Cousin Panyas Photos

 

COUSIN PANYAS PHOTOS

 

After looking for a long time Memo Ortega finally was able to get access to some old Custom Car related photos from his friends and family



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Memo Ortega is a well known name in the SoCal Custom Car and LowRider Scene, but perhaps not as well known as it should be. Memo has been working on custom cars and Low Riders since the early 1950’s. He became good friends with Custom Car Icon Gil Ayala, and in the late 1950’s he even bought Gil’s famous 1942-46 Ford Coupe as a persona driver. Today, in 2016, 81 years young, Memo is still chopping tops, and any other custom car work you can think of from, his garage work-shop. Check out more of the Memo Ortega Stories in the Memo Ortega Files on the CCC
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Cousin Panya Photo Flashback

By Memo Ortega

You know how I have mentioned multiple times that I have a hard time to get old photos from people I know from back in the day. Some of those old photos are long gone, others might be in boxes at the attic. Well a little while ago my late cousin Panya’s son came across some of his father’s old photos and remembered me asking for them. He came over and brought me a few I know you guys would like to see. These snapshots from Panya’s album show his 41 Chevy, 49 and 50 Mercury. All mild customs. He also brought a photo of Panya with the last classic car he had before he passed away, a neat four door ’41 olds.

The first photo I saw showed Panya with his old ’41 Chevy four door. He got this ’41 after he sold his ’36 ford 2dr sedan that was a big hit where we lived in La Verne, Ca. Wish I had photos of it to show you, it was really nice. He bought his ’41 around 1947-48 this car was real cherry like it just came out of the factory. It was a dark blue and like the other guys around, he had to have it dragging tail. So he right away lowered the back with 4 inch blocks and raised the front a little to give it the speed-boat look that was real poplar at the time where we lived. Then he installed the one bar flipper hub caps, really made the car look good. And of course the long antenna from Pep Boys, that were so poplar back then, on the rear. He brought the license plate down to the rear bumper and some time later he had the tail lights removed and trunk filled in,¬† and he installed Harley motor cycle tail on the gravel pan that really looked good.

Panya all dressed up with his ’41 Chevy four door with aftermarket single bar flipper hubcaps.
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Then in ’49 or early ’50 he sold the ’41 an got himself a black ’49 Merc and of course right away he started working on it. There was three guys there in the barrio in La Verne, that got Mercs at the same time. Panya my cousin, the Pagluso brothers and my friend Ezeqill aka Enchilada. Acencio kustom guys thats how I got stung by the kustom bug. Well back to Panya’s ’49 Merc, he went and got a set of Appleton Spotlights and installed them that really made it look good then he took the car to have the kustom work done on it in LA. I did not see it for a whille it was either at the Ayalas or the Valley Custom Shop that did the work, I never asked him. I kinda figurerd that from seeing the other kustoms there in my barrio, meaning the part of town where I grew up. When he got it back from the shop it looked awesome as a semi kustom with awesome shinny black paint… beautiful. The sad part of this Merc is that one night Panya an his friends were coming from a dance and one of his friends drove the Merc. Somebody wanted to race them which they did. They crashed the Merc by the Pomona drags at the end of the long street.

Panya’s friend Shappo drives Panya’s 1949 Mercury that they mildly customized right off the dealer. The car was later crashed and he bought a new 1950 Mercury.
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After the merc was crashed he had it fixed but he didn’t like it after that. So then he got another Merc, a 1950 this time, and he got it all done again. Thats the one with the Olds grill and motor cycle tail lights on the rear guards. This 1950 Merc was painted a metalic light blue, it looked awesome. Way later he sold the ’50 Merc and got a ’38 ford 5 window coupe that was an other one he had kustomized also, so far I have not been abele to get any photos of this one. The last car my cousin Panya had was a maroon ’41 Oldsmobile he fixed into a really nice car before he passed about 2yrs ago, in 2015.

Panya’s 1950 Mercury mild Custom Cruiser in 1954. The car was Nosed, headlights frenched with ’52 headlights, grille shell molded in, an 1950 Oldsmobile grille bar installed and a set of Appleton Spotlights.
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At the back the Mercury taillights were removed, the emblems removed from the trunk and all holes filled for that desired smooth look. Two small motor cycle taillights were mounted net to the bumper guards.
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Panya’s Mercury was lowered a few inches and ran on wide whites with the stock smooth 1950 Mercury hubcaps.
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Looking COOL!
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Panya’s friend Shappo standing next to Panya’s 1950 Mercury. Notice that Panya had installed a set of lipped 1951 Mercury fender skirts, which were a must for your 49-51 Mercury back in 1954.
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Frank “Panya” Ortega Hernandez with his last Custom Car, a 1941 Oldsmobile, which he owned and enjoyed up into 2015 when he passed away.
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This and That

Since some time Memo is more active on Facebook and with the help of the Custom Car Chronicle’s Memo Ortega Stories Memo has become quite an well known name in the international Custom Car community. From time to time people share some neat photos and stories with Memo. We thought it was nice to share some of that here on the Custom Car Chronicle as well.

Memo shared some photos he got from Mario L. Moreno on Facebook. Memo’s old ’37 Chevy Four door Custom was used for some glamour photo-shoots which were used for a series of Ontario Valley Department Store ads.


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1980’s photo shoot with Memo in the background on the right.
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My old GMC Pick up… now in Japan.
We have done a full article on my GMC Pick-Up, and people all around the world are still reading the CCC-Article on it. From time to time people send me some stories that they have seen my old truck or sometimes they send me some old photos of how the car looks now in Japan.

Japanese magazine The California St. from the early 1990’s featuring the original version of Memo’s GMC Custom Pick Up.
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Spread one of two from the feature, shared by a Japanese fan.
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The second spread from the feature.
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After being bought by a new owner from Japan the GMC Pick Up was redone at the famous Paradise Road Shop. Some updates were made including an new paint-job.
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And new taillights tunneled 1959 Cadillac lights into the rear fenders.
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In front of the old Paradise road Shop.
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Finished for the new Japanese owner and displayed as part of the Pharaohs Car Club display some years back.
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Memo Chop Garage Projects
Memo has been doing some work on the 1941 Chevy Coupe for his friend Jerry. Memo chopped the top twice on the car, first rather subtle and when it was finished in primer Jerry took it home. Jerry then got inspired by an heavily chopped coupe at the GNRS and took his ’41 Chevy back to Memo to have him take out a some more, to get a very radical chop. Jerry wanted it very low, but in the end Memo and Jerry compromised and it was decided to take out another inch and a half. Less subtle than before, but still very much in proportion with the rest of the car.

Memo proudly standing with his freshly re-chopped ’41 Chevy for his friend Jerry. We will do close up on this Chevy at a later point.
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Working on Jerry’s kustom and dancing while listening to Coldplay’s Viva la Vida on my garage big speakers from my i-pod.
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Memo has also been steadily working on his new personal ride… Ford F-100 with a lot of cool custom touches. More on that another time.
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Petersen Museum Low Rider Exhibit
A little while ago there was a nice Low Rider exhibit at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles. Part of the show was an exhibition of work from the late Teen Angel. Howard Gribble invited me to go with him to the exhibition. It was awesome, lots of people there. They had som many great things there and I sure got a surprise when I saw they had one big poster they were selling at the exhibit. It was the one that Teen Angel did for the cover of his magazine with my ’37 Chevy on it. That blew me away! They printed 100 of these posters and they sold em all Friday when we went there. They had kept a few and asked me if I would put my name on the last ones they had.

They also sold out on the T-shirts with the same photo of my ’37 Chevy Teen Angel Art that was on the poster. That was so crazy. They said they did not have anymore of those for Saturday or Sunday, but they still had a lot of other teen angels shirts. On the photo below you can see this Teen Angel work shop they had recreated in the museum, and on the left, on the desk, you can see the yellow posters They had left. They were big posters.

Howard Gribble took this photo of Memo Ortega looking at the recreation of Teen Angels studio at the  art exhibit in LA which was set up by David DeBaca in early 2017.
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Memo Ortega points to original Teen Angel cover art that features the 1937 Chevy he owned when he was a teenager.
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Remembering the Gil Ayala 1942 Ford

 

REMEMBERING the Gil Ayala 1942 Ford

 

In 1959 Memo Ortega buys the Gil Ayala 1942 Ford. Memo finished the car, paints it blue and enjoyed it for a few years. Here are some of his memories.


By Memo Ortega

The other day I was thinking about back in 1959, when I was the luckiest guy on the planet… It was on a Saturday afternoon when me and my friend krused over to the Ayala’s in East Los Angeles, to visit Gil’s Auto Body Works shop. I had been there many times before after I discovered the shop back in 1951. All these year I had driven my green kustom ’37 Chevy up to meet with Gil. This day was a special day, I remember we got there my friend said hi to Gil and was looking at some of the cars they were working at the time. I stayed there talking to Gil about Kustom Cars and how I really dug them, as well as all the work done by their kustom shop.

