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The Memo Files: smarty pants and zoot suits


In the Memo files, Memo Ortega aka Memo Chop  shares his amazing memories from the 1940’s and up. This is his first story.

Memo Ortega has been into customizing since he was a young kid who customized his bicycles. He would later graduate onto real cars and hang out at the Ayala shop were he became good friends with Gil Ayala. In the late 1950’s Memo even bought Gil’s famous 1942-46 Ford coupe which Gill had started to remodel with quad headlights. Memo continued building custom cars and bikes and is still at it today.

Memo loves to share his memories about day’s long gone to show the “kids” today how cool things were back then. This is what he wrote:

CCC_01_ JesseLopez
Jesse Lopez’ zoot zuit pants

That is purty kool. The bottom on Jesse Lopez his 1941 Ford, boy I loved that car. Seeing Jesse’s pants and shoes brings back a lot of memories. Me and my buddy used to fold our pants like that. what we did was buy our pants a little longer then narrowed the bottom and fold them up twice. Presto we had zoot zoot pants. And take a look at Jesse’s shoes. we did the same thing to ours. Wed go and buy some heels and souls from the shoes repairman and glued and nailed them ourselves and again presto we had zoot zoot shoes. Jesse must have been purty cool.

Very sharp dresser Jesse Lopez
Very sharp dresser Jesse Lopez and his Wanda
Another example of well dressed custom car guys

Read more about Zoot suits


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)

One thought on “The Memo Files: smarty pants and zoot suits

  • the way it was , we never thought those day an years would go by so fast, we were having so musch fun cruzin around in our customs we enjoyed every day an nites going all over the place, me personnaly i think i was born to cruze lol, every time we get in our custom chevy on week ends we roll it till it gets tired, glad that jesse lopez is still around loved hes 41 awesome,

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