RIP Blackie Gejeian




Blackie Gejeian, long Time Fresno Autorama Promoter passed away on the morning of September 2 Р2016.

Michael Gejeian (born 1926), nicknamed “Blackie”, is a race car driver, race car builder, and hot rod enthusiast. Considered an “Industry Legend”. Blackie was best known as the the organizer of the Fresno Autorama, one of the largest custom car shows in North America, held annually in Fresno, California. His roadster, nick named “Shish Kebob” with complete chrome undercarriage was awarded with many awards in the early 1950’s including the prestigious Most Beautiful Roadster award at the Oakland Grand National Roadster Show. And above all Blackie was always around at the California Car shows, greeting people, telling the most fantastic stories, and signing whatever people wanted him to sign.

Blackie Gejeian passed away on September 2nd, 2016.
Our sincere condolence go out to his family and friends.
May he rest in peace. He will be missed.

CCC-rip-blackie-01Blackie at the 2009 Sacramento Autorama.

CCC-rip-blackie-gejeian-Shish-KebobGejeian roadster originally built in 1945 and named “Blackie” because of the black paint. After a rebuilt it was named renamed it “Shish Kebob”.

Michael “Blackie” Gejeian, an Armenian by descent, was born in 1926 in Easton, California, near Fresno.¬†His family, including his extended family, were farmers who lived together in one farm ranch. Gejeian later recalled:¬†Seventeen of us lived in that one farm house. And you’ve never seen such happy people. My dad played the violin. One uncle the clarinet. Another uncle the tambourine. At nights they would play, and my mother and aunts would dance in a circle, the old Armenian dances, holding hands.

After Gejeian graduated high school, he enlisted in the United States Navy and participated in World War II. Returning from the war, Gejeian desired to build the fastest hot rod in Fresno. His first car was built in 1945 and became the fastest in Fresno. Painted in black, he called this first car “Blackie”, which would ultimately earn him his nickname. However, this car would ultimately crash in a race in 1948. Gejeian rebuilt the roadster as a show car and renamed it “Shish Kebob”. The undercarriage of the car was the first undercarriage completely chrome plated, and Blackie often put the car on its side to show this of at the shows he displayed his car, hence the nickname¬†Shish Kebob. He also started the tradition of placing a mirror beneath the car when showcased. In 1955, it was named World’s Most Beautiful Roadster by the Oakland Grand National Roadster Show.

He became of promoter at Clovis speedway for over two decades from 1960 to 1980. The Clovis speedway, which was in a dire situation, became more and more popular with Gejeian’s promotion. Through Gejeian’s effort, the Clovis speedway became “most epic dirt tracks in the country.” Gejeian was also the owner of the Fresno Dragway 18 years.


Blackie Gejeian began the Autorama car show in 1958. Since then, Autorama has been held annually in Fresno. The Autorama “drew some of the finest examples of automotive ingenuity.” In its 50th anniversary in 2008, the Autorama showcased over 250 cars. However, with the retirement of Gejeian, the Autorama car show ceased from occurring. Throughout its history, the Autorama car show took place once a year for 51 years, the last show being held in 2010.

(Source WikiPedia)

CCC-rip-blackie-gejeian-george-jackSherm Porter captured Blackie with his friends George Barris (middle) and Jack Stewart (left). Sadly all three have now passed away.


An episode of My Classic Car with an extended interview with Blackie.



RIP Art Chrisman




Art Chrisman passed away age 86 on July 12 2016. RIP Mr Art Chrisman

Art Chrisman, one of the founding fathers of NHRA Drag Racing and a member of one of the sport‚Äôs legendary families, died July 12. He was 86. Our sincere condolences go out to Art”s family and close friends.

Most of you will remember the amazing drag racing history of Art Chrisman. Far less known is that Art Chrisman created several very nice Custom Cars in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.

CCC-RIP-art-chrisman-36-Ford-01Art’s 1936 Ford 4-door custom at the 1950 Petersen Autorama.


Rest In Peace my dear friend Art Chrisman.