A few years back I spotted this kustom chopped ’42 Ford Coupe sitting next to the small building on the corner where the House of Chrome was. The car had been sitting there for about three years, if I remember correct. The House of Chrome was, just as Gil’s shop, also very popular. They sold all kinds of goodies for kustoms and hot rods, its where I got my first set of Appleton Spotlights.

Gil’s Ford parked at the Gil Ayala Auto Body Works shop in 1949. Not to far from where it was parked in this photo was where Gil left it sitting for some years until he sold it to Memo Ortega in 1959.
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Back to Gil…. when I had first seen this ’42 Ford Kustom I had asked Gil about the car and he told me he had started working on the dual head lites to give it a little different look, but he had not worked on it for a while, since they were always to busy at the shop. He just had no time to work on it. Back then I had asked him if he would sell me the car, Gil told me “If I sell the car, I will sell it to you. I know you will fix it to look good, like your ’37 Chevy… gimmie a little time to think about it”. Well this Saturday in ’59 turned out to be a Special Day… Gil told me he decided to sell me the car…. Talk about being happy!!! I was so excited. I asked him when can I pick it up. He told me when ever u want to, I will be here.

Well we left the shop, went krusin and I just could not get the Gil’s kustom out of my head. My friend was also very happy Gil was selling me the car, and he asked me when are you going to go get it? I told him it would maybe next Saturday. I was working at Matt Kolbert’s shop in Pomona at the time, so I my boss Matt for the day off. And I would have to find out if one of my friends had a trailer I could borrow. since I only had enough money to buy the car, not to rent a trailer on top of that. Well my buddy Johnny, who worked also at Kolbert’s had a friend (Big John) who had a big tractor trailer for hauling Orange Grove Tractors in the groves. He said we could use, and to come over next Saturday to pick it up. We also loaned Big John’s Chevy farm truck, a big two axle (not a semi though) and hooked the trailer on. We then went over to Gil’s Shop to pick the car up.


The only photo Memo has showing his friend Johnny, his boss Matt Kolbert and himself, back in 1953. Back then Memo already knew about Gil’s ’42 Ford, but had no idea he would end up with it some 6 years later.
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When we got at Gil’s shop and pulled into Gil’s parking lot, Gil noticed us and started laughing real hard. “Thats a big trailer you guys got there… but it’ll work!” We had to air up the tires on the ’42, they were near flat from sitting there for so long. We did the deal, I paid Gil, and they all helped us load the car on the trailer. And then we left. MAN was I happy! On our way back we got all kinds of looks from people staring at the car on the trailer, it took us a while to get back to Pomona, since we were real careful towing the car. We unloaded the car at Kolberts, and parked it next to the shop and left again to take the trailer back to Big John in Cucamonga at his Orange Grove. We thank him and left thinking what a GREAT day we had that day!

After having thought about Gil’s Ford the rest of the weekend I had to get up really early on Monday morning. I was real eager to see my new Kustom again. I was at the Kolbert shop before anybody arrived and stood there just starring at the car. I was thinking how mean it looked just sitting there. I then opened up the shop, by then my boss Kolbert came in, and so did mu buddy Johnny. They both gave the car once over look and they both liked it. My boss told me “looks like you’ll be busy working on it after work” I said “yep sure will… every time I get a chance

Gil Ayala’s old ’42 Ford with the quad headlights at an 1961 event at the Pomona Drag track.
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Gil had used Ford dual headlights in the ’42 Ford fenders. Memo Ortega finished the work and eventually repainted the whole car in Royal Blue.
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The Ford being driven at the parking lot back in 1961.
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First thing I did with Johnny’s help, was to try to get the car started. We jacked up the car and pulled the gas-tank plug off, got rid of the old jellowed gas (it looked like Jello). We had to pull off the gas-tank, clean it, and back it went. We poured new gas in and got a new battery for it. We also drained the old oil, got new oil and after a little while we got the engine going. It smoked heavy for a little while, then it got better and the engine sounded good. Then Johnny and I decided it sounded good enough to take it for a spin.¬† MAN that was good! The two 92’s were working good that was a big plus. It’s hard to remember every thing, since this was all such a long time ago.

Anyway, after getting the car drive-able, the first thing I wanted to do was get the headlites Gil Ayala had started finished. They turned out real good. I got the car all cleaned up, the interior was still the same as what Gil had in the car since the late 40’s. Tuck & roll, looked real cool. I started driving it and it was just so kool. The car had had lots of power, I really dug it. I kept driving it while I continued working on it. Me and some of my buddies were krusin with the car all over the place. The car ran fantastic and another big plus, the radio also worked. We took the car to Fairmont Park in Riverside at least twice, and we got some good looks as we krused around there. That was the place to go bumper to bumper krusin good memories from Gil’s kustom. Eventually I got the car all done, had the chrome re-plated and painted it a beautiful Royal Blue Bonito.

Illustration Memo created some years after he had sold the Ford.
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Thank you Gil Ayala for creating this mean kustom and allowing me to buy it from you. I have enjoyed it a lot during the few years I had it. May you rest in peace… The Ayala’s forever.



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Gil’s ’42 Ford still around?
We have recently heard some rumors that Gil’s ’42 Ford is still around today… stored in a warehouse for the last 15 years. Apparently it was saved from a junk Yard in California, then brought to the East Coast of the US by a previous owner, and sold to the current owner in early 2002. We hope to be able to bring you more news about this in the near future.

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Memo Ortega Stories Part 33

 

SoCal SHOWS Part 5

 

More Flashback stories and more photos from the Memo Ortega files from the time Memo went to some of the famous West Coast Kustoms shows in Los Banos.



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Memo Ortega is a well known name in the SoCal Custom Car and LowRider Scene, but perhaps not as well known as it should be. Memo has been working on custom cars and Low Riders since the early 1950’s. He became good friends with Custom Car Icon Gil Ayala, and in the late 1950’s he even bought Gil’s famous 1942-46 Ford Coupe as a persona driver. Today, in 2016, 81 years young, Memo is still chopping tops, and any other custom car work you can think of from, his garage work-shop. Check out more of the¬†Memo Ortega Stories¬†in the¬†Memo Ortega Files¬†on the CCC
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Memo Ortega Flashback

A¬†while back one of my friends had bought a pair of Appleton Spotlites, and ask me if I¬†could take them apart so they could be¬†chromed. He also asked me to take them to the chrome shop. “Yeah¬†I’ll take em apart, and take them to be chromed“. So¬†I¬†went to this chrome shop that I¬†had heard good things about. I¬†got there and there were two guys there. One was talking to the owner, and the other one was standing there, outside. He was about my age, he looked at me an said “by any chance are you¬†Memo that used to work at Kolberts Kustom Shop back in the early ’50,s in pomona”.¬†I¬†said “yeah im Memo”. He said “do you¬†remember me?”

I¬†looked at him “Oh dang, I do¬†remember you¬†now. You are¬†the one I¬†met at your¬†house when I¬†heard of you¬†installing aircraft cylinders on cars to make go low and high. One of my friends told me about that and I¬†did not belive him. Thats when we went over to you¬†house to see it with our own eyes. That was a long time ago back in 1950, we were so young lol.¬†I remember your¬†driveway was all full of oil allover the place.” He remembers… “Yeah I¬†sure had a big mess, and now everybody is doing hydro’s.”¬†We got to talking and¬†I¬†wanted to ask if I¬†could talk to him about another time about about his back in time working on them cars an maybe he could share some photos if he had. But he declined, so I¬†did not push it.¬†It seems he wanted to remain low-key. I¬†can¬†respect¬†that.¬†However he did take my number an¬†I’m still hoping he calls me. So I¬†will not mention his name here.

Wow… when I¬†left I¬†kept thinking, nobody was doing what he was doing back in early 1950’s. Lowering cars with aircraft cylinders, just a few years after WWII. I will never forget that day we went there to his house. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he will call me some day, and we get to talk some more.

Memo with the two freshly plated and put back together Appleton Spotlights.
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The Car Shows

Lingering memories of great times many of us had at Los Banos and Paso Robles with Richie and Penny at the West Coast Kustoms shows. When I found out they were gonna do a show in Los Banos I got very excited, and decided visit that show also, remembering how cool Paso Robles always was. We drove there with our kustom GMC. I liked it there a lot. There were some kustoms I had never seen, and met some old and made some new friends from all over. Of course I liked Paso better, since it was closer for us, we caravand there with our Knight Prowlers Club and had great times there in the past. Too bad Paso is no more, but it was great when it was held there. We will allways remember Paso.

But now we have the show in Santa Maria, we are all getting to like it more and more as we get used to it in Santa Maria. The fair grounds is not bad, plenty of parking space for the cars in the show, and the crusing at night is awesome with four lanes of cars going and coming back back and fourth. You¬†really have to keep you¬†eyes on track. So many cars to see. How kool is it that some of us are sitting down,¬†eating burritos or burgers or the smell of some of the guys cooking carne asada next to us… So awesome. The¬†first pictures, all 49-51 Mercs, are from Los Banos, and I also ad a few from some of the Paso Robles fun.

