NEW PANORAMIC FORD
Andreas Åberg from Sweden has re-create the Panoramic Ford and in the progress improved on its original design. Lets take a closer look at the New Panoramic Ford in the last article in this series, the Panoramic Ford Part Three.
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 third and last, for now, part on the Panoramic Ford we want to highlight an improved re-creation of the original Panoramic Ford created by Andreas Åberg from Sweden.
Andreas Åberg’s recreation of a Classic Custom
After having worked on several car project since he was in his young teens, Andreas from Sweden has developed a passion for classic customs in the early 200o’s. One car in particular sparks his interest. The Barris/Cerny created Panoramic Ford created for Buster Litton. When you view part One and Two on this car, you can understand why. The Buster Litton Panoramic Ford is – for many Custom Car enthusiast – one of the most beautiful Customs ever created. In 2005 Andreas is able to buy an unassembled, but complete 1950 Ford Sedan at a car auction not to far from where he lives. He is able to buy the car for a very low price, which is perfect since the plan to recreate the Panoramic Ford means he will have to find and buy a lot of rare car parts from the US and have them shipped to his home in Sweden, not cheap.
First thing to do for Andreas is to put together the Ford parts he had bought at the auction and makes it a rolling project. While at it Andreas mildly customized the car using 1952 Ford headlights and nosed and decked the car before painting it with black primer. In the winter of 2007-2008 Anreas starts its major project of recreating the Panoramic Ford. After doing research on the Buster Litton Ford collecting every photo and info he could find he made a list of parts he would need and noticed a few things on the original car he thought could be improved upon. So he decided to not create a perfect replica of the original Panoramic Ford, but rather a refined version of it. The New Panoramic Ford.
The first time I saw Andreas’ Shoebox was at the 2007 Old Style Weekend in Sweden. I did not know Andreas at that time and came across this nice looking mildly customized 1950 Ford, and had to take a photo.
The restyling started with chopping the top. The windshield was cut around 3 inches and the rear of the top was dropped in between the rear quarters enough to get the perfect profile. During this initial process the car was taken outside several times and compared to photos of the original Panoramic Ford, until the profile of the lowered top look just right. The flow of the top is crucial for this car, and Andreas decided to reshape the rear portion of the top to make it flow better, and to reposition the rear window in the top, again for a better flow. The lowered top was now much shorter, creating a gap from the trunk to the top, the catwalk.
Andreas created a new panel for this and also shaped new sail panels to make the whole unit flow as perfect as possible. With the basic top shape finished it was time to create the new hard-topped side windows. Not completely happy with the way these looked on the original car. Andreas asked Illustrator Janne Kutje, and Designer Rik Hoving along with input from good friend Wolf Christiansson for help to improve this on his car. Several Digital Restyling versions were created using styling elements from Wolf’s 1951 Mercury Hard-Top, which Andreas really liked.
Not to long after the OSW show in the summer of 2007, Andreas started to further customize his Ford. Chopping the top about 3 inches at the a-pillars and some more , until it looked right, at the back. These photos show how much catwalk needed to be added to fill the gap, how the bulge above the rear window was “flattened” for a better flow, and how Andreas reshaped the side window openings completely.
With most of the hard work done Andreas made some photos and asked for some design help from Janne Kutja, Wolf Christiansson and me (Rik Hoving Kustoms). I “finished” the side view image in Photoshop and helped reshaping the side window opening and other details till Andreas was happy with it and he could transfer the changes into metal.
The A-pillar width, the corner shapes on the front top, and the rear corners were all reshaped from their original shape to improve the overall look. In the design process it was also made clear that the section from the belt-line to the bottom of the window opening on the Fords is less than on the Mercury’s from the same year. And that the Mercury has a very nice balance between the lower edge of the windshield and side windows. It was decided to match the Mercury lines on this, and now the bottom of the side window openings is in line with the bottom of the windshield, and also with the lowered rear window. It is details like this what makes looking at Andreas New Panoramic Ford such a pleasure for the eye. A large portion of the new side window opening was hand made for the perfect flow. The rear corner of the side window opening was created using the corner of a 4-door Ford donor car. Andreas worked with Wolf Christiansson on reshaping the stainless trim around the new window opening.
