Historic Customs USA Road Trip P3

 

HISTORIC CUSTOMS USA Road Trip Part 3

 

By Ronnie Lindblom & Micke Hedberg.

With most of the problems on the cars now sorted Ronnie and Micke are ready to get the grand tour at Gene Winfields Shop, and prepare for the rest of their amazing trip.



In early July 2016 Ronnie Lindblom and Micke Hedberg left Sweden for their dream road trip in the USA. Both guys had bought an historic custom in the month prior to this trip, and along the way the idea had grown to fix up their cars and make a road trip of a life-time.¬†After 11 long days and nights working on their cars, they finally had them ready to hit the road. You can read about the first 11 days of their journey in Part One¬†and the first time on the road for the cars in Part Two of this series. The guys ¬†worked till late into the night to get Ronnie’s Mercury fixed. They left Ronnie’s ’39 Mercury at Gene’s¬†shop and took Micke’s¬†’36 Ford to drive up to the nearest Motel to get a few hours of sleep. Early the next morning they head back to¬†spend some more¬†quality time with Gene Winshield at his Mojave Desert shop.

CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-01After sleeping a few hours at the nearest motel the guys drove¬†back to the Winfield shop with Ronnie’ s ’36 Ford¬†early in the morning.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-02New day, new challenges. The Merc was fixed late last night and now Ronnie is almost ready for a test drive.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-03Ronnie only has to¬†refill the water and check oil…
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-04The test drive went fine, and it¬īs time to re torque the heads. There¬†was nothing they could do about the crack in the head. So, they did all other things¬†they could do and hope¬†the engine will last¬†the rest of the trip.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-05The both cars are now ready for the rest of the journey. Micke, Ronnie and Mr. Winfield give the thumb up for the rest of the trip!
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-06Gene is 89 years old and still works on custom cars everyday. It¬īs really impressive to see a legend work and still enjoy it all like it was his firs day at the job. That¬īs amazing! When¬†the Swedes were¬†at Winfield’s, Gene was worked on a channeled ¬≠’40 Ford convertible.¬†
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-09Then it was time to take a tour around the shop and inside Gene own little museum. Here Gene shows the unique bed he made from a model-A Ford pickup.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-10Gene sharing memories and stories from dry lake races in the early days while showing the guys old pictures on the walls.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-collageClose up of the early dry lake collage.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-11One of Gene’s old wood shop signs with his famous logo.¬†Gene hold on to it¬†all these years, and now it’s hanging proudly¬†in his nice little private museum.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-12The “Thing”, a¬†’27 model T racer Gene built¬†in the late 1940’s.¬† Well the original is long gone, and this one is an¬†updated copy of the real ‚ÄĚThing‚ÄĚ. Gene told Micke and Ronnie lots of great stories from back in the day¬īs, It was a blast!
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-07Micke had parked his¬†¬ī36 Ford in the shadow inside the shop¬†to cool down.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-08Micke started his 36 Ford, and everything was still working fine, so they are all ready to go.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-13But before its time to go, they took Gene for a ride in the ¬ī36 Ford.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-14here we go…
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-15Can you imagine how many memories this brought back for Gene… and created¬†for Micke.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-16And of course Gene now also had to¬†get a ride in Ronnie’s Merc as well!
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-17Cruising like it was the early 1940’s…
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-18And more memories brought back, and created.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-19Then it was almost time to say goodbye to Gene, a few last photos with the cars and the shop in the background….
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-24Before the guys left Gene drew a map showing how to best get to El Mirage dry lake and to a couple of friends which Gene thought visiting would be very well worth it. 
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-20And on the way to Palmdale, the first stop
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Not long after they had left¬†Winfield’s¬†Ronnie’s Mercury started to get problems again. The engine started to run really crappy and they had to stop. After they had stopped and let the engine cool a bit¬†the engine refused to start again. The guys checked all possible reasons for the engine failure.¬†Condenser, pionts, distributor cap and several more things,¬†but nothing helped to get the engine to start. Finally Ronnie found out that the distributor was flash-over to ground and he was able to¬†fix the problem. Pfff, it was a hot day out in the middle of the desert!… but they were on their way again.


CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-21Finally the guys arrived at the first stop Gene suggested. Dave McCain, one of the worlds fastest Flathead Ford drag-racers.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-22Dave showed the guys around in his shop and they talked about Flathead tune up all night long.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-25This was the first night without working on the cars since they had arrived in the US. It felt like vacation, just having a good time and making plans for the trip to El Mirage tomorrow.
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CCC-historic-customs-usa-road-trip-p3-23The cars early the next morning… all ready and excited for the drive up to the Dry lake.
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Go back to Part 1, Part 2. Or go to Part 4
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(this article is sponsored by)

CCC-Sponsor-KingKustomsTShirt-602Contact Rob Radcliffe at King Kustoms for more info on these T-Shirts Email Rob

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Boat-Tail Roadsters

 

BOAT-TAIL ROADSTERS

 

In the late 1920s and early 1930s several luxury cars were introduced with Boat-Tail shaped rears. This body-style was later also used on a few Customized cars, lets take a look.



Jamie Ennis send the Custom Car Chronicle an email about a few negatives they had recently come across. The first email did not include any photos, only a brief description of the car in the four negatives they had located.

“In a collection of many negatives my husband and I are going through we have come across 4 photo’s of a really nice car. We have been able to identify the front of the car as a 1938 Ford. We can’t find any exact examples on the internet to verify what it is. The photos are taken in 1946. Can you take a look for us and see if you agree with us that it is a 38 Ford Deluxe Custom Boat-tail Speedster?”

I immediately had to think about an 1938 Ford roadster with Auburn based boat-tail body that was featured with four photos on a full page in the 1947 published Dan Post’s California Custom Car Photo Album booklet. I had always liked that car, and it was on my list on doing something with here on the Custom Car Chronicle. The next email included the four scanned negatives, and it turned out to be a quite different car than the one from the Dan Post book. A Custom, or perhaps a Sports Custom from Staten Island.

I had always been inspired by boat-tail bodied custom cars, and we recently showed a nicely done 1936 Ford Roadster in another CCC-Article so I figured its time to do another article on the Boat-Tailed Custom Roadsters. And hopefully we get some more information on the cars shown, and especially from the one Jamie Ennis shared from Staten Island.



Staten Island 1938 Boat-Tail Roadster

Lets first take a look at the Staten Island 1938 Ford based Roadster. Jamie is looking to find out more information on the car. There is very little we know about the car, but we do know that the photos were taken in 1946. The car is at a relatives house. Address of the home is 27 Fort Hill Circle, Staten Island, N.Y. And thats all the info there is.

CCC-38-ford-boat-tail-roadster-02Side view shows how much longer the 1938 Ford wheelbase was made to make the car look proportional right.
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The front end of the car, fenders, grille and hood appear to be pretty much stock. A set of seal beam headlights have been added, and the hood sides are dressed up most likely with an aftermarket “exhaust” tube kit to give the car a more sports car look and feel. The main body and boat tail rear section appears to come from an 1929 Auburn boat-tail. The windshield is also from this same

CCC-38-ford-boat-tail-roadster-03Sealed-beam headlight conversion and added fog lights on the front. The v-windshield appears to be stock 1929 Auburn.
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CCC-38-ford-boat-tail-roadster-04When we view the car from the front 3/4 the body seems to put the car on an odd angle, due to the boat-tail section. The photo shows that the front bumper appears to be pirated from an older, unknown car.
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To be able to get the new body to look good with the much more teardrop and bulbous shpaed fenders the builder decided to make the body as long as possible. The chassis has been extended, and the 1929 Auburn body was addapted to the 1938 Ford front end using an new created cowl section that was either made from stainless steel, or is completely chrome plated after it was shaped. It gives the front of the car an extra look, very powerful look.

The running boards were extended at the rear of the doors, and an “step” plate was added the length of the extension of the car. It looks like two sets of 1938 Ford rear fenders were used to create the pontoon shaped rear fenders. A left and right side fender were modified,¬†narrowed and welded together to form a single unit. A set of 1941 Buick fender skirt was added. On both sides of the cowl a spare tire mount was added. And on the drivers side of the cowl an teardrop spotlight was added. The main body appears to be mostly stock. In the photos it appears as if the car has seen quite a bit of road usage, indicating the car has been around for some time when these photos were taken in 1946.

CCC-38-ford-boat-tail-roadster-01The rear quarter view gives us a good look at the really nicely done rear fenders. Most likely four rear fenders were used to create this effect. The body panel connecting the fenders with the main body appears to be home made as well. Unidentified taillight and bumper have been used.
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CCC-38-ford-boat-tail-roadster-05Cropped section of the photo shows that the step plate appears to be coming from another car… It also looks like the steering wheel might have been pirated from an 1941 Cadillac.
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CCC-1929-auburn-boat-tailA stock restored 1929 Auburn Boat-Tail Roadster.
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Does any of the CCC-readers know anything about this Staten Island 1938 Ford with 1929 Auburn Boat-Tail body? If so, please email Rik Hoving at the Custom Car Chronicle. We and Jamie Ennis would love to learn more about his uniquely styled early Custom. We would love to find out how the 1929 Auburn body found its way to the 1938 Ford chassis.



A few other Custom Boat-Tail Roadsters.

There are a few other Boat-Tail Customs that came up when I started this article. Frank Kurtis created a few, but I will share more about those in a future article. And one of the first was one Edsel Ford¬†commissioned¬†for himself¬†based on a 1932 Ford.¬†The stunning looking car was designed and created by¬†E.T. ‚ÄúBob‚ÄĚ Gregorie and his team. The original one was later sold and redone with mid 1930’s GM fenders, which actually looked very good on the car. The car was then lost and found again in the mid 1980’s. It was completely restored back to its original configuration over a period of time and finished in 2013. More information and photos of this stunning looking boat-tail roadster can be found in the excellent Hemmings Post by Daniel Strohl.

