August 5, 2014

2014 A-Bombers Road-trip Part 1


In 2007 my wife organized my best birthday gift ever… a trip to the A-Bombers show. In 2014 my good friends Palle Johansen and Tim Kirkegaard thought they would try and top this gift, so they invited me to join them on their trip to the A-Bombers show in their ’39 and ’47 Custom Cars with tear drop trailers!



his 2014 trip is done, and I’m back home now, and I have to say Palle and Tim were actual able to top the best ever birthday present from my wife. Driving to the show in Sweden from Denmark in a period perfect custom, with teardrop was an AMAZING experience. Many thanks to my friends Palle and Tim for making this happen. It all started about a week before the annual A-Bombers Old Style Weekend in Udevalla, Sweden which was held on August the first and second of 2014. Palle asked me if I wanted to join him in his ’47 Caddy, Tim with his ’39 Mercury and Lars, who would drive Palle’s ’51 Mercury to the show in Sweden… as a birthday gift. I did not have to think long about this, and fortunately my wife and son thought it was a great idea. I started packing, and on Wednesday July 30, day before my birthday, I drove to Palle’s home in Assens, Denmark, a 6 hour drive. I got there around 3 in the afternoon, Palle was putting the last gear into the trailer and then we took the car to a local gas-station to check tire pressure and made sure the tires were ready for the trip to Sweden. We load up my stuff in the car and trailer and off we went to Frederikshavn in the northern part of Denmark, were we would take the ferry to Sweden. On our way we would meet up with Lars in Palle’s ’51 Mercury, and later with Tim in his ’39 Mercury and Lars in his ’36 Ford.

CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-01The trip from Palle’s home in Assens, Denmark to Frederikshavn in the Northern part of the country, then with the ferry to Sweden and up to Udevalla where the A-Bombers held their Annual Old Style Weekend. (Map from Google)


CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-07Before we left we filled up the tires with some air and made sure the pressure was the same on all four tires.


The last time I had seen Palle’s Cadillac was on our GNRS trip in early 2013, then the car was at David Martinez his shop in California, getting ready or the chopped windshield and Padded top. I had seen many photos after the car had returned in Denmark. But nothing beats being able to walk around it, and even better sitting in it knowing the next couple of days would be spend in this car. The seat in this Cadillac is absolutely perfect, its soft, has the perfect seating position and the leather upholstery has the perfect patina. The chopped windshield is still unfinished with no trim on the out- or inside, and even has some holes for the stainless trim were now the open air could be seen outside. This could be fun if we get rain on our trip I thought to myself. The view outside, thru the chopped windshield is amazing, the tail dragging stance puts the nose up in the air, with the chrome hood trim and Cadillac hood ornament showing which direction it wants… forward!

CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-03On our way, leaving the street where Palle lives, with a view over the ocean.


The side windows, temporarily plexiglass units made for the trip were rolled down, and would stay that way most of the trip. The view back is mostly blocked by the heavy padded top, the mail-slot rear window, which is actually the original ’47 Cadillac convertible unit, gives a bit of a view outside rear, but was now blocked by the teardrop trailer.

CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-04We both had a smile on our face the whole trip. The Cadillac drove fantastic, we both felt like a King in a Cadillac.


We drove off around 6 a clock, the wonderful original Cadillac flathead engine roar was only noticeable when it was bouncing off a building or structure close to the car, all we could hear in the car was a soft hum of the engine and the air blowing around the chopped windshield and padded top. The weather could not be any better, with nice temps and a wonderful selection of clouds which would shift colors in the next coming hours. The Caddy drove fantastic, like a “modern” car, strong, and even with the trailer behind it did not show any vibrations and Palle could let go of the steering and the car would still go straight ahead. The Northern part of Denmark is always very nice, with soft flowing hills and nice little villages. But this time of year it is even more special because of the large grain fields being ready for harvesting or which have just been harvested. Wonderful deep yellow fields marked with colorful green trees and bushes. And it seams like it even looks better from a chopped padded topped custom. Our first stop was an parking lot at some fast food restaurants, were we would meet with Lars who was driving Palle’s ’51 Mercury. Lars had picked up the Merc the day before and took it home to load with stuff we would need in Sweden. We ate a sandwich and burger an when Lars arrived, did some repacking to take off some of the weight in the Caddy. Some of the heavy stuff was packed in the Merc, which has airbags in the rear. The Caddy has been lowered, but the frame still has to be c-notched. On the way up the heavy load and the trailer caused the rear axle to get in contact with the frame on bad portions of the road. Nothing major, but the repacking raised the rear a little.

CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-05First stop was to get together with Lars who would drive Palle’s ’51 Mercury. Palle making a call to Lars… where are you?


CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-06Wonderful scenery of Northern Denmark with nice villages, and farm land ready to be harvested, or just being harvested.


CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-08Holding my camera out of the side window created some interesting shots.


Next stop was an offramp close to the city of Aarhus, where Tim with his ’39 mercury live. Here we would also meet up with Lars Kjær who would drive his ’36 Ford un-chopped, two tone, 3-w coupe up to Sweden. When everybody had arrived we took some photos of the line up on the bridge crossing the highway and off we went, to catch the midnight ferry to Sweden. Now four great looking customs in a row on the highway… what a sight!


CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-09When we arrived at the meeting point Lars Kjær had just arrived with his in progress ’36 Ford 3-window.


CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-10Soon followed by Lars Friborg in Palle’s ’51 Mercury and Tim with his Sledge Customs built ’39 Mercury. The guys are glad to see each other and exited about the trip to come. Everybody took some photos, which would soon be followed by many more.


CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-11Palle took this great photo of the line up at the meeting point on the bridge over the high way. Amazing clouds predicted a wonderful sunset.



In the meantime it was getting dark and disaster stroke on Tim’s Mercury. Most likely some fluids leaked on the electrical wires caused the lighting on the merc and the trailer, both front and rear to fail completely. There was still electricity in the car, but just nothing for the lights. So Tim had to drive to the ferry with no lights, and it was getting dark fast. Tim and his Merc was ‘”sandwiched” in between the ’51 Merc and us in the Caddy, this way the traffic from behind would not drive up to the non lighted car.


CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-12Shortly after take off Lars overtakes us with his healthy sounding flathead powered ’36 Ford.


CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-13Appleton spotlight and a setting sun.




We had to make one more stop on our way to the ferry, one for gas. When we left the gas-station Lars with the ’36 Ford had some electrical problems, which at the time looked an easy fix. Lars with the ’51 Merc decided to stay and help and Tim with his friend Tore in the passenger seat and Palle and me decided to go ahead to catch the ferry, time was getting short, and both the ’36 and 51 had no trailers and would be able to catch us later. The Lights on our trailer now also failed for 90%, and produced only very little light. But fortunately the trailer also had side markers which still worked. After a while Lars called, to tell the problems were a little more severe than first thought, an that it would take more time to repair. Shortly after that the other Lars called in to report the ’51 had its drive belt broken, and that there was no way he could repair that on the spot right there. It was now completely dark and Tim and Tore drive the Merc behind us, completely in the dark with no lights or marking lights. We tried to go at about the same speed as everybody else on the road so that people would not bump into the trailer. Lots of flashing lights and blowing horns tried to warn us for things we already knew. We know it was not quite save, but we wanted to make it to Frederikshavn to catch the ferry, since we did not know if we would miss it we could go on the next one the next morning. We got at the harbor at 5 minuted before eleven, 5 minutes before the final boarding time…. pfffff.

CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-15Both Palle’s cars were in for some gas, the others took a change to get a burger and coffee.


CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-16By then Tim and Lars noticed the failing lights on the ’39 Mercury and trailer. They tried to fix it, but nothing worked.


