The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Ryan, Jul 18, 2012.
My all time favorite shoebox. EVER!
The Buster Litton Ford has got to be the ultimate kustom shoebox Ford...there's just nothing like it, and it's fun to think of the reaction the car caused on the streets when it was finished. Here is a '49 Ford my friend and I started building into a simple cut-off tudor with a Carson-style top about six years ago...and then one night over a few drinks, he started thinking about how cool it would be to make a Buster Litton "convertible clone." Of course, finding the correct pieces have been a real challenge!
I've also stared at the chop on Buster's Ford a million times and the balance and flow that Barris achieved is incredible. Probably the best shoebox chop ever. I think keeping in mind that it was only chopped about 3" and the Studebaker and Olds fender chunks make the car appear longer really make the roof line look lower than it actually was. The whole package works so well.
Here is Buster Litton and his high school friend Ron checking the car out last March.
Andreas, your Ford is so awesome...hope to see it in person someday Can't forget Dave York's bitchin shoebox from up in Canada, too...
but where is it now.... Anyone?
Buster sold it to Don Schaedel who added the Kaiser guard on the back and accessory Ford guards up front, but Buster said he lost track of it after that...most likely crushed, unfortunately. The original car had so much done to it, it makes you wonder how it would just vanish into history so easily. On the other hand, all of those modifications were hard to repair if the car was ever damaged...add to that the fact that kustoms of this caliber were losing people's interests as fads changed in the late '50s (Hirohata Merc on a used car lot, for example). Btw, Buster said when he bought the car, it was at the Barris lot and the chop was just finished by Sam and in primer. The car was lowered and the driver side Studebaker front fender portion was tack-welded in place, but the rest of the body was stock. He had Barris finish the entire front end, then the car went to Cerny's immediately for the Olds quarters...I've never heard him mention cruising around for a year or so after the Studebaker chunks were added. Buster used to go camping a lot with his girlfriend in Big Bear and he left the car at Ron's house (the little guy in the pics above) and Ron would cruise it down to Long Beach often...
Here's another photo on Mr Litton's car, I've had this photo for 25+ years and didn't know who owned it or who built it. Thanks to the HAMB I sent it to Rik, he gave me the history on the awesome build.
I think it's Best Kustom Shoebox EVER!!!
Thanks again Rik....cw.
Solid information. Hard to imagine it could vanish like that. Who knows, maybe its still out there somewhere. Thanks.
Thats a great shot from that angle!
I've been infatuated with this car since the moment I saw it in the Barris books when I was about 12...I didn't even know what it was at first glance. Being able to meet Buster Litton and talk with him about the car and actually try and build a "clone" or loose copy of it with my best friend is awesome. Here are two pics of the car when Don Schaedel owned it, courtesy of Dick Jackson. Pics were taken in Lynwood in October, 1954.
I think part of Sam's tricks to get that chop to lay down like it does was leaning the A pillars back. Like a lot of the guys on here, I've stared at that roofline forever and just can't figure it out. I would give anything to peel back the headliner and examine his cuts if the real car was still around! I think it's sleeping next to the Bettancourt Merc somewhere...
Did you take that photo? Such a great shot...had this one as my screensaver for a long time!
YES ! The Litton '49 has always been a favorite. And I have the original mags it was in from when I was a tot.
But, my personal fave, especially for "wildest" Shoebox has to be George Gowland's '51. Still have my original Sept. '55 R&C Issue with it on the cover.
Spence Murray shot the pix & did the story, and about 5 years ago I asked him about it. He said it was a long trek (about 100 miles) to get to Gowland's desert location. But that the work on the car was very well done.
(I always liked the "strangeness" of the antenna located on the passenger-side up toward the headlight ! Don't think that's been done before or since !!)
In some instances, Gowland's car has been overshadowed by others. But IMHO, although Litton's is superb, Gowland's still stands the "wild custom" test of time for sure. (I know there is a Bailon-Gowland thread here too.)
BTW: Thanks for bringing these back into my memory banks, as I'm getting ready to head to Salina for the KKOA Leadsled. Bailon will be there for the first time in years...and I'll quiz him on that Shoebox in the above-mentioned thread !!
shoebox1950.......no I didn't take the photo, it was given to me by Harry Duncan's grandson. Harry was a building contractor here in Downey, he was involved in drag racing, dry lakes & Bonneville back in the 50's 60's. The picture looks like it was taken at a drag strip?
Here are a couple of Harry's cars.
Wow! That is awesome...he must have had a really nice camera for the time to capture such a great shot of Buster Litton's Ford...
Reaching out to see if anyone knows a guy named Steve in Orange County who does Chrome work for Extreme Kustoms. If so please private message me.
One of my all time favorites too!
I love it in that second color it was when Don Schaedel owned it. Does anyone know what color that was? I seem to remember seeing a nice photo of it in this purplish color where it was off the side of the road overlooking a valley, maybe in The Rodder's Journal? Or maybe that was a different car...
I notice the curve in the upper window frame actually starts in about the rear third of the door, and gradually slopes down from there. It couldn't be more perfect!
And to think that it's possible this work of art could be stashed away somewhere...
the BEST shoebox EVER for so many reasons, the incredible chop, the body mods, the color...in my opinion it is the EPITOME of kustom shoeboxes,,,,,,,,,I was absolutely thrilled when The Rodders Journal published those color pics a few years back, up until then, I had never seen the car in color,,,,,everything about it is pure GENIUS!
I don't know if it's been mentioned, but Buster's car was featured in
the Dec. 1953 Car Craft. If anyone has a copy, maybe they could post
I'm pretty sure I have that issue...I'll have to look...
Looks alot like Sam Bronze! Never saw a article on it after Buster sold the car describing the color.
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Not Sam Bronze...it wasn't even painted by Barris. Doug Anderson painted it at Cerny's shop.
Here is a shot of Buster getting his trophy at the 1954 Oakland Roadster Show.
Ron I have never seen this pic . Thanks so much for posting it. What an iconic shoebox. Kustom to perfection !
Beautiful car and a great read. Def a timeless car .
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