Custom Car Builders

November 2, 2015

Panoramic Ford Part Two



The Buster Litton 1949 Panoramic Ford changed hands in 1954. Don Schaedel became the new caretaker of this Milestone Custom Car. Lets take a look at how Don remembered the Ford in the Panoramic Ford Part Two.

I have been gathering material for a Custom Car Chronicle Buster Litton Panoramic Ford article for quite some time. The Panoramic Ford as Buster named it has been on my list of personal favorite Custom Cars for as long as I first saw a photo of it. Fortunately for us the car has been documented pretty well back in the early / mid 1950’s with lots of photos, and even better in more recent years even more material has surfaced as in some amazing color photos and the best of all detailed information from two of the original owners of the car, Buster Litton, and Don Schaedel. The article started to really take shape when good friend Rob Radcliffe Spend a good deal of time with both Buster Litton and Don Schaedel. Rob was able to gather a lot of very interesting new information about the cars history. As well as some never before seen photos. With all this we have been able to get a pretty accurate time line on the car. This is part two of the story.

Don Schaedel the new caretaker of the Panoramic Ford

In July 2015 Rob Radcliffe interviewed Don Schaedel by phone about his years with the Panoramic Ford. A lot of this information was used in this part of the story on the Panoramic Ford.

Don Schaedel remembers seeing the Ford getting built at the Barris shop, while driving by, he spotted the car in the lot and that he stopped to take a better look at the car. He remembers how beautiful the chop looked on that car even back then in 1951, when it was just in primer. He found out the car was for sale, but Don was not interested to acquire the car at the time. Don was making plans to join the Navy and head for Korea. Soon after Don had seen the Ford at the Barris shop the car was bought by Buster Litton as we can read in Part One in this series.

CCC-don-schaedel-40-Ford-CernyBefore going in the Navy Don owned a 1940 Ford Tudor Sedan that was conservatively restyled by George Cerny. The work on that car was done in February 1950.


In 1950 Don had a conservatively restyled 1940 Ford sedan that was restyled by George Cerny. About a year later in 1951-52 Don drove a nice lowered, but mostly stock 1949 Ford convertible with some interior work done by Bill Gaylord. Don Schaedel was in the Navy from January 1952 to January 1954. He was a Machinist Mate on the DL2 USS Mitcher destroyer. He went to boot camp in San Diego, then transferred to Great Lakes, Michigan for Machinist Mate school before boarding his brand new ship in Boston.
When Don Schaedel returned from his time in the Korean War it was January 1954. Don felt it was time to get a full Custom Car of which he had day-dreamt a lot about during his time in the Navy. Don was not really interested in spending a lot of time to have a complete new Custom Car built, so he was on the lookout for a good looking finished project. At the time there where plenty of nice full customs on the market.

CCC-don-schaedel-49-FordDon’s daily driver in the early 1950’s was this 1949 Ford convertible.


While Don was taking his time to look for the perfect Custom for him, he bought a used ’51 Merc convertible, which he lowered, nosed/decked, and painted black. Just something nice to use as  daily transportation. He only had this ’51 Merc convertible for a few months when he bumped into Buster Litton and found out Buster wanted to let go of the Panoramic Ford. Don of course recognized the car from the primer staged Shoebox at the Barris Shop in 1951. Don traded his 1951 Mercury to Buster Litton, in May or June of 1954, for the Panoramic Ford. Don mentioned he paid $1400 for the ’51 Merc convertible when he bought it in January 1954, and he added $900 cash along with the car when he traded it to Buster Litton for the Panoramic Ford. So in essence, he paid $2300 for the Panoramic Ford in 1954.
Don was making $1 and hour during the time he bought the Ford, so it was a very big deal for him at the time.

Don Schaedel also had a bone stock ’51 Merc coupe he used as a daily driver while owning the Buster Litton Ford. He was a member of the Ram Rods car club in South Gate, California. Don still has his original club plaque from his Ford.

CCC-don-schaedel-51-mercury-01Don Schaedel with the conservative restyled 1951 Mercury convertible which was part of the trade/sell on the Panoramic Ford with Buster Litton. Buster ended up with the Mercury convertible, and Don with the Ford.


Don Schaedel used to date Von Dutch’s sister in 1950. Von Dutch painted and striped the dash in the Ford. Don said Von Dutch’s sister would show him the drawings made by Dutch at their house.

CCC-herb-junior-conway-donHerb and Junior Conway and Don Schaedel on the right in front of Herb Conway’s 1954 Mercury in 1954.


CCC-buster-litton-panoramic-ford-03One of the photos from Don Schaedel’s Collection shared by Octavio Shavez shows the Ford on Don’s drive way in Lynnwood, Ca. after he has removed the bumper guards from the front bumper.


CCC-don-schaedel-panoramic-ford-a-01Same photo location as above, only this print shows the whole car.


Don Schaedel owned the Panoramic Ford from May/June, 1954 up until 1957, when he traded the Panramic Ford for a 4″ sectioned 1950 Ford coupe. The sectioned coupe was painted seafoam green but had no other custom work done to really distinguish it (we have tried to see if this was a car we might recognize from old photos or possible magazine pictures, based on description, but so far we have not being able to find it.) Don does not remember the guy’s name who traded the sectioned Ford, and many attempts to remember or track down the new owner of the Panoramic Ford by Don have been unsuccessful… so far.