When the chopped top was handled the car was painted black primer again and enjoyed for the summer. Next winter it was time to add the 1951 Oldsmobile rear fenders that Andreas had found in the US and had arrived in Sweden. The Ford rear fenders were marked and sections removed to be replaced with the Olds sections. The Olds units had to be shaped a bit to match the Ford quarter panel contours. The radius on top of the Olds rear fenders is much larger than on the Ford so Andreas decided to replace most of the Ford top portion of the fender with the Olds unit to make them blend in with the body much nicer. Once the Olds fenders were mounted Andreas decided that the slight off vertical line of the taillights should be corrected and he cut off the taillight bezel surrounds and repositioned them. At the same tome Andreas also re-routed the gas filler to the back of the drivers side rear fender. He modified the lower portion of the 1951 Olds taillight and hinged it on the side so he could use it as a gas cap. The splash pan was reshaped and welded and molded to the body. A narrowed 1953 Ford rear bumper was added, and for this version Andreas reshaped 1950 Mercury bumper guards.
Andreas had been able to find a set of 1952 Studebaker headlights, but not the actual fenders. In He decides to mock up the 1952 headlights and places them several inches in front of the Ford fenders to where he thinks they need to be. He makes some photos and asked me to make more Digital Finishing images to see how the whole car now looks. At this point it is decided that the front fenders are extended to much. But then January 2009 Andreas finally finds a set of 1951 Studebaker front fenders, which will save him a lot of work on the front, and makes the front the same as the original Panoramic Ford. The stock 1950 Ford splash pan is molded to the front fenders.
More Photoshop help was needed to blend in and digitally finish the fresh body work to see if everything was looking good. In this phase Andreas had found the Studebaker headlights, but not the actual fenders, and was considering shaping the front fenders by hand. The top photo shows the headlights mocked up using welding rod in the right location.
Andreas was not quite happy with the slight angled inwards look the Olds taillights had once the fenders were welded to the Ford. So he cut off the taillight mounting section and slightly rotated it so the light would sit perfectly vertical when viewed from behind. The splash pan was modified and molded to the body to make the narrowed 1953 Ford rear bumper fit perfectly.
Andreas finally found a set of 1951 Studebaker front fenders in the US in January 2009. When they arrived home in Sweden he grafted them onto the Ford front fenders. It required quite a bit of metal work to make them fit perfectly.
The original Panoramic Ford used the Studebaker front fender lip which oddly disappears halfway the wheel opening. Andreas never cared for that look, so he decided to change this detail. His first thought was using the popular 1952-54 Ford/Mercury units, but felt the lip would be a bit to wide for the looks he wanted. He looked at the lip on the cut down 1951 Mercury fender skirts he had for the car and decided to use those as a template. He cut the wheel opening from the fender at about half an inch from the opening, leaving only the bottom section attached to the fender. Then he pushed this section outwards until he had the look he was after. He welded some pieces of rod to hold the thin sections in place and shaped up pieces of sheet metal to fill in the gap and blend it in with the rest of the fender. The result is a very elegant wheel lip styled similar to the 1951 Mercury fender skirt for the perfect balance. The car was lowered with dropped spindles in the front and de-arched springs and lowering blocks in the back.
The front wheel opening lip was created by making a cut just above the wheel opening, pushing the opening out a bit, and filling the gap with shaped pieces of sheet metal. The new lip is more elegant than the Studebaker unit, and fits the lip on the skirt perfectly.
Once again the car was pushed out for a good view of the new profile of the car. The Olds rear fenders and Studebaker front units make all the difference and the car was not looking very close, but more refined as the original Panoramic Ford. The 1950 Buick side trim has now also been installed.
