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Old 06-20-2008, 11:22 AM   #1
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Default The X-Sonic

Last night I was on the phone with a buddy having a fairly typical hot rod debate. See, he's a 60's freak and I'm more of a late 40's/early 50's type of guy. There's only a decade separating our favorite genres, but as we all know, a lot happen...

To read the rest of this blog entry from The Jalopy Journal, click here.
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:30 AM   #2
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Default Re: The X-Sonic

a "favorite" of Ryan's with a fiberglass body... what's the world coming to?

i'm glad pride motivated you to post this. i enjoyed reading/viewing it.
have a kick ass summer, don't ever change.
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Old 08-01-2008, 06:47 AM   #3
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Default Re: The X-Sonic

Originally Posted by warpigg View Post
a "favorite" of Ryan's with a fiberglass body... what's the world coming to?

i'm glad pride motivated you to post this. i enjoyed reading/viewing it.
Not a first.I believe I read the Moyer AMT Willys was Ryans favorite car at Mokan last year.
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Old 08-01-2008, 12:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: The X-Sonic

This Email exchange with Ron Aguirre was posted on the LayitLow board. I don't know Ron or the original Emailer, but thought it was an interesting read- especially the fact that the first version of the hydraulics were apparently hand pumped...

>> I have seen just a few pictures of your corvette, the "X-Sonic" and I
>> must say it is outstanding. I was wondering if you would be so kind
>> as to possibly share alittle information and maybe a picture or two
>> of the corvette.

Jason, I'm glad you liked my car and the way I customized it. I will be
glad to share some of X-sonic's history with you and your group.

>> We are all intrigued on the hydraulic setup and really dont have a
>> clear idea as to how you went about it originally.

It is true that a law was past by Gov. Brown in 1957 against lowered
cars. I lived in Rialto CA. a suburb of San Bernardino (60 miles East
of Los Angeles) and having the lowest car in the Berdo (San Bernardino)
area and after the law was passed it wasn't until 58 that the law was
really being enforced and I had one cop (Lester Groves, nicknamed
"Sandy") and made it his #1 priority to give me tickets for being too
low. The way Lester got the nickname "Sandy" was one time he was
busting a bunch of my friends for street racing and someone put sand in
the gas tank on his bike (NO! it wasn't me).

How I invented Hydraulics - In 1958 I was visiting a friends body shop
and saw a bodyman pushing a dent out with a hydraulic Porto-power tool.
I looked at the ram and instantly got the idea to put this little unit
between the spring and the frame to lift my car. I explained my idea to
my Dad and being a welder by trade he started to fabricate the cups I
designed to hold the rams. I had hoses made that would extend into the
car and I set the hand pump on the hump between the seats. This worked
great but the pump was designed to pump fluid to one ram and I had two
- the problem was that the rams would not lift equally and the car was
not level until both rams were full. A couple of months later my Dad
took me to a place in L.A. that sold used aircraft parts called
Palley's. This is where all the parts for hydraulics came from. With
the aircraft parts the right and left sides of my car could raise and
lower equally. An electric pump made it much easier to raise and lower
the car.

But it wasn't until 1959 that I was able to raise a lot of Hell and
with the system the way it was and I was going to drive "Sandy" THE COP
crazy. We waited for him to ride his bike (he was always on a police
motorcycle) to his spot across the street from the local hangout in
Berdo "Ruby's Drive-in". I was parked on the lot with my car lowered
way down. There were about 100 of my school friends at the drive-in
waiting to see what would happen.

I left the car down and started to drive out and the side pipes were
scraping the pavement (It was way cool to have your car dragging on the
pavement). I had my girlfriend get out and my buddy got in with the
instructions to pump hard on the handle of the pump as soon as I gave
him the word. In the 50's our cars were so low that we developed a
technique to get out of driveways. We would position our cars on one
side of the driveway and drive slowly to the opposite side to exit
without dragging too much or getting hung up on a high spot.

