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History The First Paso

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Ryan, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. Man, I wanted to be Lee Pratt in the 80's as a teen living for the day my next Classic and Custom would come in the mail (and Scale Auto Enthusiast, but that's neither here nor there. LOL). His how to articles made it all look so simple and natural and all I wanted was a car I could start making cool like Lee was. I miss the 80's, really. The cars weren't as refined and "traditional" as we would define it today, but they were few and far between and you had to dig to find them, so it was like treasure when you saw one at a car show and even better when you got to travel to one of the few shows were there would be "lots" of them (more than 3), like Paso, the Mid Century Mercury show in Wisconsin, Hangin' Dice in Ft Smith or the Spectacular. Back then, for the most part, customs weren't something you stumbled upon on the internet or main stream media, you had to hunt them down, so pretty much everyone in that small circle "got it" and was as eat up with it as you were....I'm probably making up stats, but it wasn't 20% eat up and 80% "pass thru" guys that it's just what they are into at the moment and will be moving on to the next hip trend.
     
    rodncustomdreams, OG lil E and Sancho like this.
  2. ^ Same for me, although in the Wichita area we were spoiled with more cool customs even then.
     
  3. Can't wait!
     
  4. Doc's post got me thinking. It is true that back in those days cool cars were just where you happened to see them.

    My family always appreciated old cars, and my Dad had a few cool ones but that was when I was very young. He pretty much had stockers after that, but he'd still pull into a cruise night or car show to check things out. That was about the extent of car shows for me, so, I wasn't lucky enough to get to go to any "big" sled runs until I was in my late 20s. Those early magazines were the only way guys like us could keep in the loop and drool and dream over the cars in those pages.

    Now, Denver isn't a traditional custom mecca like a lot of other cities, but we've had a fair share of some really great ones that were built here. As a kid, just hanging out in the neighborhood, going to small car shows or even the bigger World of Wheels type shows, I do remember seeing quite a few nice ones. But there was one car that I saw one day that is burned into my memory.........

    As best as I can remember, it was a summer day in about 1981. My friend Dusty and I decided to go out to Cinderella City. It was a mall that was in Englewood that was a good distance from home. Normally we would've ridden our bikes out there, but Dusty's bike had been wrecked recently when he got hit by a car. He didn't get hurt, but his bike was in bad shape. Since we both had parents that worked, getting a ride was out of the question. Even if one of our parents were home, they probably would have told us to walk, ride bikes or catch the bus. Parents back in those days didn't run the kids all over like you see so much of nowadays. Anyway, my story is drifting.

    We caught the bus and went to the mall. We hung out there a good part of the day, but the rule at my house was that I had to be home for supper with the family, so by mid-afternoon we had to hustle to the bus stop to get back home.

    The bus took us down Broadway and we had to transfer at Alameda. The Alameda bus would then take us close enough to home to walk the rest of the way. After we got off the Broadway bus, we had to wait awhile to catch our second bus. Broadway and Alameda is a pretty busy intersection, and we were watching the traffic and talking about typical kid's stuff. I was in the middle of a sentence when I saw a bright, kandy green sled sitting at the light and it was coming our way. I didn't finish talking because I didn't want to miss what was going to pass us by.

    The light changed and this low slung '56 Chevy cruised by and it blew our minds! It was one of the most beautiful kandy green cars I have ever seen. It had a hint of metalflake, but the flakes were the small ones, so it wasn't outrageous, and it had white striping on the hood. The pipes sounded super! It had a straight six with duals. I knew this because my Dad taught me about "split pipes" on inlines when I was very young. It had shaved handles, it was nosed and decked and had a '58 Buick grille. It had Appleton spots and factory style skirts. It was rolling on bias-ply wide whites with '56 Olds Fiesta flipper hubcaps and lake pipes.

    As it went by, I noticed the driver looked like he was from the 50's. He had a DA style haircut, and he was wearing a white T-shirt and some Roy Orbison style shades. He had Eddie Cochran blasting "Summertime Blues" on the radio. We both gave him a thumbs up and he tooted his horn. It sounded like the custom pearl white and purple scalloped coupe in American Graffiti. I've asked a few of the old guys about that horn, and they said it was an Italian bus or taxi horn. Maybe it was some sort of a musical horn, can't really say, but it sounded cool. As he passed and we gave him the thumbs up, he started cracking up. It must have been the look on our faces 'cause I know we were standing there with our mouths hanging open in amazement.

