Tiago Ranchero Clone

TIAGO RANCHERO CLONE

George Garcia from Bellflower California has been dreaming of recreating the Famous Dick Tiago 1957 Ford Ranchero for over 30 years.



For many years we have seen photos of an unfinished Ford Ranchero chopped at the old Barris Atlantic Blvd. Shop by Brad Masterson. The Dick Tiago clone, or very close recreation was underway, but progress was slow, and happened when funds and time became available. Janne Lepola, from Finland spend some time in California doing body work, and he worded on the front end of George’s Ranchero, modifying the headlights, the fender tops, rounding the corners of the hood and adding the ’57 DeSoto Bumper/Grille.

In early June, 2018 George picked up the car from the Star Kustom Shop where Dakota Wentz painted the car in a beautiful Candy Green and Gold. The original colors of the Tiago Ranchero were candy green and lime that had been mixed by Joe Bailon. Bruce Heather, the owner of over 40 years of the original Tiago Ranchero had supplied George with color samples of the candy green and lime gold he had found on the car at the A-Pillar. The colors were matched as close as possible. George has named his Ranchero “Hanky Panky”, and next up is the tuck&roll upholstery… we can’t wait!

Lets take quick look at the original Tiago Ranchero, (we will get back to that more detailed at a later date) and the gorgeous recreation fresh from the painter.




The original Tiago Ranchero is best known from the beautiful October 1958 cover of Custom Cars Magazine. The lime color appeared a bit more like gold on the cover.
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Original (faded) color photo Candy Green and Lime. That is Dick Tiago’s wife posing with the car.
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From the George Barris Collection. The original Dick Tiago Ranchero.
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I took this photo of George his under construction Ranchero at Brad Masterson’s Shop in 2011. The work on the chopped top was mostly done by then. And the DeSoto bumper/grille has been fitted to the ’58 front end.
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Janne Lepola photo of his work done at the front of the car.Adding ’57 Ford elements to the ’58 Front.
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Peaking the top of the front fenders.
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Headlight work.
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Rounded hood corners.
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Almost done, ready for paint.
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Fresh Chrome, ready to be installed.
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Fresh from the painter. STUNNING.
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The freshly painted Ranchero was driven to George’s home, as photographed from Brian Neu’s Ranchero.
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Really neat shot from Brian during the trip home.
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One of the things George changed was adding vent windows, which were never on the original Tiago Ranchero. Therefor the original never had door glass. George’s copy will have fully functional door glass.
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Paint detail around the rounded hood corners.
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Golden Sahara Mecum Auction

 

GOLDEN SAHARA MECUM AUCTION

 

Nearly 50 years after the Golden Sahara’s disappearance from the public the Car was unveiled to the Public on May 14, 2018. The Golden Sahara sold for $350,000.



After Jim Street had passed away in November 2017 it as decided to auction off most of his car, boat and bike collection. The Dana Mecum’s 31st Original Spring Classic Auction in Indianapolis would be the event where the Jim Street Estate Collection will be auctioned. The Golden Sahara is the highlight of the collection. and a lot of attention has been paid to create as much buzz as possible around the Golden Sahara. As much buzz perhaps as what the car created in its show time from 1954 till the late 1960’s.

For the first time in decades, the Custom Car Icon will be available for public viewing just as how it had been found in Jim Street’s Garage.

The Golden Sahara as advertised on the Mucum Auctions site. Main Atraction with No Reserve.
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On Saturday May 19, 2018 at around 2 PM (14:00) EST the Golden Sahara will be taking place at the Auction hall, and the bidding will start. The Internet has been buzzing for week already about how much the Golden Sahara (and the Kookie Kar) will sell for. We know that there are several very serious possible buyers who want to have the Unique Golden Sahara in their Collection. What it will be sold for we have to wait till the auction has ended in a little over a day.

SOLD

The Golden Sahara was sold for $350,000 ($385,000 including auction fees) to Larry Klairmont who was bidding on the phone. Larry Klairmont is the owner of the amazing Klairmont Kollection in Chicago, and the car will be either on display as it it for the public to see, or will be undergoing a full restoration first and then will be on display. This is fantastic news since then the Golden Sahara will be available for people to see at all time. The kookie Kar, which sold for $440,000 was sold to somebody at the event, so the two cars will be separated.








The Mecum Presentation Team

The Mecum Presentation Team has been working overtime with the Jim Street Estate Collection, and especially with the Golden Sahara. The Team created a special booklet with a lot of historic images of the Golden Sahara from Jim Street’s Peronal Collection including a brief story on the car’s history. The Team also developed a really nicely made, huge display at the Indianapolis Mecum building were the Golden Sahara was unveiled to the publish for the first time on May 14, 2018. The Display consist  of a nice selection of historic photos printed at huge formats. Hand made 3D signs and video displays.

The Display before the curtains were opened to show the Golden Sahara to the public for the first time in 50 years

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The unveiling at Mecum filmed by the Rodders Journal.
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The Complete Golden Sahara Display. Quite spectacular work by the Mecum Presentation Team.
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Above the lower wall of static large images two large video screens showed a selection of historic images as well as some Historic video Footage.
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This was also the first time that the cars hubcaps were visible. The Bob Metz created units were removed when the original series of promotional photos were taken in March.
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This was also the first time that the car was displayed with the trunk open. When the team at Mecum opened the trunk for the first time they could not believe hos good everything looked inside… after all these years.
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All the electronics in the truck that were needed to make all the special features on the Golden Sahara work. This will be fun to restore… ore perhaps it all is still working. We hope to hear about this in the near future.
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The Golden Sahara back on the podium where it spend so many years in the 50’s and 1960’s. In its natural element.
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First time the audience could take a close up look at the interior. I wonder what the interior will look like if the plastic covers are removed.
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Opened refrigerator box in the back on the cocktail seat center section.
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The Golden Sahara booklet created by the Mecum Presentation Team.
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“There is nothing like it in the world, and there will never be another like it again.”




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Overman Lincoln to be Restored

 

OVERMAN LINCOLN to be RESTORED

 

The Valley Custom Shop restyled Ina Mae Overman 1952 Lincoln surfaced around 2006. In April 2018 the Custom was shipped to Manns Restorations for a full Restoration.


In early April 2018 we received an email from Larry Gesiakowski, that the Ina Mae Overman, Valley Custom Shop restyled 1952 had found a new home, and was set out to be restored by Manns Restorations in St Louis. We know it must have been very hard for Larry to part with the Valley Custom Shop Lincoln, since he had looked forward to do a complete restoration on the car himself in his own WGM Auto shop in Chicago, Illinois. Larry had the plan to do the restoration ever since he bought the car back in 2008, but sometimes life just gets in the way, and plans have to be adjusted along the way. The car had been in very good hands with Larry, and it was stored indoors, and well taken care off. But Larry also knew that it really needed to be restored. So for some time the car had been offered for sale.

The new owner plans to do a full restoration to the final gold version created by the Valley Custom Shop. This is the most logic version to restore the car back to,since all the modifications done to the car as it sits now was done by the Valley Custom Shop crew, and it would be a shame to take off some of that work to turn it back to the earliest version. The new owner selected Manns Restorations to do the restoration work. Manns has recently done an absolutely beautiful job restoring the Sam Barris 1950 Buick for Kurt McCormick, and at the moment they are working on the Dick Fowler, Barris Custom Shop created 1938 Ford Coupe, and they also have the Barris Jim Seaton 1955 Chevy for an overhaul in the shop.

