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Valley Custom Shop Gathering


Seeing one Valley Custom Shop creation is already a real pleasure, can you imagine how it must have been to see all these great Valley Custom Shop creations at one location.

[dropcap]We[/dropcap] do not know if this gathering of Valley Custom Car creations was an annual thing, or perhaps set up by the photographer Dean Batchelor, or was it a just a spur of the moment event. In any event this amazing photo taken by Dean is one of those Historical Custom Car Icon photos. From early 1950’s magazine features we can tell that Dean took many more photos of the cars at this gathering. Most likely all at this particular day (probably in early 1953). However as far as we know this Valley Custom Shop gathering photo is the only one that was ever published in the magazines back in the day, and now. The cars are gathered at a parking lot at the Starlight Bowl in Burbank. Lets take a closer look at the cars in this amazing photo. (We have separated each car from the gathering photo and added a second photo showing the car a little better.)



Ron Dunn 1950 Ford

The car the closest to the camers of Dean Batchelor is Ron Dunn’s 1950 Ford. This one is perhaps the most famous Valley Custom Car creations ever. Well balanced sectioned body with radiused wheel openings. Custom grille and custom made taillights in a modified rear fender opening. The Valley Custom Shop was known for its non traditional way of customzing. A style that sometimes looked more like factory custom creations. The Ron Dunn Ford is currently being restored into a later version by Steve’s Auto Restorations.



Ray Vega 1938 Ford

Ray Vega took his 1938 Ford sedan convertible to the Valley Custom Shop or the full Custom treatment. Here they added a modified 1940 Ford front end to the car. The fenders were raised and the hood sectioned to get in balance with the rest of the body. The windshield was chopped and a padded top created. 1946 Ford bumpers and 1941 Studebaker taillights are the perfect choice for this car. Ray’s Ford is another car tat is still around today. The current owner has the car restored, and made a few personal updates to it. Hopefully it will be shown to the public soon.



Ralph Jilek 1940 Ford

One of the finest customs to ever come out of the Valley Custom Shop is the sectioned and chopped 1940 Ford Convertible they created for Ralph Jilek. The proportions on this car are extremely pleasing. The gathering photo shows that Ralph had a mishap with his car. The rear fenders is dented and both front and rear wheels have the hubcaps missing. It also looks like the front fender was damaged a little in the accident. Ralph’s Convertible is another Valley Custom Shop car that has survived and was restored till perfection a couple of years ago.



Glad Ellis 1949 Mercury

Glad Ellis took his 1949 Mercury convertible and a Cadillac de Ville roof to the Valley Custom Shop in the very early 1950’s. The body was altered at the rear to accept the Cadillac top. The rear window glass was replaced with hand curved plastic. The handles and emblems were shaved of the car and the top portion of the grille surround chrome plated. Sadly not to long after it was finished it was stolen and heavily damaged.



 Neil Emory 1940 Buick

Neil Emory’s personal driver was this four door 1940 Buick with mild custom touches including a new grille. The four door was a practical Custom for Neil and his young family.



Ed Jacques 1942 Ford

The Valley Custom Shop used conventional and typical Valley Custom styling elements to create Ed’s stunning and super low 1941 Ford coupe. Read the full CCC-Feature on Ed’s 1942 Ford for more info on this great looking custom.



Ollie Seeley 1951 Plymouth

Another understated Custom from the Valley Custom Shop team is Ollie Seeley’s 1951 Plymouth Convertible. Subtile and non traditional custom touches in a typical Valley Custom Shop style set this one apart from the rest.



Dick Flint 1929 Ford

Dick Flint’s 1929 Model A Roadster was an very well designed Hot Rod that was featured in many magazines m as well as on several magazine covers back in the day Including the famous Hot Rod magazine chasing girl photo. Dick’s Roadster is still around today, and was completely restored several years ago.


Unknown MG

Possible O.H. Hooker’s 1941 Pontiac

The two cars in the back, next to Neil’s 1940 Buick and Ollie’s 1951 Plymouth are hard to identify. The one closest to the cameral looks like 49-51 Ford four door with sunvisor. We have not been able to locate any such car as being a Valley Custom Car. So perhaps it was just a “stock” car from one of the employes. The teardrop shaped roof behind that car could possibly be the 1941 Pontiac the shop created for O.H. Hooker. An early custom they did in the late 1940’s. On this four door customs the shop removed all excess chrome. The fenders where reshaped to make the body look narrower and the nose was extended 3 inches down to meet the 1946 Cadillac grille that was installed. But perhaps since O.H. Pontiac is not included in the second photo taken at this gathering, this might again be a factory stock car from one of the employees or family members.


The other known photo taken at this Valley Custom Shop Customs Gathering.

CCC-valley-custom-gathering-twoThis is the only other photo we have ever seen of this Valley Custom Shop Customs gathering. As far as we can tell taken at the same day as the lead photo, most likely by Dean Batchelor as well. An amazing line up. Hopefully there have been more photos taken that day, and more will surface sooner or later.















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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