen to these “small”¬†details when they¬†were too excited and focused to get¬†the cars ready to¬†drive? It was really going uphill here, and both cars were really struggling.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-04Half an hour from Bakersfield the temp gauges were hitting¬†maximum. Pretty soon Micke¬īs radiator started to steam and the¬†winshield started to fog when the steam came thru the louvered hood. It was definitly time for the first stop. Both cars was boiling.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-05The cars had to cool down a bit and it was time for the radiators to get¬†filled with fresh¬†water. It could have happened on a worse place though. While waiting Micke and Ronnie enjoyed the view, and probably dreamt of making this drive in the early 1950’s
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When the cars had cooled down enough they took off, desperately in need of flat roads or even better downhill… But¬†the only way to find a downhill was to look in the rearmirror, so not before long the cars got hot again. While the cars were cooling down again Micke was trying to get some work done on the car, perhaps to solve a bit of the cooling problem. After a while he started the ’36 and it sounded really crappy.

At first they thought the floatlevel was wrong as the hill was so steep, but adjusting it did¬†not¬†make the old flatty run any better. After some contemplating¬†they figured out it¬†must¬†be¬†the condenser… mmm could be worse, they had brought an¬†old spare condenser. They packed it in the trunk… but which trunk?! and where?? Finally they found the spare¬†condenser and while¬†Micke was installing it he lost a¬†screw in the gravel.. Great! Eventually they found another screw they could use and fix this problem.

CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-20The steep hills and the over 100 degrees temperatures was brutal, and too much for the cars.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-14¬† While working on Micke’s¬†36 and waiting for both cars to cool down,¬†3 modern cars also had to stop at¬†the same hill because of overheating.¬†
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-02To drive those historical customs on those old roads is an adventure, but to do it without gps and with partly hand-drawn map is something else!¬†It really took them¬†back in the days. Here¬īs the guys sitting in a crossroad trying to figure out the right way to Mr Winfield.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-11Sometimes you have to drive miles and miles to find a roadsign out there… This was¬†‚Ästas they¬†found out later¬†‚Ästthe wrong way!
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Arriving at Gene Winfield

Even after the guys had left the steep mountain pass behind them the Merc maintain to have overheating problems. After many stops with boiling engine and some minor problem to find the right road it was a real relieve when they finally saw Gene’s huge shop space in the distance. They arrived at Gene Winfields shop shortly before it started to get dark. Gene knew the guys were coming as Squeak had called him 5 hours earlier and told him they had just left Bakersfield. So he was getting a bit worried about the guys.

CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-21Gene’s place… they finally made it.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-22The gate was open and they drove right up to the shop area. Excited to meet Gene, and also knowing they could hopefully figure out the engine problems and solve it for the remainder of the trip.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-27It was a long hot day… finally parked at goal¬†number one… Gene Winfield’s shop.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-23Where the hell have you been guy¬īs“, was¬†Gene first response.
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Micke and Ronnie talked to Gene about the trip, and how they had spend the last 11 days in Squeaks shop. Then told him the trip from Bakersfield had taken so long due to the heating problems.
The guys hoped for a blown headgasket, they had already tried to get a pair at a local car supplies along the road, but most of the stores had sold their last flathead parts 50 years ago.


Gene told the guys that he might have a pair that was ment for a -49 merc project he had in the shop, Gene went into the shop and searched for the new pair of head-gaskets while Micke and Ronnie drained the water and prepared for pulling the heads off the engine.


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-28By now the un was set, and it was time to get to work on the Mercury, to see if the problems could be fixed.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-25The guys and Gene working together on the Merc. What can be better than becoming friends this way? Its intresting how a big problem and frustrating work can result in such a great time.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-29Micky cleaning one of the heads.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-26Sadly the old head gaskets looked good, but under the right head of Ronnie’s ’39 Merc engine the guys found the reason of overheating. Big cracks between cylinder and valves in two cylinders. They only had one spare engine, and that was already mounted in Micke’s ’36… there was no other choise than to put the heads back on and hope that the engine would make the trip till the end! And so they did… and then finally it was time to get some sleep. [divider]



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Go back to Part One or ahead to Part Three of the Historic Customs USA Road-Trip.



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Historic Customs USA Road Trip P1

 

HISTORIC CUSTOMS USA Road Trip Part 1

 

How to get two historic stalled Custom Cars back on the road and make a once in a life-time Road Trip.

By Ronnie Lindblom & Micke Hedberg.

In early July 2016 Ronnie Lindblom and Micke Hedberg left Sweden for their dream road-trip in the USA. Both guys had bought an historic custom in the year prior to this trip, and along the way the idea had grown to fix up their cars in the US, and make a road-trip of a life-time before shipping their cars to Sweden. Ronnie had bought his early 1940¬īs restyled 1939 Mercury chopped padded topped convertible in the summer 2015 from Kevan Sledge, and Micke bought his 1936 Ford 5-window coupe in November 2015.

The Mercury had been for sale previous at the LA Roadster Show (LARS). At this show an older gentle man had pointed out that he was very familiar with the car. But at the time the man was not properly interviewed and no contact info was written down. This all lead for Ronnie and Micke to make the 2016 LARS their prime goal… who knows, perhaps the older gentleman would make an appearance this year again. Micke’s 36 Ford has a Long Beach history, so he was also hoping to find out more about who had originally performed all the well done body work on his Coupe.

 

CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-map-01Plane trip from Sweden the US on June 2, 2016.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-map-02Blue trip with Squeek’s pick up and Ronnie’s ’39 Merc on the trailer to Bakersfield (blue pin). After 160 hours in 11 days and half a day to clean up the mess the first trip to Gene Winfield in the Mohave desert. (Green pin) Next stop is El Mirage (Orange pin), and then to the LA Roadster Show (Red pin).
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-01Both Ronnie and Micke had started¬†collecting parts from the moment¬†they bought their cars. Some were delivered in the US, others had to be brought from Sweden. Three suitcases full of car parts, hand-luggage¬†with a few clthes and two hats… All they need.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-02Ronnie and Micke took a taxi from the SF airport to the upholstery shop in San Francisco that had done the interior for Ronnie‚Äôs Mercury and stored the car until now. They met Squeek at the shop, who was there¬†with a trailer to pick up the guys and the¬†Merc. On the way up Squeek he also had picked up some parts for the Merc and a spare engine for Micke‚Äôs ‚Äô36 Ford at Kevan Sledge’s place. Once the Merc was loaded on the trailer it was off to Bakersfield where the real work could start.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-03They arrived at Squeek’s home/shop late that night. Ronnie’s Merc was unloaded and Micke saw his ’36 Ford for the first time in person. Micke had it shipped from the guy he bought it from in Oregon to Squeek’s shop  in Bakersfield the week before.
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Ronnie and Micke worked at least 160 hours in 11 days to get their cars fixed for their planned road trip to Gene Winfield, El Mirage, the LA Roadster Show and the end destination, So Cal Classics that would ship their cars by container and boat to Sweden.

CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-04The guys slept in the office, just to save time. First thing on the agenda was to make a list of things needed and visit the local car supply store and super market to get parts and human fuel. The first big hurdle was to get the cars registrated and legal to drive on the road. Micke had already arranged full insurance on both cars from Sweden, and made an appointment at the local DMW office for registration on the Merc. Registration and inspection of the coupe took a bit more time as the title was too old. After some long hours and some administration problems they left the DMV with new registration plates and tax tags! With all the paperwork out of the way, the real work on the cars could start.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-05Squeek had made sure the guys had plenty of space to work at, their own personal garage, and let them borrow special tools when needed. Ronnie and Micke brought some tools from Sweden and bought some at the local toolstore. They figured a big box of tools would be needed to ensure the trip to LA.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-06Ronnie inventorying all the parts he had brought, shipped and found in the car. 
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-07Micke’s 36 Ford was also packed with all kinds of parts and stuff needed to get his car back on the road. The parts were ordered over time and all delivered to his friend John Terry in Oregon, where the car was stored before being shipped to California.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-08And then… the hours and hours of work on the car begins. Long days, late into the nights, early starts,¬†no distractions, and just one goal.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-09Brake repairs with everything new from mastercylinder to brakeshoes and overhaul inspection of bearings to make sure the car would be able to make the road trip safe, and stop where needed. The car has not been on the road since the late 1970’s.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-10Micke did all he could to make the original¬†engine that was in his ’36 Ford to run. He had made a special tool back in Sweden, to use at the starter gear. The heads and intake were pulled off and he made sure the valves were loose. While Micke was under the car with a long socketwrench and the special too,¬†Mike Parker, a friend of Squeak tapped the stock piston. The engine got loose and turned over… but not enough for¬†the starter on his own power. Even after a couple of days with lubricate and wrengching. Micke ran out of¬†time to spend on the engine, so he had to replace it with the spare engine to make sure the car would run.¬†
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-11Everything on the brake system had to be changed to make it road-safe. The first time Ronnie lifted the Mercury,¬†he got¬†unexpected¬†news. The spindle bolt was so dead that the wheel move at least¬†an inch. So new bushings had to be installed. And the next surprise was that the steering rods was hitting the oilpan. Sweet! Ok let¬īs dig up a truck pan to a 8ba. Luckely Mike Parker had a spare¬†one that could be used on the Merc.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-12Working until late in the evening was needed to make the deadline.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-17Up early, and a quick breakfast in the shop. The locals laughed and asked if they always lived on serials and frozen pizza’s‚Ķ and beer?!
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-13Out goes Micke’s ’37 Ford engine…
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-14Micke droped the pan down to check it, clean it and replace the old oilpump before the new engine was going in.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-18Old and New…
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-15Micke is prepping a new gastank for his ’36 Ford.
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CCC-roadtrip-p1-radiatorThe cooling system on the 36 was totally clogged, Micke had the radiator flushed and boiled at the local radiator shop and installed all new hoses.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-16Ronnie keeps the neighbours awake late in night, Sparks flying…
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-19Micke’s Ford is now almost drivable… Ronnie is still working hard to get his ’39 Merc ready.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-24Yeah… 50% of the mission completed. Micke’s ’36 Ford coupe is back on the road for the first time since the late 1970’s. The crew has a new parts getter.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-20Ronnie’s Merc is back on the floor, and now its time to install new glass.. 
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-21Interior back in, and getting all the electric stuff to work.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-22First time on the road for Ronnie’s ’39 Mercury since 1959.
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For a short time the guys thought they would be done early the last night in the shop, but after a frozen pizza and a couple of beers the crew noted some stinky smell coming from the ’36‚Ķ O¬īboy!¬†It turned out to be the coil was melted over the crank pulley‚Ķ They didn‚Äôt have any working spare coil and as the timing-cover was the wrong type for the spare dist. Micke decided he had to replace the timing cover. As they didn‚Äôt have a fitting socket for the crank pulley nut Micke had to cut the pulley off with the angle grinder to make space¬†for a big monkey wrench to fit. With the new dist mounted Micke made the final test-drive three thirty¬†in the morning. Now¬†the coupe was running like a kitten again! Pjuhh‚Ķbedtime!


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p1-23They made it… both cars are done, and ready for the trip to the LA Roadster Show, with a stop at Gene Winfield and El Mirage along the way.
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Micke and Ronnie want to say a BIG thanks to Squeak for all help for everything!! Transports, lodging, workshop, work and great company!! We never would have made it in such a short time at another place for sure! Thanks for a really great time! They also want to thank Mike Parker for all the help and running errands around town.

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Bonneville via Custom

 

BONNEVILLE via CUSTOM

 

In 1953 Car Craft editor Dick Day joined Chuch DeWitt on his trip in his Barris Custom 1950 Ford convertible to the Bonneville Speed Trials. Custom Car Road-Trip, Bonneville via Custom.


Taking ¬†a long road trip in a full Custom Car has always been¬†something special. We know that most of the Custom Cars ‚Äď up to the rise of the major car shows in the mid ’50’s ‚Äď were often used for daily transport, and also for the longer trips. I have heard personal stories of Jim Skonzakes who took his ’41 Ford convertible and ’49 Buick full customs on trips all across the US and several times from Dayton Ohio to Los Angeles. Jim also drove the Jack Stewart Ford from Los Angeles to his home in Dayton. Jimmy Summers drove his full Custom 1940 Mercury all over the place together with his friend Doane Spencer in his famous 1932 Ford Roadster. We have heard about¬†Marcia Campbell driving here ’42 Ford Coupe long distances, and many more stories that were told about these long full Custom Car road trips back in the ’40’s and ’50’s. Great stories about these guys and girls driving their dream¬†cars, enjoying the cars in their natural habitat. Sadly only very few of these stories were ¬†published back in the time these trips happened. The most famous road-trip story in a full Custom Car must have been the Kross Kountry trip in the Hirohata Mercury as it was published in the October ’53 issue of Rod & Custom Magazine. This published stories most likely inspired many young guy to go on similar road trips with their friends and Custom Cars.

One other published Road-trip story in a full custom that made an impact, but is often overlooked these days was in the December ’53 issue of Car Craft Magazine. Car Craft Associate Editor Dick Day documented a road trip he took with Chuck DeWitt and a friend in Chuck’s Barris Kustoms created 1950 Ford convertible from Los Angeles to the ’53 Bonneville Speed-Trials. A 1600 miles round trip documented in 6 pages, with some nice on-the-road photos of Chuck DeWitt’s beautiful Fuschia-Orchid-Metallic painted Carson topped convertible.

Chuck DeWitt’s 1950 Ford Convertible was restyled at the Barris Shop in ’52-early ’53. According the Barris Kustoms Technique book Chuck had already replaced the stock Ford engine with a hopped up Mercury unit and he had driven the car up to 118 mph before he took it to the Barris brothers for the full Custom treatment. Chopped windshield, ’53 Pontiac taillights in modified wind-splits, custom grille surround, typical Barris built grille, custom side trim using ’52 Buick and ’53 Olds component, a beautiful deep organic purple paint job and a white perfectly shaped padded top by the Carson Top Shop.