CCC-edsel-ford-32-ford-roadster-01Original photos of the Speedster from 1932.
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CCC-edsel-ford-32-ford-roadster-00

CCC-edsel-ford-32-ford-roadster-02In the early 1940s, the damaged from an accident Ford speedster was bought of a Bridgeport, Connecticut, junkyard by body man John Cox. John Cox rebuilt it with new smooth hood sides and mid0thirties Chevy fenders.
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CCC-edsel-ford-32-ford-roadster-03Smooth hood sides were created and two, most likely fake, exhaust tubes were added. New headlights were added and the new teardrop shaped fenders gave the car a whole new look.
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CCC-edsel-ford-32-ford-roadster-05The rather large frame cover of the original was replaced with a much thinner, more elegant looking ribbed frame cover just below the main body.
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CCC-edsel-ford-32-ford-roadster-06

CCC-edsel-ford-32-ford-roadster-04The finished new version of the Edsel Ford boat-tail roadster in the early 1940’s.
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2 more Fords with Auburn bodies

There are two more cars that I like to include in this article. Both Ford based cars with both Auburn Boat-Tail roadster bodies. But this time a body that appears to be a bit newer than the one at the start of this article. It appears that these use a 1932-33 Auburn body.¬†We know that the 38 Ford comes from California, but have no idea where the 1937 Ford¬†was from. The 1937 Ford based roadster was pictured with two small photos in an 1947 published booklet by edgar Almquist. And these are the only two photos we have ever seen of the car. One very small photo showing the car from a birds point of view shows how amazing the lines of the Ford look combined with the Auburn body. And how the wonderful V-Shaped windshield gives the car a really great speed boat feel. The other photo is a bit larger, but still very small and does not show the complete car. It does show the rather high (early 1940’s) custom stance and the 1940 Ford? teardrop skirts used on the rear. It also shows that the cargo door on the rear quarter panel is still in place. We do not know anything more about this nice looking 37 Ford Boat-Tail Roadster.

CCC-37-ford-boat-tail-roadster-021937 Ford Boat-Tail speedster from the 1947 Edgar Almquist Speed and Mileage Manual.
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The last Custom Boat-Tail Speedster I like to include is another 1938 Ford based car from California. This is the car I was thinking about when Jamie send the first email about the four negatives they had found. This car appeared with four photos in the Dan Post California Custom Car Photo Album booklet. This car appears to have a stock size wheel base, although I’m not 100% sure about that. The photos in the booklet are a bit fuzzy, and the side view is a bit dark. The car was photographed on the streets of a California city in the early/mid 1940’s. The license plate on the rear quarter photo appears to be blanked out, so we cannot rear a date from that. The car has some similarities with the Staten Island Roadster, but yet they are completely different. What happened to these Boat-Tailed Roadster Custom Cars. Obviously a lot of time, effort and most likely money was involved in creating these.


CCC-38-ford-boat-tail-roadster-Ca-01The up top gives the car a really unique look, This Ford also uses a set of aftermarket sealed beam headlights. Notice that the car is running a set of odd propellor hubcaps.
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CCC-38-ford-boat-tail-roadster-Ca-02The rear fenders on the California 38 also appear to be made from two sets of 1938 Ford units, but they are much wider than the NY Roadster. They use a set of 1940 Ford taillights and 1940 Ford teardrop shaped fender skirts. The Bumper looks to be 1936 Fords both front and rear. In most of these dark photos it appears the car has the running boards removed, but this photo shows they are till in place.
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CCC-38-ford-boat-tail-roadster-Ca-03

CCC-38-ford-boat-tail-roadster-Ca-04The side view makes me wonder how this car might have looked with the top down. What ever happened to this car?
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CCC-1934-auburn-boat-tailStock Auburn with the same body used on the 37 Ford and the last 38 Ford.
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There have not been a great number of Boat-Tail Roadster Custom made in the past, nor in more recent years. Most likely because in general these Boat-Tail cars are¬†revered¬†to as Sports Customs, which are less popular than the general Custom Cars. I think that the Staten Island ¬†1938 Ford based Roadster in this article could be qualified as a Sports Custom, but the 37 and 38 Ford based cars further down in the article could be called Custom Car, or perhaps with a few more body refinements they sure could.¬†I think that the Boat-Tail rear end on an late 1930’s car could fit a full Custom look very well. Perhaps not¬†necessarily¬†based on an early 1930’s Sports Car based body, but perhaps rather on a home made body using perhaps a second hood or something like that to create the Boat-tail section. I have still a dream custom in my mind based on an 1939-Mercury or Ford, channeled, raised fenders and with the rear of the body replaced with a gentle boat shaped section reshaped from a spare hood. And obviously with a DuVall style V-Windshield.


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(this article is sponsored by)

CCC-Sponsor-KingKustomsTShirt-602Contact Rob Radcliffe at King Kustoms for more info on these T-Shirts Email Rob

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Memo Ortega Stories Part 29

 

PEPPY BRAVO 36 FORDS

 

Memo helps out his friend Peppy Bravo to create his dream custom based on a 1936 Ford four door sedan.



[box_light]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 2015, 80 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[/box_light]


Memo’s Flashback

The Famous Buzzard

Back in 1960 when I¬†was working at Kolberts Kustom Shop in Pomona ca¬†(Now Congoras body shop)¬†I had this mild kustom Olds. I¬†remember one Saturday at around noon when I¬†got out of work I¬†pulled my Olds¬†in the back of the shop and cleaned and washed it¬†getting it ready to go kruzing on the weekend.¬†Well the word was out there was this hightway patrol officer harassing hot rods and cool cars going up Gary ave. to Henrys ‚Ästa hangout where we all went on fridays Saturdays and Sunday nites¬†‚ÄstWell when I¬†got done washing my Olds I¬†told Kolbert I¬†would see him Monday morning and¬†I left the shop.
 
CCC-memo-0rtega-part-six-04-w
 
On my way home to La Verne, by the Pomona drags, I¬†saw this officer on a bike coming towards me.¬†Well he passed me, I¬†looked in my rear view mirror… guess what! He made a U-turn, and came after me. I said to myself, oh man he is coming after me. And sure enough, he got behind me and gave me the red light.

CCC-memo-ortega-29-flashback-cop

He got off his bike, came over, “let me see your¬†drivers license“. ¬†So I¬†gave it to him and¬†asked him whats the problem? “I¬†got to check your¬†car”¬†I asked¬†him whats wrong with it?¬†“Well I¬†don’t like it”¬†So I said, you¬†mean you¬†stopped me cause you¬†dont like my car? “Thats right”¬† Oh¬†you¬†must be the bad guy on the motorcycle everybody’s been talking about. I suppose your¬†the famouse buzzard.¬† “Yeah if thats what they call me”¬†“Well I’m¬†gonna cite you!¬†You guys should leave these cars the way they came out of the factory!”¬†I said to myself man this guys has it for our fixed up cars.

CCC-memo-ortega-29-flashback-olds-02My olds in 1960. The car was low, but not too low, however the Buzzard thought otherwise.
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Around this times some of us had scavenger pipes, these were really popular on our cars, and I had four of them under the rear-end, about four-feet long and about¬†two feet past the rear end on my Olds.¬† Well he saw them, gave me a ticket for them, and told me to get rid of them. He went to the front of the car and told me my car is to low in the front, so he gave me another ticket for my front licence plate being to low. I told him;¬†You¬†sure are not making manny friends around¬†Pomona Valley. He said “when you¬†get it fixed bring it to the station and I¬†will ok it for you.¬†I¬†took the ticket and made a U-turn after he left.

CCC-memo-ortega-29-flashback-h-gribbleThis photo comes from my friend Howard Gribble’s Collection. It shows the kind of scavenger pipes I had on my olds.
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I went back to kolberts opened, one of the stalls and drove my Olds inside. I was upset that I had¬†encountered the¬†Famous¬†Buzzard. I jacked up the Olds, cut the scavengers off¬†and¬†put them on the side. I said to myself “good,¬†one down”. Then I¬†jacked up the front and raised the front, making sure my front plate was legal height. I did this real fast, man I¬†was ready!¬†So I¬†closed the shop back up and drove¬†straight to the station. When I¬†got there I rang¬†the bell, well guess who came out, it was non other then “The Buzzard” himself. “Yes can I¬†help you”¬†So I said, yeah you¬†just gave me two¬†tickets a little while¬†ago, and I¬†came so you¬†can ok the car. “Oh yeah, I¬†remember you.” “There is no way you¬†can have fixed it this fast!”¬†Well I’m¬†here to get it ok-ed! So we went by the Olds, he scratched his head, “Well I¬†be darned!” He checked everything. He gave me a ticket for proof he ok-ed it. Let me tell you, he was pissed off and walked away.

I went right back to Kolberts opend up the stall, jacked up the Olds, welded the scavengers back on, and went to the front and dropped it low again. It was the same way as when I had¬†left to go home earlier that day. I did all this in 3¬†hours. When I went¬†home I¬†was keeping my fingers crossed¬†I did not run into the Buzzard again…. Great memories from back then.



Peppy Bravo 1936 Ford Sedan

Back in the 1990’s when we did the car shows with our Knight Prowlers club, Peppy and his familly were always at those shows. They always had a¬†lot of¬†fun at our shows. One day Peppy asked me about fixing up his 1936 Ford that he had gotten from his uncle.¬†He new that I¬†worked on cars and he specially wanted me to do the work on his ’36. I asked him what did he want me to do on it.¬†He wanted all newer running gear and custom work. Well Peppy¬†I¬†will be more than happy to work on it, but right now I’m really busy, I¬†have a couple of cars I¬†have to do, and when I’m¬†done with those I¬†sure would like to do the work on your ’36.¬†Peppy asked me how long before I can work on it. I told him about six to eight months if you¬†can wait.¬†He told me he¬†will contact me¬†latter on.¬†So way latter Peppy got a hold of me and told me he had somebody else already install the running gear in the car and he was not to happy the way it was done. He¬†wanted me to look at the car and if I¬†could not be mad¬†at him¬†because¬†he had this other shop¬†do it, and it turned out pretty bad.¬†¬†Of course I will not get mad¬†Peppy, just bring the car¬†over and I will have a look.

So Peppy¬†came by¬†while I was working on¬†Wills 1941 Chevy 2dr sedan. I¬†had just finished Mendez car, so now I¬†can work on Peppy’s ’36.¬†We went on the street to check out the ’36.¬†Peppy told me what he wanted done. He wanted to lower the car more in the back and in the front. But he told me everytime he hit a bump¬†the¬†front tires would hit the top of his front fenders and the fenders got dented because of that.¬†I told him thats not good and I took a look what was happening. Turns out the car was subframed and it was just to wide, the tires were hitting in sides of the fenders each time he hit a bump in the road. I can fix that I said. What I¬†can do is,¬†narrow the top and bottom A-frames, that will bring her down a couple of inches.

CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-02Peppy and me checking out the early progress on the Ford. I had to do quite a bit of work to get the dents out and the body straight.
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-01The 1941 Ford bumpers and Dummy Spotlights have already been added and changed the looks of the car. Two happy guys, but the job is far from done.
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Peppy asked me if I could do¬†all the body work first and then do some custom work, ok with me Peppy I¬†told him.¬†He asked me when could I¬†start.¬†When ever you want. I’m¬†working on wills 41 but I have to wait for some parts and I can start on yours now. So he left the car at my house. First I took care of all the dents. The car also had the spare tire mounted on the deck lid and he wanted that to be removed, so I took it off and the big tire bracket. I filled in the holes and smoothed the back. Now it was looking kool. He asked me what taillights would look good. I had a pair of ’41 chevy lights laying around, I took them apart and taped the glass and chrome bezels on the deck lid and placed the licence plate in between the lights on the 1941 Ford rear bumper. Peppy liked that. So I installed them just like that.¬†I suggested we get a pair of teardrops spotlites and a tall antenna. The real Appleton’s were hard to find, and if we found them they were so expensive, so Peppy ended up using a set of dummy spotlights.

CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-05Here you can see a bit of the bad work done on sub-framing the car. I had already started the work to narrow the top and bottom A-frames, and see what else I could to so save the situation.
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-06The 36 Ford wheels and tires waiting patiently under my lemon tree.
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Peppy asked me what would you do to make my car look mean, treat it like it was your own car. So I ended up painted it in black suede, and it looked killer… just like back in the days. Then we got some white walls and painted the rims red with some one bar flipper hub caps. Now the car really kicked, Peppy really liked what I had done to his car. We also got a pair of teardrop skirts that was the icing on the cake. The whole package took the car back to the 40’s and early 50’s… Well he told me to do the car like it was mine… so I did.

CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-04Peppy and me putting the 36 back together.
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-16Time for some serious cruising.
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Well peppy wanted the car lowered now, so I took the front suspension apart an narrowed the top and bottom A-arms, cut the coils, got them back on and this lowered the front a couple of inches now already looked a lot kooler. The back of the car was just as badly done as the front I could not lower it any more becuase the way it was done. Peppy said “memo I don’t care what you have to do to get this car lowered I know you can do it. Just do what you have to do.” Ok Peppy, I’ll do it. They had put parellel springs and to top it off, they were real long sticking out the back looked shady. So off they came, I took them apart and cut ten inches off the back end and de-arched them.¬†Then Peppy wanted airbags. I¬†said ok we can do it while im working on the back. I then cut the floor to crate space for the drive shaft.¬†The car could now sit very low. I put everything in the trunk, installed airbags under the car¬†and¬†everything worked good. So Peppy was happy now … well almost!!!

After enjoying it for some time in suede black with red pin-striping, he brings the ’36¬†back again. Now he wants me to spray it green, similar as how he got it from his uncle. So¬†I¬†sprayed the car again, now in the green shade he picked. And he drove it like that for a while. Then he asked if I could do some more work on his ’36. Sure bring it over.

CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-07Trying to figure out what I can keep and what has to go. 
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He now also¬†wanted his car way down in front and with proper using airbags. I told him “Peppy the only way I¬†can do it is if I¬†get rid of the subframe and start from scratch and built you a new frame from the fire wall to the front.¬†“Memo just do what it takes” he told me.¬†Peppy I will¬†get a Mustang II¬† and install that. Then the car¬†will ride an handle good. Ok lets do it memo.

CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-08Peppy thinking “If I only had waited for Memo to have some time and do all this work on my car right the first time instead of going to this other shop!”
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-09After marking everything on the floor, and making sure the radiator remains in the right position I cut off the badly done sub-frame and planned to make my own frame.
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-10The new subframe I made, almost ready to be installed on the 36 Ford frame.
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-11The new subframe in all welded in place Still need to add all the brackets and supports.
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-13With the frame done I had to make sure the front fenders and grille surround could be mounted and fit properly. Testing, adjusting, testing.
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-15Creating some of the brackets and supports to add to the new subframe.
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-18The finished car… it looks great and Peppy is happy.
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CCC-memo-ortega-peppy-36-ford-17Peppy wanted his ’36 Ford low… so thats what he got. But it will never been on the ground! The air-ride makes sure Peppy can raise it when he wants¬†to drive it long distance.
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After doing all that, the car rides and handles really good and it also looks very kool.¬†You think Peppy is happy… well he is….¬†he finally is completely¬†happy…. thats Peppy Bravo!





Go to Part 30¬†of the Memo Ortega stories… coming soon!
Go back to Part 28.


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CCC-Sponsor-KingKustomsTShirt-602Contact Rob Radcliffe at King Kustoms for more info on these T-Shirts Email Rob



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Westergard Ford Memories

 

WESTERGARD FORD MEMORIES

 

Anthony from Sacramento Ca. remembers how he worked on Vern Simons Harry Westergard restyled 1936 Ford Roadster in the 1940s.



In 2010 I was in contact with Tim Cunha about the Max Ferris / Vern Simon’s 1936 Ford restyled by Harry Westergard, about having the car being part of the Customs Then & Now exhibit at the 2011 GNRS. Tim discussed the possibilities with Vern of brining the car over to Pomona for the exhibit. The car was still in as found condition, and was in need of at least some restoration work. Fortunately Vern agreed and the car was part of the early Customs section at the¬†GNRS¬†exhibit. More about this 1936 and its full history can be found in the CCC-Article about the car.


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Some time before all this Vern’s 1936 Ford roadster was featured in the Rodder’s Journal issue #19, but the full story and if this in fact was an original Harry Westergard Custom was not known at the time the article was published. Later in issue #47 of the Rodder’s Journal, their 15 year anniversary issue, one photo of Vern’s Ford Roadster was shown again on page 122 as part of the TRJ favorite Customs section. Anthony from Sacramento happened to see the photo of Vern’s 1936 Ford Roadster and recognized it from his childhood times he spend working with Harry Westergard. So he wrote a letter to the Rodder’s Journal for Vern Simon’s.

CCC-westergard-ford-memories-rj-photoThe photo caption in the Rodder’s Journal issue 47 (the one Anthony saw) read; ¬†We were there the day Vern Simons pulled his ’36 roadster out for the first time since 1961. He purchased it off a Northern California car lot in 1949, raced it at Bonneville in ’52 and pulled the flasmotor in ’56 and it hasn’t run since. Vern is now putting it back on the street. The nearly 60-year-old black lacquer will be retained with all of its patina. The best part is that it is most likely an original Westergard Custom.
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Vern eventually got Anthony’s letter, and the two got in contact to talk about the Roadster. Tim Cunha was able to scan the original letter Anthony wrote for Vern, in which he explained about Harry Westergard working on his roadster and a few other historic events from back when Anthony was a kid helping out Harry Westergard. Anthony was 82 years old when he wrote the letter, and we know now that some of the dates mentioned are a bit off, but the rest is just very interesting. How often does it happen you get to know somebody who worked with Harry Westergard back in the 1940’s!




CCC-westergard-ford-memories-letter2The letter Anthony wrote to Vern Simons about his Harry Westergard restyled 1936 Ford Roadster.
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Transcript from the copied letter

California 6/23/2010

Let me intro introduce myself. I am 82 years old & not seeking anything except to impart information relative to Vern Simons 36 Ford Roadster depicted on page 122 marked TRJ #47. The comment on that caption “That the car is most likely a Harry Westergard Custom” is exactly correct & (Factual).¬†I think Vern Simon might like to know what I know about that car & Harry Westergard.

I was born in 1928 and lived and was raised at 2317-16 st. Sacramento Ca. In 1945 Harry Westergard moved into a downstairs flat at 1530 X¬†st. and began working on cars in a one car garage at eh back of that property which was¬†adjacent¬†to Corffees Laundry. Located on the corner of 16th and X st. S.W. Our property was on the N.E. corner. It came to pass that I would go across the street and as a kid hang out with the guys who would come and have Harry do his magic on their pre WWII cars. Among them Mel Falkner, US Airforce pilot with a Westergard 1927 T Roadster with Cragar O.V. head and exhaust¬†down one side. Honest Joe Miller flathead Ford in 1936 French “Citro√ęn”, and many others.

Harry just got out of the SU Navy and his prices were minimal. I remember George Barris and Dick Bertolucci and Hunter Wardlous (sp) also discussing things with Harry and solving problems. All these young men were street rod orientated and loved cars and spend most of their disposable income on their cars. I believe I accompanied Harry to a wrecking yard in west Sacramento to help him remove the Packard Clipper Grille from a roll-over. And I watched him cut trim and fit same into a 1936 Ford Roadster and shorten the windshield. By that time I was working after school cleaning Harry’s shop and sanding primer for his¬†“in the Garage” paint jobs.

I remember that car well, I bolted the De Soto bumpers to the brackets harry made while he held them for alignment and level. There is lots more I could tell him, but yes that is a real Harry Westergard Ford Custom.
I’m still rodding in a 1950 Allard¬†powered by a modular 4.6 D.O.C. whipple Supercharged Cobra special. Spectacular car.

Respectfully Anthony.

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CCC-westergard-ford-early-pictureAn early 1940’s photo of the Harry Westergard Roadster.
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CCC-westergard-ford-memories-restorationVern’s Roadster being taken¬†apart for the restoration.
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CCC-westergard-ford-memories-gnrs-2011Vern on the right  looks how a friend drives the freshly restored original Harry Westergard roadster into the Customs Then & Now exhibit building at the 2011 GNRS.
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Many thanks to Anthony, Vern Simons and Tim Cunha for sharing the info.


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CCC-Sponsor-KingKustomsTShirt-602Contact Rob Radcliffe at King Kustoms for more info on these T-Shirts Email Rob

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1951 Eastern Auto

 

1951 EASTERN AUTO

 

Eastern Auto Supply has been in business sine 1919. In the third issue of Hop Up, October 1951, the company was subject of the Meet the advertisers article.



1951, Custom Restyling was booming like never before and could be considered to be in the middle of its Golden Years. In August of 1951 the very first issue of Hop Up magazine appeared on the news-stands. Hop Up magazine was an all new magazine created for the Hot Rod and Custom Car enthusiasts. It was published by the Enthusiasts Publications Inc. in Glendale Ca. To help gather more advertisers for the magazine they came up with the idea of creating an article telling a bit more about the advertisers, under the title MEET THE ADVERTISERS. This way the advertisers got some very welcome extra exposure, which made them very happy and they would most likely keep supporting and advertising in the magazine longer.

