Custom Car Chronicle
In Memoriam

RIP Ray Erickson


Ray ‚ÄúRadical Ray‚ÄĚ Erickson, passed away Saturday December 6, 2014, aged 86. Ray was a fantastic¬†car customizer a real¬†legend in the Kansas area.


By Steve Mallory
I don’t like to be the bearer of bad news, but I wanted to share with the rest of the Custom Car World, that Ray Erickson aka “Radical Ray” passed away in his sleep on Saturday night at 8:40 PM. He lost his battle with cancer.

We lost one of the real¬†innovators, a real do it¬†yourself’er. Among other cars that Ray built entirely himself at home in his house / driveway was the famous “La Jolla/El Torro”. Built in 1957, it started out as a 1948 Merc. Coupe . He robbed the top off of his dally driver, a 1950 Merc and combined the two!¬† All this was done with a torch and lead. He changed or modified every thing that he owned that had wheels. He is reasonable for putting K. C. on the map in the Custom and Hot Rod world and was¬†quick to share his knowledge and talent with anybody that happened to walk in his driveway.!

My brother George (owner of the Barris Kustoms-built Snooky Janich 1941 Ford) and I first met Ray sometime in 1955 / 1956 when Ray¬†was President of the K.C.T.A. ¬†They helped build the Kansas City drag strip and went on to host the 2 nd annual NHRA National Drag Races on the opening day of the Drag Strip.¬†We were 14 at the time and Ray let us sweep the staging area for the Nationals.!!¬† What a thrill for two youngsters just getting started in Hot Rods.!!¬† We have been following and enjoying Ray and his work ever since. We were in his garage when he built “La Jolla” in 1957.

What he did for us and so many other’s over the years is what makes him so special. ¬†Ray was still doing this up until the week before he passed. What a Guy.!!¬† We all have these stories and years of enjoyment and THANK Ray for this.!!

A real pioneer and leader in this hobby.
We owe him a lot and he will be greatly missed!
More info about Ray can be found on the Misfits Midwest website.
Photos courtesy of “BrerHair” and the Erickson Collection

Ray Erickson on his¬†“Royal Enfield” motorcycle in 1947.


“La Jolla/El Torro” 1948 Mercury with a 1950 Mercury roof… Radical.






Photos taken from the Misfits Car Club Memorial.













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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