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History Radical Ray Erickson

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Ryan, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 20,891

    Staff Member

    Stogy and cool57 like this.
  2. ThirdGen
    Joined: Nov 29, 2008
    Posts: 452

    from Wales, ME

    Good read. Its to bad that so many guys like Ray go unheard of for so long, and don't get the credit when there work hits the pages of magazines. I'm glad to now know of another great hero of our world, great work. Thanks for sharing.
  3. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,707


    It would be great to see more photos and history about the car builders "out there" who don't get the notoriety, yet build great cars. This may sound corny, but I urge all car builders to take plenty of photos of themselves working on their cars, their shop and their life so as to build an archive of their accomplishments. Time does fly.
  4. resqd37Zep
    Joined: Aug 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,217

    from Nor Cal

    Great write up Ryan. Thanks for posting it.

  5. Very cool! The lawn tractor will probably be at the WOW this weekend.
    Good job James!
  6. Zerk
    Joined: May 26, 2005
    Posts: 1,418


    That La Hoya is some car. Reminds me of a Cunningham C-3, but smoother and maybe a bit more attitude.
  7. Ryan-
    Thank you for posting this....
    Ray Erickson was and -IS- one of the greats....
    We here in the midwest are sometimes not aware that a lot of great builders were not from the east or west coasts.
    I think Ray was very innovative and ahead of his time,and should be aligned in the ranks with the other legends of this hobby......
    I consider him a friend and the HAMB is very lucky to have him around to share Custom history as it really was in the day....
  8. Dreddybear
    Joined: Mar 31, 2007
    Posts: 6,044


    That cabriolet is awesome, especially in that first pic.
  9. luciomduran
    Joined: Sep 18, 2006
    Posts: 568


    Amazing talent.
  10. eddie_zapien
    Joined: Apr 4, 2007
    Posts: 277


    Great write up! I love a good story. Now lets see some progress on the '51....
  11. Rolleiflex
    Joined: Oct 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,161


    Cool story. It's neat finding out that he built the La Hoya. I've got that issue and would have never know who'd really built it if not for your post. Can't wait to hear and see more!
  12. Hot_Rod_Johnny
    Joined: Dec 28, 2008
    Posts: 197

    from Sweden

    Incredible piece of history - looking forward to read more of this :)
  13. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 14,295

    Jeff Norwell
    Staff Member

  14. The Brudwich
    Joined: Oct 3, 2005
    Posts: 788

    The Brudwich

  15. stude_trucks
    Joined: Sep 13, 2007
    Posts: 4,755


    Nice stuff for sure, love it. Thanks James for the write up and for getting the info. out here for us to enjoy.

    I wonder what Ray is up to now. Maybe he will get his computer back up and post some more cool stuff for us.

    Painting cars out on the busy street, not that's crazy. I thought my driveway was going to be a less than perfect challenge. Guess it is all just a matter of perspective.
  16. shmoozo
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 672

    from Media, PA

    Cool read, but what about that 3-wheeler?

  17. Little Wing
    Joined: Nov 25, 2005
    Posts: 7,504

    Little Wing
    from Northeast

    Have one of his old Catalogs
  18. JeffreyJames
    Joined: Jun 13, 2007
    Posts: 16,614

    from SUGAR CITY

    James my good friend thanks so much for righting that man!!! Awesome story and great pics. That '52 Ford's chop reminds me of my '52 Merc's chop with the exception of the rear window....damn I miss that car.

    Loved the article and yes early flames rule!!!
  19. sodbuster
    Joined: Oct 15, 2001
    Posts: 5,023

    from Kansas

    And Ray's mind is sharp as a tack.........It is always good to chat with him at local car events.

    The link above was just copy/paste stuff that Ray would send me via email.

    Ray is a ruler and he has a few years under his belt........sorta' a "Gene Winfield" of the midwest.

  20. autobilly
    Joined: May 23, 2007
    Posts: 3,096


    "Loved the article and yes early flames rule!!!"-JJ
    Joined: Aug 13, 2007
    Posts: 148

    from KC, MO.