We will be following the restoration process at the Manns Restoration Shop on the Custom Car Chronicle Forum, and update with photos and news as often as we can. For more information and photos of the history of the Ina Mae Overman 1952 Lincoln, check out the Three Part Story we did on the car a few years ago.

Loading the Lincoln into the Manns Restorations trailer at Larry Gesiakowski’s shop.
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The three versions of the Overman Lincoln, the last version, painted gold, is how the car will be restored to again.
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Arrived safely at the Manns Restoration Shop in Saint Louis.
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Original photos of how the restored car will look again.









Follow the restoration process on the CCC-Forum









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Bob Fairman 36 Ford Restoration

 

BOB FAIRMAN FORD RESTORATION

 

After sitting in a field left to the elements for year. The iconic Bob Fairman Jimmy Summers chopped 1936 Ford with fade away fenders is finally getting restored.


In the Spring of 2009 some photos of the Jimmy Summers / Bob Fairman 1936 Ford Custom sitting all rusted away in a field in Ohio, were shared on the internet. It was big news at the time that another early Jimmy Summers created Custom Car had survived. Even thought it seemed to be in a very poor state, left over to the elements for years, it was still amazing to see. And we all wondered how this once trend setting Custom could have been in such a state all the way on the other side of the US, from where it was created.

How the Jimmy Summers Ford sat in a field in Ohio in 2009.
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In the full Story on the Bob Fairman Ford on the Custom Car Chronicle we did in December of 2016, we have gathered as much information as we were able to find. And it was quite an amazing story. The best part of the story was that the car was eventually pulled from the field and that it was destined to be restored. Good New! But then years of silence about the Fairman Ford, some people said that the restoration had started, others mentioned it was just sitting, but inside, not deteriorating any further. Then in October 2016, the rusted remains of the Ford plus a few gathered parts were offered for sale here on the CCC. Due to legal issues the then owner had to stop the sale, and the car “disappeared” from the radar again. Legal issues sometimes mean, we will never see it again.

This is how the Bob Fairman ’36 Ford originally looked like back in the early 1940’s.
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On October 19th 2017 we received an email from Jim, that he had some great Custom Car News he wanted to share with us. Very excited, we had to wait another day to find out what this Great Custom Car News was. The News was that the Bob Fairman 1936 Ford restyled by Bob and Jimmy summers in the late 1930’s or very early 1940’s has a new owner, and that the restoration of this iconic Custom has started..




We let Jim tell the story.
“So after trying to buy this car for years, I was finally able to close the deal and acquire it. It is rough for sure but very much restorable. One of the coolest things about it is that the car is way more complete than anyone thought.
Included with the car were the original bumpers, front fenders, hood tops and sides, nicely preserved original chrome garnish moldings (apparently stored indoors), and the original fender skirts.

Upon finally getting it in our possession we were able to discover some of the coolness, like the fact that Jimmy removed and smoothed out the body bead that surrounds the rear bustle of the car around the trunk And the way he fabricated the original door poppers which are still amazingly intact. The amazing craftsmanship of Summers work is absolutely outstanding.”

This is how the Bob Fairman/Jimmy Summers 1936 Ford sits in October 2017. All the parts that came with the car put back together for the first time in many years. A set of new wheels and white wall tires mounted give a good feel for how it once looked.  As Jim mentioned there is a lot of rust, and a lot of metal is gone, which will take time to restore. But its not impossible, and the good thing is it is far more complete than he had thought.
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The ’41 Ford bumpers have the chrome plating completely stripped from being in the field for so long. This photo shows how the fade away panels are separate units bolted to the body panels, just like the original fenders, and not welded and molded in like most customs had.
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Close up shows the restyled work from Jimmy Summers and Bob Fairman on the character lines, and how the rear license plate was set it. The plate most likely sat in a small box mounted behind the opening.
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It feels so amazing to see the car back on its feet again, and knowing that the restoration team will do its magic to make it look just like it did when the car was freshly restyled  75+ years ago.
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Close up shows the reworked front fenders and ’37 – ’38 Ford headlights that were added. The front section of the drivers side hood has been completely rotten away, and will need to be replaced.
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This photo of the car that Jim send gave me goose bump all over… It is so good to see the car back again. Most of the lower sections of the fade away fender panels are gone as well, but it can and will all be fixed according to Jim.
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Lots of rust on the drivers side door fade away panel. The lower sections were sitting in the dirt for a number of years. The restoration team will try to keep as much from the original car as possible during the restoration.
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This is such amazing news, to see new photos of the Bob Fairman – Jimmy Summers 1936 Ford now owned by Jim who will completely restore the car to how it looked in the early 1940’s. See the car sitting of four wheels, with all of the remaining parts put back on the car again.  We cannot wait to see more progress on this Iconic Jimmy Summers Custom. Jim also mentioned that they found some of the original paint left on the inside of the car… So wild!

Thank you Jim for saving this historic Custom Car for future generations to enjoy, and to share it here on the Custom Car Chronicle.




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Winfields Jade Idol Sold

 

WINFIELDS JADE IDOL SOLD

 

After having been the caretaker for many years Billy Belmont has just sold the Gene Winfield created 1956 Mercury Jade Idol to a Oregon based new owner.



On September 20th, 2017 the Gene Winfield created 1956 Mercury “Jade Idol” has been loaded onto a transported in Dedham, Massachusetts to be delivered at Gene Winfield’s Mohave Desert Custom Shop for a complete make over for its new owner. Billy Belmont has been the caretaker of the Jade Idol since the late 1980’s, when he bought the car from John D’Agostino. Billy has taken very good care of the car since then and had the car stored in a temperature controlled garage. The car could not have looked any better than it does. The Rodder’s Journal issue #75 featured a full page ad for the Jade Idol being For Sale. The Portland, Oregon based new owner decided he wanted to have the car, and despite the great condition the car is in, to go for a make over by the master, Gene Winfield himself.

The Jade Idol is now on its way from Dedham, Massachusetts, to Gene Winfield’s Shop in the Mohave desert in California. Here Gene will repaint the car in a fade paint job very similar to the first paint job he added to the sectioned ’56 Mercury back in early 1960.

The full page ad in Rodder’s Journal issue #75 The Jade Idol For Sale.
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A brief history on the Jade Idol

Leroy Kemmerer took his newly bought 1956 Mercury 2-door hard-top to Gene Winfield’s shop in 1958. He had Gene Winfield turn the car into a Custom Car Show stopper and had Gene do whatever he needed to do, to create just that. The car was sectioned 4 inches, had ’57 Chrysler New Yorker rear quarter panels added, with complete custom made front and rear. The body was all smoothed and when done, Gene painted it shades of candy green over pearl white with gold, black and probably some others dark shades. Gene had 7 paint guns all ready to go when he started the fade paint job, to create this unique feature. The car was a huge success on the show circuit.