Enjoy

Your friends Memo and Rik




Los Banos Show

Cool 50 Merc wit heavy chop, burgundy metallic paint and slick flames.
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Very classic looking ’51 Merc with nice chop with the original ’51 rear window. De Soto Grille and super smooth black paint.
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This ’51 Merc was wild, typical for the late 80’s. Heavy chop, very small rear window, scoops on the rear of the top and on the front that had antennas in them. Sunken taillights and hand made fender skirts. Wild!
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This photo shows that the rear of the roof flowed right into the trunk, like a fleetline.
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I liked the Buick side trim and two tone pale blue paint. The headlights look to be handmade… I cannot remember what there were, but they looked cool with the rest of the car’s restyling.
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Black chopped coupe looks very nice with the dog leg removed from the fender line and nice pointy side trim.
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Dan McConnell’s Mercury had work done by Joe Bailon, Butch Hurley and Rod Powell. Beautiful Deep Purple paint job with Rod Powell subtile scallops. ’52 Ford bumper, De Soto grille and frenched Buick headlights with the perfect chopped top and shaved drip rails, this one was very nice.
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Bill Reasoner’s “Cool 51”. This one really has THE right look in my eyes.
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Paso Robles Show

Squeeg Jerger 1941 Ford convertible. This one was so good to see in person. Every panel has been changed on it and it has a very nice mix of styles.
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Cruise night at Paso was special… very special.
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I liked this ’54 Chevy Hard-Top a lot. Beautiful chop, extended skirts, white with green paint and some nice striping going on.
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Another ’54 Chevy that got my attention was this beautiful purple coupe looking soo fine.
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Still at it

Memo Ortega is still at it up in his 80’s. Howard Gribble took some photos of Memo at work re-chopping a clients ’41 Chevy Coupe. Memo had already chopped to top on it, and looked really good. But after a few week the client decided, being inspired by a radical chopped Chevy at the 2017 GNRS, that he wanted the coupe to be chopped more. So Memo took out another inch and a half. Looking forward to show more on Memo’ work on this Chevy at a later date.


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Memo Ortega Stories Part 32

 

PASO ROBLES Part 4

 

More Flashback stories and more photos from the Memo Ortega files from the time Memo went to some of the famous West Coast Kustoms shows in Paso robles.



[box_light]
Memo Ortega is a well known name in the SoCal Custom Car and LowRider Scene, but perhaps not as well known as it should be. Memo has been working on custom cars and Low Riders since the early 1950’s. He became good friends with Custom Car Icon Gil Ayala, and in the late 1950’s he even bought Gil’s famous 1942-46 Ford Coupe as a persona driver. Today, in 2016, 81 years young, Memo is still chopping tops, and any other custom car work you can think of from, his garage work-shop. Check out more of the¬†Memo Ortega Stories¬†in the¬†Memo Ortega Files¬†on the CCC
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Memo Ortega Flashback

I remember this from way back, I think it was from around ’78, perhaps ’79. One day my wife Terry was washing our ’37 Chevy in the front yard¬†when¬†this girl was driving by in her car. She saw the ’37, and decided to stop and check it out.¬†She asked¬†Terry if it was her car, she said she saw it from the corner of her eye and she just had to stop and look at it.¬†They started to talk¬†and it turns out her grampa was this friend of my dad when they were in there teens! They lived close by in Claremont only up halve a mile from us. Before she left¬†she told Terry that her grampa was Manuel Gonzales and told here where they lived. When I¬†got home from work, Terry told me about this girl¬†stopping by and checking out our Chevy. Well that blew my mind, I¬†told Terry I¬†know him, her grand father, Manuel Gonzales, he used to be a friend of my dad when iI was a kid and his brother had a ’37 chevy 2dr sedan with Appleton spotlights and removed¬†running boards, shaved door¬†handles and a molded in trunk with single bar spinner hubcaps… Something¬†I¬†don’t forget.

Any way… I¬†went over to his house and knocked at the door, he was the one that opened the door, and I¬†told him who¬†I was and about¬†my dad. “Oh come in, sit down I¬†remember when u were a kid many years back” Manuel¬†said.¬†Of course he was much older now, I¬†had not seen him since way back in the 50’s. He was already a familly man back then.¬†¬†I told him that I allways wondered where they had moved too, and that if not for his granddaughter stopping by, I would have not known¬†he lived so close by. He told me a lot of stories from back then.

One story he told me I¬†never thought much about it untill yesterday (December 25th, 2016)¬†We were talking about familly history and cars. “Here’s one for the books” Manuel¬†told me… Back in 1937 my dad and two of his brothers had bought a brand new ’37 four door Packard Convertible and removed all the ornaments and door handles from¬†the car, much like the guys were doing in the 50’s, and it was painted a beautiful deep shinny black. Manuels brother was called “El Torro” which means bull in English, cause he was such a big guy. He said how they used to dress allways in suits like in the movies and would always park in front of the old pool hall.¬†¬†This story also reminded me about how all the guys I knew in La Verne back then were tagged with a special name, even me.¬†An mr. Manuel Gonzales was known as “Manuel El Chango” which means the monkey in English lol…

Funny I¬†never thought much about that untill yesterday Christmas day 2016. BAM¬†they had a¬†Custom Packard back then… like I¬†said never struck my mind untill we were talking familly history thought I’ll share this. And what’s even more funny… back in 1950 I would¬†park across the street frome the same pool hall in my ’37 chevy. Sadly I have no photos of all this, but I did come across another old photo that I thought I had lost forever. From the mid 1950’s at Matt Kolbert’s shop, where my good friend Johnny and me worked.

Johnny Maldonado left, our boss Matt Kolberts in the middle and Memo on the right.
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Another older photo I came across recently is one of¬†¬†one of my girls, Gina (Pattison) when she was young back in the ’60’s.¬†She is sitting on a¬†kustom chopper bike I¬†made for her back then. Pretty cool.
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The Car Shows

We have been to so many show over the years, with our ’37 Chevy, our GMC pick up and the Chevy we have now. Usually I took pictures at the show, or asked somebody else that was coming with us to snap some cars for me. Recently I have been hunting for those old photos, and I have found some of them back, in boxes, some I thought I had lost forever. Here are a fe of the great looking custom cars from the 1980’s and 90’s, the car shows we visited with our GMC. I will keep looking for more photos and I keep remembering more stories as well… so stay tuned for more in the future.

1954 Chevy sedan in pearl light blue with seaweed flames. was a really cool car.
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Roger Squires ‘Chevy photographed at our old Past Times Car Club back in time. This was¬†at the first West¬†Coast Nationals in Buena Park Ca. Chayo Olquin bought the Chevy from Roger and its him that is driving the car in the picture. It¬†was a great gathering of all kinds of cars, good times.
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At one of our drives up to a car show we spotted this abandoned old chopped custom short door 46048 Ford Coupe. It gad a caved it roof.. probably kids been jumping up and down on it. Sad! Wonder where it is today. 
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Beautiful ’51 Mercury Convertible with chopped padded top, De Soto grille and bumpers,¬†and a¬†metallic mauve paintjob.¬†
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Slick looking ’56 Chevy in candy red and silver with great looking fine scallops. As if it just rolled out of 1960.
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40’s Custom corner. With a nice ’41 Ford convertible with padded top in black primer. This one reminded me of the cars I saw back in the 1940’s when I was just a kid.
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Extra Chevy grille teeth in this ’53 Ford.
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Unchopped mild custom ’51 Mercury.
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Mikael Wallin’s Mini Merc, Custom based on a Volvo Amazone made to look like a Mercury Custom. This thing was wild. To bad its gone now.
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My grandson Will with a chopped and smoothed 1960 Cadillac.
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Dick Dean built this ’51 Mercury for Harry Mohoff, it would later star in the movie Book of Love.
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I really liked the ’58 Chevy scoop on the chopped top and the ’53 Buick side trim. I think Dick Dean also chopped this one.
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This Merc was spectacular. Frank DeRosa built i. and it was chopped, sectioned and a lot more body work done to it. That is Frank behind the Merc with the purple shirt explaining the car for the camera. I’m standing behind the Merc just over the A-pillars with my blue checker shirt drinking a coke and admiring all the work on the King of Mercs.
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More Mercs, one a four door with¬†typical 80’s slotted taillights. The other one withe molded in and painted bumpers.
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This was at a later Paso Robles show I think… just loved that angle chop on the Chevy Fleetline.
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My wife Terry (with Gina, from the chopper bike above, next to her) and me got some Custom Car Chronicle Shirts and wear them proudly.
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Memo Ortega Stories Part 31

 

PASO ROBLES Part 3

 

Back in the 1980s when Memo Ortega owned his full Custom GMC pick up truck, he went to several of the famous Paso Robles WCK shows.



