Early Custom Cars

September 14, 2016

Historic Customs USA Road Trip P4



After spending some time with Gene Winfield, the guys are now on their way to Hot Rodding Mecca El Mirage, and the Los Angeles Roadster Show.

In early July 2016 Ronnie Lindblom and Micke Hedberg left Sweden for their dream road trip in the USA. Both guys had bought an historic custom in the month prior to this trip, and along the way the idea had grown to fix up their cars and make a road trip of a life-time. After 11 long days and nights working on their cars, they finally had them ready to hit the road. You can read about the first 11 days of their journey in Part One, about the first time on the road for the cars in Part Two and a their visit to Gene Winfield in Part Three of this series. After spending the night at Dave McCain place the guys are now all ready to go for another trip. One they had been looking forward a lot… having a spin with their historic Customs on the dry lake beds of El Mirage.

CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-06After having had a nice breakfast, the guys are ready to hit the road to the El Mirage. 


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-07They only had a quickly drawn map from Gene Winfield and no GPS to rely on to make it to El Mirage. Ronnie was in front en soon took a wrong turn, they were now going in the wrong direction.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-01It took Mike several miles before his ’36 Ford was door to door with Ronnie’s Merc. Now he could tell him that they where going the wrong way! The Merc has a lower rear-end ratio than the Ford, so it moves faster. And as long the engine was cool, Ronnie wanted to go fast!


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-09After they stopped to check directions it was time to let the pressure out of the Merc in the only shadow they could find in the dessert.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-06According the Gene Winfield map they needed to find a T-crossing. Eventually they found it, as well as the fist sign that the Swedes were on the correct road to El Mirage…. Yaheee! While the guys took a brake and some fresh water for both the cars and the guys at this point, they got company from a state police man. He stopped, to check out the cars, and ask if we need anything and if everything was fine. They told him the whole story, which he enjoyed, then, he wish them a good luck on the rest of their journey, and took off again.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-07The only sign of life in the dessert was this liquor store. The guys stopped for some water but the owner did not want to give them nothing. So they just hit the road again.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-08Home of SCTA… magical road sign, and first view of the dry lake on the left.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-09After some help form a local friendly old guy the Swedes found the way to their first stop for the day, visiting George Callaway who lives at the end of the lake bed.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-05Arriving at George Callaway‘s shop.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-10They had a great time at mr George Callaway. Lots of stories and a great tour at his yard. A very nice person to hang out with.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-04The sign say it… time to go… see the lake bed.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-11Leaving Mr Callaway for a spin on the El Mirage Dry Lake.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-12Ronnie took off in his Mercury as soon as they had arrived.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-13The guys made it, for the first time, El Mirage, and with two historic customs, that could have driven around here on the lake in the 1940’s, early 1950’s. A real magical moment.





ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-16The guys enjoyed the wide emptiness for a some time and visualize their historic customs surrounded everything that happened during an late 40’s SCTA meeting at this very location.  They took plenty of photos of their customs at this historic Hot Rod scene, and now it is time to take the cars for another spin on the lake bed.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-17Ronnie in his ’39 Mercury enjoying the dry lake with the top frame removed.



ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-19Hot Rodder’s dream come true.



ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-21Ronnie with his 1939 Mercury convertible. 


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-22Time for Micke to take his ’36 ford a spin so that Ronnie can snap some pictures of it.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-23Wonderful cracked dry lake bed with Micke in his ’36 Ford going for a spin.




ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-26One last photo, and its time to leave El Mirage and drive up to Los Angeles.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-27One more stop to take a last look at the dry bed and snap a picture with the SCTA sign. The guys say goodbye to El Mirage for now… they will be back!!


Lets cruise down to LA!

ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-at-lars-la-01On the freeway to Los Angeles and later to Pomona where the Los Angeles Roadster Show will be held the next day.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-28O, yes LA traffic.


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p2-19The guys checked into a motel for a good night rest, and capture this sweet view from the motel door.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-29Some night cruising around town is hard to beat.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-at-lars-03Despite all the troubles they had the guys reached their ultimate goal and made it to Pomona in time for the 2016 Los Angeles Roadster Show. The guys felt really fantastic, and they parked the cars in the parking lot for a few “We made it” photos. Not long after that Kipp Winward Lined up his beautiful full custom ’36 Ford 5-window coupe. He’s a great guy.


The cars at the spot at the swap meet. They had made some posters telling some history of the cars, and asking the audience tfor help filling in the empty spaces in the history. And Yaheee they did get some new info they had hoped for.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-30Cruising at the LA Roadster Show.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-32After leaving the LARS the guys needed to get gas one more time to make it to the shipper. Suddenly this fellow (right) shows up. Mr Memo Ortega. Memo had spotted the cars at the gas station, recognized them from the CCC Forum, and managed to make a U turn in to the gas station. Memo was really happy to unexpectedly bump into the Swedes, talk to the guys about the trip, and check out the cars.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-31Busy Los Angeles afternoon traffic. Heading down to the shipper in Compton, the final destination in the US.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-33After a long trip and very long hours they finally arrived at the gate at the shipping company in Compton. Petter Dahlstöm at So Cal Classics took care of the transport to Sweden. Petter is a really great contact and a great helper and very professional.


ccc-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p4-34Before the cars would be loaded into the sea-container, the guys made sure all their extra parts, tools and other stuff were packed in the trunk and inside the cars. The, it was time to say goodbye to the cars and get back to the airport for their flight back home to Sweden. 


After all the paperwork was handled by the shipper, the cars were loaded into the sea-contaier and send off to their boat ride From the US to Sweden. After 6 long weeks the cars arrived in Sweden, save and in great condition at the end of August 2016. Next plan is to get the cars completely restored as closely how they looked when they were first finished in the early 1940’s for Ronnie’s ’39 Mercury, and in the early 1950’s for Micke’s ’36 Ford. We will make sure to cover the restoration of both cars here on the Custom Car Chronicle.

A big thanks for Ronnie Lindblom and Micke Hedberg for sharing their amazing road trip story with us here at the CCC. I hope everybody has enjoyed it was much as we have. 

Go back to Part 1, Part 2 or Part 3

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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. what a great story rik a trip they they will remember for a long time how kool, glad i seen them an there cars at the gas station nice guys,


  2. Great story but what is the new info on the cars?


  3. A road trip of a lifetime. I have really enjoyed this series of adventures. It’s a real challenge to drive an old car around L. A. Wish that the traffic was always as light as it is shown in these pictures. LOL


  4. This is a great story with great cars. Really feels like we are along for the adventure.


  5. Awesome road trip. Thanks for sharing.


  6. Thanks for letting us ride along. What a ride!


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