(By Jeff Neppl)

I heard the news this morning and it was on my mind all day. Most people don’t know that Art was a real hardcore Custom guy in the late 40’s and early 50’s. I mean before the drag racing and everything. Below is an photo of an¬†Buick that he did, and was a pretty famous car that was in the early Motoramas. This¬†is a unpublished picture that was part of my story I was doing for Kustoms Illustrated Magazine. I should of made more time and finished it now it’s too late.
This Buick was so gorgeous it was one of the best. Art really did it all and he did it how he wanted and when he wanted. I spent hours talking customs with Art and most people have never related him to being a Custom guy but let me tell you…. he was one of the best. Thanks for all you shared with me. We will all miss you but also treasure the moments.


CCC-RIP-art-chrisman-48-buick-011948 Buick Convertible restyled by Art Chrisman in the late 1940’s. 1949 Cadillac grille, chopped windshield with padded top.

CCC-chrisman-cannon-hustler-1Chrisman & Son’s shop in the later part of the 1950’s when the more to Race Cars and Hot Rod had taken place.



RIP Gary Chopit Fioto




On Monday May 30, 2016 Gary Chopit Fioto passed away. We sadly lost another very creative Custom Car Builder.

Gary “Chopit” Fioto grew up on Long Island, New York, and was fascinated with Custom Cars early on. Especially the wild show rods and bubble top customs created by Ed Roth and Daryl Starbird inspired him a lot thru-out his career. Gary opened a good running body shop on Long Island where he operated for many years, and his big break-thru came when he created a channeled sectioned and chopped 1932 Ford pickup. It wowed the crowd where ever it went and was featured in many magazines. He later created wild Customs as the 1950 Mercury with extreme bubble chopped top into a streamlined hardtop named “Tuf Enuff” and his dream come true all show Bubble Topped 1955 Ford named “Beatnik”.¬†Gary later moved across country to open his new shop in¬†Stanton, CA.

Gary visited the Santa Maria West Coast Kustoms Cruising Nationals in the memorial weekend of May 27-29, 2016 with the 1950 Mercury “Tuff Enuff” and on early Monday morning May 30, 2016 he suffered a heart attack and passed away.¬†Gary “Chopit” Fioto was a true Craftsman and devoted husband and father.

Floorless 32 Ford Pickup


Tuff Enuff 1950 Mercury


CCC-rip-gary-chopit-fioto-tuffenuff-01Gary’s 1950 Mercury¬†“Tuff Enuff” at the 2016 Santa Maria WCK show (Chip Chipman photo)

CCC-rip-gary-chopit-fioto-tuffenuff-02Gary Chopit Fioto on his return drive from the 2016 Santa Maria WCK show.

1955 Ford Bummle Top BeatnikCCC-rip-gary-chopit-fioto-beatnik-03



Inca Gold 53 Chevy


1927 Ford Roadster

CCC-rip-gary-chopit-fioto-roadster-01Photo courtesy of Street Rodder Magazine by Eric Geisert

1998 Long Island Shop Visit

In 1998 I had the pleasure to visit Gary “Chopit” Fioto in his Long Island shop. It was my third visit to the US, and the first time I met a famous Customizer I had previously read about in the magazines. I was extremely thrilled to visit his shop, and Gary made sure it was a visit to never forget. He showed us around his shop and let us walk around for as long as we wanted. He shared some great¬†stories about how he got inspired by people as Daryl Starbird and how he had studied all the old techniques. Everything he did in his shop was inspired on the old masters he admired so much. Gary was working on the 1950 Mercury “Tuff Enuff” at the time, with all the main body work done and the body getting prepped for primer and paint. He went over every detail of the car with us, explaining what he had done, what other car parts he had used, and how he created those huge bubble skirts based on the same techniques his hero Daryl Starbird had used on so many of his cars.
Thank you Gary.

CCC-rip-gary-chopit-fioto-shopGary ‘Chopit” Fioto in front of his long beach shop with the famous customized 1957 Chevy as wall decoration.

CCC-rip-gary-chopit-fioto-tuffenuff-04The 1950 Mercury¬†“Tuff Enuff” in the final stages before primer and paint.

CCC-rip-gary-chopit-fioto-01Gary in his office in his Long Island shop telling more stories.