[box_light]
Memo Ortega is a well known name in the SoCal Custom Car and LowRider Scene, but perhaps not as well known as it should be. Memo has been working on custom cars and Low Riders since the early 1950’s. He became good friends with Custom Car Icon Gil Ayala, and in the late 1950’s he even bought Gil’s famous 1942-46 Ford Coupe as a persona driver. Today, in 2016, 81 years young, Memo is still chopping tops, and any other custom car work you can think of from, his garage work-shop. Check out more of the¬†Memo Ortega Stories¬†in the¬†Memo Ortega Files¬†on the CCC
[/box_light]

Once again rock &¬†rolling back into the ’80’s in my kustom chopped GMC¬†truck with my radio casset player blarring out songs like… Buddy Knox Party Doll,¬†Connie Francis¬†Lipstik on your¬†collar, Chuck Berry’s Sweet Little Sixteen, Dee Clarks, Hey Little Girl, and¬†of coarse Little Richard’s Tuti Fruitty.¬†Oh and I forgot Gene Vincent’s¬†Be¬†Bop¬†a¬†Lula……¬†ahhhhhh Kruising up the famouse highway 101 to the famous Sherwood Park in Paso Robles. We¬†got there 4 hours after¬†we left Montclair, Ca. and we were in¬†kustom haven.

The line to get into the park stretched way back, while we wait we can see a bunch of fine cars already in the park. This is so kool this line waiting for the park with all kustoms in front of us and more and more behind us, all waiting in line to get in. At the gate we are greeted by none other then Rich Pichette, one of the most awesome persons in my book, may he rest in kustom haven. Over the years I have mixed up some of my photos so in this batch we have Paso Robles photos as well as the Los Banos show both done by West Coast Kustoms.
Ahhh gone, yes, but not forgotten!




Dale Hollenbeck’s beautiful pale blue 50 Mercury.
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My trusty black GMC pickup parked with some beautiful Hot Rods and customs surrounding it.
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John Gimelli’s 1947 Ford convertible in beautiful purple with lavender-mauve flames.
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In Part Two I showed the front of this wild 1950 Mercury that is now owned by Sam Groenberg. The rear is just as wild as the front.
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John D’Agostino’s ’53 Mercury was built by Bill Reasoner, and had a really stunning candy red paint job.
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Bill Reasoner’s personal car that year was this great looking 1951 Mercury “Cool 51”.
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Another cool 51 Mercury was painted a super gloss black with DeSoto grille. 
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The chopped Shoebox sedan looked neat with the bright yellow and black paint, no skirts and a nice near level stance. The Chopped Caddy next to it was also very nice.
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Joe Bailon did Bud Malard’s 1950 Mercury, it was at the show in primer and would soon be painted pale yellow.
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The combination of the chopped top, black paint with candy purple scallops, DeSoto grille teeth, 53 Buick headlights and new front bumper made this 50 Mercury a real stand out.
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Memo Ortega Stories Part 30

 

PASO ROBLES SHOW

 

Memo Ortega recently came across some more of the photos he took at the late 1980s Paso Robles West Coast Kustoms show.



[box_light]Memo Ortega is a well known name in the SoCal Custom Car and LowRider Scene, but perhaps not as well known as it should be. Memo has been working on custom cars and Low Riders since the early 1950’s. He became good friends with Custom Car Icon Gil Ayala, and in the late 1950’s he even bought Gil’s famous 1942-46 Ford Coupe as a persona driver. Today, in 2015, 80 years young, Memo is still chopping tops, and any other custom car work you can think of from, his garage work-shop. Check out more of the¬†Memo Ortega Stories¬†in the¬†Memo Ortega Files¬†on the CCC[/box_light]


Memo’s Flashback

Cruising to East Los Angeles

Remembering some of my early cruising days back in 1951, ’52, with my old 37 Chevy. A car I¬†will never forget.¬†I did a lot of work on it to my liking, thats wats customizing is all about. When I¬†got the car I¬†was 14 going on 15, years old and I just wanted a kool kustom to kruze them wheels off… which I sure¬†did. I filled the door handles and truck-lid, and installed ’40 studebaker tail-lites on my rear fenders. I made me some plain side hood panels also, and installed some ’40¬†Ford headlites on my front fenders, and eventually painted it metallic green. An of course I¬†lowerd the heck out of it. It was so low that at one time I¬†got stuck on the railroad tracks.¬†Theres a lot more that I¬†did on this car, check it out in one of rik’s early Memo Ortega Stories.

I¬†grew up in La Verne, Ca where one of the older krusers told me about a kustom shop in East Los Angeles called the Ayala bros. He¬†mentioned that¬†maybe one of these days you might want to go over there, and check it out since you like our kustom cars…¬†¬†The older kruzers in my neighborhood¬†had some neat kustoms… those were the ones that gave me the kustom bug.¬†Well I¬†told one of my friends if he would like to kruze over to East LA with me on a Saturday to see if we could find that¬†Ayala’s Kustom Shop, since I¬†had never been there before. Yeah lets kruze there he had¬†never been to east LA either. So comes Saturday and we just took of to East LA,¬†even if we did not know where the place was, we had no address, no nothing.¬†When we got to East LA, we asked at this auto shop for directions. ¬†Turned out the guys in the shop knew about the Ayala’s¬†and¬†told us where it was.

ccc-memo-ortega-30-johnny-rosier-iceJohnny Rosier gave Memo a picture of an old restyled Ford pick up truck he used for his Ice deliveries.
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Well we met Gil¬†an his brother Al¬†an they really liked my ’37 Chevy. From that moment¬†on we went to that East LA shop¬†pretty often on Saturday afternoons.¬†We got to see kustoms there but we never bothered the workers in the shop,¬†mostly we talked to Gil, he was always nice and we became friends.¬†One other guy I¬†remember from the Ayala Shop was Johnny Rosier¬†he would later get a ’53 Mercury that was done at the Ayala shop. We got to know him a little better, he was kool, took time to talk with me an my friend, two young teen kids instrested in kustoms… he liked that. He allways asked us how come u guys come way out here to East LA, that’s real far from where you¬†guys come from. Because we like krusin¬†we always said! ¬†¬†His car merc so was kool just seeing him leave the Ayalas shop was a huge¬†plus for us…¬†Just one of my many great memories from the 50’s.

ccc-memo-ortega-30-johnny-rosier-53Johnny Rosier later had this 1953 Mercury hard-top that was restyled at the Ayala Shop. It was a really beautiful car with an amazing paint job. I remember clearly how Johnny slowely took off at the Ayala shop to go for some cruising on Saturday nights.
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Paso Robles WCK show

I recently came across some more photos we took at our 1980’s visits to Paso Robles how. This was such a great show, great memories. So back to Paso Robles Part 2.¬†I know the Paso¬†Robles West Coast Kustoms car shows are no more, but so many of us still remember them… awesome times we all had there. Never to be forgotten!¬†So many of us out there met and made so many new friends were made that we still talk to and together we remember those were neat times in Paso Robles.¬†¬†So many cars to look at. This show I went there with¬†my G.M.C.¬†chopped truck which I had just painted in two tone blues. The first time¬†I went¬†there it was in black paint (I see that one of the pictures I found was with the truck painted black). Now the truck lives¬†in japan with the Pharaohs Car Club with Junichi last time I¬†heard.

Later on the show was moved to Down Town Paso, where it was even better and the night kruzin was the thing to do.¬†On some of these photos you¬†can see one of my grandsons posing with¬†some cars, good memories from back in the 1980’ss. Nowadays the show continues in the town of Santa Maria, Ca,

ccc-memo-ortega-30-car-shows2-14This lavender metallic 44-48 Ford chopped coupe looked really clean.
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ccc-memo-ortega-30-car-shows2-13Primered ’51 Merc with chopped top with original rear window, and recessed tube kind of grille.
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ccc-memo-ortega-30-car-shows2-12Ford Victoria in light blue primer with lots of work done on the front. It looked good.
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ccc-memo-ortega-30-car-shows2-11The “Mini Merc” ¬†first time I saw the Volvo Amazon based custom. Was really interesting to see, great custom, to bad its gone.
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ccc-memo-ortega-30-car-shows2-10So many great cars there, I really loved these 80’s Paso Robles shows.
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ccc-memo-ortega-30-car-shows2-09Very slick looking chopped Chevy Hard-Top in metallic black with silver top and black tires.
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ccc-memo-ortega-30-car-shows2-08This blue primers ’51 Merc with 50 rear window looked really good to me. He came all the way from Washington.
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ccc-memo-ortega-30-car-shows2-07This one was from earlier when I took my GMC truck (in the background) when it was painted all black. Thats my friend Richard Crawford aka “Thinnman” with his ’55 Chevy low rider panel wagon.
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ccc-memo-ortega-30-car-shows2-06Buick mild custom. My GMC is in the back painted two tone blue by now.
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ccc-memo-ortega-30-car-shows2-05Loved this wild 51 Merc.
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ccc-memo-ortega-30-car-shows2-04Unfinished chopped mid 50’s Mercury in pink and lavender primer… Wild.
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ccc-memo-ortega-30-car-shows2-03’57 Chevy bumper with custom bullets and 53 Chevy grille on wild looking50 Merc. I really like the large radius hood corners…¬†
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ccc-memo-ortega-30-car-shows2-02Paul Bragg showed up with his stunning ’49 Mercury in two tone olive green. Thats my grandson kneeling in front of it, he loved it also.
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ccc-memo-ortega-30-car-shows2-01Bill Reasoner had brought his personal 1951 Mercury named “Cool 51). Beautiful car, that bill and his wife sitting on the right side of the photo. I heard Bill’s old¬†Merc is now also in Japan.
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Richard Aguirre 55 Mercury

 

RICHARD AQUIRRE 55 MERCURY

 

After failing to buy a famous Barris Custom, Richard Aguirre buys a brand new 1955 Mercury and drives it straight to the Ayala Shop for some Custom work.