The Car Craft Article

CCC-chuck-dewitt-bonneville-car-craft-articleThe December 1953 issue of Car Craft Magazine 6 page article on the trip from Los Angeles to Bonneville in the Barris Kustom Shop built Chuck DeWitt 1950 Ford full Custom.
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Bonneville via custom

‚Äď Transcript of the December 1953 Car Craft magazine article ‚Äď

By Dick Day

What happens when you take a radical customized car away from it weekly mooring at the local drive-in, and head it out onto the open highway for a sixteen-hundered mile trip? These weremy personal thoughts as I slid into the plush interior of Chuck deWitt’s beautifully restyled ’59 Ford convertible and departed for the Bonneville National Speed Trials.

As I sat wondering what experience lay in store for use, considering the car’s roadability, comfort and the reception it would receive from the neighboring states, CHuck began relating some of the car’s technical points. The body itself has undergone some very extensive alterations by the Barris Custom Shop of Lynwood, California. The top has been ¬†chopped three and three-quarter inches and replaced with a beautiful white padded Carson type lid. Inside, the little jewel is one mass of soft airfoam, covered with black and white rolled and pleated leatherette upholstering, which at the time was providing itself most comfortable. A quick overall summery of the car could be it has the distinction of being one of the “Ten Best Customs in the Country”.


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Our first stop for gas proved to be a ritual that was to follow us throughout the entire trip. It was the question and answer routine that every radical custom owner goes through with the average gas station attendant and his assistants. It runs like this: “Where’s the gas filler spout? How come you got it positioned in the trunk? How do you get inside without door handles? What color paint do you call this? The most pointed comment of all referred to the ground clearance, which was four-and-a-half inches all the way around, “What happens when you drive over a piece of gravel?” Once back on the highway again, we checked out the added weight necessitated by the trip and figured that the already taxed suspension was supporting approximately seven hundred punds. This included the passengers, as limited amount of camera and clothing gear and thirty gallons of gasoline. A third of this weight was towards the rear of the car. Chuck has installed in the rear deck compartment a thirteen gallon auxiliary tank for just such trips as this. When combined with the stock tank’s petrol capacity, the car is able to travel an average of Five-hundred miles without stopping for gas. This for non-stop purpose works out wonderfully, but for a car that has been drastically lowered, the extra pounds of the gas added to the rear of the car, can spell the difference between a comfortable ride and one that feels as though the body was bolted to the rear axle.

CCC-chuck-dewitt-bonneville-trip-03Chuck De Witt’s Ford at one of the stops during the trip.
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We negotiated about every type of road surface conceivable, except possibly one of a muddy nature¬†(thanks, but no thanks). The car responded differently with each one. On a smooth surface the car’s response to bottoming was nil, but herex as larger amount of rocking and pitching from side to side was encountered at speeds in excess of fifty miles per hour. This action could be suppressed considerably, in Chuck’s case, by¬†installing a sway bar at the rear of the car to counteract the radical side sway ad spring twisting action. On a tar-strip road the car averaged out a ride nearly equal to that of any standard production model.

A twisty mountainous road, for approximately thirty-five miles, was under construction and proved one of the most interesting roadability tests of the entire trip. The surface was of a granite gravel substance, just about ready to receive its asphalt top coating. To add a little incentive to the whole bit, a highway construction truck pulled in behind us at the summit. To stay in front of him we had to average a good fifty-five miles an hour or otherwise we’d be forced to eat dust from his rear wheels. Rocks being trown back could easily have damaged the paint on the front of the car. Strangely as it may seem, this was the smoothest ride of the whole trip, but jst a bit¬†clamorous. Small rocks and gravel were bounding off the underneath side of the car like bullets. When we reached the floor of the canyon and the pavement once more, we stopped to examine the lower edge of the body for damages. No dents were visible, but Chuck now owned to of the most beautiful sandblasted rear fender skirts that I had ever seen. The gravel had obliterated all paint from the lower leading edge of each fender skirt.

At this point of the trip we should have realized that all had done too well, for from her on the highway was simulated obstacle course for the custom’s suspension. The ride that we had been enjoying without any aches and pains for the last four or five hundred miles went sour. The road pattern went something like this: sharp turns with wrong cambers, straight stretches had tapers from the middle of the road down to the shoulder that made us think we were running on the outside of an amusement park motordrome. Then to test Chuck’s driving skill without the price of a nickel, every fifteen or twenty feet a small knoll or slight pocket would appear for either the left of the right side of the car to go skimming over or dive into. By placing one hand up against the headliner, the left leg around the steering column and stuffing the right foot into the heater I could retain my position without too much hassle. We didn’t mind this too much because we knew it could have been worse. I could have lost the freedoms of my right arm which would have been cut off our supply of cigarettes and matches!

At Bonneville the car attracted almost as much attention as the famous 256 mph Kenz streamliner. It also gave many out of state spectators their first opportunity to see a radically customized car in the flesh.

The return trip home was repetitious of the first eight hundered miles, except for a slipping fan belt that necessitated repairs shade tree style. From this point it was only a matter of hours ’til we were rolling into Los Angeles and the cross-country trip in one of America’s outstanding restyled custom cars was coming to an end. The big question was “did the custom fail for roadability?”

This writer interpretation could be summarized possibly like this: the roadability and comfort depended largely on the condition of the road and at what speed we were traveling. This particular cars’s handling qualities were below average because drastic sacrifices were made on the front and rear suspension units to lower it to the desired level. At the same time comfort was destined to suffer from the fact that the car bottomed easier. Lately there have been some revised devices for lowering a car to a maximum degree without sacrificing handling qualities, and bottoming troubles have proved practically nil. In the near future Car Craft will feature these stories in a step-by-step version of ho they were performed.

The question, “did the car meet with any reception”? is fairly east to answer. I ‘ve never until now, found anything that would attract the attention of a die-hard gambler at a hot die table, nor anything to sway the one arm bandit friend to pear away from a triple plum, but DeWitt’s Ford had ’em falling out the doors from one end of Nevada to the other.