Memorial Service

Please join us for Gary ‘Chopit’ Fioto’s Celebration of life

Mass – 9:30am
Holy Family Cathedral
566 S. Glassell St. Orange, CA

SUNDAY JUNE 12, 2016
Memorial Reception – Noon – 5
Galpin Auto Sports
15600 Roscoe Blvd. Van Nuys, CA


Our deepest sympathies go out to the Fioto family and everybody else
close to Gary “Chopit” Fioto.

Thank you Gary for your wonderful and creative contributions to the world of Customizing.




RIP George Barris




George Barris the King of Kustom Cars has passed away on November 05 2015. RIP Mr George Barris


I have feared this day would come for some time.

R.I.P Mr. George Barris.


Our deepest sympathies go out to the Barris family and those close to George.


Thank you George for your wonderful contributions to the world.

You were an inspiration to a many, and you showed us the beauty of customizing.



RIP Bo Huff




August 4, 2015, we have lost another Custom Car Hero today. Talented and very creative custom car builder Bo Huff lost his battle with cancer.
Bo Huff March 12, 1943 – August 4, 2015.

The Car world has lost another very creative Custom Car builder and as I was told a very nice man. I sadly never had the pleasure of meeting Bo in person, although one time we came very close to meet when Bo was asked to display his 1957 Ford Ranchero in a special section at the Customs Then & Now exhibit at the 2011 GNRS. But unfortunately we never ran into each other that weekend. Many people have always told me what a nice guy he was, and how extremely creative he was. His many creations clearly show the last. Bo’s wonderful and always outside the box thinking creations were featured in many magazines all over the world.
He will be missed a lot.

Our sincere condolences to his family and friends.




Life Legacy

(from Bo Huff’s obituary)

Bo Huff

DRAGERTON – Bo Huff (Gerald Douglas Huff), 72, passed away at his home in Dragerton on August 4, 2015 after a 5 year battle of cancer (multiple myeloma).

He was born March 12, 1943 in Clarksville, AR to Junior Gervis and Corene Crossno Huff.
Bo is survived by his companion Monique Wood, his sister Carolyn (Chuck) Abeyta, Dragerton, UT; seven children, Lisa (Ron) Weeks, Apex, NC, Michelle (Sean) Madole, Washoe Valley, NV, Amy (Paul) Pickering, Tunbridge, VT, Kendall Smith, Dragerton, UT, James Huff, Draper, UT, Madeleine Huff, Dragerton, UT, Junior Huff, Dragerton, UT; nine grandchildren, Anthony & Jessica Weeks, Apex, NC, Michael, Ryan & Isabelle Madole, Washoe Valley, NV, Max & Juna Valdez, Dragerton, UT, and Johnnie & Corene Huff, Dragerton, UT; and dozens of other relatives and loved ones that have made such an impact on him throughout his life.

Bo’s family moved from Arkansas to Dragerton to find work in the coal mines in 1951. He first took an interest in cars after watching the older guys in town with their lowered down cars. This turned in to the obsession that lasted a lifetime.
Bo was a world famous custom car builder who has won numerous awards at prestigious car shows. He was an avid member of the Dead Sleds Car Club. Bo was inducted into the National Rod & Custom Hall of Fame and the Kustom Kemps of America Hall of Fame for his life’s work.

Bo went to Denver, CO in the early 60’s to attend a body and fender school. After working in Salt Lake for a few years he moved to Southern California and opened his first custom paint shop. There he made a reputation for his superior artistry. During the 70’s he toured the country and ended up in Arkansas. In the early 80’s he opened a custom car shop in Lincoln, AR. He then moved back to Dragerton and worked in the coalmine where his father had worked for 23 years. After awhile he decided coalmining wasn’t for him and opened a custom car shop in Sunnyside where his shop is still in operation.

Bo was preceded in death by his sister Ada Jean Huff, and his parents Junior Gervis and Corene Crossno Huff.

The Huff family would like to thank the Huntsman and the University of Utah Hospital for all of their care during his battle with cancer.