With the Studebaker front fenders now in place its time to get things wrapped up at the front. The Studebaker fender body crease is removed and everything metal finished. The original Panoramic Ford uses a 1951 Mercury lip on the lower hood section. But Andreas figured it would be far to hard for him to locate that part in Sweden, so he instead shaped a similar lip from sheet metal and made it fit the hood and front fenders perfectly. The hole in the hood from the original Ford grille was filled at this point as well.
Now things at the front were almost done. He found an 1953 Chevy grille bar with three teeth, and the 1951 Ford grille end bullets were also located and adapted to the Chevy bar. A new construction was created to make the bar float in the new grille opening. A window frame was created for the door glass, and separate units where made for the slide-in rear quarter windows. Time for another round of black primer. After that Andreas enjoyed the car for a few years while building a house and spend time with his young family.
In the summer of 2009 Andreas once again painted the car in black primer. No all the body work was done, and the car looked stunning. Notice that the dash already has been painted body color. Andreas had heard George Barris would be visiting Sweden, and he wanted George to sign the dash on his Ford, so the dash had to be finished before the rest of the car.
Time to finish the New Panoramic Ford
in late 2012 it was time to get back on the New Panoramic Ford project again. In the meantime Andreas had been looking for and found the last missing pieces for his project. The 1950 Ford Crestliner steering wheel, the Appleton S-552 Spotlights, convertible and victoria garnish moldings and a few more odds and ends. The car was taken apart, and finished where needed. Then it was time for paint. Andreas already had picked the color for his car a few years earlier when he had heard George Barris would visit a Swedish Car Show. To top of his creation he wanted George Barris to sign the ash in his car. So well before the rest of the car was ready he had detailed, finished and painted the 1949 Ford dash in a DuPont custom mixed Cocoa Rust-Red metallic paint. Johnny Ernflykt added the perfect color for the car.
In the winter of 2012-2013 Andreas took the car apart for the last time, did the final body work and prepped the car for paint. The finished car debuted at the Elmia Custom Car and Hot Rod show in early 2013.
After the car was painted it as a race against time to get the car finished for the 2013 Custom Motor show in Elmia, Sweden. where Andreas wanted to debut the car. The interior was done by USA Trading Upholstery Shop, who normally do not do vintage car interiors. Andreas wanted an little less busy interior in his car than Bill Gaylord had created for the original car in the early 1950’s. With as much photos of samples he could find, especially of the Jay Johnston Shoebox he had instructed the upholstery shop. The shop handled the tuck & roll interior in the Ford really well. The already finished dash wan installed and the stock steering column cleaned and detailed then painted body color before the restored 1950 Ford Crestliner steering wheel was added. The car was actually finished on the show floor at the Elmia show, but Andreas made it, and the car was finished when the show opened for the public.
The New Panoramic Ford in 2015 in Uddevalla Sweden. The angled Olds rear fenders give instand movement to the car. The lowered rear window flows perfect together with the bottom line of the side windows.
This low rear quarter view shows how great the angled fender lines on the front and rear work together and create instant speed. The flow of the top and the continues line of the side window and rear window helps with this flow. The lower door corners were rounded to echo the round lines used on the rest of the car.
Side view photo taken while Andreas drives his car to a photo-shoot location in 2014. Notice how great the home made lip on the front wheel opening matches the lip on the cut down 1951 Mercury skirts in the back.
Andreas demonstrating how the slide-in rear quarter windows work. Just like on the original Panoramic Ford the rear quarter windows are stored in the back, while cruising with all windows open.
Andreas loves to engineer and build his cars in such a way that he can also enjoy driving them. Just like back in the 1940’s and 50’s Andreas drives his New Panoramic Ford as much as he can, and to every car show he is entering the car in.
The New Panoramic Ford was build with the Custom Cars from the early 1950’s in mind. Back then most Custom Car owners used their cars on the road a lot, often the car was their only transporrtation. Andreas drives his Ford as much as he can… and is not afraid to use it in less than perfect weather.
It does not get any better than this. Andreas perfect, improved Panoramic Ford parked with the Dick Dean created Lee Lucero 1951 Mercury. (The 1951 Mercury was owned by Palle Johansen in 2014 when this photo was taken.)
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