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CCC-chuck-dewitt-bonneville-trip-02They made it to the Bonneville Salt Flats for the 1953 Speed Trials.
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CCC-chuck-dewitt-bonneville-trip-barris-spreadThe Barris Kustom technique book shared this really great photo of Chuck driving the Ford in Las Vegas watched by a young kid on the side walk. Who knows seeing¬†Chuck’s deep purple custom might have changed this kid forever…
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CCC-chuck-dewitt-bonneville-trip-06Dick Day and Chuck made many photos¬†of the Ford during the road-trip, some of them were used¬†in¬†Dick Day’s published article. This side view shows the low stance of the car and the beautiful shape of the Carson Top Shop created padded top.
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CCC-chuck-dewitt-bonneville-via-custom-color-rhkFrom my own personal collection comes this rather faded and discolored photo taken at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1953. The deep purple paint must have looked absolutely stunning on the white salt.
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CCC-chuck-dewitt-bonneville-via-custom-color02-rhkRear quarter view shows some of the people at the event taking special notice of Chuck’s Custom Ford. Notice the location of the antenna on the rear splash pan.
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CCC-chuck-dewitt-bonneville-via-custom-color-trjThis is one of the best color photos of the Chuck DeWitt’s Ford that we know about.¬†It was¬†also taken at the ’53 Speed Trial event at Bonneville. It shows that the car sure made an impact with several photographers.
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Chuck’s Ford next to the Barris Kustom Auto bodies Chat Herbert “Beast” lakester.
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CCC-chuck-dewitt-bonneville-trip-07Several more glamour photos were also taken to accompany the road-trip photos in the article. Some made it to the final cut, others not. This low angle front view gives us a great look at the well designed front end on Chuck’s Ford with the molded in round tube grille opening and unique Barris grille. Notice the Southern California letters in the windshield, a typical trend in the 1940’s and early 1950’s when the car owners proudly listed the school they were at, or went to.¬†
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CCC-chuck-dewitt-bonneville-trip-05Barris created the stunning looking rear of Chuck’s Ford using 1953 Pontiac taillights set into extended and reshaped wind-spilts. Both front and rear bumpers are 1951 Ford an use Kaiser overriders. The rear units were modified with exhaust tips in the bullets.
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I wish there were many more articles published like this Bonneville trip and the one of the Hirohata Mercury Cross Country trip to Indianapolis. Road trips in the 1940’s and early 1950’s with Custom Cars. Road trips with many snapshots taken during the trip. Snapshots from people admiring the cars along the trip, snapshots taken from the car capturing the experience these guys had back then. And of course the stories about the trip itself. If you have ever been on a long road trip in a Custom Car, or know about some of the old guys who took trips like this back in the 40’s or 50’s. Please let us know. We would love to hear them, and share them here on the Custom Car Chronicle in our Road-Trip section.

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Resources and more info

  • Car Craft, Magazine December 1953
  • Barris Kustoms Techniques of the 50’s, Book volume 2, 1996

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1982 LEADSLED Roadtrip Part 2

 

1982 LEADSLED ROADTRIP

 

In 1984 Mike Key created his famous LEADSLEDS book. It made a huge impact on me. Today, in 2016 Phil Waters makes us relive this 1984 book, with his photo collection and story.


By Rik Hoving with photos from the Phil Waters Collection

This is part TWO of the¬†Road trip to Des Moines:¬†Driving The Rebel to the KKOA Lead Sled Spectacular, 1982. If you have not read part ONE, then please read Phil’s STORY¬†first.¬†The photos in this article were taken by Phil in 1982, at the¬†KKOA Lead Sled Spectacular in Des Moines Iowa. A car show¬†this editor (Rik Hoving) know so well from the Mikey Key Leadsled book from the early 1980’s. This article is my story about the Mike Key book and how the photographer of the photos used in this article, Phil Waters lived my dream back in 1982.

In 1984 Mike Key published his LEADSLEDS Chopped and low – ’35 thru ’54 book. I bought a copy of the book¬†as soon as it came out, it was so fantastic. Filled from cover to cover with nothing but Custom Cars. I had never, ever seen anything like it before. Back in the early 1980’s I was a young guy 16-17 years old, and anything Custom Car related was nearly impossible to find in the Netherlands. So when the Mike Key book came out I was in Custom Car heaven. I have read the book at least thousand times, gone over every little detail on all the cars in the book. I had my favorite photos, like the Sam Barris Buick and the one of the Jack Stewart 1941 Ford (I had no idea it was the Ayala – Barris created Jack Stewart Ford for another couple of years). And there was one photo, or a mildly customized black 1950 Mercury. Nosed, decked, lowered and custom hubcaps. Not as spectacular as many other customs in the book, but the photo caption with that Black Mercury always intrigued me.

CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-33-phil-watersMike Key’s 1984 published LEADSLEDS chopped and low- ’35 thru ’54 book with on the back cover Phil driving “The Rebel” 1950 Mercury with Kathy Ashby in the passenger seat.
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Mike Key mentioned the car was owned by Kathy Ashby, but that is was driven by an English guest of Ashby. I was “jealous”… I wanted to be this guest… But besides being “jealous”, it also made me think… that if this guy from England could go over to the US and drive a 1950 Mercury…. So could I… in perhaps a couple of years. Dreams!… I often wondered about this English guest, or better said myself in that Mercury, and what I would do if we would have arrived at the ’82 Lead Sled Spectacular¬†in Des Moines, where the mercury was going when Mike Key took that photo. I know I would have brought my camera and shot hundreds of photos of all those beautiful Customs. But sadly it was not me in that Mercury, it was that unknown guest from England.

CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-32-phil-watersPage 14 of the book shows Phil “the English guest” on highway 35W. Mike Key gave Phil the photos he took back in 1982.¬†
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In April 2016 Phil Waters shared a photo on his Facebook Page, a photo of a young guy in a black Mercury. I recognized the Merc and the scene immediately. Phil mentioned that it was him, as a young guy back in 1982. Ok… so Phil Waters was this unknown guest from the 1984 Mike Key book black Mercury photo. WOW…

I checked out Phil’s other photos and sure there it was an Facebook album with around 50 photos taken at the 1982 Led Sled Spectacular in Des Moines. I contacted Phil and asked him if he would perhaps be interested in sharing his photos, and his story from the amazing 1982 show, with us here on the Custom Car Chronicle. He would love to do that he wrote back. Great!


CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-19-phil-watersGrilles…
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A couple of days later Phil had scanned over 200 photos he had taken back in 1982,¬†and I could use them all he said. I was in Custom Car heaven.. looking at those photos took me back to the mid 1980’s when I looked at the Mike Key book for hours… and dreamed about being at that show… and taking¬†exactly the photos that Phil had just shared with me. It is so great that after 32 years I finally know that the English guest in the Mike Key book is Phil Waters, and that he took exactly all the photos I always dreamed of taking if I had been there.

Phil Waters, thank you so much for sharing these 1982 photo with us now. They bring back wonderful memories.


CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-20-phil-watersGreat low angle photo of a dark brown primered chopped 1950 Mercury, Donn lowe’s chopped white with burgundy and maroon scalloped 1949 Ford Coupe. Donn’s Shoebox had a huge impact on me.
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CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-21-phil-watersYellow…. Connie Winkler’s 1939 Mercury 3-window coupe with 1940 Ford grille,¬†Jeff Johnson’s heavy chopped¬†school bus yellow ’50 Merc, and two photos of the huge hit Posies 1936 Ford convertible with white padded top.
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CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-22-phil-watersDonnie Malinkovich¬†Ford Shoebox,¬† John Kolkovich built the sectioned Bonneville inspired red chopped and sectioned ’51 Ford and John Gowman owned the black and flamed pro-street box
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CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-23-phil-watersJim Wilkens finished an old sectioned project vehicle and brought it to Des Moines where it pleases the crowd. The baby blue ’54 Ford “Crystal Blue Persuasion” built by Keith Steies,¬†and bright red 1952-54 Fords show that these cars look good done mild, or wild.
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CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-24-phil-waters“So Fine” 1950 Mercury with Pontiac grille bar and a wonderful Candy Apple Red paint job, an un-chopped nicely restyled primer gray ’50 Merc, chopped with¬†Buick headlights in the works project and Ken Meyer’s chopped 4-door Merc with red and white scallops from Kansas.
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CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-25-phil-watersChopped in progress primered 52-54 Ford coupe project, Class of ’57 chopped Merc with unique front quarter panel extruding lake pipes. Glenn “Moose” Morion’s ’57 Ford convertible cruiser, and nicely styled black 1956 Ford Victoria.
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Deep Candy Red chopped 49 Chevy with black wall tires, which sure made it stand out at the event. Lee Pratt’s primered sedan with Buick side trim, “Wild Child” Chopped gray with maroon scalloped Coupe and a rear view of¬†George Dorr’s maroon ’48 Chevy coupe with Plymouth bumpers.
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CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-27-phil-watersRon Channel brought his chopped with ’50 Mercury rear window ’56 Chevy from Lebanon Illinois. It looked really great with the ’56 Packard taillights. The chopped and unfinished ’57 Chevy¬†shows these years chevy’s can make very nice Customs as well.
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CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-28-phil-watersPat Show built this chopped with ’54 Buick headlights and ’60 Chrysler tailights ’57 Chevy hard top with smaller rear window.¬†The ’59 Chevy looked like it just rolled out of the early 1960’s.
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CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-29-phil-watersDoug Reed’s 1949 Oldsmobile in wonderful medium green with dark green and gold tipped scallops. A nicely chopped mid ’50’s Buick with a yellow chopped 1940 Ford sedan, a line up of customs and¬†Elden Titus’s 1950 Buick.
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CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-30-phil-watersVery nicely done bright red mild restyled Hudson, chopped ’56 Pontiac Safari Station wagon in black with red and yellow flames. Very stylish chopped mid ’50’s Chevy pick-up in pale yellow and two more in progress custom pick up projects.
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CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-31-phil-waters Super slick gloss black 1960 Chevy with yellow to red flames with reversed chrome wheels with narrow whites from Donnie Malinkovich, and later ended up in Japan. A very interesting in progress chopped 1957 Chevy custom project in brown primer. Kurt McCormick with his Sam Barris Buick in the late afternoon, and a flamed black with silver top 1950 Chevy Hard-Top.
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Go to Part ONE


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1982 Road Trip to Des Moines

 

ROAD TRIP to DES MOINES

 

In 1982 Phil Waters makes the trip from Manchester, England, to the US, to visit the Lead Sled Spectacular in Des Moines Iowa.


By Phil Waters

Driving The Rebel to the KKOA Lead Sled Spectacular, 1982.

Ever since I was a young kid I have been mad about cars. Back in the early 1960s when I was around ten years old I came across a copy of ‘Custom Cars Annual 1959’. It was in a pile of old US magazines for sale in a department store in my home city of Manchester, England. The one with Larry Watson’s panel painted ’58 Thunderbird on the cover. The magazine cost me very little money to buy and I still have it! Inside were photographs of the top custom cars of the day and a major feature on one of the guys that built such cars: Joe Bailon. I was very struck by the design and look of his wonderfully restyled cars even though the black & white photographs obviously did not show the ‘Candy Apple’ colours for which Joe is famous.

CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-A55-phil-watersMy old 1958 Austin A55 chopped sedan I created. 
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Many years later, when I had started to mess around with real cars, I put together a traditionally styled roof chopped custom car based on a 1958 Austin A55 sedan. The influence of that old magazine was still strong! Then I saw a photograph in the British magazine ‘Hot Rod & Custom UK’ that showed an old Bailon built 1950 Mercury that was owned by a guy called Sterling Ashby in Minneapolis/St Paul. I decided to make contact, managed to track down a mailing address, and wrote a letter about my admiration for Bailon built custom cars.

A short time later I was delighted to receive a reply from Kathy Ashby, little did I know at the time that this would be the start of a long lasting transatlantic friendship…


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CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-03-phil-watersMike Key took this photo while I was driving¬†Kathy & Sterling’s 1950 Mercury¬†“The Rebel”. The photo ended up in Mike’s famous LEADSLEDS book. Mike¬†gave me this print of the photo.
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Some time after this Hot Rod & Custom UK magazine decided to organise a visit to the Street Rod Nationals to be held in St Paul, July 1982. I must have mentioned in one of my letters to Kathy that I was considering going on this trip. I received a very quick reply inviting me to come and stay at their home, extending my visit so that we could also attend the Lead Sled Spectacular the following weekend. Not only that, but Joe Bailon was scheduled to be the guest of honour at that event!

CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-02-phil-watersOn our way to¬†Des Moines, Iowa. ¬†We met up with other members of the Crusin’ Customs at our¬†breakfast stop in Albert Lea.
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And so it was that whilst all the other guys on the magazine trip were taken to their hotel for a week…I was met at the airport by Kathy & Sterling in The Rebel, a 1950 Mercury custom, and taken to their home. I was obviously quite tired and jet-lagged, but we managed to watch ‘American Grafitti’ on the VHS player that evening…a great start to two weeks of hot rod heaven!

CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-16-phil-watersLead Sled Spectacular at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa.
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CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-04-phil-watersRick Schnell’s 1950 Mercury ex-coupe “Misty Blue”.
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CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-05-phil-watersCecil Proffit’s silver¬†and scalloped ’51 Merc with continental kit and Truman Nelson’s red 1951 Mercury.
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CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-06-phil-watersMercury Grilles…
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CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-07-phil-watersGeorge Beluscsak’s bright yellow ’50 Mercury, a nice flame and primer chopped 51 and Jim Grinlimton’s flamed, but un-chopped ’49 Merc.
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CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-14-phil-watersTom Philpot’s ’48 Ford “Artic Gold” cloned after a ClarKaiser custom from the 1950’s and Bob Drake brought his restored Jack Stewart 1941 Ford originally built in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s by the Ayala’s and the Barris Shop.
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Our first weekend was spent at the NSRA Street Rod Nationals, which is a whole other story and photograph album. Suffice to say it was fantastic! During the week that followed I was asked what I might like to do and replied that I would really love to go to a drive in-movie. We didn’t have such things back in England…there would be no point as the movies would have to have weather-appropriate titles such as ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ or ‘Rain Man’! But I digress.

So Kathy, Sterling and myself climbed into The Rebel and went to the local drive-in movie theatre, hung the speakers on the window and enjoyed cherry cokes whilst watching the newly released movie ‘E.T.’…fantastic!

CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-08-phil-waters“So Fine” candy red and scallops 50 Mercury, Jeff Johnson’ hammered school bus yellow ’50 Merc showing off the engine and a mean looking perfectly chopped gray primer ’51 Merc.
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CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-09-phil-watersThe old Barris Employee’s Frank Sonzogni’s 1950 Mercury, which was created in the early 1950’s, was brought to the event by Larry Dames.
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CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-10-phil-watersDuane Flaherty’s orange and white with Buick Riviera side trim ’51 Merc, Ed Lepold’s white with DeSoto grille ’49 Mercury used some odd looking wheels.
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We also went to an ’emergency cruise’ one evening with the Crusin’ Customs car club, probably to make arrangements for the convoy of customs to Des Moines. Plus lots of other interesting stuff during my stay which included visits to various folks’ homes to see what they had stashed away in their garages, and an expedition to a junkyard in Fountain City Wisconsin to rummage around the vintage tin and view the yard owner’s collection of classics, muscle cars and even a Model A Ford that lived in his sitting room.

Finally the second weekend arrived and we hit the road at a very early hour, bound for Des Moines, Iowa. Myself and Kathy were in The Rebel and Sterling was in his pickup truck towing the Bailon Merc on a trailer. We met up with other members of the Crusin’ Customs and drove for a couple of hours before a breakfast stop in Albert Lea where the first of my photographs were taken. Mike Key, the British photographer had joined the convoy to cover the event for the UK magazines and at some point on the freeway came past the line of customs to get the driving shots that appear in his ‘Lead Sleds’ book. Kathy had invited me to drive The Rebel for a few freeway miles and so that was how I came to appear in Mike’s book driving the car. She has been constantly quizzed about who the driver was in the photos ever since!

CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-15-phil-watersKathy and Sterling Ashby with Joe Bailon talking about the Sonny Morris Mercury Joe built in 1956. This was the first time Joe saw the car in a long time. Sterling found the car in 1973. Joe Bailon would help with the restoration a couple years later.
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We reached Des Moines in the early afternoon and went to the event headquarters hotel to register, although we weren’t staying there. Kathy had arranged for us to stay at a nearby friend’s house for the weekend…I’m not too sure about the name but it may have been Bob Butterley the pinstriper. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong.

Then onward to the State Fairgrounds to help unload the Bailon Merc and begin to take photographs. I even took my turn on the entry gate welcoming attendees and the like. In the evening we went back to the headquarters hotel to hang out, look at the cars in the sunset and generally have a great time. I was introduced to Pat Ganahl, a writer for whom I have a huge amount of respect having enjoyed his many thoughtful and informative hot rodding articles over the years. Another time we went to George the Chilli King’s drive-in restaurant where they had car-hops on roller skates serving food to your car just like in ‘American Grafitti’…wonderful!

I spent a lot of the time at the show wandering around taking photographs, and some of the best ones were taken when Joe Bailon was reunited with the Merc custom he originally built for Sonny Morris back in the 1950s. My pictures show him chatting with Kathy and Sterling, possibly discussing the eventual restoration of the car. There was so much to see and do, copies of old car magazines to be bought and more Mercs to look at than I’ve seen before or since! Another outstanding car was the Sam Barris Buick, and I managed to get a few shots whilst Mike Key had his professional shoot set up! Sorry Mike!

CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-01-phil-watersKurt McCormick brought the Sam Barris 1950 Buick that had been freshly restored about three years prior to this event.
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At the close of the event Joe presented trophies to the winning exhibitors, and everyone present had the chance to get a signed print of his iconic Chevy custom ‘Miss Elegance’. Then the long return journey back thru’ the fading evening light in convoy once again, tired but blissfully happy!

Before my flight back home to England I decided to have all my photographs printed to avoid any possible damage en route, some 25 film cassettes in all and over 500 prints. Kathy kindly took them to a local photo store and promptly almost brought the place to a standstill with all the pictures coming through! I hope you all enjoy looking at a selection of them and maybe those of you that were also at the event will have your own great memories and stories to tell.

CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-11-phil-watersYELLOW… Ken Fenical’s Posies 40’s styled 1936 Ford, super smooth chopped ’50 Merc, Marv Englert’s chopped ’50 Chevy Coupe, and Donnie Malinkovich interesting looking darker yellow Shoebox with Caddy taillights.
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CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-12-phil-watersMark May’s ’49 Mercury “Earth Angel” with 53 Buick side trim, Gold and maroon ¬†’50 Merc, and Roger Lund’s very nicely restyled ’49 Merc with ’55 Chevy side trim.
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CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-18-phil-watersDave Crook’s Harry Bradley designed Firebird, ¬†George Dorr’s maroon ’48 Chevy coupe, and a wild restyled Chevy with full fade-away fenders, chopped top and canted headlights.
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CCC-82-des-moines-kkoa-13-phil-watersBright yellow stripes on heavily chopped red ’50 Merc, Jim Musgrave’s candy red ’51 Mercury, ¬† The “Green Flame” Mercury in wonderful purple with, what else green flames, ¬†Ron Dolson’s unique “Nascar themed” ’50 Merc in red with yellow to orange flames.
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Finally I cannot close this article without paying tribute to Kathy and Sterling Ashby, better known to some as ‘Mr. Merc’, for the kind hospitality freely given, their great sense of humour and fun and the enduring friendship I now have with these wonderful people as a result of all this. Special thanks also to Kathy for letting me drive The Rebel, truly a dream come true…

Go to PART TWO of the 1982 Road Trip to Des Moines.



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Custom Car Maiden Voyage

MAIDEN VOYAGE

Rob Radcliffe of King Kustoms has been working on his period looking 1950 Ford Shoebox Custom for a number of years. The second week of March, 2015 the car was ready for its first drive.

 
In November 2014 we reported here on the CCC that Rob Radcliffe’s 1950 Ford Shoebox custom was almost finished. Rob had been working on his custom at his own shop King Kustoms in Temecula Ca. His goal was to create a Custom that looked like it could have been built¬†around 1953. With obvious invluences from the Barris Kustoms built Chuck DeWitt convertible shoebox, Don Robert’s, Bear Customs built ’49 Ford and a few other period customs.¬†Rob did most of the work on the car himself¬†and the¬†final body-and prep¬†work was done by Rob’s close friend Octavio Chavez.
 
CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-01March 06, 2015 the car is complete and now officially on the road, and ready for the trip the next day to the Temecula Rod Run.
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In early March 2015 I finally finished the car, my goal was to debut the car at the Temecula Rod Run, which was held in the second weekend of March, 2015. There I would meet with Octavio and together we would show the car for the very first time as a finished custom to our friend Buster Litton. Buster Litton had an amazing 1949 Ford custom built by the Barris Kustoms Shop and George Cerny in the early 1950’s. Buster had seen the car being built over the years, but this would be the first time he would see it all painted and put back together. Very exciting!
 
CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-02On our way to the Temecula Cruise Night on Friday!
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CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-04There is nothing like seeing beautiful California thru the window of a chopped custom, surrounded with wonderful tuck & roll, chrome carnish, and my girl Katie, who took the photo, next to me.
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CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-03Oh yeah.. I’m enjoying myself… a lot.
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We Left Friday afternoon, together with my brother and his ’65 Mustang we had restored. My girlfriend Katie was going on my maiden voyage with me, and would snap some photos along the way. This was the moment I had been working for for so long. Finally on the road with my first completely finished custom. A car that I designed and built as it could have been done around 1953. I had sit inside the car during its build, day-dreaming of driving it being surrouned with wonderful tuck & roll, painted, fully detailed dash and sparkling chrome, many time. And I had done a few short test runs. But this was the first real drive, and it was absolutely amazing. Driving my finished custom gave me a feeling of how it must have been for the guys back in the early 1950’s.
 

Katie also took this short video of us driving thru wine-country. See me¬†swerving a pothole…
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CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-05A view out the back… shows that the Hirohata Merc headliner inspired me a lot.¬†
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CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-06bAlmost ready for cruise night on Friday before the show. 
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CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-07Katie enjoying the night time cruise. There is just nothing like seeing the reflections on the chrome surrounds and on the white dash. 
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CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-08The underdash lights shows of the great looking Gaylord style diamond stiched pattern upholstery… another Hirohata Merc invluence.
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The Show on Saturday

The cruise night was really great, always nice to drive a full custom in the evening hours. we got to Old Town Temecula early and found our spot at the Temecula Stampede parking lot. I could not wait to find Octavio and Buster to show my completed Ford. It was awesome having Buster come down to the Temecula rod run. We met him through a friend of Octavio’s named Ron who drove the shuttle at a local Ford dealership. Octavio was working at the Ford dealership at the time, right after he got out of the Marines, and he went to get a drink on his lunch break one day… and that’s when he spotted a picture of the Buster Litton Ford on the wall of Ron’s cubicle. Octavio waited around until Ron came back, and quickly learned that he and Buster were old high school buddies and that Buster actually came to the Temecula rod run every year from La Habra. This was about five or six years ago, and we’ve been in touch with Ron and Buster ever since. They’ve both come by to see the progress on Octavio’s ’49 Ford and although Buster couldn’t fit it into his agenda this weekend, he wants to come down to the King Kustoms shop in a few weeks to see the updates.
 
CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-10bWe found our spot #428 on the parking lot¬†at the Temecula Stampede¬†in¬†Old Town Temecula. You can see my brother’s¬†’65 Mustang coupe parked next to us.
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CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-11We got there early, some cars already arrived, many more would come soon. It felt so good to see my finished Custom finaly out on the road and there for everybody to enjoy.
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CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-12Later the whole parking lot was filled, so now it was time to meet up with my friend Octavio, and find Buster Litton.
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CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-15Buster Litton with me in the car.
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Buster Litton said this about my car.

Wow, this brings back some memories! Your car is obviously chopped more than mine, but you sure didn’t add anything that is too flashy or out of place. Your Ford is very tastefully done.

 
 
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CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-18On one of our drives during the weekend we saw three hot air baloons in the sky. Katie snapped this photo which also shows the nice chrome garnish moldings and chopped vent window.
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I’m extremely please with the way the car came out after all these years of hard work. I could not have done it without the help of my brother, Christopher Radcliffe, and my friend, Octavio Chavez. Special thanks to Zbest Paint in Lake Elsinore for the dark metallic plum (picked by Octavio), Ernie’s Auto Interiors in Colton, and Chris Whittington at Shoebox Central in Oklahoma for a lot of great parts and help over the years.
It is an incredible feeling to see this car come together… I still have a few bugs to work out- mainly shortening the steering column and bolting on my Mercury accessory steering wheel (waiting to get it back), as well as finishing off some of the candy knobs on the dash.
 
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CCC-Sponsor-KingKustomsTShirt-602Contact Rob Radcliffe at King Kustoms for more info on these T-Shirts Email Rob

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2014 A-Bombers Road-trip Part 4

A-BOMBERS ROAD-TRIP 4

In 2007 my wife organized my best birthday gift ever… a trip to the A-Bombers show in Sweden. In 2014 my good friends Palle Johansen and Tim Kirkegaard thought they would try and top this gift. They invited me to join them on their trip to the A-Bombers show in their 1939 and 1947 Custom Cars with matching tear-drop trailers! This is Part 4, the last part, of the 2014 A-Bombers Road-trip story.

 
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]ts Saturday night, our last night at the A-Bombers Old Style Weekend, and we are all having a great time. I took a few more night photos of some of the cars and the people having fun. We walked around the camp-site some more, looking at the cars and people, talking about a lot of stuff with the people we came across. Later I went back and sat with some of the other guys at our place. Over the years this spot has become the Custom Place at the Old Style Weekend. Everybody wanting to talk custom would come by and take a seat. It was really great listening to all these stories.

The people at this show came from several different countries. In our group we had people from Sweden, Denmark and myself from the Netherlands. But there were also a few people from Finland, Norway and Germany that hung out with us. The languages spoken in these countries are all quite different although Swedish and Danish is some what similar and Norwegian also has similarities. These three languages could be spoken and understand by all three of them. However Finish, Dutch and German is quite different so most of the discussion/talks were done in English. But so every now and then some stories were told in Swedish, or Danish, which was a bit hard to understand for me, but after spending some time here and if there were enough car related terms used in the conversation I was able to understand most of it. Dutch, the language I speak, has some similarities with Danish, although still completely different, it does make me understand some of it, when spoken slowly. It was fun though, to just listen to this strange combined and mixed languages and trying to figure out what they were saying.

CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-01Saturday-evening… time for a few more long exposure photos on the tripod.
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CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-02Long exposure photo taken next to the entrance of the music tent, people walking in and out, dancing and having a good time.
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After we had gone¬†to sleep, the wonderful weather it had been most of the weekend, changed. Temperatures dropped a bit more than usual, and during the night several small rain clouds passed the site, making sure the whole place looked different in the morning. It was a little colder and all the cars were covered in a wonderful blanket of¬†raindrops mixed with falling leaves… On the floor of the site there were empty beer cans and other trash evidence from a wild last night of the OSW weekend. The bands had played musing till early in the morning, but we had to get up early to make sure we would catch the ferry to Denmark. We sort of forgot to buy breakfast stuff the day before so all there was were some left over¬†sausages¬†and small Swedish meatballs, which we put on the grille… they tasted great. We all went busy taking¬†down¬†our tents, and packing our stuff. It was sad to see our camp place being dismantled, but it also felt good to go on the road again. I was looking forward to the drive in the Caddy back to Denmark, as well as getting home and take a nice long warm shower. But that last would take almost another day from then.

CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-03The next morning it looked like Autumn has started… Rain had fallen during the night leaving raindrops and fallen leaves on Andrea’s his New Panoramic Ford.
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CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-04Early start… packing all our stuff, and getting ready to leave…
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CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-05Even thought Palle’s¬†trailer was now much¬†lighter than on the way up, it still dropped the back of the Caddy.
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CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-06Strange things had happened during the last party night…
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After we had packed everything in the cars and trailers we took off to the gate and left for an half hour trip to Wolf’s place. Wolf leading the way in his ’51 Mercury with SMV trailer and the three Danish Customs behind it, followed by Stefan in his ’48 Buick. The sunny sky’s had made place for gray clouds, and when we arrived at Wolf’s place we could hear the distant thunder coming closer. We had looked at the weather forecast all weekend and knew it was going to rain, but had hoped it would not start until we got on the ferry.

CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-07Off we go…
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CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-08In line to leave the gate at the A-Bombers camp-site… Thank you for the hospitality and great times.
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We had about an hour to spend with Wolf, and he showed us around on the projects he was working on, his personal 1941 Cadillac Custom Custom, which possibly will be transferred to a padded topped convertible at one point. Wolf also showed us his Spartan trailer which he imported from the US. An amazing huge and luxurious trailer which will look amazing behind his ’51 Merc, or ’41 Caddy. The trailer¬†is completely covered with wood panels inside, has a wonderful living room with wrap around windows, a huge kitchen and separate bedroom. It is in need a a full restoration first though… but Wolf loves to work on projects like that. Then there was time for some coffee and a little bite to eat before we went on the road again. We said good bye to Wolf and Stefan, it had been really great to Wolf again and met with Stefan for the first time. It would take us 45 minutes¬†G√∂teborg, and soon after we left the first rain drops started to fall. We knew that both the Caddy and the ’39 Merc would not be water-tight, so we took some paper towels and other absorbing stuff with us.

CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-09Parking at Wolf’s place for a quick stop to check out some of the stuff Wolf was working on.
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CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-11Wolf’s¬†1950 Spartan Royal Mansion which he imported from the US. Plans are to fully restore this amazing trailer and use it for camping in and around Sweden in the future.
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CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-10Tim’s Merc looking good and looking forward to the drive home.
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CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-12Then is was time for some well appreciated coffee and a bite to eat on the deck before we headed to the ferry in Göteborg.
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Palle’s Caddy is an in progress project and the windshield is one thing that still needs to be finished. On these Cadillacs the windshield is made up of two sections. The outside has a rubber moulding¬†to which the stainless trim mounts to, and then the glass mounts from the inside in another piece of rubber moulding and this all is kept in place by the windshield garnish molding. This also makes sure that the windshield is completely waterproof, but Palle’s Caddy has only a temporally windshield installed with only one pice of rubber… which was not even sealing properly… oh well. ¬†The windshield wipers on the Caddy were also not working properly. The rubber ends on the arms was hitting the rubber on the windshield frame and besides that the vacuum was not working properly and Palle had to release the gas pedal to make it work, so that was far from ideal. Before we had left Palle had treated the windshield with rain-x or a similar product that would help keep with the visibility during the rain.
Besides the rain it was a fun drive on the quite Sunday morning roads. The car ran well, and it was great that despite the rain we could keep the side windows down most of the time since no rain came in. We enjoyed the last scenery in Sweden and arrive well in time in the harbor of Göteborg.

CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-13It was nearly dry when we got to the harbor in Göteborg to line-up for our ferry ride back to Denmark.
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CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-14Driving onto the Ferry… the sky was clearing up again.
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CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-22Parked inside the ferry for the 3.5 hour ride back to Denmark.
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CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-15Good-bye Sweden, thank you for a wonderful time.
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CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-16The ferry would spend quite a bit of time close to the beautiful Swedish coast before it reached open ocean.
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CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-17Open ocean… Denmark, here we come…
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CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-18When the center lanes on the ferry had unloaded we spotted this nice 60’s style ’65 Buick parked on the other side. They were also at the A-Bombers… but the campsite is so large, we had never even spotted them there.
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Back in Denmark the weather looked very nice, but Palle had received a phone call from a friend that there were very heavy rainstorm on their way.¬†There was no way around it, so we just had to go, and hope it would not be to bad. The first part of the drive was still very nice with sun and nice sky’s, but in the distance we could see the rain clouds coming. We talked about the weekend and what a great experience it had been and how well the cars had done it, despite some minor stuff as the heating problem on Palle’s Merc, and the failing light problem on Tim’s Mercury. The failing lights on Palle’s trailer from day one had been solved. Palle’s car runs an 6 volt system, but for some reason the 6 volt bulbs on the trailer lasted only a few minutes. He had now put 12 volt bulbs in it and they worked fine. Something else to look into during those long Scandinavian winters. Tim was still driving without working¬†lights. Then the first rain was coming down, not really too bad and apart from a few drops coming from the windshield center post holes and the gap from the A-pillar to the vent window on my side of the car there was no problem at all.

It dried up, the sun was out again before we saw it turning really black in front of us, we thought about stopping, but there was no¬†exit’s¬†nearby and also no bridges to hide under so there was no other option that let it come.¬†We were prepared for some rain, but¬†the huge amount that was¬†starting to fall¬†right¬†then,¬†was just a little more than we had anticipated. The only fear we had, was that the water¬†coming¬†inside was leaking into the dash and would affect the electrical system. The water was now coming in from the top of the windshield header, the center windshield post and from the A-Pillars to the vent windows. After a while we did not have any paper towels or other fabric stuff handy to stop the water from coming in… but around that time¬†the rain stopped,¬†and it would stay dry all the way to Palle’s home. I wiped off most of the water and then we could just relax and enjoy the rest of our trip in Denmark. Around the city of¬†√Örhus Tim and Tore passed us in the ’39 Merc and waved good-bye. They would take the next exit which would bring them to their homes. Lars and Lars, who drove Palle’s ’51 Mercury took shelter somewhere during one of the heavy rain storms, but they had called to say they and the car were okay. We had about another hour to go.

CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-19Back in Denmark the weather was nice, but we knew rain was coming, the distant clouds tell what was coming.
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CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-20Not too long after we hit the highway the first drops started to fall. Not long after that it was raining, and the windshield was starting to leak.
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CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p4-21The sealing of the padded top to the windshield header turned out to be, not totally waterproof, fortunately it was mostly on the passenger side, so I could make sure the dash stayed as dry as possible while Palle drove the car.
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When we got home we unpacked the Caddy and trailer and I stuff all my belongings in my own car, and then it was time to say goodbye to Palle who had arranged the best ever birthday present and road-trip ever. I had a 6 and a half hour drive back to home in the Netherlands ahead of me and it was soon starting to get dark. It was quite a different experience to drive home in my everyday driver, but in my mind I was still driving in Palle’s Caddy which made the drive home nice, comfortable and quick. I got home at around 2 in the morning… what a trip.
 
Thank you so much Palle Johansen, Tim Kirkegaard the rest of the road-trip gang and of course my wife for make this happen.

 
 
Go to: Part ONE, of the 2014 A-Bombers Road-trip Story.

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