Leroy Kemmerer with the original 1956 Mercury, before he took it to Gene Winfield’s shop.
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After touring he Jade Idol on the West Coast, where it won about every award possible, the car was taken to the east coast to be shown at all the major Custom Car Show there. There it was equally successful bringing a lot of Nation wide fame for Gene Winfield. On the way back to California disaster stuck when the trailer the Jade Idol was transported on flipped and the Mercury was badly damaged. Gene was not insure, so the repair work had to be paid by Gene himself. He replaced the damaged roof with a donor roof, and repaired all the other body damage and repainted the car. The repaired car is missing its distinctive Metal strips on the roof. Gene applied a new paint-job, but different from its original one.

The Jade Idol’s original fade paint-job by Gene Winfield. The car that made Gene the king of fade paint-jobs.
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The Jade Idol was very successful at the early 1960’s Car Shows.
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After having toured California and later the East Coast the car was badly damaged when the trailer it was transported on flipped. Gene repaired the damage by removing the damaged top and replace it with a donor top. The rest of the damage was repaired and the car repainted with a new, but different fade paint job.
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The Jade Idol after Gene Winfield had repaired it.
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After the car had been repaired it was shown in California for about another year, then the car returned to Leroy who wanted to enjoy the car on the road. It turned out the car was not quite street legal according the cops who ticketed Leroy when he drove it around town. Changes where made and after a few year Leroy lost interest in the car and sold it for very little money. After that the history is a little sketchy until Rod Powell finds car at a body shop. Jerry Rehn ends up buying the car and together with Rod Powell the car was restored at Rod’s Salinas Shop. Rod Powell painted the car close to the original colors, but not 100% the same. Later Jerry sold the car to Bob Page, who had the car repainted with the colors the car is still in today. John D’Agostino owned the car for a short period in 1987, and made plans to have the car restored and redone completed into how the car originally looked at Gene Winfield. But before that happened John sold the car to Billy Belmont. Billy has been the caretaker of the Jade Idol ever since and kept it in pristine condition.

During its restoration around 1979 at Rod Powell’s Salinas Shop.
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1980, shortly after Rod Powell and Jerry Rehn had restored the car and Rod Powell had repainted it. The new paint job had less black on the sides, and less color sections added to the fading parts as the original paint Gene added.
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At the 46th Oakland Roadster Show.
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This is how the car looked after Bob Page owned the car and had it repainted. The new paint job was still a fade paint-job, but lacked the original dark and black sectioned.
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Studio photos by Steve Coonan when Billy Belmont owned the car.
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The Jade Idol sitting in Billy Belmont’s garage on September 20th, 2010, the car has just been sold to its new Portland, Oregon based Owner and getting ready to be shipped to Gene Winfield for a new Winfield fade paint-job similar to the cars very first Winfield paint-job. (Photo’s by Pete from the HAMB)
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Billy Belmont (right) with the Jade Idol, getting ready to drive it out of the garage.
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Billy Belmont on its way to the truck that will take the car to Winfield’s Mohave desert shop.
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Backing up to get in position to be loaded onto the truck.
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On the lift.
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California… here we come!
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And this is very much as how Gene Winfield will once again paint the Jade Idol wonderful shaded of green, black, gold and white. We will show the result as soon as we get the pictures from the restoration.
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Special thanks to John D’Agostino.




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Dragone Custom Car Auction

 

DRAGONE CUSTOM CAR Auction

 

Dragone Auctions teamed up with Lime Rock Racetracks to organize their Classic Car Auction at the 2017 Vintage Festival


From Dragone Auctions

The Lime Rock Auction 2017:

This year Dragone Auctions has teamed up with the great Lime Rock Racetrack for their 35th year of its Vintage Festival where they celebrate the history of speed and the automobile. With 4 days of vintage racing, the festival wraps up the weekend with an incredible Concours located right on the racetrack where it features significant collector cars from around the country. The Dragone auction will be taking place during the Concours on Sunday September 3rd at 11 am and will be located right in the center of the Concours adding a whole new element to an already outstanding event. The Dragone sale, with an incredible number of NO RESERVE cars, will be featuring many great and interesting cars, but most notably:

Dragone is well-known as a diverse and experienced company with a lot to offer. The incredible knowledge and expertise we have gained over the years is invaluable – far more significant than anything that can be offered by the big “show” type auction companies that sell cars without a care for (or an honest assessment of) the car’s condition. Dragone takes pride in our work and in the cars that we sell, and we enjoy what we do. There is nothing more satisfying than to know that we have provided the antique, classic and vintage car world with our knowledge, expertise, and (of course) significant motorcars and restorations, and we will continue to do so for years to come. dragoneauctions.com

This Dragone Auction has besides a long list of amazing cars also a few Custom & Movie/TV Cars listed that we will be highlighted here on the CCC. (All info from Dargoon Auctions website.)

Auction will be held.
Sunday, September 3, 2017 at 11:00 AM
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​LIME ROCK PARK
60 White Hollow Road
Lakeville, CT 06039




The Barris 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado
Mannix Roadster

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George Barris, “The King of Kustomizers” as he is referred to today is considered one of the greatest customizers of all time. Unlike many of the other great customisers and hot rodders of the 1950’s and 1960’s, George capitalized on his talents, selling his creations to movie stars and television and movie production companies leading to some of the most iconic custom movie and TV cars of all time including the Batmobile, the Muster Coach and many many more.

Considered to be one of the best looking cars created for the big screen by Barris, this 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado “Mannix Roadster” created for the hit 1960’s television show “Mannix.” The car was originally built for the series in 1967 and was used for the first two seasons of the show. When Barris first built the car for the 1967 season, he took a brand new stock 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado and cut the roof off, eliminated the back seat and made a custom tonneau covering the rear compartment making it into a two seat roadster. He then gave it a custom interior complete with a rotary telephone and secret hidden gun compartment. In the first season the bottom of the car was painted black and the headlights had sealed beams in them.

George Barris on the left and actor Mike Connors on the set of Mannix.
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Screen shots from the Mannix Roadster in the TV show.
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For the second season of the show in 1968 Barris took the car back, changed the headlights to the Euro style halogen inserts, changed the bottom part of the body to red and redesigned the seats and added the heated seat feature with small vents for the heat to come through. The car is currently in the exact same original condition that it was when it left the show in 1968 with original paint, upholstery and accessories including its original rotary phone. After it left the show in 1968 the production company sold the car to Charlie Woods who was an amusement park developer from New York. He was building the “Gaslight Village and Amusement park” in Lake George, New York at the time where he put the car on display in 1973 along with the Greta Garbo Duesenberg, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (movie car) and an assortment of other Barris customs including the Munster Coach, the Little Red Wrecker and Bob Hopes golf cart. Upon the closing of Charlie Woods Gaslight Village the car was sold through the Kruse auction of the museum in the late 1980’s to its most recent owner who immediately put it on display in his own private Museum located in Bristol Tennessee where it was on display with the 1928 Porter touring car from the show “My Mother the Car” also built by George Barris, and the “Rickshaw Taxi” another Barris custom built for the 1970 Worlds Fair in Tokyo, Japan.

The car is also featured on the cover of book “Cars of the Stars” by George Barris himself and Jack Scagnetti. This is a wonderful and rare opportunity to own a significant Barris custom that has a great history, an incredible design and a car that even “The King of Kustomizers” himself was extremely fond of. More info on the Mannix Roadster on the Dragone Website.

