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Custom History

February 1, 2017

Buster Litton and Friends

 

BUSTER LITTON and FRIENDS

 

Buster Litton and Ron Roach pay several visits to Rob Radcliffe in Temecula California. They are checking out the progress on the Buster Litton Convertible Ford Rob is working on for his friend Octavio Chavez, and share stories from back in the day.



This friendship all started when Rob’s best friend Octavio Chavez noticed a picture of the Buster Litton Ford at a Temecula Ford Dealership he was working at. After asking around it he found out that the young guy in the photo was Ron Roach, the Ford dealership’s shuttle-bus driver. Ron and Buster go back a long time and they still see each-other. Octavio calls Rob, and tells about his findings, Rob rushes over to meet with Octavio and Ron after work. Later they set up a meeting at a local rod-run to meet with Buster Litton as well. And they have stayed in touch ever since, and see each other at car shows or  when Rob invites them to come over to his shop to check out the progress on Octavio Chavez’s Panoramic Ford Convertible. Buster and Ron go back since High School in Huntington Park, when both guys had great looking Customs and both were members of the Huntington Park King Pin Car Club.

In 2013 Buster Litton and his good friend Ron Roach visited Rob Radcliffe’s garage shop to check out Octavio’s Buster Litton Convertible for the first time. From left to right: Rob Radcliffe, Buster Litton, Ron Roach and Octavio Chavez.

 


Octavio listening to Buster sharing all kinds of stories from back when he owned his Panoramic Ford, while checking out Octavio’s Ford.

 


Rob Radcliffe King Kustoms shop with Octavio getting some stuff out of the way so that Buster and Ron can have a good look at his Convertible Panoramic Ford. Thats Buster, with the hat, walking to his car to get the King Pins club plaque he brought to show Rob and Octavio.

 


January 23, 2016 Buster and Ron pay Rob another visit. Octavio’s Ford is now in primer.
From left to right: Ron Roach, Buster Litton, Octavio Chavez, Rob Radcliffe. Rob’s father.

 


Ron now lives in Temecula, not to far from where Rob had his shop, and Buster now lives in La Habra close to Long Beach about 70 miles from Temecula. On their several visits they always take some neat old stuff with them to show Rob and Octavio, and of course share some of the stories from back in the 1950’s. Rob has been photographing the old snapshots Ron took, as well as some other other items they brought.

A young Ron Roach next to Buster Litton’s Panoramic Ford. This was the photo Octavio saw at the Ford Dealership he worked at. This is the photo that led to the friendship with Ron and Buster.

 


This ’35 Ford was owned by Ron Roach, he bought it like this. Rob mentioned that him and Ron were talking about the top, it looked very mildly chopped in the pictures. Ron agreed, but he was not sure, and since he bought it this way he could not tell if it was or not.
It was a very nice car he said.

 


Buster’s Panoramic Ford at the Petersen Motorama Show at the Pan Pacific Auditorium in November 1953. This was the first show the Panoramic Ford was entered.

 


Ron Roach with his 1941 Ford Sedan mild Custom parked in front of his house.

 




Ron’s ’41 Ford had a nice stance with wide whites and Cadillac Sombrero hubcaps.
It was a really good looking driver.

 


Ron’s ’49 Ford mild custom.

 


Ron’s ’54 Ford mildy restyled with Pontiac grille and Appleton Spotlights.

 


Ron doing the “Sam Barris pose” with his Ford.

 


Upgrade to Lincoln, parked in front of Ron’s home.

 





Bell Helmets

Buster and Ron both worked a great number number of years for Bell Helmets. Buster was in the manufacturing part of Bell, and Ron was assistant Foreman. It was Ron who is the guy who gave the big sponsor check to the race winners who wore Bell helmets. They both left in the late 70s/early 80s when Bell switched owners. Buster Litton then started his own landscaping business.


Newspaper clipping from the time Buster worked for Bell Helmets.

 


And one showing Ron Roach at work at Bell Helmets.

 


Ron at Bell Helmets.

 


Ron is the guy who gave the big sponsor check to the race winners who wore Bell helmets.

 


Ron with Evel Knievel.

 




King Pins

Both Buster Litton and Ron Roach were members of the King Pins of Huntington Park Car Club. Ron was president of the club from 1952 – 1953, and both guys had the brass club plaque on their rides. Both also hold on to some of their Club memorabilia from the early 1950’s. Buster brought his brass plague to his visit to Rob and Octavio. And Ron brought his president gavel and embroidered jacked patch.


Buster Litton brought his original brass King Pins plaque similar to the one he had on his Panoramic Ford.

 


Close up of the Hot Rod on the brass plaque.

 


Backside of the plaque.

 


Embroidered jacket Pins Hot Rod logo patch.

 


Ron brought the King Pins gavel. Ron(ald) Roachwas president of the club from 1952 – ’53.

 




In early 2016 Rob had just finished his 1950 Ford and entered it at the 2016 GNRS. He invited Ron and Buster to come and see him and the finished car at the show. They surprised Rob when they both showed up wearing their King Kustoms shirts. And they LOVED Rob’s Shoebox.

 


Special thanks to Rob Radcliffe






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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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5 Comments


  1. Profile photo of Larry Pointer

    Really enjoyed this one. Thank you, Rob. Buster and Ron have a lot to share. Maybe some interviews? Hint, hint to the history teacher. Loving Octavio’s take on the Panoramic Ford. Great stuff coming out of Temecula.


  2. Profile photo of Torchie

    Great circle of HIstory.
    Torchie


  3. Profile photo of KingKustoms

    Thanks, Rik! Another cool article and I’m glad to be a part of contributing to the Custom Car Chronicle.

    Larry, thank you for the kind words! It’s cool to hang around Buster and Ron and hear them tell their stories as close friends. A lot of what they say I have written down, including a phone “interview” I did with Don Schaedel- the second owner of the Panoramic Ford. He bought the car from Buster and I was able to track him down through another friend, Dick Jackson.

    Octavio and I had his Ford at the GNRS 2017 Saturday drive-in this past weekend and had called Buster and Ron to come see it, but we never saw them at the show. After multiple attempts on their house phones, we had no luck and had to drive out by 4pm or be stuck in the fairgrounds until 9pm due to show rules. This March is the Temecula Rod Run so hopefully we’ll catch the two of them and show them the car in person. Neither of them have seen it this complete.


  4. Profile photo of memo ortega

    hi rik love this story an the work on this cars they sure are doing a nice job on them thanks for the photos an story, sure like em,


  5. Profile photo of Paul(hombres ruin)

    The panoramic ford is such an icon of kustom style , huge inspiration on many builders. Great story and really amazing rob you got to go back in time and hear the stories associated with this kustom .



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