By Memo Ortega



There use to be a Barris car that was in the 1955 movie “Running Wild”. It was a chop 1951 Mercury with a Carson top belonging¬†to a guy who lived in Azusa, Ca.¬†Me and my friend, Richard Aguirre, went to a car show in Los Angeles, close to Beverly Hills, if I remember correctly. My friend liked the car so much he fell in love with it. We talked to the guy, it must have been the original owner, Fred Rowe, to see if he would sell the car. He went back and forth, yes and no. And finaly he said yes, come to my house next¬†Thursday, so we did and they agreed on a price. Richard¬†got the money together and we went back to the guy with the Merc, but then the¬†guy backed out, and aid he decided not to sell the car anymore.¬†Bummer….¬†and it broke my friends heart. He was all hyped up because we¬†were¬†almost about to ride back in a Custom Mercury. So we went back home, when Richards said…¬†enough of this, “lets go to the Mercury Dealer tomorrow”.

CCC-ayala-richard-aguiree-running-wild-mercRichard remembered the Fred Rowe from the Rod & Custom magazine when he saw it at the car show we went. There the guy showed the movie posters.
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The next day we went to the Mercury dealer, and Richard¬†bought a brand new 1955 Mercury Montclair, straight from the showroom, and paid cash for it. The next thing he said was… “were going to the Ayala Bros!” We drove up to East Los Angeles, to Gil’s Auto Body Shop¬†and Gil and Al give him a price for the work he wanted done for the car. They were happy that we took this brand new¬†car over there. They did not get to work on brand new cars back then.¬†The work they agreed to do on the car was to fill in the hood and the trunk and shave the door handles add door poppers, add custom skirts with a flare, Appleton spotlights and they suggested to repaint the work that was going to be done back to the factory color which was a light green and off white.¬†Kind of like a shell on a mercury and their suggestion was awesome.

CCC-ayala-richard-aguiree-55-merc-02Richard Aquirre with his brand new 1955 Mercury¬†Montclair shortly after the Ayala’s had nosed, decked it, removed the door handles, added custom skirts, and Appleton Spotlights. But before they had dropped it really low. That made the car look even better. Sadly we do not have any photos of that version of the car.
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CCC-ayala-richard-aguiree-55-merc-03The hood was shaved of all the trim and emblems and touched up with factory paint. 
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After these pictures in this article were taken, Richard took the car back to the Ayala’s, to have them lower the car as low as they could.¬†The¬†Ayala’s ,¬†re-worked the A-frames,¬†tunneled the floor and inside drive shaft, modified the rear of the frame and springs. After that the car was really low, but still very drivable, and looked absolutely stunning. The¬†Ayala’s¬†also installed dual pipes on Richard’s¬†Mercury

 

CCC-ayala-richard-aguiree-55-merc-01This photo was taken a little later, and the rear was already dropped a bit more, which looked really good. Richard was also a member of the Vagebonds of La Verne, just like me, and he had the plaques on his Merc.
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When I was just starting with the Memo Ortega stories here on the CCC I was thinking about Richard again, and about his Mercury, and wondered if he was still around. I asked around a bit and found out he was still around,about 20 miles from where I live now. So one day me and Terry decided to go for a drive and see if Richard was home. He sure was, at first he did not knew who I was, but I recognized him right away. After a minute or so he remembered me, and this big smile came on his face. he was really happy to see me, and Terry, and so were we to see him again. We stayed there for a couple of hours, talking the good old time, and about the cars of course. I told him I was still building cars, and really never stopped doing that, he could not believe it.¬†I asked him if he had any photos of his ’55 Mercury.¬†He went to the back and came back a little later with these three photos, “you can keep them” he said. “Wow, thank you Richard“. I told him I would use them for the CCC stories and show the people about this other Ayala car… I now had the proof.

CCC-richard-aguiree-memo-ortegaMemo Ortega on the right with his old friend Richard “Kayo” Aquirre who he had not seen in a long time.
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It shows that not all Customs the big shops did back then were full customs. The Ayala’s did a lot of these smaller job cars. It kept the money flowing, and the bills paid for Gil and Al Ayala.

CCC-ayala-richard-aguiree-vagabondsVagabonds of La Verne club plaque.
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Memo Ortega Stories Part 29

 

PEPPY BRAVO 36 FORDS

 

Memo helps out his friend Peppy Bravo to create his dream custom based on a 1936 Ford four door sedan.



[box_light]Memo Ortega is a well known name in the SoCal Custom Car and LowRider Scene, but perhaps not as well known as it should be. Memo has been working on custom cars and Low Riders since the early 1950’s. He became good friends with Custom Car Icon Gil Ayala, and in the late 1950’s he even bought Gil’s famous 1942-46 Ford Coupe as a persona driver. Today, in 2015, 80 years young, Memo is still chopping tops, and any other custom car work you can think of from, his garage work-shop. Check out more of the¬†Memo Ortega Stories¬†in the¬†Memo Ortega Files¬†on the CCC[/box_light]


Memo’s Flashback

The Famous Buzzard

Back in 1960 when I¬†was working at Kolberts Kustom Shop in Pomona ca¬†(Now Congoras body shop)¬†I had this mild kustom Olds. I¬†remember one Saturday at around noon when I¬†got out of work I¬†pulled my Olds¬†in the back of the shop and cleaned and washed it¬†getting it ready to go kruzing on the weekend.¬†Well the word was out there was this hightway patrol officer harassing hot rods and cool cars going up Gary ave. to Henrys ‚Ästa hangout where we all went on fridays Saturdays and Sunday nites¬†‚ÄstWell when I¬†got done washing my Olds I¬†told Kolbert I¬†would see him Monday morning and¬†I left the shop.
 
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On my way home to La Verne, by the Pomona drags, I¬†saw this officer on a bike coming towards me.¬†Well he passed me, I¬†looked in my rear view mirror… guess what! He made a U-turn, and came after me. I said to myself, oh man he is coming after me. And sure enough, he got behind me and gave me the red light.

CCC-memo-ortega-29-flashback-cop

He got off his bike, came over, “let me see your¬†drivers license“. ¬†So I¬†gave it to him and¬†asked him whats the problem? “I¬†got to check your¬†car”¬†I asked¬†him whats wrong with it?¬†“Well I¬†don’t like it”¬†So I said, you¬†mean you¬†stopped me cause you¬†dont like my car? “Thats right”¬† Oh¬†you¬†must be the bad guy on the motorcycle everybody’s been talking about. I suppose your¬†the famouse buzzard.¬† “Yeah if thats what they call me”¬†“Well I’m¬†gonna cite you!¬†You guys should leave these cars the way they came out of the factory!”¬†I said to myself man this guys has it for our fixed up cars.

CCC-memo-ortega-29-flashback-olds-02My olds in 1960. The car was low, but not too low, however the Buzzard thought otherwise.
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Around this times some of us had scavenger pipes, these were really popular on our cars, and I had four of them under the rear-end, about four-feet long and about¬†two feet past the rear end on my Olds.¬† Well he saw them, gave me a ticket for them, and told me to get rid of them. He went to the front of the car and told me my car is to low in the front, so he gave me another ticket for my front licence plate being to low. I told him;¬†You¬†sure are not making manny friends around¬†Pomona Valley. He said “when you¬†get it fixed bring it to the station and I¬†will ok it for you.¬†I¬†took the ticket and made a U-turn after he left.

CCC-memo-ortega-29-flashback-h-gribbleThis photo comes from my friend Howard Gribble’s Collection. It shows the kind of scavenger pipes I had on my olds.
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I went back to kolberts opened, one of the stalls and drove my Olds inside. I was upset that I had¬†encountered the¬†Famous¬†Buzzard. I jacked up the Olds, cut the scavengers off¬†and¬†put them on the side. I said to myself “good,¬†one down”. Then I¬†jacked up the front and raised the front, making sure my front plate was legal height. I did this real fast, man I¬†was ready!¬†So I¬†closed the shop back up and drove¬†straight to the station. When I¬†got there I rang¬†the bell, well guess who came out, it was non other then “The Buzzard” himself. “Yes can I¬†help you”¬†So I said, yeah you¬†just gave me two¬†tickets a little while¬†ago, and I¬†came so you¬†can ok the car. “Oh yeah, I¬†remember you.” “There is no way you¬†can have fixed it this fast!”¬†Well I’m¬†here to get it ok-ed! So we went by the Olds, he scratched his head, “Well I¬†be darned!” He checked everything. He gave me a ticket for proof he ok-ed it. Let me tell you, he was pissed off and walked away.

I went right back to Kolberts opend up the stall, jacked up the Olds, welded the scavengers back on, and went to the front and dropped it low again. It was the same way as when I had¬†left to go home earlier that day. I did all this in 3¬†hours. When I went¬†home I¬†was keeping my fingers crossed¬†I did not run into the Buzzard again…. Great memories from back then.