The Mannix Roadster was also offered as 1/25 scale model car kit from PMC.
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This is how the Mannix Roadster looks today.
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1950 Chrysler Imperial  by D.M. Nacional

Sedanca DeVille

When custom coachbuilders come to mind, the great French, Italian and German coachbuilders are the few that really stand out, but there was another coachbuilder in Mexico that was making some really stellar bodies on American car chassis between 1950 through 1955 named D.M. Nacional. Founded by a Mexican business man by the name of Ruiz Galindo Jr. who had a love for cars and especially custom coachbuilt cars after a trip he had taken to Europe where he experienced some of the great French and Italian coachbuilders of the time. American cars were the most common in Mexico at the time and parts were most abundant so American chassis made the most sense. Cost for the D.M. Nacional custom bodies ranged from $3000 to $6000 dollars exclusive of the cost of the chassis, which was quite a bit of money considering a new Cadillac at the time was around $7000. Ford’s, Mercury’s and Chryslers were the most popular chassis used and Ruiz Galindo would make the car to the customer’s specifications. For example, he once added six ash trays in a car for a Chicago business man, a wealthy student ordered a car with leather book cases and a radio fan had a car built with no less than three radios inside the car. Much of D.M. Nacional’s designs were very much inspired by the great European designers and these design cues can be seen in many of their bodies.

The 1950 Chrysler Sedanca DeVille when it was first created at the D.M. Nacional shop.
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This brings us to one of D.M. National’s most interesting and stylish coachbuilt cars, the 1950 Chrysler Imperial “Sedanca DeVille”. This particular car by D.M. Nacional is a wonderful example of how European inspiration was instilled into D.M. Nacional’s designes. The front fenders sweep all the way back through the rockers into the rear fenders, just like Saoutchik of Paris. It has a low and long roof line with a removable front section like a sporty and proper European custom Sedanca would have and a very graceful and sweeping rear deck that really gives it a spectacular look.
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Even though there were quite a few D.M. Nacional customs commissioned during the time it was in business, little to none of their creations still exist today which is why it is such a treat to see a real D.M. Nacional custom coach built car in person. Not much of this cars history is known other than it is believed to have been originally commissioned and built in 1950 or 1951 and was finished in a sporting yellow and black paint scheme with a green interior and an original photograph can be seen of the car sitting in front of the D.M. Nacional building upon its completion. It was much later purchased by its current owner in Connecticut from its previous owner over 30 years ago. The car has been sitting since then and is presented in its current condition complete with its original D.M. Nacional body tags and its original custom fixed landau bars. Although it is in somewhat tough condition, it would be an incredibly interesting and wonderful car to restore and bring back to its original magnificence. Any concours would be enamored to have this car present on their show field. A true piece of coachbuilding history, and possibly the only D.M. Nacional left today. More info on the D.M. Nacional Sedanca DeVille on the Dragone Website.

This is how the Sedanca DeVille looks like today.
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The Barris 1928 Porter Touring Car From

My Mother the Car

​Authentic George Barris Kustom Industries custom car
Featured in the 1960’s TV show “My Mother the Car”
From the Harrah’s Auto Collection



As the undisputed “King of Kustomizers,” George Barris who began chopping, channeling, and lowering cars at a very early age and just when television crossed over from black & white to color in the 1960s, George Barris was the man that Hollywood called on when a custom TV car was required. Indeed, many of Hollywood’s most famous detectives, crime fighters, movie stars, and musicians all called on the great George Barris for their custom car needs. Through the years Barris masterfully created some of the most iconic television and movie vehicles of all time like the famous Batmobile, Munster coach to name a few. Thus, when producers introduced the concept of a television show featuring a talking car with a mind of its own, they naturally turned to George Barris to create it.

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The debut of “My Mother the Car” aired on September 14, 1965, starring Jerry Van Dyke who played the role of attorney David Crabtree and his 1928 Porter Touring car featured the antics of David Crabtree who buys a used and dilapidated 1928 Porter touring car. The car turns out to be the reincarnation of his deceased mother, voiced by actress Ann Sothern, she talks to him through the car’s radio. The car is subsequently restored and becomes the basis for the show’s antics. The “hero” or star car came from noted actor and hot rod builder Norm Grabowski. Starting with a 1924 Ford Model T hot rod, the studio modified the car with an extended engine compartment, Model A Ford wheels, a brass radiator with the “Porter” script, running board-mounted spare tire, and an outboard fuel tank. Early in preproduction it was realized that a second car would be necessary to create the special effects needed for the show. The studio contacted Barris and the stunt car was finished in record time. Barris and his crew built the stunt car with the ability to hide a driver and give the illusion that it was driving itself through an elaborate system of levers and mirrors. With both the cars ready to go, production got underway with 30 episodes filmed for the season.

Screen shots of the car on the TV show.
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Offered here to the collector of unusual and unique vehicles is the actual stunt car built by Barris for “My Mother the Car”. Barris’s custom work is all over this treasure from yesteryear and it’s also a Hollywood car that still retains its special features. The hot rod phaeton look is pure 1960s complete with a side mounted spare tire and triple diamond rear windows in the convertible top. Power comes from a 283 cubic-inch Chevrolet V-8 engine mated to a Powerglide two-speed automatic transmission. The interior is the original pleated Black vinyl and the hidden driver remote location in the rear is still intact and in operable condition. The amazing ingenuity of Barris and his crew is clearly evident in the steering system and telescopic lens that allows the rear driver to see the road ahead. There may be other hot rods, but there is no other car that carries the unique features of this Hollywood icon. When production ended, Barris sold the Porter to the Bill Harrah Auto Collection where it was displayed, until going to another museum in Tennessee. The result is that this Porter has very few miles on it and was recently cosmetically refreshed and is now ready to see the open road once again.

Sadly, “My Mother the Car” ran for just one season, before being relegated to television history. Its creator, Allan Burns went on to create a series of critically acclaimed shows including; The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, and later collaborated with others to create Room 222, Taxi, and The Simpsons. The concept of a talking car laid the foundation for another show called Knight Rider and once again, George Barris was called upon to modify a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am for crime fighting antics. Very few cars carry the provenance of being a George Barris custom and a television star, but this 1928 Porter is a car that represents an opportunity to acquire something unique and special and is sure to be the only one at the show. More info on the Mother the Car Porter on the Dragone Website.

The car how it looks today. Inset photo shows an AMT 1/25 scale model kit of the car.
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The Barris Ricksha Taxi

Unique one-of-a-kind build
Unrestored original
Featured at the 1970 Tokyo World’s Fair

In the 1970s, when something out of the ordinary was needed in the custom car world, the man to turn to was the great George Barris. Batman and Robin found this out rather quickly, as they fought crime every week in one of Barris’s custom cars. When the Munsters needed a new family coach, it was George Barris who supplied it. Even “The Monkeys”, used a George Barris custom built car based on a GTO platform. In the era of the 1970, Barris’s cars were seen all over, as he supplied custom creations to just about every Hollywood TV show. So, it was that when the organizers of the 1970 World’s Fair needed something unique, they contacted George Barris who created the “Ricksha.” Wild, different, and outrageous are just a few words that begin to describe this custom-build, as Barris’s team pulled out all the stops to make something that had never been seen before.