    Radical Ray is a living legend here in KC. He is always supportive of what the younger generation is doing in the Hot Rod world. He is very approachable and always willing to share some fabulous stories of the past.
    So nice to see someone pay credit where credit is due to this great builder. Yeah they don't all come from the West or East coast. Too bad many of the publications out there don't recognize this in the history of Hot Rodding.
  22. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 5,992


    Thanks James, excellent post of a great story. Seems to be that the old guys did a fantastic job with very little in the way of tools or money. Just good sense and a good eye for what looks right. I like to think of it as "Less is More." Cat
  23. KCsledz
    Joined: Jun 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,333


    That 48 merc is UNREAL!!! Incredible GT body shape. I think I have a new favorite custom of all time!
  24. thirty2
    Joined: Jul 30, 2010
    Posts: 28


    Excellent. Thanks very much for the story. That car was in my radar, I remember it well...
  25. BrerHair
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 4,856


  26. BrerHair
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 4,856


    Ray talking about chopping "Whistle Bait":

    1952 Ford chop: A buddy and I rented a 4-car garage, for a few dollars a month, next door to my apartment. We could lock the garage, but it damned near rained as hard inside the garage as it did outside. That was OK! That was on Oak St. behind "Sydney’s" burger joint. It later became a hot weekend cruising hangout. The neighbors allowed us to work in their backyard during the day if we wanted to. The buddy, Dick Boucher, was building a ‘32 5-window coupe with a 3-1/2" chop, channeled, full-fendered, with a fullhouse flathead. We bought Sears torches and bottles the year before in 1955. Chop was done on my ‘52 Ford coupe in ‘56 while my wife and baby were gone to California with her family for a couple weeks. I did not cut the windshield, I just laid it back under the roof, it looked pretty cool. That made a visored roof over the glass. I had to fit the windshield, doors, wing windows, and all of that stuff to make it work. I had it all done when my "sweety pie” came back. Didn't have the headliner or color paint done yet, just primer. The house was on the 3100 block of Oak St., near "Eltorreon" skating rink, a few blocks from Hallmark Cards where I worked.

  27. BrerHair
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 4,856


    You know, you’d be a famous guy . . . LaHoya would have really put you on the map. That car . . .
    Ray: Nobody has done that!
    No, that is the most beautiful car and what a great story! And, of course, I understand where you were in your life. You were spending so much time on your cars that you were afraid that your wife might leave you.
    Ray: Yea, well, the cars weren’t as important as the family.
    Yea, so I can understand why you had to get rid of it. And no one knows whatever happened to it, beyond its El Torro days?
    Ray: Yea, I do, I do. Gilbert Strange, the guy that got it that told the story incorrectly, said that Doug Thompson built it. Doug repeatedly apologized to me in public. He said “I did not do that.” I said, “Doug, don’t feel bad on your part because I know you’ve got enough kudos on your own.” He won the Harry Bradley Award over a period of years four times as the best custom built in the United States that year! And I said “I understand you did not turn that story in that way.” He said “Well, I’m sorry it happened.” Well, later on there was some racing newspaper that had a feature article on him and it showed the stuff that he built and there was a picture of the LaHoya in there, but it didn’t say that I had built it in that, either. But anyway, what happened to it. He sold it. My nephew was down at a car show here at the Municipal Auditorium in town, big show, it was featured out in the center of the floor and my nephew walked up and said “Boy, nice car, did you build it?” And Gilbert says, “Yea, I did.” He was an upholsterer, that’s what he did, upholstery. He said, “Yea, I built that.” My nephew just let him hang himself and says “Man you’re a lying son-of-a-bitch. That’s Uncle Ray’s car. I was over there helping him stand on it.” Gilbert just turned red-faced and walked off. And I guess he was telling stories like this. And he finally got so embarrassed, he sold it to this doctor and the doctor wasn’t really a hot rodder, but he liked the car and he wanted to make the car, at the back, where I had it rounded down low, to like at your ankles, he wanted to chop that off and make a ‘Vette look. So, Doug and Les Hall, those two were together, the Thompson-Hall shop, they started cutting that off. And he didn’t like the fat roof. So, they cut away from the top of the windows and they were making the windows big and the roof skinny. Never saw how far they got with it. The doctor had a heart attack. And another heart attack. Then another one, he couldn’t work anymore. He had been rich, and they said “You owe us a lot of money for what we’ve done. It’s not done, but we’ve been doing what you asked.” He said, “Well, I don’t have any money.” Gilbert had put a 350 Chevy in it. And he said “All I can do is give you the car, I haven’t got any money.” So, they yanked the engine and trans out of it and had it hauled off to the crusher. So, it got crunched up about a foot thick. It had four places, too, it don’t say that in the article. It had seats in the back and your feet went on the lower floor, under the front seats. <O:p</O:p
  28. BrerHair
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 4,856


    The only other in-progress build photo of LaHoya:

  29. koolkemp
    Joined: May 7, 2004
    Posts: 6,006


    Great read thanks James!

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