Don wasn’t crazy about the sectioned Ford, so he put it on consignment on a used car lot in Lynwood and used the money to build a 5 unit apartment building in Garden Grove, California, then went on to build mobile home parks and eventually bought a 1744 acre cattle ranch in Raymond, California (60 miles from Yosemite), where he has lived for the past 32 years. He raised cattle for 11 years on the ranch, but now leases the land out for grazing.

CCC-schaedel-panoramicRob Radcliffe took a picture of a color copy of this photo at Dick Jackson’s place in July 2015, hence the not too good quality. But, its always great to see any new-old photo of any famous custom. I really love the angle and back ground in this photo, and it showed off the wonderful stance of the car really well.


CCC-schaedel-panoramic-02Close up of the same photo shows the Barris Crest and the front bumper guards, so we know this photo was taken not too long after Don had bought the Ford from Buster.


CCC-don-schaedel-panoramic-ford-05Don’s girlfriend posing with the Panoramic Ford in 1953.


CCC-buster-litton-panoramic-ford-12Parked in front of Don’s house.


CCC-buster-litton-panoramic-ford-14This photo was taken at the 1954 parking lot car show at the Thrifty Drug Store at Rodeo Rd and LA Brea in Los Angeles on Saturday May 15 1954. That is Don Schaedel rubbing the top of his Ford. Don was just 22 years old when this photo was taken shortly after he had bought the Ford.


CCC-buster-litton-panoramic-ford-06Included in a collection of photos Dave Cook bought where fur wonderful color slides of the Panoramic Ford. We do not know who took the color slides, but it was Greg Sharp who identified the location as the Long Beach Marine Stadium. From what we know now it is most likely that Buster Litton was still the owner when these photos where taken.


CCC-buster-litton-panoramic-ford-07A nice view of the Kaiser overrider with the integrated exhaust ends in the bullets.


CCC-buster-litton-panoramic-ford-08A view at the front shows the Ford accessory bumper guards as well as the Barris crests.


CCC-buster-litton-panoramic-ford-10Two more color slides show the Bill Gaylord interior and show how close the dark orange matches the exterior paint of the Panoramic Ford.


Not to long before Don let go of the Ford something bad happened to the car. Don drove the Ford to a party one night and a jealous 18 year old kid decided to take a hammer and dent up the body in about 5 spots. Don had to have them fixed and the car had primer spots until the day he sold it. He never had a chance to repaint it. Don said he got even and two years later returned the favor to the kid’s car with his own hammer.


Parked in front of Don’s house, this is the only photo we have seen so far that shows the car with some different (Oldsmobile) hubcaps.


CCC-schaedel-panoramic-03Close up of this photo shows the white paint detailed 1954-55 Oldsmobile hubcaps on the Panoramic Ford.


Timeframe on the Panoramic Ford

  • 1950-1951 first owner Allen Anderson takes his 1949 Ford Coupe to the Barris Kustom shop to have them build a full custom out of the car. Allen requests the top to be chopped and turned into a hard-top style.
  • 1951 the Barris Kustom Shop, most likely Sam Barris, create one of the best looking chops ever done, on Allen’s Shoebox. They also install one of the 1951 Studebaker front fenders
  • 1952 Buster Litton buys the unfinished project from Allen Anderson.
  • 1952 Buster hires the Barris shop to finish the started work on the car an has them create the custom grille.
  • 1952 Buster brings the car home after the Baris shop has finished the work and painted the car with primer.
  • 1953 Buster takes the car to George And Carl Cerny’s shop to have them restyle the rear of the car to match the work on the front.
  • 1953 painted in a wonderfull deep coco rust lacquer by Doug Anderson, who worked at the Cerny shop.
  • 1954 adding Ford accessory bumper gards up front and modified Kaiser bar with exhaust thru the bullets on the rear bumper.
  • 1954 adding Barris crests.
  • 1954 February, winning awards at the Motorama and National Roadster Show.
  • 1954 May-June selling/trading the car to Don Schaedel. Don gives Buster his mildly customized 1951 Mercury Convertible in trade for the Ford plus some cash.
  • 1954 Don removes the front Ford Accessory bumper guards since he felt they where to tall for the car.
  • 1957 Don trades the Panoramic Ford for a sectioned Shoebox Ford, and looses track of the Panoramic Ford soon after that.
  • We have not been able to find any info on what ever happened to the car after 1957.

Go to Part 3 of the Panoramic Ford story.



(this article is sponsored by)

CCC-Sponsor-KingKustomsTShirt-602Contact Rob Radcliffe at King Kustoms for more info on these T-Shirts Email Rob





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About the Author

Rik Hoving
Rik is the CCC editor in chief. As a custom car historian he is researching custom car history for many years. In 2004 he started the Custom Car Photo Archive that has become a place of joy for many custom car enthousiasts. Here at CCC Rik will bring you inspiring articles on the history of custom cars and builders. Like a true photo detective he will show us what's going on in all those amazing photos. He will write stories about everything you want to know in the realm of customizing. In daily life Rik is a Graphic Designer. He is married to the CCC webmaster and the father of a 10 year old son (they are both very happy with his excellent cooking skills)

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