Funeral services will be held at the Sunnyside Park in Sunnyside, Utah on Saturday, August 8, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. A visitation will be held at Mitchell Funeral Home (233 East Main Street) in Price on Friday from 6:00-8:00 p.m. and at the Park Saturday one hour prior to services.
Bo will be buried at the Valley View Cemetery next to his parents.

Arrangements entrusted to Mitchell Funeral Home of Price where friends are always welcome daily and may share memories of Bo online at the Mitchell Funeral Home website



Below are a series of photos of Bo Huff’s creations. Just a small portion of the many cars he has created in his long career. The photos come mostly from Bo’s Facebook page.
























RIP Dick Page




June 12, 2015 the world lost a great guy. Sad for our loss, yet relieved Dick Page has gained his freedom from the body he was trapped in for the past 6 years.

Dick Page
August 11, 1941 – June 12, 2015

The Hot Rod and Custom Car community has lost a great guy today. Dick Page was a true Hot Rodder and Custom Car enthusiast. He build some amazing cars in his career, and made a lot of friends. He knew everybody in the field of Hot Rodding and knew every little detail about all the cars he loved.
I got to know Dick when he contacted me several years ago about the Jimmy Summers 1940 Mercury. ¬†Dick was the caretaker of Jimmy’s old 1940 Mercury for many years and wanted to share his stories about the car. We spend countless of emails talking about this car and many other things. Dick was very generous in sharing his passion and knowledge and was really enjoying being able to communicate with people all over the globe about his car passion.

Dick has been ill for quite some time, while his mind was all set to go, his body did not want to cooperate anymore. He was in quite some pain for a long time, but never complaint.

David Dickinson
I’m happy that he has gained his freedom from the body he was trapped in for the past 6 years

CCC-dick-page-32-ford-jack-butlerPhoto by Jack Butler.

Jack Butler
I am happy his suffering is over but sad for not ever being able to talk to him again, I’m sure I’ll reach for the phone numerous times to call him and then remember I can’t.

Being restricted in moving around, Dick spend a great deal of time behind his computer in the last years. He loved being on Facebook where he made a lot of new friends. Dick was sharing as much of his passion about Hot Rods and Custom Cars as he could. He wanted to give forward all he had learned in his wonderful years.

Thank you very much Dick Page.
Rest In Peace.

Reed the obituary Dick Page has on the Edwards Memorial Funeral Home and Crematory site.


A Memorial Service will be at Sunset Bible Church at The Station 7909 40th St W University Place 98466 10:00 am Saturday June 20th. Open House following.





RIP Jerry Devito


Jerry Devito, best know to the Custom Car world for his wild restyled and painted 1957 Ford “The Maze” has passed away on April 04,2015.

Jerry Devito was a San Jose Rod and Wheelers Club member. He bought his famous 1957 brand new in 1957 and started to customize it soon after that. The first version was pretty mild, but later in 1958 he redid the car with some radical restyling, and asked Bob Heinrichs to do an ultra wild paint job which helped Jerry to win many awards and put his car, and himself on the Custom Car map.

RIP Jerry Devito

Our sincere condolences go out to the Devito family.


[box_light]For more information on Jerry and his amazing “The Maze” check out the info on the Kustomrama website.[/box_light]


RIP Ray Erickson


Ray ‚ÄúRadical Ray‚ÄĚ Erickson, passed away Saturday December 6, 2014, aged 86. Ray was a fantastic¬†car customizer a real¬†legend in the Kansas area.


By Steve Mallory
I don’t like to be the bearer of bad news, but I wanted to share with the rest of the Custom Car World, that Ray Erickson aka “Radical Ray” passed away in his sleep on Saturday night at 8:40 PM. He lost his battle with cancer.

We lost one of the real¬†innovators, a real do it¬†yourself’er. Among other cars that Ray built entirely himself at home in his house / driveway was the famous “La Jolla/El Torro”. Built in 1957, it started out as a 1948 Merc. Coupe . He robbed the top off of his dally driver, a 1950 Merc and combined the two!¬† All this was done with a torch and lead. He changed or modified every thing that he owned that had wheels. He is reasonable for putting K. C. on the map in the Custom and Hot Rod world and was¬†quick to share his knowledge and talent with anybody that happened to walk in his driveway.!