The October, 1951 issue of Hop Up magazine had a special Meet the Advertisers on the Eastern Auto Supply Co. This company has played a huge role in the lives of many young Hot Rod and Custom Car enthusiast in the US. They made it easier for people to order special parts needed to build your own hot rod or custom car by mail order, or if you were in the Los Angeles area, you could visit their well stocked shop. Especially this last must have been a really special event for many. From the photos that have been used in the Hop Up article we can see that the store was loaded with an incredible amount of Hot Rod and Custom Car goodies. Eastern Auto place their first ad in Hop Up magazine in the October 1951 issue. They would continue to advertise in the magazine for a long time.

CCC-eastern-auto-supply-1951-04The first Eastern Auto Supply ad in the October 1951 Hop Up issue. The ad mentioned the new for 1951 Custom Catalog which you could order for 25 cent.
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The Hop Up Meet the Advertisers Article

(text from the Hop Up article)
Eastern Auto can truthfully claim to be the oldest accessory and custom firm in the business, having been started in 1919, by Joseph Kraus, to feature speed and custom accessories for the model “T” Ford.
Alex, his son, grew up with the business, working there after school and on Sundays. Since graduating from UCLA in 1939, Alex has devoted full time to the store. Eastern Auto pioneered many items no taken for granted in the custom accessories line, such as “bull noses” for Fords, Plymouths etc. (the first being the 1936 Ford) While long schackles and lowering kits had been used for some time on Californian cars, Eastern Auto was the first to apply mass production technique to these items and make their popularity nation-wide, as well as lowering the cost. Also among Eastern Auto’s first are solid hood sides and grille panels, which, in the middle and late ’30s accounted for a good volume of their business.


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Thru the years, this firm has established an enviable reputation for fast service, excellent workmanship and fair dealing. Their guarantee of satisfaction is no idle claim. In addition to their retail store, Eastern maintains a large manufacturing division. There a research department constantly adds to their ever expanding line of custom accessories. Included are such itmes as chrome air-cleaners, chrome wire looms, and chrome dash-boards. In fact, Easthern Auto claims to have one of the most complete line in the business. While government restrictions may temporarily curtail introduction of some new items, Alex assures us that with the lifting of restrictions, they will offer more, better, and newer “automotive goodies” than ever before.


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The 1951 Eastern Auto Catalog

For 25 cents you could get the all new for 1951 Eastern Auto Supply Catalog. The catalog had 40 pages of the latest Custom Car and Hot Rod accessories and speed parts. The company delivered their product by mail in the whole USA. And made many young Car enthusiast very happy.


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CCC-Sponsor-KingKustomsTShirt-602Contact Rob Radcliffe at King Kustoms for more info on these T-Shirts Email Rob

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C. A. Hall Tops

 

HALL TOPS

 

When you lived in Northern California, and wanted a custom upholstery job or padded top created for your car, then you most likely ended up having the work done at C.A. Hall Auto Tops in Oakland.

 

When it comes to Custom upholstery and padded tops in California there are only a few shop names that pop¬†up. The most popular shop¬†was the Carson Top Shop on Vermont Ave. Los Angles. Shop employee Glen Houser developed a non folding padded top for an 1930 Ford in 1935. It was the birth of the Carson top, however it was named that until much later. Another big upholstery shop name was¬†Gaylord who started a little later in the 1940’s in Lynwood, not to far from the Barris Custom Shop.¬†In the early 1940’s the padded tops became very popular among the Hot Rod and Custom Car crowd, and not only in Southern California. In North California, the city of Oakland to be precise, there was a guy named Calvin A. Hall who had a auto top and upholstery business since 1925. When the Hot Rodders and Custom guys found out about the special tops and tuck & roll interiors done in So California they wanted to have those done more locally as well.


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The Hall Top Shop came to the rescue an Calvin quickly figured out how to do the padded tops and create the interiors the guys wanted. And business was booming for the shop. The C.A. Hall Tops shop was responsible for most the the padded tops created in the Nor California era. The Nor Cal builders like Harry Westergard, Dick Bertolucci, Gene Winfield and early one also the Barris Brothers who sill lived in Sacramento in the early 1940’s all took their Customs to the Hall shop for a¬†padded top or¬†custom upholstery. Hall never advertised as much as the Carson Top Shop, Gaylord, Runyan and others did. We have only found a ¬†few Hall ads in some early 1950’s Hot rod show programs, but not in any of the magazines. This most likely is one of the main reasons the Hall shop name never became¬†as popular in the rest of the country / world as¬†Carson or Gaylord.

This¬†and the fact that Oakland was to far away for the So Cal based magazines to do an article on the Hall Shop is the reason that there is rather little known about the Hall Top Shop. As far as we have been able to find out, nobody has ever really interviewed Calvin A. Hall about his Top Shop, so all his information is most likely lost. Since the Hall name was not as important, it might have been left out in many magazine Hot Rod and Custom Car features as well. The shop did turn out really great work, and customers often came back for an update, or with a new car in need of a padded top or custom upholstery. For this article we have collected a number of cars with Hall Tops shop padded tops and interiors. Special thanks goes out to Ron Brooks, who owns a 1940 Chevy custom created in the late 1940’s with a real and very rare Hall top. Ron has been collecting info and material on the Hall Top Shop ever since he owns his Chevy. Ron has been so kind sharing a lot of his info and photos with the Custom Car Chronicle.

 

CCC-ca-hall-tops-40-chevy-brooks-03When Ron found¬†his 1940’s restyled 1940 Chevy it still had the original Hall top on it including a very rare C.A. Hall Auto Tops interior tag.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-40-chevy-brooks-02Fred Creller created the 1940 Chevy¬†in the late 1940’s and had the interior and padded top done by Hall. This photo is from 1950. (Ron Brooks collection)
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-40-chevy-brooks-01These photos showing the top a little better were taken in 1959. (Ron Brooks Collection)
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About the Hall Tops Shop.

Calvin A. Hall¬†was born on December 11, 1901 in Mink Creek, Idaho to Andrew G. and Martha Lavine (Olsen) Hall, his father was born in Denmark, his mother in Utah, USA. In the early 1900’s the family moved from Idoha to Oakland, California. Calvin graduated from high school in 1918 and after having had a few small jobs he started to learn the trade of creating auto tops at¬†Victory Auto Painting and Top Co., at 901 E. 14th st., Oakland, Calif.

In 1925 Calvin A. Hall started his own business C.A. Hall and was located at 72nd and E. 14th, Oakland. CA. creating car tops. The small shop moved in 1927 to 901 E. 14th St. Oakland, CA. (the same shop is currently in use by Earl Scheib Paint & Body shop).
During WWII the Hall shop relocated to 3208 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, CA. The shop would remain on this location till it closed somewhere in 1965. The building is still standing today. Calvin A. Hall was married and had three children, none of them took over the shop, so when Calvin retired for the upholstery business the shop was closed. Calvin A. Hall passed away on January 28, 1979 at the age of 77.

 

CCC-ca-hall-tops-38-lincoln-01This photo of this amazing 1938 Lincoln Custom with Hall padded top was found on the walls of the former Hall shop on San Pablo Ave. (Ron Brooks Collection)
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-38-lincoln-02Close up on the really well shaped and proportioned Hall padded top.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-38-lincoln-03We are not sure if Hall also updated the interior in the 1938 Lincoln, but more than likely he did the cover on the rear.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-36-ford-max-ferrisThe weather in Nor Cal is not ¬†always as sunny and warm as in So Cal, so often Hall was instructed to create the chopped padded tops for roadsters, with side separate window curtains¬†to make sure the driver and passengers would stay as warm as possible. This top and window flaps/curtains was created for Max Ferris’s Harry Westergard restyled 1936 Ford roadster.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-g-barris-36-01George Barris created this 1936 Ford convertible as his own personal driver when he was working at the Browns Body shop and Harry Westergard in Sacramento. The padded top on the car was done by Hall in Oakland in a dark material.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-g-barris-36-02Close up of the Hall padded top which has seen better days. After the car was finished and painted George Barris took his 36 Ford¬†to Hall’s shop who re-covered it with white material.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-38-chevy-01Harry Westergard restyled Pittsburg Ca resident Sal Cacciola’s 1938 Chevy convertible in his typical nose up narrow grille style. Sal took the car to Hall for the padded top. Inset is one of the very few ads Hall’s Top Shop ever ran.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-40-mercuryThis is another photo that was found in the old Hall shop building. It is an unidentified 1940 Mercury with unique exhaust tips true the rear fenders. Hall was responsible for the padded top.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-41-Buick-paul-01Pierre Paul was a Custom Car builder from Oakland Ca, and he had the interior and padded top of his own personal 1941 Buick created by Hall.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-al-serpa-46-ford-02Gene winfield had his shop in Modesto California, and also used the Hall Top Shop quite a bit for his customer cars. This 1946 Ford was restyled by Gene in 1949 for owner Al Serpa. The traditional styled padded top was done by Hall. This photo was taken in 1950.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-benny-furtado-48-ford-01Gene Winfield also restyled this 1948 Ford for owner Benny Furtado during the same period as he did Al Serpa’s 1946 Ford. However Hall created a different style padded top for Benny’s Ford with open rear¬†quarter windows. Creating a much more open and light feel inside the car.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-herb-cattani-42buick-02Herb Cattani’s Custom 1942 Buick also received an Hall padded top with open rear quarter windows, creating a wonderful shape.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-herb-cattani-42buick-01A rare look at one of the Hall interiors in¬†Herb Cattani’s 1942 Buick shows a lot of soft leather tuck and rolls creating a very luxurious feel.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-47-caddy-sestito-01Dick Bertolucci from Sacramento restyled this 1947 Cadillac convertible for Tony Sestito. When it was time for the padded top and new interior the car was driven to Oakland for the full Hall treatment in 1953-54.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-47-caddy-sestito-02The latest trend then was to add full width wrap around plexiglass rear windows to the padded top. So that is what Hall created for Tony’s 1947 Cadillac. Close up of the wrap around rear window courtesy of Rod & Custom magazine.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-35-ford-02Hall created the padded top on Sil Moyano’s 1935 Ford Phaeton. This photo comes from a feature on the car in a 1973 Street Rodder magazine, and we have no idea when the padded top was created, but more than likely this one dated back into the 1940’s.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-35-ford-01The interior was done with relatively narrow tuck & roll in black, and the white top was also upholstered in black on the inside.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-invoiceHall’s Auto Tops invoice from the 1950’s with another rare ad from an July 1951 issue of Motor sports World.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-ad-01This ad was used in one the Oakland Roadster Show programs and shows an panoramic rear window padded top Hall created for a stock bodied Buick.
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Warren Gonzales 1950 Ford Convertible

Possibly the best publicity the Hall Auto Tops shop had for their interior and top work was with Warren Gonzales’s 1950 Ford Convertible. The shop worked on two versions of the car. The first time in 1953-54 they did a complete interior, and traditional styled padded top. The second time a year later they added more to the interior, to keep up with the demand for winning show points, and they redid the padded top in the latest trend with cantilever (over-hanging) rear portion. The July 1956 issue of Car Craft magazine had two color photos of the car on the cover, and four pages for the feature inside. The feature showed many photos of both the top and the wild interior.