Peppy Bravo 1936 Ford Sedan

Back in the 1990’s when we did the car shows with our Knight Prowlers club, Peppy and his familly were always at those shows. They always had a¬†lot of¬†fun at our shows. One day Peppy asked me about fixing up his 1936 Ford that he had gotten from his uncle.¬†He new that I¬†worked on cars and he specially wanted me to do the work on his ’36. I asked him what did he want me to do on it.¬†He wanted all newer running gear and custom work. Well Peppy¬†I¬†will be more than happy to work on it, but right now I’m really busy, I¬†have a couple of cars I¬†have to do, and when I’m¬†done with those I¬†sure would like to do the work on your ’36.¬†Peppy asked me how long before I can work on it. I told him about six to eight months if you¬†can wait.¬†He told me he¬†will contact me¬†latter on.¬†So way latter Peppy got a hold of me and told me he had somebody else already install the running gear in the car and he was not to happy the way it was done. He¬†wanted me to look at the car and if I¬†could not be mad¬†at him¬†because¬†he had this other shop¬†do it, and it turned out pretty bad.¬†¬†Of course I will not get mad¬†Peppy, just bring the car¬†over and I will have a look.

So Peppy¬†came by¬†while I was working on¬†Wills 1941 Chevy 2dr sedan. I¬†had just finished Mendez car, so now I¬†can work on Peppy’s ’36.¬†We went on the street to check out the ’36.¬†Peppy told me what he wanted done. He wanted to lower the car more in the back and in the front. But he told me everytime he hit a bump¬†the¬†front tires would hit the top of his front fenders and the fenders got dented because of that.¬†I told him thats not good and I took a look what was happening. Turns out the car was subframed and it was just to wide, the tires were hitting in sides of the fenders each time he hit a bump in the road. I can fix that I said. What I¬†can do is,¬†narrow the top and bottom A-frames, that will bring her down a couple of inches.

CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-02Peppy and me checking out the early progress on the Ford. I had to do quite a bit of work to get the dents out and the body straight.
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-01The 1941 Ford bumpers and Dummy Spotlights have already been added and changed the looks of the car. Two happy guys, but the job is far from done.
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Peppy asked me if I could do¬†all the body work first and then do some custom work, ok with me Peppy I¬†told him.¬†He asked me when could I¬†start.¬†When ever you want. I’m¬†working on wills 41 but I have to wait for some parts and I can start on yours now. So he left the car at my house. First I took care of all the dents. The car also had the spare tire mounted on the deck lid and he wanted that to be removed, so I took it off and the big tire bracket. I filled in the holes and smoothed the back. Now it was looking kool. He asked me what taillights would look good. I had a pair of ’41 chevy lights laying around, I took them apart and taped the glass and chrome bezels on the deck lid and placed the licence plate in between the lights on the 1941 Ford rear bumper. Peppy liked that. So I installed them just like that.¬†I suggested we get a pair of teardrops spotlites and a tall antenna. The real Appleton’s were hard to find, and if we found them they were so expensive, so Peppy ended up using a set of dummy spotlights.

CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-05Here you can see a bit of the bad work done on sub-framing the car. I had already started the work to narrow the top and bottom A-frames, and see what else I could to so save the situation.
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-06The 36 Ford wheels and tires waiting patiently under my lemon tree.
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Peppy asked me what would you do to make my car look mean, treat it like it was your own car. So I ended up painted it in black suede, and it looked killer… just like back in the days. Then we got some white walls and painted the rims red with some one bar flipper hub caps. Now the car really kicked, Peppy really liked what I had done to his car. We also got a pair of teardrop skirts that was the icing on the cake. The whole package took the car back to the 40’s and early 50’s… Well he told me to do the car like it was mine… so I did.

CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-04Peppy and me putting the 36 back together.
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-16Time for some serious cruising.
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Well peppy wanted the car lowered now, so I took the front suspension apart an narrowed the top and bottom A-arms, cut the coils, got them back on and this lowered the front a couple of inches now already looked a lot kooler. The back of the car was just as badly done as the front I could not lower it any more becuase the way it was done. Peppy said “memo I don’t care what you have to do to get this car lowered I know you can do it. Just do what you have to do.” Ok Peppy, I’ll do it. They had put parellel springs and to top it off, they were real long sticking out the back looked shady. So off they came, I took them apart and cut ten inches off the back end and de-arched them.¬†Then Peppy wanted airbags. I¬†said ok we can do it while im working on the back. I then cut the floor to crate space for the drive shaft.¬†The car could now sit very low. I put everything in the trunk, installed airbags under the car¬†and¬†everything worked good. So Peppy was happy now … well almost!!!

After enjoying it for some time in suede black with red pin-striping, he brings the ’36¬†back again. Now he wants me to spray it green, similar as how he got it from his uncle. So¬†I¬†sprayed the car again, now in the green shade he picked. And he drove it like that for a while. Then he asked if I could do some more work on his ’36. Sure bring it over.

CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-07Trying to figure out what I can keep and what has to go. 
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He now also¬†wanted his car way down in front and with proper using airbags. I told him “Peppy the only way I¬†can do it is if I¬†get rid of the subframe and start from scratch and built you a new frame from the fire wall to the front.¬†“Memo just do what it takes” he told me.¬†Peppy I will¬†get a Mustang II¬† and install that. Then the car¬†will ride an handle good. Ok lets do it memo.

CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-08Peppy thinking “If I only had waited for Memo to have some time and do all this work on my car right the first time instead of going to this other shop!”
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-09After marking everything on the floor, and making sure the radiator remains in the right position I cut off the badly done sub-frame and planned to make my own frame.
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-10The new subframe I made, almost ready to be installed on the 36 Ford frame.
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-11The new subframe in all welded in place Still need to add all the brackets and supports.
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-13With the frame done I had to make sure the front fenders and grille surround could be mounted and fit properly. Testing, adjusting, testing.
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-15Creating some of the brackets and supports to add to the new subframe.
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-12When the front body panels all fitted the way they supposed to do, and the frame all done I could mount the Mustang II suspension.
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-14Next up was mounting the wheels and tires to see how the airbags work and if the car gets low enough for Peppy… looks like he is happy with the result… and so was I.
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-18The finished car… it looks great and Peppy is happy.
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-17Peppy wanted his ’36 Ford low… so thats what he got. But it will never been on the ground! The air-ride makes sure Peppy can raise it when he wants¬†to drive it long distance.
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After doing all that, the car rides and handles really good and it also looks very kool.¬†You think Peppy is happy… well he is….¬†he finally is completely¬†happy…. thats Peppy Bravo!





Go to Part 30¬†of the Memo Ortega stories… coming soon!
Go back to Part 28.


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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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Memo Ortega Stories Part 28

 

CAR SHOWS IN THE 80’s

 

In the early 1980’s Memo heard about these all Kustom Car Shows in the Paso Robles area. He¬†had to check it out himself… he¬†could not believe what he saw.



[box_light]Memo Ortega is a well known name in the SoCal Custom Car and LowRider Scene, but perhaps not as well known as it should be. Memo has been working on custom cars and Low Riders since the early 1950’s. He became good friends with Custom Car Icon Gil Ayala, and in the late 1950’s he even bought Gil’s famous 1942-46 Ford Coupe as a persona driver. Today, in 2015, 80 years young, Memo is still chopping tops, and any other custom car work you can think of from, his garage work-shop. Check out more of the¬†Memo Ortega Stories¬†in the¬†Memo Ortega Files¬†on the CCC[/box_light]

By Memo Ortega

Before we go cruising¬†to the Paso Robles shows with Memo, we first like to share another¬†Memo¬†Ortega¬†flashback with you…

 

Movie Flashback

Back in around 1946¬†or ’47, in the little town of LaVerne Ca, I¬†remember on Sundays a lot of the guys and girls used to go to the movies to Pomona.¬†Our little town did not have a theater back then, so a¬†lot of us kids had to take the bus to Pomona to see a movie. Me and my friend Manuel aka Papitas,¬†which¬†means potato chips, that was his nick-name, we all had a nick names.¬†Anyway, it would cost us 10 cents for the bus, a quarter for the show and 5 and 10 cents for a coke and popcorn, and another ten cents for the bus to get back home.¬†So we had to have at least 75 cents.¬†Sometimes I¬†did not have any money at all, it was sad for me to see the other guys and girls go to the show, while I could not go.¬†¬†Some time when I¬†had some money and I could go, we would go to wait for the bus, sometimes we had just missed the bus from LA. Then¬†we would go to the other bus it was called the Victory bus, by the little park in town, the bus¬†was always packed and we sometime we could not get on it because it was full. A¬†lot of times if we didn’t have enought money for the bus, we would walk all the way to Pomona. A walk between the orange groves, or go all the way down E-street, that is the one by the Pomona drags, there was no drag¬†track there back then.¬†By the time we got to the show we were all tired but we made it everytime and when we got out of the show we had to start walking back again… but it was always worth it.