My brother George (owner of the Barris Kustoms-built Snooky Janich 1941 Ford) and I first met Ray sometime in 1955 / 1956 when Ray¬†was President of the K.C.T.A. ¬†They helped build the Kansas City drag strip and went on to host the 2 nd annual NHRA National Drag Races on the opening day of the Drag Strip.¬†We were 14 at the time and Ray let us sweep the staging area for the Nationals.!!¬† What a thrill for two youngsters just getting started in Hot Rods.!!¬† We have been following and enjoying Ray and his work ever since. We were in his garage when he built “La Jolla” in 1957.

What he did for us and so many other’s over the years is what makes him so special. ¬†Ray was still doing this up until the week before he passed. What a Guy.!!¬† We all have these stories and years of enjoyment and THANK Ray for this.!!

A real pioneer and leader in this hobby.
We owe him a lot and he will be greatly missed!
More info about Ray can be found on the Misfits Midwest website.
Photos courtesy of “BrerHair” and the Erickson Collection

Ray Erickson on his¬†“Royal Enfield” motorcycle in 1947.


“La Jolla/El Torro” 1948 Mercury with a 1950 Mercury roof… Radical.






Photos taken from the Misfits Car Club Memorial.













RIP Harold Bagdasarian


Sacramento Autorama Car show promotor and Capitol City Auto Club Thunderbolts president Harold “Baggy” Bagdasarian has passed away.

Harrold Bagdasarian passed peacefully on October 16th surrounded by his family at the age of 91 of Dementia. The Funeral Service for Harold “Baggie” Bagdasarian is Friday October 24th, 2014 11:00a.m. at East Lawn Cemetery, 4300 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento. The family has said to drive your hot rod or custom car if you would like to.

You will be missed Baggy!



About Harold “Baggy” Bagdasarian

Courtesy Rod

The Autorama was started by Sacramento businessman Harold “Baggy” Bagdasarian. In 1950, while serving as president of the Capitol City Auto Club Thunderbolts, he talked the members into having a show to settle friendly arguments over the outstanding merits of their personal customized cars. The Capitol Chevrolet Company dealership at 13th and K Streets in downtown Sacramento was the site of the first gathering, which attracted 22 entries and 500 spectators. “We took in $262 in two days at 74 cents a head,” Baggy recalled. “We didn’t charge 75 cents because we would have gotten involved in the Federal Amusement Tax.” The first Best Custom Car trophy went to Leroy Semas for his 1937 Chevrolet coupe, and Burton Davis was the winner for Best Rod with his 1931 Ford Roadster.

Though income did not quite meet expenses in 1950, Bagdasarian persuaded the Thunderbolt members to try it again. The date was rescheduled for April 19 and 20, 1952, but the location changed to the Newton Cope Buick Company showroom at 15th and J Streets. There were 32 local car entries, along with a few cars from the San Francisco/Oakland Bay area. The spectator count grew to more than 1,000 and the Best Custom trophy was awarded to a beautiful 1941 Chevrolet built by the legendary Joe Bailon, then of San Leandro.

Following the second Autorama, the Thunderbolts were hesitant to continue due to expenses. But an optimistic Bagdasarian, encouraged by the increased attendance, was convinced that the event had the potential for being a real winner. Baggy promoted the show without the Thunderbolts’ backing. It became apparent that a more suitable location was needed for expansion so he rented the Memorial Auditorium and teamed with the late John Gliebe, a motorsports publicist to increase public awareness.

The Third Autorama was a three-day show in late January 1953. This was the first time the name “Autorama” was used, since the exhibits expanded to include all types of hot rods, customs, motorcycles, race cars, boats and specialty vehicles. A theater area for the showing of various racing events, such as the Indianapolis 500 was introduced as well. The event drew 70 entries and nearly 8,000 spectators, including famed sportsman J.C. Agajanian, whose Number 98 Indianapolis car was one of the specialty entries.