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CCC-ca-hall-tops-gonzales-ford-03Warren’s 1950 Ford convertible was first done in a more conservative way with a “regular” style padded top created by Hall Auto Tops. The photo on the left is from the 1954 Oakland Roadster Show, and the one on the right from the 1955 show. By then the car had been completely redone with a wild interior and complete new cantilever padded top.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-gonzales-interior-02The color photo of the Hall Auto Tops created interior in Warren’s Shoebox must have had a lot of impact. The interior was done in three tone leatherette, dark green, white and soft green. The same soft green was also used on the second version top.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-gonzales-interiorC.A. Hall created the interior for Warren’s Shoebox with the latest in luxury in mind. The create a custom made semi-circle rear seat, which is divided by a large Hi-Fi radio speaker. On both sides of the bench a refreshment bar has been incorporated. A console has been created on the floor to house a small upholstered TV set. The seats back are reshaped both front and rear and are upholstered in a bolt design with rolls and pleats. The dashboard has been made “crash proof’ by adding padding and upholstery on the whole unit. The center was cut out to make space for a 45 rpm record player. A radio and Hi-Fi speaker have been installed in a custom build center console underneath the dash extending the front bench. The carpets are dark blue green and outlined with white trim.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-collageA few more samples of car with C.A. Hall Auto Tops  padded tops and or interiors.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-building-2016This is how the former C.A. Hall Tops Shop building at 3208 San Pablo Avenue in Oakland, California looks today in 2016. (Google maps image)
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As mentioned in this article the amount of information on the Hall Top’s is limited. We have tried to gather as much information as possible and added as many photos that would mattered the most for this article. As always we would love to hear from you if you have any additional information about the Hall Auto Tops shop, or any cars that had the interior or tops created by this shop. If you have more info, please let us know, email Rik. We would love to add more info to this article and share it with Custom Car enthusiast from all over the globe. Thank you.

 

Resources

  • Ron Brooks
  • Coachbuilt.com,¬†Mark Theobald
  • Barris Kustoms Technique books.







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CCC-Sponsor-KingKustomsTShirt-602Contact Rob Radcliffe at King Kustoms for more info on these T-Shirts Email Rob

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Memo Ortega Stories Part 28

 

CAR SHOWS IN THE 80’s

 

In the early 1980’s Memo heard about these all Kustom Car Shows in the Paso Robles area. He¬†had to check it out himself… he¬†could not believe what he saw.



[box_light]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 2015, 80 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[/box_light]

By Memo Ortega

Before we go cruising¬†to the Paso Robles shows with Memo, we first like to share another¬†Memo¬†Ortega¬†flashback with you…

 

Movie Flashback

Back in around 1946¬†or ’47, in the little town of LaVerne Ca, I¬†remember on Sundays a lot of the guys and girls used to go to the movies to Pomona.¬†Our little town did not have a theater back then, so a¬†lot of us kids had to take the bus to Pomona to see a movie. Me and my friend Manuel aka Papitas,¬†which¬†means potato chips, that was his nick-name, we all had a nick names.¬†Anyway, it would cost us 10 cents for the bus, a quarter for the show and 5 and 10 cents for a coke and popcorn, and another ten cents for the bus to get back home.¬†So we had to have at least 75 cents.¬†Sometimes I¬†did not have any money at all, it was sad for me to see the other guys and girls go to the show, while I could not go.¬†¬†Some time when I¬†had some money and I could go, we would go to wait for the bus, sometimes we had just missed the bus from LA. Then¬†we would go to the other bus it was called the Victory bus, by the little park in town, the bus¬†was always packed and we sometime we could not get on it because it was full. A¬†lot of times if we didn’t have enought money for the bus, we would walk all the way to Pomona. A walk between the orange groves, or go all the way down E-street, that is the one by the Pomona drags, there was no drag¬†track there back then.¬†By the time we got to the show we were all tired but we made it everytime and when we got out of the show we had to start walking back again… but it was always worth it.

I remember one time me and Papitas missed the victory bus and we decided to hitch-hike. We were only about 10 years old, let me tell you it was a BIG mistake!!! We were walking and waving our arms for a ride, lots of cars passed by and nothing. Then one car stopped, it was an lady, she said you kids, go home before you get in trouble! And she took off. Well finally this man in a 1941 Ford 4-door sedan stopped, and asked us where we where going? We told him we are going to the show in Pomona. He said get in the back seat, so we did. Me and Manuel looked at each other and said all-right we got a ride! Well we got going, we were still in LaVerne and this guy ran a stop sign! Oh did you see that I told Manuel!!! We keep going, the guy was singing and we went down LaVerne Avenue. At that time it was a single-lane road not to many cars. Well this guy was swerving all over the road, from one side to the other. We soon figured out that he was drunk, very drunk!

CCC-memo-ortega-pomona-foxThe Fox Theatre on Garey Ave in Pomona.
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I¬†don’t know how he could be driving this car!¬†When we got to Garey Avenue, it turned into four-lanes, then we really got scared! We told him he could drop us off right there….¬†on Garey. The street had curbs and we were going from one curb to the other.¬†On the other side of the road missing on-coming cars, it was really scary.¬†Anway he said No I’ll take you¬†there… all the way.¬†Finally¬†we got to Holt Avenue and he had to stop,¬†we jumped out, and thanked him, and ran to the Movies and¬†got to the first theatre. It was the Sunkist, one of the four theaters we looked to see what was playing. We did not like what was plying and started walking to the other ones, all the time looking to see if the guy in the Ford was not following us. We got to the State theater and did not like it. We seen some of the kruzers from our town kruzing by and we waved at them.¬†We got to the Fox¬†Theater¬†and we went in. Good movies, thats when the theaters showed two movies the¬†news and a couple of cartoons. When we got out it was allready late in the day and if we missed the bus we had to walk home again.

On Sunday’s there was this roadster that was always parked across the the street on Garey, by the bus station. It was low had a Duvall windshield and a sprint car front, painted dark blue, purple.¬†Let me tell you¬†I fell in love with that roadster.¬†I have allways wondered if it was the one the Ayala’s did… the one for Eddie Dye.

CCC-memo-ortega-eddie-dye-roadster

The 1980’s Paso Robles Kustom Car Shows

In the early 1980’s I¬†heard¬†about Kustom Cars getting together¬†at lake Nacimiento, up north. I thought a kustoms only gathering, how kool… WOW.¬†¬†I have to find out more about this… I want to go there.¬†¬†This is when I¬†had just finished¬†my 1954¬†GMC Kustom truck, and loved the idea to drive it up there and show it with nothing but Kustoms. So I did some checking and found out more about the Kustoms Show organized by the West Coast Kustoms. I¬†found out they were going to have the new shows at Sherwood Park, just outside of Paso Robles¬†just weeks from then.¬†I got so excited… we just had to go.¬†Well the weekend of the show, my wife¬†Terry,¬†our young grandson Will and me decided to go and took off early Friday morning.

When we got to Paso Robles we got us a room, which you could still get easy in the early days.¬†The¬†ext day we got up early, got us a bite to eat and headed for the park. When we got at the park¬†there was a long line of kustoms, they were everywhere, all¬†wainting to get in… That just blew my mind, I had not seen so many kustoms in one place since way back in 1958 at the Coachmen’s car show. This is gonna be a fantastic¬†day, I told Terry and Will. They also liked all the cars waiting to get in.¬†Finally¬†we made it into the park, even more kustoms there… they were all over¬†the place, it was WILD.¬†The guy from the show organization told us to park anywhere we wanted as long as there was room to park.¬†We parked where it was good open spot¬†and made sure the car looks good.

 

CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-02Will and me… looking kind of lost. So many great Kustoms, we just did not know where to start looking.
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Then we went looking around, we saw this this guy taking many photos of nice cars, and I asked him by any chance if he¬†knew¬†or had heard of a guy named¬†Dick Crawford. The guy looked funny at me for a few seconds and¬†said “i’m him, I’m Dick Crawford”¬†I almost fell backwards, it was Crawford¬†(now he is best known as aka..¬†Thinman).¬†I¬†told him remember me I’am¬†Memo from down in Los Angeles, you¬†stripped my¬†1937 Chevy¬†way back in the late 1960’s. Back then you¬†had as shop with you¬†partner Glendora.¬†Now he remembered!¬†That was so kool it made our day even kooler than it already was. He told him we would see him latter, after checking¬†out the cars… there was so much¬†to see. He said ok see you latter.

CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-11I¬†took this photo of Dick Crawford aka “thinman” and his lowrider ’55 Chevy panel… real nice car.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-10Dick Crawford also had a display for his paintings at the show at the park my grandson Will on the side.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-04Will and me behind Frank DeRosa’s King Of Mercs… this one was WILD. Thats Frank on the far right of the photo.
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You know there were so many fantastic looking cars we did not know where to start. Then we spotted the DeRosa’s “King of Mercs”. That Merc sure has a lot of kustom work on it I¬†had Terry take a photo of me and Will looking it over.¬†We saw this suede blue Merc,¬†I¬†think it had Canada plates on it, I really liked that one. There were¬†so many Kustom Mercs and Chevies and¬†Shoeboxes… you name it they were there. This was kustom heaven… we were in Kustom Heaven. We got to meet a lot of great people that day. West Coast Kustoms sure had a great show going on here.¬†We also got a lot of compliments on our GMC¬†Kustom truck. One complement was special it was one of the guys¬†from the old Valley Custom Shop, Clayton Jensen.¬†¬†He was checking out my truck, and told me he could not find any flaws in the body work and¬†the black paint job. That of course¬†made me happy coming from him, one of the guys I had read about for decades.

On Sunday we got up early to make it to the park early, but it was again already packed with many cars and people. Some guys came over and asked if they could do an interview with me and our truck. I thought that would be nice, so¬†I¬†told them¬†ok. They had me park where there was not to manny cars¬†on the grass. It was a great interview I was a little shy, but it went ok. I¬†forgot who did the interview… I thought it was O’Brien Truckers, but I recently talked to¬†Dennis O’Brien¬†and asked him about the interview, He told me it was not him. Well it was some company from back East that did that video of this show. I have never found out who did it… would still love to see what they did to it, and if they used it.

CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-01This 1951 Mercury was really sweet, great chop by Dick Dean. 
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-03Me in the blue shirt with video camera, checking out this suede blue 1951 Mercury which came from Canada I think… it was real pretty. Terry took the picture.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-05I took a photo this yellow hamerd down Merc with Will kneeling next to it. Think it was the lowest chop on a Merc I have ever seen.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-06Great looking lime green Ford convertible, it had a nice padded top and quad headlights. Sorry, something bad happened to the photo.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-07Paul Bragg comes from Paso Robles… he had just done this real fine 1951 Mercury convertible with padded top. I started at it for some time… super¬†nice.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-08Will and Mercs.
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I met a lot of car owners that day, and since we had such a great time I decided to join West Coast Kustoms… so kool. Some time latter the show was moved into a¬†little park in¬†downtown¬†Paso Robles. It also was really great in the new location, when we went up there again I took my¬†1937 Chevy. It was¬†odd because my 37 was a Chevy Bomb… it did not go with the kustoms. It was also the first time my friend Richard Mandez went with us. You should have seen his face when we got there. He could not believe his eyes seeing so manny kustoms in one place. Richard¬†is also a Kustom guy… the rest is history so much to tell…


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Another unknown Ayala Custom?

CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-12About this neat 1940 Mercury¬†Convertible. I¬†talked to the owner¬†of the Merc,¬†he told me this was the first time he had taken the car out in a long time. He was from East L.A.¬†(that sure got my attention immediately)¬†I think his name was Manuel Lopez, he told me he has had this car since back in the early 50’s. He asked me¬†what town¬†I¬†came from, I¬†told him I¬†lived in Montclair on the other side of LA. He then¬†asked me if I¬†had ever heard of the Ayala’s, since they did the work on his Mercury¬†back in the early 50’s. I think he mentioned it was still in the original paint from back then. I asked him how he kepth it looking¬†so¬†good all those years.¬†He said he rarely¬†takes it out, and¬†its always coverd up. He does not let anyone touch it but himself. That car sure looked good after all the years he has¬†had it. The man was older then me, how neat to hear that.

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One more thing I¬†cannot forget. At one of the shows¬†I think it was the 1990 show, they were going to get my old friend Gil¬†Ayala into the Hall of Fame. I had not seen Gil in a long time. I was looking at a distance and then¬†I saw them bringing him in a wheel chair. It broke my heart seeing him like that. I had to sit¬†down, and could not watch. I did not want to remember Gil¬†like that, that was a sad day for me.¬†To this day I¬†still remember Gil the was he was¬†in the 1950’s 60’s and 70’s, alway in for a talk, full of energy.

Thanks for the great years shows in Paso Robles… there will never be anything like this again.

I hope you all will enjoy the story and the photos.

CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-13An Joe Bailon worked on Mercury and behind it is the¬†“Mini Merc” Volvo¬†with flames.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-14My black GMC truck and an other wild kustom painted truck beside it.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-15Mike Shelley took this nice photo of my GMC at one of these early shows, I think this one was in 1988.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-23This candy red merc looking so kool, this is the one that went to San Bernardino to a little car show at the Dodge dealer in one of the Memo Ortega Stories, Jerry Schlemmer owned this 1950 Merc.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-16I¬†ran into this going throught the rows a very nice 1941 Ford coupe, full kustom in unusual white paint. it looked really¬†great, and so did the 51 Merc next to it. Bill Reasoner did the work on them.¬†Photo is a bit blurry… sorry about that.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-17This red 1951 Ford Shoebox looked like it just rolled out of the late 1950’s. Bill McGarity was the owner.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-18Walter Leeman drove up with his very nice green 1954 kustom chevy so kool looking.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-19The red merc was parked outside i went out there for this nice photo very kool merc allways liked it.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-201941 full kustom with fade away fenders brought me back in time, I really liked it. The car is still around, only it now has a fixed padded top, quad headlights and painted ice green. 
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-21Will with a pearl pink mild 1959 Custom 1959 Cadillac.
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CCC-memo-ortega-80s-car-shows-22There were so many Custom Merc’s at these 1980’s shows.. they were everywhere.
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Go to Part 29 of the Memo Ortega stories, coming soon!
Go back to Part 27.


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(this article is sponsored by)

CCC-Sponsor-KingKustomsTShirt-602Contact Rob Radcliffe at King Kustoms for more info on these T-Shirts Email Rob

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0

33 Ford Early Custom

 

33 FORD EARLY CUSTOM

 

This 1933 Ford Roadster underwent major restyling and the end result was good enough to make it on the cover of the June 1954 Rod and Custom Magazine.



I have a soft spot for early restyled custom cars, restyled in the 1940’s, based on cars with separate fenders and tall grilles. Cars that could be turned into Hot Rods as well as into Customs, and obviously I prefer the later.¬†This 1933 Ford Roadster in this article is special to me because several reasons.

The first reason¬†is because the June 1954 issue of Rod & Custom magazine was among my very first ten copied of the R&C’s I found when I was in my late teens.They were all I had back then, so I read and re-read them, spending hours absorbing all the pictures inside. I loved the cover image of this 1933 Ford with its bold red color contrasting nicely with the ice-green wall behind it and the orange-yellow from the magazine cover. It jumped out at you. The designer of this cover (Ray Rich) did a really nice¬†job.

Back when I was a teenager it was easier to find info on Hot Rods than on Custom Cars. So I had seen a fair share of Hot Rodded 1933-34 Fords. I liked them, but when I realized this cover cars was based on a 1933 Ford, I could not believe why not more people would create Customs from their 1933-34 Fords instead of Hot Rods… I think it was then that I started to create a soft spot for early restyled Custom Cars, and also for restyled cars that are mostly created as Hot Rods, pre 1935 model. Tom Nielsen did a nice CCC-Article on a few more 1933-34 Ford turned Custom, showing how great these car can look.

CCC-early-30s-restyled-cars-collageA few samples of early restyled cars based on pre-1935 cars. Cars that are usually seen as Hot Rod material, now used as Customs. (with photos courtesy of the David Zivot, Jack Butler and The Old Motor collections).
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Many years later I learned about the history of Custom Cars and found out that the early Customs were influenced by the Coachbuilders. And that people as Frank Kurtis, George DuVall and more were restyling cars from the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. Cars that most people would consider strictly Hot Rod material. Looking at the ’33 Ford in this article, and reading about the Kurtis and DuVall created 30’s restyled cars always make me wonder how many of these cars were actually restyled as Customs. There are quite some photos around of these early Customs, and since it was not very common to make many photos back then one can assume there must have been many more that were never photographed. To bad we do not see many of the early 1930’s cars being customized today, perhaps a new trend should arise…


CCC-erwin-drake-33-roadster-coverThe design of the cover of the June 1954 issue of Rod & Custom Magazine works really well and the bright red car jumps at you with the ice green and yellow background. Quite unique to have a custom based on an ’33 Ford on the cover of the magazine in 1954. For a Hot Rod that would be normal, but most cover customs were usually more modern.
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The second reason¬†is because the Ralph Poole photos used¬†in the June, 1954 issue of Rod & Custom are¬†as far as I know, the only photos of this 1933 Ford that have ever been published. I have not yet seen any other photos of this car anyplace else, no private collections, not in the back ground of any early 1950’s show coverage. The car is a bit of a mistery. Sure there it this full four page article on the car. And the owner of the car Erwin Drake is mentioned, but also that he bought the car as a finished custom. And the article does not list anything about the original owner, and who originally restyled it.


 

An older Custom?

My guess is this is an old, late 1930’s early 1940’s restyled custom. An old custom with a considerable amount of body work done to it… Some of it really enhances the body, other things like the heavy bull-nose it perhaps not the most elegant solution, which to me indicates early work. So,¬†who build it? That is the real mystery… and I like¬†Custom¬†Car mysteries. I have no answer to this question though… at least not yet, but somebody out there must know more on this car, must know its real history. Hopefully somebody will read the article and remembers the car, or remembers hearing about the car…


CCC-erwin-drake-33-roadster-05Side view shows the rather high¬†stance which was “compensated” by the reshaped and extended down rear fenders making it look lower in the back.
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CCC-erwin-drake-33-roadster-04The front 3/4 view shows how great the fenders/running boards look now they are grafted into one smooth piece.
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Ralph Poole also mentioned it in the R&C article that the ’33 Ford is seldom seen as a full custom. It is amazing the car even made the cover of the magazine. The owner of the ’33 Ford in 1954 was Erwin Drake from Huntington Park, California, he was a family man with a busy job and even tough he wanted to create his own custom, he just did not have the time to do so. Instead he found this already finished custom 1933 Ford. To make the car his own he decided to make a few changes, the car was repainted fire engine red, all the chrome was redone, and Bill Gaylord was hired to redo the interior in white and red leatherette pleated and rolled, with maroon carpet.

CCC-erwin-drake-33-roadster-03The rear pan was smoothed and molded to the main body, 1938 Ford taillights are mounted low on the restyled rear fenders and protection comes from the beautiful v-shape 1938 Studebaker bumper. This rear 3/4 view shows that those who where responsible for restyling it in the first place knew very well what they were doing.
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The original work done on the car at an earlier stage, and by an unknown shop was a lot more involving than the updates Erwin had done. The car started out as a “rare” 1933 Ford roadster. All four fenders were reshaped heavily to get a more rounder appearance. The lip at the edge of the fenders was smoothed for a cleaner, perhaps more modern look. Unsure if the builders perhaps used parts of other fenders or if the work was done with added shaped metal and round rod. The rear fenders were extended down, creating a smaller wheel opening which made the car look lower. The fenders and the¬†new smooth running boards were welded to a single smooth unit, with a nice radius from the boards to the rear fenders following the character line on the lower body. At the rear the lower pan was welded to the body and the bottom reveal eliminated for a smooth look. Two 1938 Ford teardrop taillights were added to the rear fenders, and the stock bumper was replaced with a more custom looking 1934 Studebaker bumper. The same bumper was used up front, but here a set of overriders was mounted to offer more protection.


