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December 15, 2015

Panoramic Ford Part Three

Panoramic Ford

 

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.


CCC-new-panoramic-ford-andreasAndreas posing with his New Panoramic Ford at the 2014 Old Style Weekend event.

 


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.



CCC-new-panoramic-ford-first-version-2007The 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.



CCC-new-panoramic-ford-construction-01Not 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.

 


CCC-new-panoramic-ford-construction-02With 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.


CCC-new-panoramic-ford-second-version-2008In 2008, Andreas “finished” the hard-topped car in black primer and enjoyed it for the summer. The front and rear of the car remain mostly stock at this time.

 


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.


CCC-new-panoramic-ford-construction-031951 Oldsmobile rear fenders were found online in the US and shipped to Sweden. During the winter of 2008-2009 Andreas reshaped the Olds fender sections to fit the Ford rear quarters.

 


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.


CCC-new-panoramic-ford-construction-05More 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.

 


CCC-new-panoramic-ford-construction-04Andreas 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. 

 


CCC-new-panoramic-ford-construction-06Andreas 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.


CCC-new-panoramic-ford-wheel-lipThe 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.

 



CCC-new-panoramic-ford-construction-07Once 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.


CCC-new-panoramic-ford-construction-08 The lower hood section was hand shaped. The grille was created from a 1953 Chevy unit with 1951 Ford bullets at the end.

 


CCC-new-panoramic-ford-construction-09In 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.

CCC-new-panoramic-ford-construction-10In 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.

CCC-new-panoramic-ford-rear-viewThe 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.

 


CCC-new-panoramic-ford-side-view-03Most cars have a preferred perfect angle, with The New Panoramic Ford I have come to the conclusion that it looks perfect from any angle.

 


CCC-new-panoramic-ford-side-view-02This 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.

 


CCC-new-panoramic-ford-front-viewFront view shows the great looking grille from 1953 Chevy and 1951 Ford components, the peaked hood and the continues line of the bottom of the windshield and the side windows.

 


CCC-new-panoramic-ford-side-viewSide 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.

 


CCC-new-panoramic-ford-dashThe restored 1950 Ford Crestliner accessory steering wheel looks absolutely stunning in the car. The dash is as perfectly finished as the outside of the car.

 


CCC-new-panoramic-ford-quarter-windowAndreas 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.

 


CCC-new-panoramic-ford-detailsA few more details. Rounded rear hood corners and restored Appleton S-552 Spotlights and the home made hinged lower section of the 1951 Oldsmobile taillights to access the gas filler.

 


CCC-new-panoramic-ford-on-the-road-01Andreas 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.

 


CCC-new-panoramic-ford-andreas-interior

CCC-new-panoramic-ford-gasAndreas filling up the car with more gas, for more cruising. The home built 1951 Oldsmobile hinged taillight gas filler cap works perfect.

 


CCC-new-panoramic-ford-on-the-road-02The 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.

 


CCC-new-panoramic-ford-dean-mercIt 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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About the Author

Profile photo of Rik Hoving
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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8 Comments


  1. Profile photo of Larry Pointer

    This has to be the best CCC series of articles ever! To be able to see how Andreas approached his refinement of the original Panoramic design elements is a real treat. And to have a master stylist like Rik to point out for us how Andreas made those subtle, most effective improvements: priceless. Andreas you are taking customizing to a new level. Rik, CCC just keeps getting better!
    your fan,
    Larry


  2. Profile photo of Scott Stalick

    That is truly a top tier custom! So clean and so well done.


  3. Profile photo of Tony Miller

    The original Litton Ford has always been near the top of my list for customs from the fifties, and I commend Andreas and all other participants in building this refined tribute car. Great Job!

    And further thanks, Rik, for the detailed chronicle of the project!


  4. Profile photo of Bobby Stamper

    Very nice car, really nice to see a builder re-create a famous custom car, finding the originals is impossible, then if you do find an original for sale, the asking price is too high for the normal guy that wants to enjoy the car he likes. Fritz Shennick in Belton MO owns a very busy car customizing shop, that’s all he does is re-creates famous custom cars. Fritz’s favorite saying is “if you can’t own it, clone it” Fritz is right. In the custom car world U.S.A is #1, with CA being the hub, the #2 country is Sweden. The guys in Sweden are also right, build CA custom cars from the 50’s. Rik’s web site is loaded with pics of famous custom cars from that era. I tip my hat to the guys in Sweden.


  5. Profile photo of memo ortega

    neat story rik an such a beautyful car,


  6. Profile photo of Andreas

    Thanks Rik for a nice story about my car!
    It´s funny that it still doesn´t feels like my car! When building it i always think twice about what and how Buster and his team would have liked the changes or not?
    And i had to think as if i was customizing a near new car in the early 50´s! not building a streetrod looking like a custom!

    That´s one of the reasons i why i first did a “stock” frame off rebuild of the car
    so when i started to build a custom of it i “only” had the fun work to do! and i didn´t have to deal with rust and mechanic work, that was already done at that time!


  7. Profile photo of Jeff Neppl

    This car is drop dead gorgeous…. Shuts it down.


  8. Profile photo of Keith Daleen

    You car and craftsmanship is beautiful.



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