The 1954 Sacramento Autorama and Motor Sports Review utilized both the main floor and basement of the Memorial Auditorium, and attendance of nearly 9,000. In 1955, the Autorama was shifted to the 33,000 square foot Merchandise Mart Building at the old California State Fairgrounds on Stockton Boulevard. By 1958, the large crowds and success made a five-day Autorama a reality. After the 1963 show saw nearly 30,000 attendees it was moved to the larger Women’s Building on the fairgrounds for 1964. Vehicle entries were up to 150 and in 1966 the adjacent Governor’s Hall was used to increase floor space.

In 1970, Bagdasarian moved the Autorama into three buildings at the Cal Expo. Entries increased to about 175 and two of the buildings were used for displays. The third was converted to a 1,500 seat movie theater. The Sacramento Autorama has expanded to more buildings to accommodate its present day exhibition of nearly 300 of the most spectacular vehicles in the world.

Bagdasarian carried on with the show through the 70’s and 80’s. In the late 80’s he teamed with Sacramento’s Don Tognotti, who produced the Sacramento Autorama until Feb 1999. the show is currently produced by John Buck Enterprises, Inc and the volunteers.




RIP Jack Stewart – August 7, 2014


August 7, 2014, Jack Stewart passed away after being in the hospital for some time with heart problems. His passing comes as a shock to many who had the privilege to meet this fine man who loved life…

In early April 2014 I heard Jack had been hospitalized with heart failure, but according to his wife Sally he was already doing better, and Jack was getting stronger again. In May that year Jack and Sally went up to the Santa Maria Show where Jack had been inducted into the hall of fame in 2012. Jack felt good and was really looking forward to that show. But the long trip, and long hours spend at the show turned out to be just too much for his body. When they returned home after the show Jack was exhausted, and his heart problems got worse again. Eventually Jack was hospitalized again, he underwent surgery, but he just never got back on his feet. Several month of tube feeding, pneumonia and heart problems had taken away all his energy.
On August 7, 2014 Jack passed away. I heard about his passing the next day and was deeply saddened by the news.

Jack Stewart May 9, 1928 ‚Äď August 7, 2014


Jack Stewart was best known as an all-around nice guy. Often he was called¬†“mr 32” because of the ’32 Ford Roadster he has owned since the early 1970’s, but perhaps more because he was selling ’32 Ford parts at swap meets for many years. If you needed ’32 Ford parts, Jack was the place to get them from. We also know Jack because of the ’41 Ford business coupe he owned in the late 1940’s, early 1950’s. A trend-setting custom built by Jack and his friend Kenny, and later redone by the Ayala brothers and finished by George Barris. This car was later sold to Jim Street in Ohio and eventually ended up with Bob Drake of Indiana who restored it and kept the name Jack Stewart Ford alive. Jack also had several other customized and Hot Rodded cars, but not as well known as his ’32 Ford and ’41 Ford.

CCC-jack-stewart-rip-03One of the best known photos of Jack Stewart and his 1941 Ford at the 1951 Hot Rod and Motor Sport Show in Los Angeles.
In 1971 Jack¬†became a member of the LA Roadster’s club, and became a very dedicated member collecting all the LA Roadster’s memorabilia which resulted in an amazing private LA Roadster Show museum. Together with his friend Neal East they traveled the US to capture the car shows and write many magazine articles together.

In 1990 Jack retired from his job at Union Pacific Railroad where he had worked for decades. After his retirement Jack really lived the life he wanted. He enjoyed every minute of it, started collecting pin-stripe panels, promoting pin-striping, and spend as much time at the car shows as possible. In 2001 Jack created the LA Roadsters A Retrospective book together with Dick Wells.


Jack Stewart and his¬†partner/friend Sally Bollen had lived together for many years after Jack’s first wife had passed away. In early 2013 Jack and Sally decided they wanted to grow old together, being husband and wife. So they decided to get married. Jack enjoyed living life to the max, and his marriage with Sally fitted this way of living perfectly.¬†Jack and Sally’s marriage, both being in their¬†80’s, made a lot of people happy.