CCC-erwin-drake-33-roadster-01The photo session with Erwin’s 1933 Ford was done at the famous Compton Drive-In with its wonderful ice green fence which was perfect to give¬†the fire engine red custom stand even more impact.
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A new grille surround was created which was less tall than the original ’33 Ford grille, and much rounded. Therefor the hood needed to be extended forward, and down to meet the lower grill. The hood was also made into one piece and ¬†hinges where created to make it hings Alligator style at the cowl. A new grille insert with vertical chrome plated bars was created. to fit the new opening.¬†The whole front of the car is now much rounder, more resembling a 1936 Ford.¬†New smooth hood-sides were created and a set of teardrop shaped headlights are molded to the front fenders. The R&C article mentioned they are 1940 Chevy units, but they appear to be a bit shorter and rounder than those, plus the chrome bezel is all smooth. Hard to tell from the photos what they really used. The windshield frame was chopped and the article mentioned a removable top, most likely a padded top, sadly non of the photos show the top in place.


CCC-erwin-drake-33-roadster-09Bill Gaylord was responsible for re-doing the upholstery in the 1933 Ford Roadster. Bill picked a bold bright red and white leatherette and sharp V-shaped tuck & roll panels to follow the latest trend in upholstery.
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Erwin had Bill Gaylord redo the interior, so we have no idea how the original interior looks like. Bill worked with red and white leatherette with nice pleats and red piping. The floor was done in maroon with white piping. The ’33 Ford dash has been cleaned and the original panel was updated with ’39 Ford instruments. The ’39 Ford Banjo steering wheel replaces the original. According the article the engine had been replaced with a ’46 59A Flathead engine, which had been ported, relieved, bore and stroked and dressed up with Offenhauser dual manifold fitted with Stromberg carbs. The frame was updated with hydraulic brakes, tubular shocks and 16 inch wheels with wide white wall tires and aftermarket hubcaps.

CCC-erwin-drake-33-roadster-07A close up of the Gaylord upholstery, and the smooth transition from front fender to running board.
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CCC-erwin-drake-33-roadster-08The grille surround was made from round rod and sheet metal with an insert created from chrome plated steel rods. 
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CCC-erwin-drake-33-roadster-02Molded in headlights with smooth chrome plated bezels flank the new grille and smooth hood sides. The 1934 Studebaker bumpers are a great touch, the wonderful V-Shape fit the car perfectly. At first glance looking at the car like this make you think it is an ’36 Ford.
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CCC-erwin-drake-33-roadster-end


Just a thought, perhaps if this car was created in the later part of the 1930’s, or early 1940’s, the owner liked the looks of the 1936 Ford roadsters, but could not afford the newer car, so instead he started with a 1933 Ford and had it restyled to look more like a 36 Ford. Making your older car look newer is one of the elements used by Customizers from the beginning.
This 1933 Ford, and the fact that it was featured on the cover of Rod & Custom magazine show that the 1933-34 Fords can work very well with¬†the full custom treatment and are not only Hot Rod material. Well designed they can make very excellent¬†early style Custom Cars… and we need to see more of those.

 

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Even thought there was a full 4 page article on this 1933 Ford, there are still a lot of things about the cars early history we would like to know more about. A few are:

  • Does anybody know Erwin Drake, or remembers him from the 1950’s? He might be able to to shed some light where he got the car from.
  • Does anybody¬†remember this 1933 from the early 1950’s, or even better from before Erwin Drake owned it? And perhaps know about other photos that those used in the R&C article.
  • Does anybody know what happened to this car?
    If you know more about this, them please email us, we would love to hear from you and add your information to this article.

Thank you.

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CCC-Sponsor-KingKustomsTShirt-602Contact Rob Radcliffe at King Kustoms for more info on these T-Shirts Email Rob

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+1

Hirohata Merc Hawaiian Badge

 

HAWAIIAN BADGE

 

Since the Hirohata Mercury was restored it always had an oddly shaped and located brass badge with the name The Hawaiian on the door…¬†Lets find out the story behind the badge.


Howard Gribble¬†recently send me an email including¬†a photo of the Bob Hirohata Merc which he took at this recent¬†visit¬†(January, 2016)¬†to the new Petersen Museum. He noticed that the “Hawaiian” badge on the door, which had been part of the restored Hirohata Mercury for years, was missing. He¬†wondered when this badge was removed from the car, especially knowing this would have involved a paint touch up. Howards email¬†reminded me that I still wanted¬†to do an CCC-Article on this controversial Hawaiian Badge that was part of the restored 1951 Mercury, but as far as we could tell, it was never on the car when Bob Hirohata owned the car.

CCC-barris-hirohata-2016-petersenHoward took this photo of the Hirohata Mercury at the Petersen Museum in January 2016, no sign of the drivers door mounted Hawaiian badge.
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CCC-barris-hirohata-hawaiian-badge-00

I took this photo of the Hirohata Mercury in 2011, and the Hawaiian badge is mounted on the drivers door, just below the vent window.
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CCC-barris-hirohata-hawaiian-badge-02The Hawaiian badge was made of a hand shaped and polished piece of sheet brass with the letters engraved and painted the sea-foam body color.
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The Hawaiian Badge was recently removed from the car, when the Mercury was cleaned, fine tuned, updated and made ready for the prestigious Mercury Gathering at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concourse D’Elegance. The car spend some quality time at Junior Conway’s House of Color Shop in Bell Gardens, Ca. for an full update. The restoration of the car was completed in 1998-99 and since then the car had traveled to many shows including all the way to Sweden. So it was time for some touch-ups etc to be in excellent condition for the Pebble Beach show. While the car was in Conway’s shop and body sections had to be touched up, it¬†was decided it was a good time to remove the Hawaiian badge as well. On a visit with Roger O’Dell to the Junior Conway shop John Denich took some photos of the Hirohata Mercury being fine tuned for the Pebble Beach event.

CCC-barris-hirohata-2015-update-03Apparently there were some fit problems on the rear window lower stainless trim. 
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CCC-barris-hirohata-2015-update-04The Hirohata Mercury was cleaned and detailed inside and out.
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CCC-barris-hirohata-2015-update-02John Denich took this photo which shows that the badge was now gone.
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CCC-barris-hirohata-2015-update-01The Hirohata Mercury at the Pebble Beach Concourse with painter Junior Conway on the left, owner Jim McNiel in the center, and Rob Radcliffe on the right.  
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The Hirohata Merc Hawaiian Badge

Lets take a step back and look at the history on this The Hawaiian badge on the Hirohata Mercury. Ever since the Mercury was restored by Jim McNiel the Hawaiian badge was part of the car. But none of the old photos I had seen on the car show this badge. At this time we are not 100% sure Bob ever named his Mercury “The Hawaiian“. Some people have referred to the car by that name, possibly even before Jim McNiel restored the car, but we do not have any proof for the name connected to Bob. We do know that Bob named his Mercury the “Mercillac” after he had installed brand new Cadillac engine for his cross country tip in 1953. And as far as we know there was never a badge or emblem with this name added on the out or inside of the car when Bob owned it. It might be possible that Bob renamed the car in the mid 1950’s when he was about to sell it, but agian there are no photos or info to proof this.


CCC-barris-hirohata-mercillacThe October 1953 issue of Rod & Custom magazine featured an article by Bob Hirohata on the cross country trip he made in his 1951 Mercury which he named “Mercillac”
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There are several photos of the Hirohata Mercury, after it was repainted by the Barris Kustom Shop in lime green, that show a side view mirror on the drivers door, mounted just below the vent window. This was on the same location as later the Hawaiian badge would be at. When I asked Jim McNiel about the Hawaiian badge and also about the side view mirror he mentioned that most likely Bob was stopped a lot by the cops, and perhaps even ticketed for having no side view mirrors. So in the end the mirror was added and screwed to the door. There are also stories that the mirror was added to the Mercury requested by the Movie company when the car was hired for the Running Wild movie. And judging all the photos of the Mercury after it was repainted, the later might actually be the real reason why there was a mirror on the Merc. After Bob Hirohata sold the car in 1955 the new owner installed a hitch and used the Mercury to pull his speed boat, for that the mirrors must have come in handy.

CCC-barris-hirohata-mamie-van-dorenMamie Van Doren poses with the Hirohata Mercury painted lime green at the Running Wild Movie set. The side view mirror can be clearly seen in this photo.
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CCC-barris-hirohata-mercillac-mazza This photo from the Barry Mazza Collection shows Bob Hirohata’s Mercury after it had been repainted Lime green (after the Running Wild Movie)¬†with some three bar flipper hubcaps. The photo was taken at an unidentified outdoor show, most likely in 1955. The most interesting about the photo is that the car has the mirror mounted, and a show card mounted on the front bumper with on the lower section Kustoms of Los Angeles, and on the top the “MERCILLAC” name. Unsure is if Bob Hirohata still owned the Mercury when this photo was taken, most likely it was.
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CCC-barris-hirohata-mirror-01Close up of the mirror which appears to have a teardrop shaped base.
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Jim¬†mentioned that is was one of the previous owners of the Hirohata Mercury, most likely¬†Dirty Doug Kinney, who removed the mirror in the late 1950’s. Most likely he did not want to fill the holes and repaint the doors,¬†¬†so he decided to create a badge that would cover the holes left from the side view mirror. He shaped the brass badge in a similar shape as the mirror base to cover up all evidence of the mirror. He then engraved the “The Hawaiian” name into the brass badge. When Jim bought the Hirohata Mercury for $500.- in late 1959, or early 1960 the Hawaiian badge was on the car.

CCC-barris-hirohata-hawaiian-missing-gold-02This photo from the Rodder’s Journal issue number 5 show that both The Hawaiian badge¬†and¬†the Barris crest are missing from the car at this point… ¬†Jim stored the originals¬†in the house, making sure they would not get lost. We can however see the holes drilled for the mirror an later the badge.
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CCC-barris-hirohata-hawaiian-missing-goldJim takes out the Hirohata Mercury for the last time before the restoration starts. 
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CCC-barris-hirohata-hawaiian-badge-01I took this photo of the badge at the 2009 Sacramento Autorama Mercury Gathering. Here I spoke with Jim about many details of the Hirohata Mercury, including the history of the Hawaiian badge.
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When Jim set out to restore the Hirohata mercury in the 1990’s he decided to take the car back to how it looked when Bob Hirohata owned the car in about 1953. But since the Hawwaiian badge had always been part of the car for as long as Jim owned it he decided the badge would be part of the restoration. The Badge has since then always been a great topic of conversation every time the car was displayed. The use of the badge was controversial to say the least. Most historic Custom Car enthusiasts, including myself always felt the badge should not have been used, and the holes should have been filled in to bring the car back to how Bob Hirohata had it in 1953.

Fortunately Jim McNiel decided that when it was time to fix up the Hirohata Mercury for the prestigious Pebble Beach Concourse 1949-1951 Mercury Kustom event, it was time to bring the car back to how Bob Hirohata drove it cross country and entered it in many car shows. The Hirohata Mercury has always been one of my most favorite Custom Cars, and seeing the restored car in person sure was a Custom Car highlight for me, but the¬†Hawaiian badge¬†always bugged me a little…¬†like a smudge you want to clean¬†off. With the badge removed we have Custom Car perfection.