George Barris with the Ricksha Taxi in front of the North Hollywood Barris Shop. Inset shows a 1/20 scale MPC model kit of the vehicle.
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The basis for the build was to create George’s version of an Osaka Taxi for the 1970 World’s Fair. The result was a fully operational and functional three-wheel vehicle powered by an enormous engine. A hand built chassis of rectangular tubing incorporated a swinging third yoke for the super strong front-wheel steering apparatus. Steering was through a tiller that is a simulated Scimitar sword that operates a power-assist unit for steering. The shock absorbers were spring loaded and adjustable to handle the weight and the frame was a strengthened “Z” design that held it all together, with a Chevrolet rear-end, which put all the power to the ground.

This “Risksha,” was a trike like no other in the world. The added features of the Rickshaw are found in the visual cues that are mounted on every angle of this unique build. Starting at the front, its single wheel is a slotted 1960s style rim with a quarter fender over the top. The radiator is covered by an Asian rice hat. A sculptured three-headed dragon air-cleaner covers the 400 cubic-inch Chevy V-8 engine, with a “spaghetti noodle” header system that is a marvel of design. The interior and folding top are fully upholstered and all gauges are chrome bullet shaped. The unique steering system has just the sword and a statue of Buddha graces the rear. Clearly, there is nothing that isn’t unique about this incredible custom and it’s a vehicle that can be looked at over and over in amazement. More info on the Ricksha Taxi on the Dragone Website.

The Ricksha Taxi was also name the Rickshaw Buggy as we can see on the Barris Sticker Cards from the 1970’s.
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Gil Ayala Wild Bird Restored

 

AYALA WILDBIRD RESTORED

 

Gil Ayalas 1955 Ford TBird aka Wild Bird has been completely restored by Yarils Customs in Florida. New owner Bjorn Jansson takes it on a Kross Kountry Road Trip from Florida, to California.



In the mid 1950’s Gil Ayala Gil Ayala decided to built a Sports Car based Custom Car for himself. He found a 1955 T-Bird and together with his brother Al they discussed what all they could do to make it look better, more interesting, and more Ayala. They decided that both the front and rear fenders needed some more length to make the car look longer, lower and newer. At the front a set of mid 50’s Packard taillights were set into the extended front fenders. The whole front end of the car was reshaped. The stock bumper was removed and replaced with a two part unit of an 1955 Pontiac. Below these new bumpers a Studebaker lower grille pan was installed. The section below the hood and in between the two buper half was completely reshaped and an small oval grille opening created in the center. Al Ayala did most of the metal work on the car, and he continued with a new larger hood scoop created from sheet metal and round rod. In front of the hood a series of louvres were cut to help the engine breath a bit more.

The restored Wild Bird on the right and the Motor Life magazine cover feature Gil’s second version of the T-Bird on the left.
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To make the side of the car more streamlined than the rather “boxy” T-Bird, the two brotheres decided to install new more teardrop shaped mid 50’s Oldsmobile wheel openings, which changed the look of the car completely. The rear fenders were extended to accept a set of 1956 Lincoln taillights, which had a nice forward angle on them, making the top of the fender look very long and give the car some instant speed. Below the taillights the Ayals created some new bumperettes to stay in theme with the split front bumper. ’54 Cadillac rear bumper ends were modified to fit the Bird and the Lincoln taillights. The exhaust was rerouted to exit thru the Cadillac exhaust holes in the bumper ends. The section between the rear fenders and below the trunk was hand shaped from sheet metal and in the center a recessed section was made to fit the license plate. The hood and trunk were shaved and so were the emblems on the rest of the car, but Gil kept the door handles.

To make the the Bird really special Gil designed some rear fender extension, fins from round rod with pressed mesh inserts. The same material was also used to create a new hood scoop insert. On the hood scoop they added three large “teeth” similar in shape as the fins on the rear fenders. These mesh items were copper/gold plated.





The interior of the T-Bird was already very nice from the factory. In this car it was done in bright red with white pleated inserts. There was no need for a new interior. Gil painted the car a deep purple color that he mixed himself. Gil loved to mix new exciting colors, and was always experimenting with new paint. From the color samples found during the restoration we now know that the car was originally red from the factory. To give the purple more depth Gil painted the car with a black base coat first.

When working on the car Yaril found a patch of paint that had not been removed in previous repainting sessions. On the inside the window post all the previous paint coats of the T-Bird could be seen after Yaril had carefully sanded thru the layers. Factory red, followed by black base and “Easter Egg” purple. Then two sesions of gold with Candy-Apple-Red, one seams to be brighter than the other. (Perhaps Gil was experimenting with the best set up.)
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Later Gil’s wife Lucille told Gil the car looked like an Easter Egg, which was a good enough excuse for Gill to do a new paintjob on the car. This time around he painted the car a deep darker red over gray primer. This is the color we know from the May 1957 issue of Motor Life magazine. Walter Leeman did the wild pinstriping on the Buick at an Hollywood show when he was just 18 years old. Gil let Walter do what he wanted on the car, having the confidence it would be good.. and right he was.

Around 1960, ’61 Gil decided to change the Bird once more. The Packard headlights were replace with more elegant 1957 Oldsmobile headlights. The mesh fins were removed, and the hood was replaced with a new one that was modified by taking out the factory hood scoop for a more smooth look. Next up was a new paint job of Candy Red over a gold base. Chrome reverse wheels were installed on medium wide white wall tires, and for this version there would be no pin-striping. This last version is how the car was restored to. In doing so most of the Ayala performed body work could be retained.

Pat Ganahl showed this interesting photo of the last version of the car in his second part of the Ayala story in the Rodder’s Journal. It is this later version that the new owner Bjørn decided the car should be restored to.
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After that the Bird traveled around until Dan Ceullar from East Los Angeles find the car. At that point the car had been found abandoned and some people were selling off some of the parts before taking the rest to the junk yard. Dan heard about this old T-Bird Custom, went for a look and recognized the car right away. He bought the remains and was able to trace back a few of the parts, but the passenger door, the interior and the glass could not be found again. Not long after that Don decided to put the car up for sale, since he already had several other projects going, and Gil’s old Wild Bird needed a bit more work than he had time for.



Photo taken of the Wild Bird at the time Dan Ceullar owned the car around 2011.
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The car was sold to Jim B. and ended up in New Jersey on the East Coats of the US. Jim worked a bit on the car, and painted the car with red oxide primer to keep it save from the elements. In 2014 he decided that he would not have the time to restore the car the way it needed to be. So he offered it for Sale on the Custom Car Chronicle and on the HAMB. The car was still missing some parts, as the interior, glass and door. Asking price was $13,000 – $14,000 USD. In the autumn of 2014 Bjørn Inge Jansson found the ad for the Gil Ayala Wild Bird and decided this would be the perfect project for him. He bought the car and planned to have the car restored completely in the US, before taking it to his home in in Oslo, Norway.

One of the promo ads for the For Sale listings of the T-Bird on the Custom Car Chronicle.
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Bjørn choose to have the car shipped to Hialeah, Florida, where Yaril Quintana runs his Yaril’s Customs Shop. Yaril was going to do a full frame off restoration on the car. Over time Jaril and Bjørn searched for all the parts missing on the project, and the actual work on the project was started in 2015. A donor car was found which supplied the missing drivers door, glass as well as the fiber glass top. The original top had some major damage, and since the top was left stock my the Ayala’s it was decided the replacement top would would save a lot of time and money. The project progresses slowly for quite some time, but at the end of 2016 Bjørn decided it was time to get the car done, and a special cross country trip with the car was planned.


