Custom Car Chronicle
custom carsnews flashValley Custom Shop

Ron Dunn Ford Restoration Begins

PRESS RELEASE Ron Dunn Ford Restoration

Steve Frisbie, owner of Steve’s Auto Restorations, Inc. in Portland, Oregon has announced that restoration is officially underway on the 1950 Ford custom coupe once owned by Ron Dunn.


Crowned as “Custom of the Year” in 1953 by Hop Up magazine, Ron Dunn’s Ford was the styling handiwork of known customizers Neil Emory and Clayton Jensen of Valley Custom Shop located in Burbank, California. Ron Dunn debuted the car in 1952 at the LA Motorama where it won First in Class and then went on to win First Place in the Custom Coupe class at the Oakland Roadster Show in 1953. It has been featured in many publications which touted it as “a study in styling.” Later in 1958 following a re-styling, the car was again recognized in Custom Cars Magazine as one of “The 10 Best” customs.




In late 2005 Steve Frisbie rescued the car from open air storage in a fenced off driveway in Burbank, California where it sat out in the weather for many years under the ownership of Ron’s nephew. During that time the car was partially disassembled and left to the hazards of the elements, though being in Burbank for all those storage years the deterioration was at a minimum. Steve brought the car up to Portland, Oregon where it immediately went into heated dry secure storage awaiting the chance to be restored. Over the years Steve had tried to begin restoration on the famous custom, but as is the case for many shop owners, customer cars always took priority. Finally the time has come. In the process of restoration every magazine article which featured the car will be examined to ensure an accurate restoration back to the exact same configuration that it was when the second customization took place in 1956/1957. Other supporting documents include 19 letters from Ron’s nephew to Steve spanning the time from when the car was acquired by Steve until the passing of Ron’s nephew. There will be literally hundreds of documentation photos taken as the car comes apart to ensure an accurate restoration.

The car was originally customized in 1951 and then suffered a side-swipe type accident resulting in a re-customizing by Valley Custom Shop in 1956/1957. Many opinions regard the first version to be a better example of early fifties styling compared to the second. Therein lies the big question, does the restoration follow the first version or the second version? Steve feels that it would be sacrilegious to dispose of “Valley Custom Shop” sheet metal work, or to hang it on the wall, only to then shape new S.A.R. sheet metal to mimic the first version. Thus Steve has decided to restore the car to the existing version that it is now. Then at a later date acquire a 1950 Ford coupe and build a “clone” of the first version utilizing all of the knowledge and tear down pictures that were gathered during the restoration process. This seems to be the most logical thing to do. And given Steve’s extensive background in concours restorations, the resurrection of the Ron Dunn car will be nothing short of amazing.

Steve is seeking any and all information on this car that anyone can provide to help aid in this restoration process. Everything from pictures to articles to stories about the car will be of great use. You can help be a part of saving the history of this well-known custom. The restoration process is now underway and can be followed on S.A.R.’s website at the “current projects” section.


For more information email Steve at

Steve’s Auto Restorations, Inc.
(503) 665-2222


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)

Leave a Reply