CCC-barris-hirohata-pebble-beachJim McNiel drives the car up to the podium at the 2015 Pebble beach Concourse to receive his best Custom Award…. without the Hawaiian badge on the door!¬†
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Panoramic Ford Part Two

 

PANORAMIC FORD part 2

The Buster Litton 1949 Panoramic Ford changed hands in 1954. Don Schaedel became the new caretaker of this Milestone Custom Car. Lets take a look at how Don remembered the Ford in the Panoramic Ford Part Two.


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I have been gathering material for a Custom Car Chronicle¬†Buster Litton Panoramic Ford¬†article for quite some time. The Panoramic Ford as Buster named it has been on my list of personal favorite Custom Cars for as long as I first saw a photo of it. Fortunately for us the car has been documented pretty well back in the early / mid 1950’s with lots of photos, and even better in more recent years even more material has surfaced as in some amazing color photos and the best of all detailed information from two of the original owners of the car,¬†Buster Litton, and¬†Don Schaedel. The article started to really take shape when good friend¬†Rob Radcliffe¬†Spend a good deal of time with both Buster Litton and Don Schaedel. Rob was able to gather a lot of very interesting new information about the cars history. As well as some never before seen photos. With all this we have been able to get a pretty accurate time line on the car. This is part two of the story.

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Don Schaedel the new caretaker of the Panoramic Ford

In July 2015 Rob Radcliffe interviewed Don Schaedel by phone about his years with the Panoramic Ford. A lot of this information was used in this part of the story on the Panoramic Ford.


Don Schaedel remembers seeing the Ford getting built at the Barris shop, while driving by, he spotted the car in the lot and that he stopped to take a better look at the car. He remembers how beautiful the chop looked on that car even back then in 1951, when it was just in primer. He found out the car was for sale, but Don was not interested to acquire the car at the time. Don was making plans to join the Navy and head for Korea. Soon after Don had seen the Ford at the Barris shop the car was bought by Buster Litton as we can read in Part One in this series.

CCC-don-schaedel-40-Ford-CernyBefore going in the Navy Don owned a 1940 Ford Tudor Sedan that was conservatively restyled by George Cerny. The work on that car was done in February 1950.
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In 1950 Don had a conservatively restyled 1940 Ford sedan that was restyled by George Cerny. About a year later in 1951-52 Don drove a nice lowered, but mostly stock 1949 Ford convertible with some interior work done by Bill Gaylord. Don Schaedel was in the Navy from January 1952 to January 1954. He was a Machinist Mate on the DL2 USS Mitcher destroyer. He went to boot camp in San Diego, then transferred to Great Lakes, Michigan for Machinist Mate school before boarding his brand new ship in Boston.
When Don Schaedel returned from his time in the Korean War it was January 1954. Don felt it was time to get a full Custom Car of which he had day-dreamt a lot about during his time in the Navy. Don was not really interested in spending a lot of time to have a complete new Custom Car built, so he was on the lookout for a good looking finished project. At the time there where plenty of nice full customs on the market.


CCC-don-schaedel-49-FordDon’s daily driver in the early 1950’s was this 1949 Ford convertible.
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While Don was taking his time to look¬†for the perfect Custom for him,¬†he bought a used ’51 Merc convertible, which he lowered, nosed/decked, and painted black. Just something nice to use as ¬†daily transportation. He only had this ’51 Merc convertible for a few months when he bumped into Buster Litton and found out Buster wanted to let go of the Panoramic Ford. Don of course recognized the car from the primer staged Shoebox¬†at the Barris Shop in 1951. Don¬†traded his 1951 Mercury¬†to Buster Litton, in May or June of 1954, for the Panoramic Ford.¬†Don mentioned he paid $1400 for the ’51 Merc convertible when he bought it in¬†January¬†1954, and he added $900 cash along with the car when he traded it to Buster Litton for the Panoramic Ford. So in essence, he paid $2300 for the Panoramic¬†Ford in 1954.
Don was making $1 and hour during the time he bought the Ford, so it was a very big deal for him at the time.

Don Schaedel also had a bone stock ’51 Merc coupe he used as a daily driver while owning the Buster Litton Ford. He¬†was a member of the Ram Rods car club in South Gate, California. Don still¬†has¬†his original club¬†plaque from his Ford.

CCC-don-schaedel-51-mercury-01Don Schaedel with the conservative restyled 1951 Mercury convertible which was part of the trade/sell on the Panoramic Ford with Buster Litton. Buster ended up with the Mercury convertible, and Don with the Ford.
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Don Schaedel used to date Von Dutch’s sister in 1950. Von Dutch painted and striped the dash in the Ford. Don said Von Dutch’s sister would show him the drawings made by Dutch at their house.


CCC-herb-junior-conway-donHerb and Junior Conway and Don Schaedel on the right in front of Herb Conway’s 1954 Mercury in 1954.
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CCC-buster-litton-panoramic-ford-03One of the photos from Don Schaedel’s Collection shared by Octavio Shavez shows the Ford on Don’s drive way in Lynnwood, Ca. after he has removed the bumper guards from the front bumper.
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CCC-don-schaedel-panoramic-ford-a-01Same photo location as above, only this print shows the whole car.
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Don Schaedel owned the Panoramic Ford from May/June, 1954 up until 1957, when he traded the Panramic Ford¬†for a 4″ sectioned 1950 Ford coupe. The sectioned coupe was painted seafoam green but had no other custom work done to really distinguish it (we have¬†tried to see if this was a car we might recognize from old photos or possible magazine pictures, based on description, but so far we have not being able to find it.) Don¬†does not remember the guy’s name who traded the sectioned Ford, and many attempts to remember or track down the new owner of the Panoramic Ford by Don¬†have been unsuccessful… so far.

Don wasn’t crazy about the sectioned Ford, so he put it on consignment on a used car lot in Lynwood and used the money to build a 5 unit apartment building in Garden Grove, California, then went on to build mobile home parks and eventually bought a 1744 acre cattle ranch in Raymond, California (60 miles from Yosemite), where he has lived for the past 32 years. He raised cattle for 11 years on the ranch, but now leases the land out for grazing.

CCC-schaedel-panoramicRob Radcliffe took a picture of a color copy of this photo at Dick Jackson’s place in July 2015, hence the not too good quality. But, its always great to see any new-old photo of any famous custom. I really love the angle and back ground in this photo, and it showed off the wonderful stance of the car really well.
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CCC-schaedel-panoramic-02Close up of the same photo shows the Barris Crest and the front bumper guards, so we know this photo was taken not too long after Don had bought the Ford from Buster.
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CCC-don-schaedel-panoramic-ford-05Don’s girlfriend posing with the Panoramic Ford in 1953.
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CCC-buster-litton-panoramic-ford-12Parked in front of Don’s house.
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CCC-buster-litton-panoramic-ford-14This photo was taken at the 1954 parking lot car show at the Thrifty Drug Store at Rodeo Rd and LA Brea in Los Angeles on Saturday May 15 1954. That is Don Schaedel rubbing the top of his Ford. Don was just 22 years old when this photo was taken shortly after he had bought the Ford.
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CCC-buster-litton-panoramic-ford-06Included in a collection of photos Dave Cook bought where fur wonderful color slides of the Panoramic Ford. We do not know who took the color slides, but it was Greg Sharp who identified the location as the Long Beach Marine Stadium. From what we know now it is most likely that Buster Litton was still the owner when these photos where taken.
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CCC-buster-litton-panoramic-ford-07A nice view of the Kaiser overrider with the integrated exhaust ends in the bullets.
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CCC-buster-litton-panoramic-ford-08A view at the front shows the Ford accessory bumper guards as well as the Barris crests.
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CCC-buster-litton-panoramic-ford-10Two more color slides show the Bill Gaylord interior and show how close the dark orange matches the exterior paint of the Panoramic Ford.
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[box_light]Not to long before Don let go of the Ford something bad happened to the car. Don drove the Ford to a party one night and a jealous 18 year old kid decided to take a hammer and dent up the body in about 5 spots. Don had to have them fixed and the car had primer spots until the day he sold it. He never had a chance to repaint it. Don said he got even and two years later returned the favor to the kid’s car with his own hammer.[/box_light]


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Parked in front of Don’s house, this is the only photo we have seen so far that shows the car with¬†some different (Oldsmobile) hubcaps.
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CCC-schaedel-panoramic-03Close up of this photo shows the white paint detailed 1954-55 Oldsmobile hubcaps on the Panoramic Ford.
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Timeframe on the Panoramic Ford

  • 1950-1951 first owner Allen Anderson takes his 1949 Ford Coupe to the Barris Kustom shop to have them build a full custom out of the car. Allen requests the top to be chopped and turned into a hard-top style.
  • 1951 the Barris Kustom Shop, most likely Sam Barris, create one of the best looking chops ever done, on Allen’s Shoebox. They also install one of the 1951 Studebaker front fenders
  • 1952 Buster Litton buys the unfinished project from Allen Anderson.
  • 1952 Buster hires the Barris shop to finish the started work on the car an has them create the custom grille.
  • 1952 Buster brings the car home after the Baris shop has finished the work and painted the car with primer.
  • 1953 Buster takes the car to George And Carl Cerny’s shop to have them restyle the rear of the car to match the work on the front.
  • 1953 painted in a wonderfull deep coco rust lacquer¬†by¬†Doug Anderson, who worked at the Cerny shop.
  • 1954 adding Ford¬†accessory bumper gards up front and modified Kaiser bar with exhaust thru the bullets on the rear bumper.
  • 1954 adding Barris crests.
  • 1954 February, winning awards at the Motorama and National Roadster Show.
  • 1954 May-June selling/trading the car to Don Schaedel. Don¬†gives Buster his mildly customized 1951 Mercury Convertible in trade for the Ford plus some cash.
  • 1954 Don removes the front Ford Accessory bumper guards since he felt they¬†where to¬†tall for the car.
  • 1957 Don trades the Panoramic Ford for a sectioned Shoebox Ford, and looses track of the Panoramic Ford soon after that.
  • We have not been able to find any info on what ever happened to the car after 1957.

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Go to Part 3 of the Panoramic Ford story.


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(this article is sponsored by)

CCC-Sponsor-KingKustomsTShirt-602Contact Rob Radcliffe at King Kustoms for more info on these T-Shirts Email Rob

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