Yaril Quintana “I will try my best to make this car as nice as it was in the 50’s without “over doing” the restoration, i know how important it is to keep it true to its roots. with that said the owner has decided to move forward with the second version therefore maintaining as much of Gil’s work as possible. this means we need more pics of this version! its a tough choice but its the right one.”

A few photos taken during the restoration at Yaril’s Customs. The whole process can be seen on THIS CCC-Thread.
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Yaril Quintana “discussing with the owner, we concluded that this un-louvered hood is a hood Gil must have purchased during the second phase to eliminate the louvers on the first version, making it easier on him to only have to weld shut the scoop hole. it has lead work on it and the welding looks consistent with the other work on the car.”


In early March 2017 the restoration on Gil Ayala’s Wild Bird 1955 T-Bird was completed, and Bjørn had arrived in Florida to pick up the car and start his Kross Kountry in a Kustom road trip. His first stop will be the LoneStar Round Up event in Austin Texas on April the 7th, 2017. After that Bjørn will drive to Las Vegas were the car will be shown at the Viva Las Vegas event on April the 13th, 2017, then on to Los Angeles to meet up with some people, including some Ayala relatives. The end of the trip will be when the car will be left at the San Francisco shipper where the car will be secured in a sea-container and shipped off to Norway.

Bjørn standing proud with the freshly finished Gil Ayala 1955 T-Bird “The Wild Bird”. Bjørn had just arrived from Norway, and had to get himself and the car ready for the Kross kountry Trip.
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Photo opportunely in front of the famous Colony Hotel on Ocean Drive in Miami Florida. The car looks amazing in sunlight, and on the road. Yaril and team at Yaril’s Customs did an absolutely amazing job on the restoration. (Although the tourist in the background do not see how gorgeous the car is!)
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One the road to the LoneStar Roundup… the smile says it all.
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Made it to Alabama…
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and Mississippi…



… and Louisiana, too!
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Bourbon street, New Orleans.
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Texas at last!
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After 18 hours on the road they finally made it to Austin, Texas.
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And they finally made it to the LoneStar Roundup… Yeah!
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Dan Ceullar (left) drove from LA to meet up with Bjørn and see the restored Wild Bird, Gil Ayala’s car he saved in 2011. Without Dan the Wild Bird might have been lost forever. Thank you Dan… What a great moment.
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Entering New Mexico on the way to California.
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White Sands, New Mexico.
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Arizona.
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Finally they reached California. Los Angeles next!
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At the old Gil’s Auto Body Shop location… EPIC.
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Bjørn Inge Jansson together with Lynn Ayala (Gil’s Daughter) and Ralphy Morales holding an unfinished copy of the Auto Butchers E LA fresh from the mold. Ralphy worked for Gil & helped build the original Wild Bird.
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Las Vegas, Nevada.
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After the Viva Las Vegas Show they drove back to Los Angeles, and then on to the end destination of this epic road-trip, San Francisco, California. From here the car will be shipped to Oslo, Norway, where Bjørn lives. Thank you Bjørn for this amazing journey in this historic Custom Car.
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Gil Ayala liked his ’55 T-Bird a lot and it must have been a very popular car at the time. In fact Gil decided to put an image of the car on the large shop sign next to the small building at his Gil’s Auto Body Works Shop. This photo was taken in the early 1970’s and by then the image had faded, but it you look carefully you can see the top, the rear wheel opening, rear tire and fender fin of the illustration. The actual sign is still there in 2017, but sadly nothing is left for the original illustration.
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Remembering The Wild Bird

Bob Selva

Bob Selva is married to Gil’s wife’s Evelyn. Bob was around the Ayala shop a lot when Gil finished the car.
It has been a long time ago, but Bob remembered that Gil and Al “fought” over the design of the car quite a bit and came to a final decision late at night at the shop. They started building it right away that night. Bob also remembers that he had a few drives in the car, it drove very nice, “a good ride in between a soft hard ride,like a sports car on the MG side”. The Bird was not Gil’s avery day car, he did use it, and a few friends and employees also used the car. But for every day use, going home in the evenings Gil did not use the bird. He rather used the Gil’s Auto Body Works shop truck and later Gil had a ’62 Cadillac convertible also. Gil had painted the car a beautiful Candy Apple Red. Bob remembered one night that Gil, Bob along with their wife’s went night clubing. When Gil Backed up the car in the dark he hit a pole and chipped a piece of paint off the right rear fin. Gil went out to see the damage, saw the paint chip, picked it up, and the next day pasted it back on the car. “You could not tell if it was ever chiped”.

Memo Ortega

Gil’s T-Bird… if I remember right he got it a little latter after my friend Richard Aguerrie had the Ayalas built his brand new ’55 Merc Montclair. Hard to remember the dates, but I remember when they were doing the taillights Gil explayend a little how he was going to change it around. One thing I remember, he was thinking about building a couple of fins for the top of the quarter panels but at that time he didn’t know yet if he would do it. Latter on he decided he would go for it, and after seeing the fins on it I really liked the new fins. Good memories from back then the Ayala’s sure did some great kustoms and the T-Bird was one of them. I hope the new owner installs the fins execly the way Gil did them at a later point.

Walter Leeman

I remembered I striped Gil’s T-Bird the this show in Hollywood. I don’t remember which show it was, but at this show Earl Bruce introduced me to Von Dutch while I was striping. Rattled me a bit! Gil made me a set of lowered A arms for my ’51 Chevy that I had in high school and he let me take one of his personal ’55 T-Birds out cruising one Friday night. Gil was always really nice towards me. When he redid the Bird I had joined the USAF and never got to see the second version and apparently he never had it striped by anyone else.




More photos of the Kross Kountry Road Trip can be seen on the Custom Car Chronicle Forum.








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50 Ford The Capri Found

 

50 FORD THE CAPRI FOUND

 

Richard Gregg rebuild a 1950 Ford Coupe into a chopped and sectioned pick-up shop truck as a rolling advertising for his Ricks Body shop in Sacramento. Tony Gomez bought it, and plans a full restoration.



In 2013 Tony Gomes mentioned to me that his father had found a really cool photo album about the Capri, a 1950 Ford Custom Pick-Up. Three years later, it must have been fate, Tony is able to buy the actual car that was in this photo album.

Tony announced the GREAT news on his Facebook page on September 20, 2016.

 

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By Tony Gomes

“So, I just bought this car Its called “The Capri” built in 1957 it’s been in a barn for 40 plus years. A Big fat Thank you to my Buddy Boogie Breiz who called me and says my Bosses Father has a truck like The Shampoo Truck, which we had in the shop at the time. I said “REALLY” is it for sale? And he said ” Yes“.

The following week I met up with a fellow Portagee Rich, we walk down to the barn, he opens the door and there it is buried in mud, windows down flat tires, but complete. Later that weekend it was in my shop!  I just sat there for like 3 hrs, and geeked out on it and was asking myself what the **** happened just now. The plan is to restore it back to when it was first built by Mr Gregg, Candy Red and all. Not to mention my father 2 years ago bought the complete photo album build book of this car in Angels Camp randomly and the old registration from the 70’s says it was owned by a fellow who lived in Livermore on Xavier Dr in 1994 I lived you guessed it in Livermore on Xavier Dr. Crazy !!!