Well, knowing "Sandy" was across the street and waiting for me to leave
the restaurant so he could give me a ticket in front of all my friends
and teach them that this punk was not going to get away with breaking
the law, again.

I pulled out onto the street and watched Sandy start his bike, I told
my buddy start pumping. I didn't get twenty feet and Sandy had his red
lights on me. I got out of the car and everyone from the drive-in was
standing on the sidewalk. I greeted "Sandy" by name (as no one called
him Sandy to his face) - "Hi, Lester what seems to be the problem"? He
stated "You know your car's too low". "But Lester", I said," it isn't
too low any more, I took your advise and raised it to legal height". He
smiled at me and took his ticket book (Back then, this is how the cops
checked cars if their ticket book did not pass freely under your car
you would get a ticket) and he slid it under my car without hitting
anything. Boy, was his face red and with all the witnesses yelling and
screaming, he didn't say a word, he gave me a confused look and got on
his bike and left. OH... revenge was so sweet.....

>> I have also heard that the car ended up being remote control.

Yes it was, I used a model airplane remote control and could raise &
lower the bubble top, open & close the doors, raise & lower the car,
start the car and turn the wheels. I don't believe anyone else has
attempted to do this.

>> Here is a link to the website / forum thread where we are discussing
>> you and your car.

I read some of the discussion and noticed that much of history changes
depending who is writing the story.

1. My last name Aguirre is of Latin decent, but I must admit that I
never had a connection with the Chicano movement that developed the
fantastic achievements that were and are preformed with hydraulic

2. If you look closely to the pictures you do have of my car the rear
is higher than the front. Back then we set the style of the raked look
it was cool to have the front of your car a couple of inches lower
then the rear. Plus if you look close, I have racing slicks on the
rear. I used to street race prior to the radical customizing. I beat
every 55-57 Thunderbird on the street and they came from L.A. to race
me. My car was also the first to have chrome wheels and chrome

3. San Bernardino had no Chicano groups in the 50's they were in L.A.
and one of the the main car clubs was the Dukes. I understand from all
the old timers that I have meet in recent years It was a family
orientated club. I know some of the people that are still part of the
club and their family members they are very nice people and am proud
to have them as friends.

4. The term "Lowrider" did not exist in the 50's. I believe the term
"Lowrider is truly a Chicano phrase that has been adopted by many
cultures to refer to an extremely lowered car Custom cars were
considered lead sleds and lower cars were simply lowered cars without
any specific terminology attached. It was just a contest to see who
had the lowest car and he was the coolest guy in town. But, back then
it was the front of the car that was the lowest, no one lowered the
rear to match the front . The rear was always a little bit higher.

5. Since it has been documented that my car was the very first car to
be automatically raised and lowered doesn't mean that I take credit for
the phenomenon of the Hydraulic Lift Culture that sprang from my
invention. My father, brother and myself only did about six hydraulic
lifts before I went on to do other things. I didn't mind that others
were copying my idea. They improved the idea and went into directions
that I never dreamed of. Remember all I wanted was to stop getting
tickets for being too low and I was not going to raise my car to some
stupid legal height.

6. Paige Penland is a very nice and good looking young lady (that used
to work for Low Rider magazine) who wrote the story mentioned by one of
your forum members. The article in question was prior to her going to
work at Low Rider Mag. and did not have her story right nor my name.
She has since interviewed me and in her book "Lowrider History, Pride
and Culture" she has corrected her mistaken information.

>> I would truly enjoy hearing back from you and possibly discussing
>> corvette and your innovations.

I noticed the two pictures you had posted of my car.