I remember one time me and Papitas missed the victory bus and we decided to hitch-hike. We were only about 10 years old, let me tell you it was a BIG mistake!!! We were walking and waving our arms for a ride, lots of cars passed by and nothing. Then one car stopped, it was an lady, she said you kids, go home before you get in trouble! And she took off. Well finally this man in a 1941 Ford 4-door sedan stopped, and asked us where we where going? We told him we are going to the show in Pomona. He said get in the back seat, so we did. Me and Manuel looked at each other and said all-right we got a ride! Well we got going, we were still in LaVerne and this guy ran a stop sign! Oh did you see that I told Manuel!!! We keep going, the guy was singing and we went down LaVerne Avenue. At that time it was a single-lane road not to many cars. Well this guy was swerving all over the road, from one side to the other. We soon figured out that he was drunk, very drunk!

CCC-memo-ortega-pomona-foxThe Fox Theatre on Garey Ave in Pomona.
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I¬†don’t know how he could be driving this car!¬†When we got to Garey Avenue, it turned into four-lanes, then we really got scared! We told him he could drop us off right there….¬†on Garey. The street had curbs and we were going from one curb to the other.¬†On the other side of the road missing on-coming cars, it was really scary.¬†Anway he said No I’ll take you¬†there… all the way.¬†Finally¬†we got to Holt Avenue and he had to stop,¬†we jumped out, and thanked him, and ran to the Movies and¬†got to the first theatre. It was the Sunkist, one of the four theaters we looked to see what was playing. We did not like what was plying and started walking to the other ones, all the time looking to see if the guy in the Ford was not following us. We got to the State theater and did not like it. We seen some of the kruzers from our town kruzing by and we waved at them.¬†We got to the Fox¬†Theater¬†and we went in. Good movies, thats when the theaters showed two movies the¬†news and a couple of cartoons. When we got out it was allready late in the day and if we missed the bus we had to walk home again.

On Sunday’s there was this roadster that was always parked across the the street on Garey, by the bus station. It was low had a Duvall windshield and a sprint car front, painted dark blue, purple.¬†Let me tell you¬†I fell in love with that roadster.¬†I have allways wondered if it was the one the Ayala’s did… the one for Eddie Dye.

CCC-memo-ortega-eddie-dye-roadster

The 1980’s Paso Robles Kustom Car Shows

In the early 1980’s I¬†heard¬†about Kustom Cars getting together¬†at lake Nacimiento, up north. I thought a kustoms only gathering, how kool… WOW.¬†¬†I have to find out more about this… I want to go there.¬†¬†This is when I¬†had just finished¬†my 1954¬†GMC Kustom truck, and loved the idea to drive it up there and show it with nothing but Kustoms. So I did some checking and found out more about the Kustoms Show organized by the West Coast Kustoms. I¬†found out they were going to have the new shows at Sherwood Park, just outside of Paso Robles¬†just weeks from then.¬†I got so excited… we just had to go.¬†Well the weekend of the show, my wife¬†Terry,¬†our young grandson Will and me decided to go and took off early Friday morning.

When we got to Paso Robles we got us a room, which you could still get easy in the early days.¬†The¬†ext day we got up early, got us a bite to eat and headed for the park. When we got at the park¬†there was a long line of kustoms, they were everywhere, all¬†wainting to get in… That just blew my mind, I had not seen so many kustoms in one place since way back in 1958 at the Coachmen’s car show. This is gonna be a fantastic¬†day, I told Terry and Will. They also liked all the cars waiting to get in.¬†Finally¬†we made it into the park, even more kustoms there… they were all over¬†the place, it was WILD.¬†The guy from the show organization told us to park anywhere we wanted as long as there was room to park.¬†We parked where it was good open spot¬†and made sure the car looks good.

 

CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-02Will and me… looking kind of lost. So many great Kustoms, we just did not know where to start looking.
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Then we went looking around, we saw this this guy taking many photos of nice cars, and I asked him by any chance if he¬†knew¬†or had heard of a guy named¬†Dick Crawford. The guy looked funny at me for a few seconds and¬†said “i’m him, I’m Dick Crawford”¬†I almost fell backwards, it was Crawford¬†(now he is best known as aka..¬†Thinman).¬†I¬†told him remember me I’am¬†Memo from down in Los Angeles, you¬†stripped my¬†1937 Chevy¬†way back in the late 1960’s. Back then you¬†had as shop with you¬†partner Glendora.¬†Now he remembered!¬†That was so kool it made our day even kooler than it already was. He told him we would see him latter, after checking¬†out the cars… there was so much¬†to see. He said ok see you latter.

CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-11I¬†took this photo of Dick Crawford aka “thinman” and his lowrider ’55 Chevy panel… real nice car.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-10Dick Crawford also had a display for his paintings at the show at the park my grandson Will on the side.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-04Will and me behind Frank DeRosa’s King Of Mercs… this one was WILD. Thats Frank on the far right of the photo.
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You know there were so many fantastic looking cars we did not know where to start. Then we spotted the DeRosa’s “King of Mercs”. That Merc sure has a lot of kustom work on it I¬†had Terry take a photo of me and Will looking it over.¬†We saw this suede blue Merc,¬†I¬†think it had Canada plates on it, I really liked that one. There were¬†so many Kustom Mercs and Chevies and¬†Shoeboxes… you name it they were there. This was kustom heaven… we were in Kustom Heaven. We got to meet a lot of great people that day. West Coast Kustoms sure had a great show going on here.¬†We also got a lot of compliments on our GMC¬†Kustom truck. One complement was special it was one of the guys¬†from the old Valley Custom Shop, Clayton Jensen.¬†¬†He was checking out my truck, and told me he could not find any flaws in the body work and¬†the black paint job. That of course¬†made me happy coming from him, one of the guys I had read about for decades.

On Sunday we got up early to make it to the park early, but it was again already packed with many cars and people. Some guys came over and asked if they could do an interview with me and our truck. I thought that would be nice, so¬†I¬†told them¬†ok. They had me park where there was not to manny cars¬†on the grass. It was a great interview I was a little shy, but it went ok. I¬†forgot who did the interview… I thought it was O’Brien Truckers, but I recently talked to¬†Dennis O’Brien¬†and asked him about the interview, He told me it was not him. Well it was some company from back East that did that video of this show. I have never found out who did it… would still love to see what they did to it, and if they used it.

CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-01This 1951 Mercury was really sweet, great chop by Dick Dean. 
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-03Me in the blue shirt with video camera, checking out this suede blue 1951 Mercury which came from Canada I think… it was real pretty. Terry took the picture.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-05I took a photo this yellow hamerd down Merc with Will kneeling next to it. Think it was the lowest chop on a Merc I have ever seen.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-06Great looking lime green Ford convertible, it had a nice padded top and quad headlights. Sorry, something bad happened to the photo.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-07Paul Bragg comes from Paso Robles… he had just done this real fine 1951 Mercury convertible with padded top. I started at it for some time… super¬†nice.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-08Will and Mercs.
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I met a lot of car owners that day, and since we had such a great time I decided to join West Coast Kustoms… so kool. Some time latter the show was moved into a¬†little park in¬†downtown¬†Paso Robles. It also was really great in the new location, when we went up there again I took my¬†1937 Chevy. It was¬†odd because my 37 was a Chevy Bomb… it did not go with the kustoms. It was also the first time my friend Richard Mandez went with us. You should have seen his face when we got there. He could not believe his eyes seeing so manny kustoms in one place. Richard¬†is also a Kustom guy… the rest is history so much to tell…


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Another unknown Ayala Custom?

CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-12About this neat 1940 Mercury¬†Convertible. I¬†talked to the owner¬†of the Merc,¬†he told me this was the first time he had taken the car out in a long time. He was from East L.A.¬†(that sure got my attention immediately)¬†I think his name was Manuel Lopez, he told me he has had this car since back in the early 50’s. He asked me¬†what town¬†I¬†came from, I¬†told him I¬†lived in Montclair on the other side of LA. He then¬†asked me if I¬†had ever heard of the Ayala’s, since they did the work on his Mercury¬†back in the early 50’s. I think he mentioned it was still in the original paint from back then. I asked him how he kepth it looking¬†so¬†good all those years.¬†He said he rarely¬†takes it out, and¬†its always coverd up. He does not let anyone touch it but himself. That car sure looked good after all the years he has¬†had it. The man was older then me, how neat to hear that.

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One more thing I¬†cannot forget. At one of the shows¬†I think it was the 1990 show, they were going to get my old friend Gil¬†Ayala into the Hall of Fame. I had not seen Gil in a long time. I was looking at a distance and then¬†I saw them bringing him in a wheel chair. It broke my heart seeing him like that. I had to sit¬†down, and could not watch. I did not want to remember Gil¬†like that, that was a sad day for me.¬†To this day I¬†still remember Gil the was he was¬†in the 1950’s 60’s and 70’s, alway in for a talk, full of energy.

Thanks for the great years shows in Paso Robles… there will never be anything like this again.

I hope you all will enjoy the story and the photos.

CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-13An Joe Bailon worked on Mercury and behind it is the¬†“Mini Merc” Volvo¬†with flames.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-14My black GMC truck and an other wild kustom painted truck beside it.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-15Mike Shelley took this nice photo of my GMC at one of these early shows, I think this one was in 1988.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-23This candy red merc looking so kool, this is the one that went to San Bernardino to a little car show at the Dodge dealer in one of the Memo Ortega Stories, Jerry Schlemmer owned this 1950 Merc.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-16I¬†ran into this going throught the rows a very nice 1941 Ford coupe, full kustom in unusual white paint. it looked really¬†great, and so did the 51 Merc next to it. Bill Reasoner did the work on them.¬†Photo is a bit blurry… sorry about that.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-17This red 1951 Ford Shoebox looked like it just rolled out of the late 1950’s. Bill McGarity was the owner.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-18Walter Leeman drove up with his very nice green 1954 kustom chevy so kool looking.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-19The red merc was parked outside i went out there for this nice photo very kool merc allways liked it.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-201941 full kustom with fade away fenders brought me back in time, I really liked it. The car is still around, only it now has a fixed padded top, quad headlights and painted ice green. 
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-21Will with a pearl pink mild 1959 Custom 1959 Cadillac.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-22There were so many Custom Merc’s at these 1980’s shows.. they were everywhere.
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Go to Part 29 of the Memo Ortega stories, coming soon!
Go back to Part 27.


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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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Memo Ortega Stories Part 27

 

MEMOS SUNDAY KRUIZIN

 

Kruzin is what Memo¬†and Terry do on Sundays. Vondolero As Memo named his¬†1953 Chevy kustom must get out and kruzzzze all over the LA and Harbor areas… otherwise she just¬†aint happy. Memo Ortega Stories Part 27



[box_light]Memo Ortega is a well known name in the SoCal Custom Car and LowRider Scene, but perhaps not as well known as it should be. Memo has been working on custom cars and Low Riders since the early 1950’s. He became good friends with Custom Car Icon Gil Ayala, and in the late 1950’s he even bought Gil’s famous 1942-46 Ford Coupe as a persona driver. Today, in 2015, 80 years young, Memo is still chopping tops, and any other custom car work you can think of from, his garage work-shop. Check out more of the¬†Memo Ortega Stories¬†in the¬†Memo Ortega Files¬†on the CCC[/box_light]

But before we go cruising lets take a¬†moment to remember Memo’s cousin and car buddy Panya who recently passed away.

R.I.P. Panya

On December 16, 2015 Memo’s cousin Frank aka “Panya” passed away at age 85.¬†You have probably read about Panya in some of the other Memo Ortega Stories. Panya was another original Vagabond Car Club member to which Memo also belongs to from very early on. Today there are very few original members left. After Panya’s funeral, Memo went over to his old house and talked to his son Michael about the good old time with his father. On the coffee table there was this old photo album, so Memo asked if it was on with photos of Panya and if he could take a look. It was and when Memo looked inside he saw many old photos he had never seen before.¬†Photos of Panya’s old¬†1941 Chevy taken around 1948 or 49. And pictures of him with his¬†1950 merc. Both cars were nice mild customs with a really nice stance, and both had motorcylcle taillights which was really big back then. Memo hopes he can have the other photos scanned from the album as well, so that we can do a nice tribute to Panya article here on the CCC. Untill then here are two of the photos from Panya’s¬†photo¬†album.

CCC-memo-ortega-part-27-PanyaPanya with his tail dragging 1941 Chevy four-door with motor cycle taillights and single bar flipper hubcaps in 1948-49. A few years later Panya owned a very cool mildly restyled 1950 Mercury which we can see on the right photo.
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Sunday Cruise

Memo and his wife Terry have been cruising Memo’s customs on Sundays for as long as they can remember. They love going out on the road with their customs, checking out known and unknown places, going for a bite to eat, and getting together with friends if they bump into them on their ¬†way. Memo always says that his cars are not happy if they do not get their weekly cruise…

On the first Sunday in 2016 Memo and Terry took out their 1953 Chevy “Vondolero” for another cruise, and this time Memo took his camera with him to shoot some photos along the cruise. Lets sit down and listen to Memo’s Sunday Cruise story.

We got up today, got ready and took off. After a little bit we stopped for a bite to eat and after that we headed west on Arrow Highway, kruzin past the dam to Al Monte went down Rosemead blvd to Whittier Blvd and stopped by Montebello Park. Pit stop park was dead, nobody around, so we left heading West. We went under the big Whittier blvd sign on the corner of S. Arizona Ave. then went on towards the 6th bridge. We stopped there to take a picture of Vondolero on the bridge with the city in the background.

 

CCC-memo-ortega-part-27-01The big Whittier Blvd. sign on the corner of S. Arizona Ave.
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CCC-memo-ortega-part-27-07Terry in our Chevy at Montebello Park before we left towards the back of the park.
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CCC-memo-ortega-part-27-03We parked the car and quickly took this pic of the famous 6th Street bridge.
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Next we went up Alameda to the Placita. We checked it out and headed towards Hollywood Blvd. When we got there, the place was packed with tourist, we made one pass and left. It took us a little time to get to La Brea Blvd. becuase of the heavy traffic, but we were having fun krusin through there. We do not come there too often, but every once and a while we like to check out Hollywood Blvd. and go krusin there.

 

CCC-memo-ortega-part-27-06Hollywood Blvd…¬†it’s real neat seeing whats going on around there with all kinds of characters dressed in¬†different¬†costumes.
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CCC-memo-ortega-part-27-08On¬†Hollywood blvd heading west towards¬†grauman’s chinese theater.¬†Lots of traffic stopped at¬†Highland Av. signal.
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We got to La Brea Blvd. an headed south, we wanted a famous Pinkys Hot Dog, but when we got there the place was over crowded… I guess like always,¬†so we decided to keep on krusin down to Santa Monica.¬†The place was so packed with traffic, so¬†we left and headed down the¬†Pacific Coast Highway towards LAX Airport. We went to this spot where our good friend Howard Gribble likes to take photos of planes taking off on the runway. We love to¬†kruze there, just having fun all over.¬†We left there rappin pipes…¬†Let me tell you…¬†Vondolero never lets us down “nock on wood“, and it also jams when I¬†step on the gas, one mighty fine¬†kruzer.¬†We headed towards Redondo Beach, it was a cool¬†day,¬†but who cares, were out there kruzin… mabe I¬†should change my name to kruzer haha…¬†Cuase thats what every car¬†I’ve¬†had have run the wheels off them kruzin after all thats what I’m¬†build them for. Since I¬†was a teen I have been krusing my rides, just to have fun and I haven’t stopped krusin since back then… Every Sunday, just ask anybody that knows me. Anyway lots of people at the beach, walking the beach, having fun.

CCC-memo-ortega-part-27-09Terry¬†with LAX in the background with a plane just taking off. You never have to wait long for that to happen… busy airport.
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We left and headed down to¬†San Pedro, we¬†went down pacific to where it ends and headed right to Point Fermin where we always end up on Sundays, its just one of our favorite places to go to.¬†We headed all the way to where the road ends, and made a u-turn and parked the car.¬†This is where the Legends Car Club parks on Sundays. Its such a great place with great views over the ocean looking out at Cattalina Island.¬†We took a couple of photos there and then some guys in¬†a station wagon pulled next to us. They told us they had seen us in Boil Heights ealier in the day by the 6th Street Bridge. I¬†told them “yeah we were there, we are just kruzin all over having fun”. They gave us a hight five an left. We also left there, and made a pass at the Ports of¬†Call¬†a very famous spot for tourist, its a couple of miles from Point Fermin. We ¬†got there and it also turned out to be¬†packed with people. We kruzed through there, very slow with our Chuck Berry oldies music blarring out of Vondolero’s speakers… we turned many heads, and people where checking out Vondolero.

 

CCC-memo-ortega-part-27-04San Pedro, California close to the Angels Gate Park.
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CCC-memo-ortega-part-27-05We parked the car at Point Fermin and walked around for a bit, taking a few photos from the view.
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CCC-memo-ortega-part-27-10Point Fermin with a great view over the pacific looking out at Cattalina Island.
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Next we headed to Long Beach on The Pacific Coast¬†Highway, again lots of tourist there as well, still for the¬†holidays I¬†suppose. We turned up¬†on Atlantic Blvd and headed North towards East LA, again kruzin all the towns. We¬†drove¬†past the old Barris shop on Atlantic Blvd in Lynnwood… it was closed.¬†Atlantic looks so much¬†different¬†now then how I remember it from back in the early 1950’s, and from all the famous photos. It has a center divider in the road now… We went back to LA, to Broadway and then back to 6th St. over the bridge and headed east on Whittier Blvd. We made another¬†pit stop at the park, but still nobody around… odd. Then we decided to go back home, where we got at about 7,30. Another great kruze and lots of fun with my wife Terry in our “Vonderlero” 1953 Chevy. All throught the day we did not see any old cars at all… How Weird!!!

CCC-memo-ortega-part-27-map2Some of the places we went to this Sunday… we did good.
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Go to Part 28 of the Memo Ortega stories.
Go back to Part 26.


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