Custom Car Chronicle
Memo Ortega Files

Memo Ortega Stories Part 31




Back in the 1980s when Memo Ortega owned his full Custom GMC pick up truck, he went to several of the famous Paso Robles WCK shows.

Memo Ortega is a well known name in the SoCal Custom Car and LowRider Scene, but perhaps not as well known as it should be. Memo has been working on custom cars and Low Riders since the early 1950’s. He became good friends with Custom Car Icon Gil Ayala, and in the late 1950’s he even bought Gil’s famous 1942-46 Ford Coupe as a persona driver. Today, in 2016, 81 years young, Memo is still chopping tops, and any other custom car work you can think of from, his garage work-shop. Check out more of the Memo Ortega Stories in the Memo Ortega Files on the CCC

Once again rock & rolling back into the ’80’s in my kustom chopped GMC truck with my radio casset player blarring out songs like… Buddy Knox Party Doll, Connie Francis Lipstik on your collar, Chuck Berry’s Sweet Little Sixteen, Dee Clarks, Hey Little Girl, and of coarse Little Richard’s Tuti Fruitty. Oh and I forgot Gene Vincent’s Be Bop a Lula…… ahhhhhh Kruising up the famouse highway 101 to the famous Sherwood Park in Paso Robles. We got there 4 hours after we left Montclair, Ca. and we were in kustom haven.

The line to get into the park stretched way back, while we wait we can see a bunch of fine cars already in the park. This is so kool this line waiting for the park with all kustoms in front of us and more and more behind us, all waiting in line to get in. At the gate we are greeted by none other then Rich Pichette, one of the most awesome persons in my book, may he rest in kustom haven. Over the years I have mixed up some of my photos so in this batch we have Paso Robles photos as well as the Los Banos show both done by West Coast Kustoms.
Ahhh gone, yes, but not forgotten!

Dale Hollenbeck’s beautiful pale blue 50 Mercury.

My trusty black GMC pickup parked with some beautiful Hot Rods and customs surrounding it.

John Gimelli’s 1947 Ford convertible in beautiful purple with lavender-mauve flames.

In Part Two I showed the front of this wild 1950 Mercury that is now owned by Sam Groenberg. The rear is just as wild as the front.

John D’Agostino’s ’53 Mercury was built by Bill Reasoner, and had a really stunning candy red paint job.

Bill Reasoner’s personal car that year was this great looking 1951 Mercury “Cool 51”.

Another cool 51 Mercury was painted a super gloss black with DeSoto grille. 

The chopped Shoebox sedan looked neat with the bright yellow and black paint, no skirts and a nice near level stance. The Chopped Caddy next to it was also very nice.

Joe Bailon did Bud Malard’s 1950 Mercury, it was at the show in primer and would soon be painted pale yellow.

The combination of the chopped top, black paint with candy purple scallops, DeSoto grille teeth, 53 Buick headlights and new front bumper made this 50 Mercury a real stand out.

(This article is made possible by)




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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