Thanks everybody who helped me get this and secure it you all know who you are and thanks Thanks to my father Dennis Gomes for the support ur the Best Pops. ”

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ccc-richard-gregg-50-ford-capri-barn-01As found…
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ccc-richard-gregg-50-ford-capri-found-10Tony Gomes picking up Richard Gregg’s Pick-Up.
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ccc-richard-gregg-50-ford-capri-found-08Delivering the car home, at Tri Auto Glass in Pleasanton, California.
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ccc-richard-gregg-50-ford-capri-gbThis is how Richard Gregg’s The Capri 1950 Ford Shoebox Pick-Up was first finished in 1958. 
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ccc-richard-gregg-50-ford-capri-found-11Most of the car remains the same as we know it fro the late 1950’s photos, but the headlights were changed in 59 along with the Caddy grille insert. Tony held a ’57 Chevy headlight bezel in the opening, and it looks like the body work was not changed, other than the extra hole for the bottom light. The bumper guards are also an later addition.
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ccc-richard-gregg-50-ford-capri-found-03The original headliners… has seen better days.
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ccc-richard-gregg-50-ford-capri-found-04Tony’s father in the car, reliving his younger years. Its amazing how he first finds the personal photo album of this car, and several years later his son Tony ends up with the real thing.
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ccc-richard-gregg-50-ford-capri-found-07Taillight details. The car is now in gray primer, but several sections show all the lead work and everything is hammer welded and dollied Amazing workmanship thru-out!
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ccc-richard-gregg-50-ford-capri-found-05The dash is still all there with original paint and all the original stripping from 1958.
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ccc-richard-gregg-50-ford-capri-found-09The original candy apple red paint is still visible in the door jambs. Unlike what the old magazines say, the car was Candy Red with Gold outlines and white stripping.
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ccc-richard-gregg-50-ford-capri-found-12Parked next to the other famous Shoebox Pickup in the Tri Valley Auto Glass shop.
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The Album

In 2013 Tony Gomes send me a few photos of an Photo Album made from the building of the 1950 Ford The Capri. Owned and built by Richard Gregg who operated Rick’s Body Shop in Sacramento, California. Tony’s father happened to talk to a guy in his home town, and the discussion came to Custom Cars. The guy said “I have something really nice you might be interested in” And came out with this amazing photo album tittles 1957 Capri. It turned out to be the personal album / scrapbook from Richard Gregg about the 1950 Ford Pick Up shop Custom he created around 1957-58.

The album shows the whole progress from start to finish of the Capri.  It also contains every show entry form signed by the promoters, every program, letter between Mr. Gregg and the promoters , news paper articles about The Capri and countless magazine articles and original photos taken of car through out its history. It even included swatches of the vinyl used in the car.
And several years later after Mr Gomes finds this book, his son Tony ends up with the real car…. WOW!


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ccc-richard-gregg-50-ford-capri-01A stock 1949 Ford Coupe in front of Richard Gregg’s Rick’s Body Shop in Sacramento California before the work begins. It would take Richard one and a half year spare time to complete his rolling advertising shop truck.
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ccc-richard-gregg-50-ford-capri-02The rear portion of the top has been removed, the remaining top section chopped and the main body cut and sectioned.
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ccc-richard-gregg-50-ford-capri-04After the sectioned and chopped main body have been welded back together.
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ccc-richard-gregg-50-ford-capri-03Front fender work with raised wheel openings, addition of 57 Chevy headlight surrounds, and new much smaller grille opening. The hood still needs to be pan-cacked.
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ccc-richard-gregg-50-ford-capri-05This in progress photo is really interesting, it show how Richard created the pick-up bed around the round tubing base he welded inside the body. And how he rolled the former fenders and quarter panels to match the bed shape.
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ccc-richard-gregg-50-ford-capri-found-01The Capri show sign, Richard in his shop truck and the beautifully done interior with home made seats.
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ccc-richard-gregg-50-ford-capri-cc-coverRichard’s The Carpi 1950 Ford Shoebox pick-up made it on the cover of the October 1959 issue of Custom Cars Magazine.
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ccc-richard-gregg-50-ford-capri-cc-spreadInside the October 1959 issue of Custom Cars magazine the car was featured with 5 photos on one spread. Great advertisings for Rick’s Body Shop. Roling advertising, just as Richard had intended when he planned the car.
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ccc-richard-gregg-50-ford-capri-1964In 1964 the Capri 1950 Ford Shoebox Pick-Up was owned by Charles Bliss of Freemont, California. The headlights are now changed to quad units, new wheels with narrow white walls added and the horizontal grille bars are replaced with a cadillac grille. 
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We will share update photos of the car when the restoration project will start.
Stay tuned…



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Hirohata Merc Clone Going West

 

HIROHATA MERC CLONE GOING WEST

 

John DAgostino and his Silent partner acquire the Jack Walker Hirohata Mercury Clone. The story behind the deal as told by John DAgostino.


A few weeks ago we reported in our News Flash article that John D’Agostino and his silent partner had bought the Jack Walker Hirohata Mercury Clone. We also mentioned that John is planning to travel a lot with the car so that people all over the world can enjoy this great Custom. Which means a lot to a many Custom Car enthusiast around the world, since this clone changed a lot of people when it was first shown by Jack in the 1980’s, long before the original Hirohata mercury was “found” and restored. We asked John to shed a bit of light on how he got Jack Walker to let go of his pride and joy. Lets take a look at the story John send us, accompanied with some of the photos he took.




By John D’Agostino

It all started at the 2016 KKOA “Leadsled Spectacular” in Salina, KANSAS on July 27th, 2016. Several weeks before this show, my partner commissioned me to build the Hirohata III recreation. I did not want to make this happen, so I talked to Jack (Walker) at the Leadsled Spectacular show about selling his Mercury with the intentions of me displaying it at car shows around the World. Jack was hesitant at first but I kept on him all weekend for his decision. I also had my partner talk to him about our plans that we may build one. I feel that why build another whereas the Hirohata recreation is probably the most famous Merc ever built and has been shown in 100’s of shows around AMERICA since debuting at the KKOA “Leadsled Spectacular” on July 4th, 1985.


ccc-hirohata-merc-clone-going-west-01This is the last photo John took of Jack Walker’s Doug Thompson built Hirothata Mercury clone in Salina, KANSAS, 2016 before his trip to Missouri.
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This is without a doubt the BIGGEST Kustom news in a very long time. The news of the Jack Walker “Hirohata” recreation was instantly Worldwide history to Kustom fans everywhere. Now I feel it is time to let the World see the “Hirohata” recreation for the first time starting in 2017. After the deal was sealed after many telephone calls to Jack, my partner (To be disclosed at a later date) drove our rental car to Belton, Missouri to close the deal. The car was purchased on August 28th, 2016.


ccc-hirohata-merc-clone-going-west-02Arriving at Jack Walkers home, shortly before entering Jack’s showroom.
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ccc-hirohata-merc-clone-going-west-03Jack showing John around in his “office” with an incredible amount of car memorabilia, of which a lot has to do with either the real Hirohata Mercury, or Jack’s recreation.
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ccc-hirohata-merc-clone-going-west-04Handshake confirms the deal….
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ccc-hirohata-merc-clone-going-west-05The paperwork makes it official.
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When Jack Walker opened the door to his AMAZING showroom I knew immediately that my childhood dream would come true and the car would now live in the west. The deal was made for a undisclosed amount between us three ONLY. I can still remember seeing the ORIGINAL Barris built Hirohata Merc in many magazines when I was a child. It is definitely my favorite Merc of All time.