The first one (prior to being the X-sonic) was a unique experience.
First you must know that I traveled a great deal with Ed "Big Daddy"
Roth and we were between shows and I had just stripped the paint of my
car for Larry Watson to repaint when Ed call me and said he wanted me
to bring the car to a special car show at Disneyland the following
week. I told him I couldn't and told him that Larry could not paint the
car for two weeks.. He said bring the car over that the two of us would
paint the car for the show. Well, Ed painted my corvette these
god-awful colors/design that fit in nicely at Disneyland. Right after
the show we stripped it again and larry painted it a Rainbow Pearl

The second picture was taken in a photo shoot by Ed Roth for the 1961
Sept. issue of Rod & Custom Magazine. If you look at the interior the
X-sonic still had the Gold Tuck-n-Roll interior and a steering wheel.
It wasn't until 1963 issue of Car Craft that the new interior and the
remote control system was photographed by Bud Lang.

A couple of years ago I decided to build a mild custom to carry my
custom Harley and picked one of my favorites a 1972 Ford Ranchero GT.
naturally it's been Bagged. I believe that this is now the greatest way
to automatically raise and lower your car.
♠ Los Boulevardos C.C ♠
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:34 AM   #5
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Default Re: The X-Sonic

Ryan likes a 60's car???? OMG ....

I love the Xsonic its crazy how much it changed in such a short period of time...

I would love to clone the first pearl white version...
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Old 06-20-2008, 01:15 PM   #6
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Default Re: The X-Sonic

Originally Posted by Evel View Post

I love the Xsonic its crazy how much it changed in such a short period of time...

I would love to clone the first pearl white version...

Yes!!! my thoughts exactly.................................
cars cars cars, yes thats all i think about..... oh, and food!

Last edited by MarkX; 06-20-2008 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:41 AM   #7
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Default Re: The X-Sonic

Push button steering would take a shit load of engineering huh? Definitely creative but I am still not sure that I see evidence of form following function even on this car.
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Old 06-20-2008, 09:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: The X-Sonic

Originally Posted by JeffreyJames View Post
I am still not sure that I see evidence of form following function even on this car.
Of course mostly true, but the "bubble" looks slightly conical and high, and in the photo with an occupant looks habitable. If the X-sonic was driven around the area, then this is a form concession to function.
RETRO Spec. (tive) -Getting to where you're going by knowing where you've come from.

Last edited by autobilly; 06-20-2008 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:12 AM   #9
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Default Re: The X-Sonic

Originally Posted by JeffreyJames View Post
Push button steering would take a shit load of engineering huh? Definitely creative but I am still not sure that I see evidence of form following function even on this car.
If the function was to be an over the top full custom car using every trick in the book on a CORVETTE, than the form follows the function perfectly.
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:43 AM   #10
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Default Re: The X-Sonic

I am still not sure that I see evidence of form following function even on this car.

Ryan Cochran

"Skating the same line since 1976..."
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www.jalopyjournal.com - www.garagejournal.com - www.gearjournal.com - www.fordbarn.com - www.DOGFIGHTmag.com
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:49 AM   #11
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Default Re: The X-Sonic

Nice looking custom for sure.

I would have to disagree with the argument that early hot rodders didn't take into consideration "creativity". Just a differnt type of creativity. As we all know it took alot more than just removing the fenders and dropping in the most powerfull engine that could be found to go fast...

I think as much connected as the two (Hot Rods and Custom Rods) are, they are definitely in different categories...just like Customs and Low Riders...same but different.

Apples and oranges...both fruit, different taste.

I wonder if Ford got the nose styling for their '61 to '63 Birds after seeing this?

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Old 06-20-2008, 12:04 PM   #12
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Default Re: The X-Sonic

A post for Mark & myself, LOL I love old Hot Rods, have a 29 coupe sitting in the wings but there is just something about the show rods that gets me going!!!! And if it has a Bubble!!!!!!!! Hell Yah!
Show rods, hot rods, street rods, low riders, minnie trucks, VW's
Its all good - same church just a diff pew
where is this can now???
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:51 AM   #13
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Default Re: The X-Sonic

Being that I like both early cars and the custom show cars (I even have a soft spot for the 70's goof rods) I'd have to say this is one of the better ones. I never saw it before now but it's a nice looking car.