CCC-jack-stewart-rip-05Jack and his customized MG in its first version. 
CCC-jack-stewart-rip-04Jack with his ’32 Ford resto-rod in the early 1970’s.
CCC-jack-stewart-rip-11Photo collage of Jack’s ’32 Ford that’s displayed¬†in Jack’s office.
CCC-jack-stewart-rip-06“Mr 32” on the right, at his “booth” at one of the many swap meets he attended selling mostly ’32 Ford parts.¬†
CCC-jack-stewart-rip-09In 2012 Jack was inducted in the West Coats Kustoms Hall of Fame for his efforts promoting the custom car hobby for all these years.
Jack became very special to me in the last years of his life. We met for the first time in 2010, when Palle Johansen and I went on our ‘Jack Stewart Ford Research Trip’. A trip to find out about the history of the Jack Stewart 1941 Ford built by the Ayala’s and George Barris in the late 1940’s early 1950’s. One of destinations was Jack’s place where we would talk to the original owner of the car, listen to his stories and see his memorabilia he kept from the car. Craig Wise, a close friend of Jack, had set up a meeting between Jack and us. Craig was our internet contact between far away Europe and Jack in California.

CCC-jack-stewart-rip-08Jack Stewart and me looking at the many photos Jack had put aside for us to look at on our Jack Stewart Ford Research trip. It was amazing to see Jack being able to remember so many little details from so long ago.
We spend quite some time with Jack. He was extremely helpful and friendly when we visited him. We really had the feeling we had found a new friend. When Palle and me returned home¬†we decided to create a book about the Jack Stewart Ford and of course also about Jack. We told Jack about the idea and he absolutely loved it. Jack and I spend several long phone calls discussing the books. He¬†explaining more about the car and told many more¬†stories about the great times he had with it. A¬†few months after that trip I was at the 2011 GNRS where I met Jack again. I had a great time with him, listening to all his wonderful stories, old and new. During the time I created the Jack Stewart Ford book, Jack and I talked a lot. Sometimes with the help of Craig Wise, who had become a great friend as well.¬†Jack was doing all he could to help both Palle¬†and me,¬†while working on the book as well as the restoration of the car. We heard from people, close to Jack, that he really loved the fact that his old Custom ’41 Ford was going to be restored, and that a book was created about his old car with all his stories in it.

CCC-jack-stewart-rip-07Jack spend quite some time sitting in his old Custom at the 2013 GNRS, at times you could see him going back in time, reliving the many adventures he had with his ‘1941 Ford.
CCC-jack-stewart-rip-13This is how the partly restored ’41 Ford was displayed at the 2013 GNRS. Palle Johansen from Denmark had restored the car to its bare metal form. The original plan was to show it in white primer, but when the bare metal body looked so good this was changed. Most of the other restoration work had been semi finished before the car was shipped from Denmark to the US.
All this time both Palle and me knew we were on a tight schedule with the book as well with the restoration of the car. Jack was not getting any younger. If we would take it easy¬†on the projects, it might just be too late. The original plan was to restore the car back to the white primer version, the way Jack had it for quite a while. But with the bare metal of the car being is relatively good shape and the fact that we were on a deadline Palle decided to not wait any longer and have the car ready for the 2013 GNRS in bare metal. At least this way Jack would be able to see his old car again and it would show the great craftsmanship of the Ayala and Barris craftsman‚Ķ a win-win situation. At the 2013 GNRS Jack was reunited with his old ’41 Ford again and we showed him the finished book about his old car. A book that has a lot of his personal stories. Jack had assured us he would spend the whole GNRS weekend with us, if his body allowed it. That way he could enjoy the car, the book and all of us as much as possible. Jack did stay there as long as he could. We all had a fantastic time. Bob Drake, who had restored Jack’s Ford in the mid 1950’s and early 1970’s was also at the show. It was the first time Jack and Bob actually met each other. Together they spend lots of memories that weekend at the GNRS show.

Thank you for the wonderful memories and friendship… Good bye my friend.
CCC-jack-stewart-rip-12From right to left; 6th, and current car owner, Palle Johansen, 4th car owner Bob Drake from Indian, Jack Stewart, and author of the Jack Stewart Ford book Rik Hoving.
CCC-jack-stewart-rip-10Bob Drake and Jack Stewart pre-signing copies of the Jack Stewart Ford book and sharing many memories at the 2013 GNRS.