ccc-hirohata-merc-clone-going-west-06John D’Agostino sitting for the first time in the Hirohata Mercury clone which he now co-owns.
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ccc-hirohata-merc-clone-going-west-14One of the things that set the recreation apart from the original Hirohata Merc is the body color painted dash with no striping, while the original has a white painted dash, with pin-striping by Von Dutch.
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ccc-hirohata-merc-clone-going-west-08Jack Walker and the “silent” partner.
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ccc-hirohata-merc-clone-going-west-09More handshaking for the historic records.
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ccc-hirohata-merc-clone-going-west-10Look at all the cool stuff hanging on Jack Walkers showroom walls.
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ccc-hirohata-merc-clone-going-west-11Jack Walker walking around his Hirohata Merc Clone for the last time…
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ccc-hirohata-merc-clone-going-west-12John also took some close ups of the memorabilia on the wall of the Showroom that caught his eye. Singed painting of GeorgeBarris at the Barris shop with the Hirohata Mercury created for the 50th Autorama.
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ccc-hirohata-merc-clone-going-west-07Mamie Van Doren signed photo to Jack.
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ccc-hirohata-merc-clone-road-tripAfter the deal was made with Jack in Missouri, John and his partner went back home to California…. ROADTRIP…
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After a 4 day trip back to CALIFORNIA we decided to remise and spend the night at the Historic RYDE Hotel in Ryde, CALIFORNIA on the Delta waterways. This hotel is a Art Deco place where many celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable etc… stayed since being built in the mid 1930’s. What a way to end a storybook tale of the “Road to the Hirohata” !

Kustoms Forever, Johnny D’.



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ccc-hirohata-merc-clone-going-west-15September 13, 2016, The Doug Thompson/ Jack Walker created Hirohata Mercury clone is getting loaded for the long journey West to John’s home in Discovery Bay, California. Jack Walker (seen on his back) saying good-bye to the car for the last time.
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The Mercury will soon arrive at his new home in sunny California.
We will keep you posted about this and John’s plans with the car here on the Custom Car Chronicle.


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Hirohata Merc Clone new Owner

 

HIROHATA MERC CLONE NEW OWNER

 

In August 2016 John D Agostino and parter Woodroe Parker  buy the Doug Thompson built Hirohata Mercury Clone from original owner Jack Walker. John plans a World-Wide tour for the famous Custom recreation.



On August 30, 2016 John D’Agostino announced BIG news for the Kustom world. He post a photo of a car mounted Barris Crest on his Facebook account. Immediately a buzz starts… What could be this big news? Fortunately for us, John does not keep us waiting very long. The very next Day John announces that he is the new owner of the famous Hirohata Mercury Clone, or recreation. John and his partner Woodroe Parker bought the car from the original owner Jack Walker from Belton, Missouri. John D’Agostino is planning a World-Wide tour with the Hirohata Mercury clone for 2017.

 

 

CCC-hirohata-merc-clone-new-owner-00John D’Agostino’s Facebook Announcement something BIG is going to happen.
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CCC-hirohata-merc-clone-new-owner-01John D’Agostino on the left making the deal with Jack Walker in Jack’s Missouri Custom Car garage. The Home of the Hirohata Merc recreation since the late 1980’s.
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CCC-hirohata-merc-clone-new-owner-05At the time nobody recreated old license plates, so Doug had to take an “generic” 1952 California plate, smooth out the stamped letters and hand hammer the right numbers into it. Fortunately the car only used one plate.
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CCC-hirohata-merc-clone-new-owner-04Creating all these modifications on a car is one thing, but recreating the exact same thing based on a few magazine photos is something else. Doug Thompson is an very skilled craftsman, with a perfect eye for proportions. 
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CCC-hirohata-merc-clone-new-owner-03Recreation of the Kustom’s Los Angeles plaque on the front of the car.
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CCC-hirohata-merc-clone-new-owner-02The Hirohata Mercury recreation will soon find its way to John’s home in California.
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About the Hirohata Mercury recration

In the early 1980’s Jack Walker spend a lot of time with his good friend and Custom Car builder Doug Thompson. They were working on a project and as usually the discussion was about historic Custom Cars, the Hirohata Mercury to be precise. At the time, not many people knew that the original Barris Kustoms 1951 Mercury for restyled for Bob Hirohata in Los Angeles was still around, and “hidden” in the garage of Jim McNeil. Jim had owned the Mercury since late 1959. Most people thought this famous and trend-setting custom had been lost for ever. Jack really loved the Hirohata Mercury, and when the project him and Doug was finished, and it was time to pick a new project, he asked Doug if he was into building a replica of the Hirohata Mercury.

Doug Thompson did an amazing job on the recreation of this famous Custom, working with basically nothing more that the magazine features from the early 1950’s and a few photos from private collection. Scale drawings were made to figure out how to do all the body changes, and get the proportions right. Especially the extended front fenders were hard to figure out, since this body change was never written about in the old magazines. In 1985 the car was finished, and presented to the public. I have heard stories that everybody stared at the car and stopped what ever they were doing when Jack cruised the car at outdoor cars shows. People were stunned, some thought it was the original, others had already given up the hopes they would ever see the Hirohata Merc in person. And now the recreation enabled people to see the full beauty of the most famous custom cars of all time.


CCC-hirohata-merc-clone-new-owner-Hot-Rod-MagThe first time most people saw and read anything about the amazing Hirohata Mercury recreation was in the June 1986 issue of Hot Rod Magazine. Pat Ganahl did and article about Custom Cars, “Is it time to rethink the Custom?”. The article showed a full page of pictures of the amazing custom. The car was an instant HIT, made a huge impact on the scene and inspired many to create news, vintage styled customs. Kudos to builder Doug Thompson and owner Jack Walker.
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CCC-hirohata-merc-clone-doug-thompsonDoug Thompson has been building many Custom Cars since the 1950’s. This photo shows Doug surrounded with a few of the cars he created in the 1980’s, including the Hirohata Mercury recreation.
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In the August 1989 issue of Rod & Custom, Pat Ganahl announces that the original Hirohata Mercury has been “found” and that the car will undergo a full restoration. With the original car restored we were able to compare the two. The recreation by Dough Thomson is amazingly accurate, still there are a few things that will help you tell the real one from the recreation. The most obvious differences are;

  • The original Hirohata Merc has sectioned front bumper guards, the Recreation has stock height bumper guards (Bob Hirohata’s Mercury had stock height cards for a very short time, later Barris sectioned them to fit better with the Custom grille)
  • The color of the Original Merc is more brilliant and bright, and was matched from actual paint found on the unrestored car. The color of the recreation was based on faded photos and magazine cover images
  • The rear bumper has a v-notch cut out to flow around the Lincoln taillights better. The recreation has a stock rear bumper.


We are looking forward to see the Hirohata Mercury recreation pop up all around the world. I think John will be making a lot of custom car fans very happy. People who might otherwise never have the opportunely to see the Hirohata Merc or the second best thing, the recreation in person. I’m very happy for Doug Thomson and Jack Walker as well. More recognition for the amazing effort they did back in 1985.


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