Not sure I'd want to be on the road with anyone using the joystick to control it but I guess you could think of this as an early "fly by wire" system.
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:59 AM   #14
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Default Re: The X-Sonic

Cool, that is an awesome idea. I like the no gauges or controls look. I think I will put a push button steering system in my truck. Let me get working on that...

yeah, right, that is crazy and he actually drove it around?

But, honestly, I have to say, not sure I like the looks of that thing overall. I kind of like the mild custom version the best. I appreciate the creativity and the process, but not sure it is an improvement over the essentially stock and beautiful early Corvette. But, there are still plenty of stock Corvettes to enjoy (maybe too many) and this is a one of a kind.
..and yelled out your going to the wrong place he is a Chevy guy, but they went there anyway. PJ@STT
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Old 06-20-2008, 12:07 PM   #15
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Default Re: The X-Sonic

Frankly, I thought I would hate this car, but I have to admit, I don't.
I'm not much on customs as a rule and less so on '60's jobbies.
This thing removes that from me.
Granted there are a few things I would have done differently, but realistically, those are minor, very minor.
I love the front end treatment.
I love the way it flows through the body to the fins.
I love the grille.
The interior falls on it's face. That is the only criticism I would offer.
The stance is badassed. The cheaters out back really set it off form me.
I love tThis side shot.
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Every once in a while, life gets a little more surreal.

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Old 06-20-2008, 12:05 PM   #16
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Default Re: The X-Sonic

Form and function flip in the world of kustoms, but they're still present.

If the function is asthetics, then the form is whatever mechanics are required to get you there. You simply can't apply hot rod form/function criteria to the hard parts on a kustom, totally different thought process went into selection & fabrication.

Doesn't make a lot of sense at first, but let the idea soak in with some wine and it might stick.
The same........but different
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Old 06-20-2008, 12:14 PM   #17
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Default Re: The X-Sonic

interesting is the word that I'd use, I saw this car w/o its former beauty @ Milt Pate's in Whittier a long while back. I thought that it would make for a great restoration-not that I could ever afford it.
It was just unique and I'm glad that someone bought it and will restore it one of its incanations.
Good read Ryan.
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Old 06-20-2008, 12:19 PM   #18
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Default Re: The X-Sonic

I've always liked that car, back when I was little.
I'd rather utilize a joystick steer control, say, off a wheelchair. It would certainly be easier to drive!

Beautiful car and creative genuis!
Thanks Ryan, this was fun!
My '29 Sedan build thread can be viewed here:

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Old 06-20-2008, 12:49 PM   #19
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Default Re: The X-Sonic

Ryan when I was growing up in the late 50`s early 60`s I saw the big transition in cars.
When chrome reversed wheels came out guys were throwing early wirewheels away.
The same was when the chevy smallblock came out, flatheads were used as anchor weights. So with out the Jetsons Idea and others,hot rods would still be running around
like the way you like them. With that said there's nothing wrong with that. I myself see the return of the 40s and early 50s look because of the pionere aspect. Back in the
40s and 50s was the begining of it all and there was soul and passion to the sport.
In the mid 50s and 60s it was a time for shock factor and dare to be different
additude. So if there is a point in all this typing, well I'm glad hot rodding is getting back to it`s roots. And I appreciate the future type cars and I'm glad there are being appreciated.

Is there one better than another? I don`t know I'm an art bum so what do I know lol.....

One side note Ed big daddy Roth told me why the guy cut a hole in the bubble top of
the X-sonic. He was at a show and was in the car moving it with the top down and the
top got stuck, something to do with the hydrolics. So after they pryed him out after a
half hour or so he then decided to cut it so it wouldn`t happen again.Go figure............

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Old 06-20-2008, 01:03 PM   #20
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Default Re: The X-Sonic

Ther's nothing about that car I don't like.
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