    What I could see of the interior was white and green candy stripe tuck 'n' roll and it had the fuzziest fuzzy dice I've ever seen. They almost looked like they were covered in angel hair. They were white with green dots. His mirror was surrounded by a white mirror muff. He had a car club jacket hanging on the coat hook by the rear quarter window on the side that passed us, but I was so taken by the car I never noticed the name on the back of the coat. I do remember he had the candy stripe tuckie on the rear deck, and chrome music note speaker covers.

    The back of the car was shaved as well and it had white striping on the trunk and nice and simple chrome pencil tips. It had stock style taillights with lee lenses that were painted white except for the centers that were left red in a diamond pattern. It had a drag plaque mounted under the back bumper that had been chromed, but it was catching a reflection from the sun as it went by, so I couldn't read it. I did see the Colorado license plate though and it was personalized. It read SHBOOM..........

    What a day that was! Here it is some thirty plus years later and I can still picture that car in my head. Strange though, it was obviously a magazine quality car, and I've never seen a feature on it, and I've never seen it at a car show or anywhere else since then. Just that great summer day waiting for the bus on Alameda..........E
     
  5. OG Lil E, that was a very good read that I can definitely relate to in a lot of ways. Awesome, thanks for taking the time.
    I think there are quite a few of us that were coming up during the "rebirth" (for lack of a better term) of customs that have similar stories.
     
  6. R&C RON
    Joined: Apr 14, 2011
    Posts: 345

    R&C RON
    Member

    That show is a very special memory for me. I had attended many Street Rod shows thru the years but this was the first time for a Customs only show. It was small (82 cars) but I think we all knew it was the beginning of something special. A Custom Show for hard-core Custom guys, not very common in 1982. I met Gentleman Lee Pratt and that was an honor! I have spent 35 years with West Coast Kustoms , but like they say, you never forget your first time!
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    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
    mario711, drdave, tomkelly88 and 10 others like this.
  7. WOW !! Thanks for the pictures ! What's the story on the black Ranchero ? Extensive rework on the front profile for sure. Volvo P1800 mouth ? Pretty damned cool. Swoopy. Period sidepipes, and Vector wheels not withstanding ... but you know what I mean. Great collection of custom cars ! Apologies if not a Ranchero ... inquiring mind and all.
     
  8. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 19,261

    Ryan
    ADMINISTRATOR
    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    Oh wow. So rad.
     
  9. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 25,279

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    R&C RON - Thanks for pics, and info
     
  10. This here's a thread that needs to continue! A memory bump for sure! Thanks fellas!

    Dave
     
  11. Legendary Lars
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 534

    Legendary Lars
    Member

    Excellent Post, Thanks for sharing. Funny what a small Scene we all are part of. The same names keep appearing over and over again, and I am happy that I have made friends with many of them. We are lucky to have such cool people in our Hobby ! Love Paso, That show is what really solidified Hotrods and Customs for me !
     
  12. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 19,261

    Ryan
    ADMINISTRATOR
    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    A couple of more from Roger Odell!

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  13. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 25,279

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

  14. R&C RON
    Joined: Apr 14, 2011
    Posts: 345

    R&C RON
    Member

    Here are some more from that historic weekend.
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    Dave Crooks wild Firebird and Sam Foose Ford.

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    Joe Bailon , Rich Pichette and Gene Winfield.

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  15. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 25,279

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

  16. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 4,057

    dana barlow
    Member
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    I built both customs an rods in the 50s n 60s. Some very nice cars in the photos shown. The dark time for us in Florida seemed to start about 1965 {I noted a dunebuggy on HOTROD mag. cover in 1965=end of things to me,I didn't like it} and run in to the 80s pretty bad, an covered both customs and rods here in the south east,when things did start up again,a lot of understanding had been lost,and a much lazyer over all group seemed to like doing things more 1/2 way,that has now morefed in too as bad as rat crap now. The primer thing even early 80s was still not though of as a finel finish,just something tell the shiny was added,not really cool yet. As can be seen in photos above nearly none at all in primer. How it got to being thought of as a finel finish is still passed my understanding,other then someone thinking "I saw it in a pic,so it must of been a finel finish,so its OK not to work as hard as it takes for shiny" . Now if I should ask a guy with a primered car,what shiny color he's thinking about adding,I just get"You stupid old fart,it's finished now" well its not,but I've stopped asking most. Love the photos,thanks.
     

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