By now it had become sure both Larses would not be able to make it there in time. Phone calls were made and arrangements made to repair both cars left behind at the gas-station, so they could make it for the 8 o-clock ferry the next morning. Before we actually entered the boat a little after midnight Lars called that it turned out to be a loose alternator that had caused the belt to loosen and looked broken. He had found the bold that was missing and he was able to fix the merc. The news on Lars his ’36 Ford was not so good. After he had driven the car to a German show earlier that month, a 1,300 plus round trip with no problems, an electrical fire now made sure his car would not make it to Sweden. His car was towed and the Both Larses took the ’51 Merc and drove to the Ferry, where they would catch the next one at 8 in the morning.

CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-17While waiting for the ferry Tore and Tim were able to get the light on Tim’s Mercury working again. Arriving in Sweden the car had lights again.


CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-18But the working lights did not last long…


CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-21It was early in the morning, and we had time enough, so at this point we decided to park the cars and wait for the sun to come up a little more.


CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-19Palle took this photo of the two customs pared at the McDonald’s waiting for the light of day.


Our ferry took off at around 30 min past midnight, and we got in Sweden around 4 in the morning. It was already getting light, but to be on the save side we parked our cars at a nearby Mc Donald’s and waited for the sun to rise so Tim would not have to drive in the dark with no lights on. Its actually mandatory in Denmark and Sweden to have your driving lights on, even during the day. But the police has never stopped us for not having them on the ’39 Merc. Somewhere around 5 it was light enough to hit the road, about an hour and a half more to the A-Bombers site close to Uddevalla in Sweden.

CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-20When it was light enough we drove off to the A-Bombers site… another hour and half or so to go.


CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-22While it was still very quite on the Swedish early morning roads Palle decided he wanted to have some riding photos of his Cadillac with the teardrop trailer. So I switched seats with Tore and joined Tim in his ’39 Merc so I could photograph Palle driving his Caddy.


CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-23What an amazing sight it was… is.


CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-24Early morning warm sun light creating long shadows make up for an amazing image.


CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-25Arrival at the A-Bombers Old Style Weekend site.


CCC-roadtrip-a-bombers14-p1-27And at the Customs camp site, where Wolf and Stefan had already put up their caravan’s.


When we arrived at the show area it was still very early and only very few people were there. our good friend Ulf “Wolf” Christiansson was there with his nicely shaped trailer and his trusty ’51 Mercury and so was our good friend Stefan Elbrink with his ’48 Buick. Wolf had been at the camp site for a day and a half making sure the Customs favorite camping spot could be reserved. It was a perfect spot!

More in part two of the 2014 A-Bombers Road-Trip






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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)


  1. Great story so far Rik! Looks like a lot of fun.


  2. Wow! I have been waiting for this! Thanks so much for a great story & it’s only part one!


  3. thanks Rik…as always well written! and thanks for the company.


  4. Just fantastic guys, I have been sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for this first article. Thanks for sharing.


  5. Great read. Can’t wait for the next installment.


  6. Great post. Waiting for more.


  7. wow rik, this is like we are with you guys going on this trip , really like how you are showing us from the start an your trouble with the lites, like the scenery an u guys cruzing down the hightways in the customs how cool is that , cant wait to see the rest , palles cad looks awesome with the chop an the new martinez white top, how about stopping again at mac..donalds so we can get a sausage egg bisket, breakfast, an keep going to the a..bombers show with the other cool customs going with you guys, memo


  8. Great story Rik. Personally, I’d rather not let Palle and Tim try and do better than the birthday present my wife gave me in 2007 hehe. But I’d happily go for a ride in their cars any day. Give me a couple of years and I might come over for a visit and maybe hitch a ride in the back seat.


  9. Quentin….send some pics from the day in 2007, and i will see what tim can do haha
    i met a guy from Victoria.. Wayne o’Grady in 2007, and last year another friend from down there..Martin Croston joined us in the cars. so your more than welcome. everyone is. do it, its good for you!


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