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History What Ever Happened to..........?

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by OG lil E, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. KustomLincolnLady
    Joined: Oct 17, 2003
    Posts: 1,020


    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  2. What Ever Happened To..........? number 194.

    1951 Chevy
    Owner: Buck Owen
    ? ? ? ? ?, Virginia

    This week's mystery custom is one that I thought more information would have come to light on than it did. I have been researching this one since just about the beginning of this thread, and my video and DVD sightings have been many. Unfortunately, even with all the sightings and research, I never came across the owner's name and even the actual year of the car.
    The earliest sighting I found of the Chevy was on the 1983 Leadsled Spectacular DVD that was shot in Springfield, Ohio. At the '83 show, the car was in primer. It had hood scoops on each side of the hood that carried on for every version of the car I found. It also had a very unique grille that looked like it was made of a '51 Chevy top grille bar, and a '52 Chevy grille bar that met the upper '51 bar and formed a grille opening that was molded. Inside the grille opening was a 13 tooth '54 Chevy grille. I just assumed the car was a '51 since it had the "Chevrolet" script molded in the upper grille bar. There are a few more questions as to the actual year of this car that I'll touch on later. This picture is poor quality, but this was the only time I saw the car on the DVD. It may be a different car and that may come to light later, but we'll see.

    1951 Chevy coupe a 83 LSS.JPG

    The next time I saw the car it was at Sled Scene East in 1986. By this time the car had been painted teal with white under the side chrome. You can see the car had a nice chop and molded lake pipes. You can see the hood scoops again.

    1951 Chevy coupe b 86 SSE.JPG

    1951 Chevy coupe c 86 SSE.JPG

    In this rear shot it is hard to tell what the taillights were, as well as what the name or saying was on the trunk. This was the only rear view that was shot of the car on the tape. You can see it has a rolled rear pan as well as the license plate frenched below the trunk lid.

    1951 Chevy coupe d 86 SSE.JPG

    Incidentally, these pictures were shot during the "How Cool Can You Cruise" activity that the KKOA used to do at their shows. The car cruising with this week's feature car is none other than the fantastic Chevy owned and built by the late Jack Peed. At that time Jack's Chevy was still in it's super straight black paint job. So awesome, but, Jack's Chevy is a custom story for another time.
    The next time I found the car was on the 1991 Leadsled Spectacular DVD from Hamilton, Ohio. The car had undergone big changes since the 1986 Sled Scene East version. The car was no longer the teal color, and had been repainted a nice kandy red with no color separation under the side trim. Also, the turn signals were gone and custom bumperettes were added in front.

    1951 Chevy coupe e 91 LSS.JPG

    1951 Chevy coupe f 91 LSS.JPG

    Note that the hood scoops still remain:

    1951 Chevy coupe g 91 LSS.JPG

    Out back, the car has '59 Caddy bullet taillights. The rear shot from the '86 Sled Scene East is blurry at best, but to me it looks like the taillights in '86 were different than in '91. The frenched plate looks unchanged.

    1951 Chevy coupe h 91 LSS.JPG

    Here's a close up shot of the nice striping around the taillights:

    1951 Chevy coupe i 91 LSS.JPG

    During the taping of the '91 Spectacular, we finally get some nice new shots of areas of the car that hadn't been shown yet. Here is a shot of the dual frenched antennas on the driver's side between the roof and the rear fender.

    1951 Chevy coupe j 91 LSS.JPG

    Inside, we got see the nice white diamond stitched interior. Nothing too fancy, but man, what a lot of diamonds!

    1951 Chevy coupe k 91 LSS.JPG

    Looking forward into the car, you can see a different steering wheel (early to mid 60s Olds?) and an under air dash unit. Notice the '53 or '54 Chevy dash or gauge cluster. For a long time while researching this car I thought that it was possibly a '53 or '54, but the rear fenders look like '51 or '52 Chevy to me. Who knows, I could be wrong though, I am quite a bit (lol)!

    1951 Chevy coupe L 91 LSS.JPG

    The last time I saw the car was at the Sled Scene East in 1992. The car looked pretty much unchanged from the '91 sighting at the Spectacular. Here's a few more shots that pretty much look like the ones from 1991.

    1951 Chevy coupe m 92 SSE.JPG

    1951 Chevy coupe n 92 SSE.JPG

    1951 Chevy coupe o 92 SSE.JPG

    After '92, I found no more on this Chevy. I did blow up the picture from the '91 Spectacular and the plates were from Virginia. This makes sense because in the pictures from the '86 Sled Scene East, this Chevy was cruising with Jack Peed's Chevy. Jack was from Virginia, and assuming Jack and the owner of this car were buddies that were into customs in their area in Virginia, it all kind of fits. Maybe there are a few clues here to help find out who the owner of this car was, what town he was from and if the car really was a '51. I'm hoping that some of our custom faithful, especially you east coasters will come up with something. It would be nice to finally know some facts on this cool Chevy after all this time!
    It seems like Father Winter has officially arrived in Denver. We had a massive storm move in last night and here at home we've had over 12 inches of snow. Living in Colorado you know you will get snow every winter, but this much snow before winter "officially" arrives is a real bummer!


    I hope the weather is better where you are, and if not, keep up hope. The sun will return eventually! I hope the crazy weather doesn't hinder you from having a wonderful Thanksgiving with great family, friends and food to enjoy.
    Stay warm y'all! See you next week! E
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2021
  3. Well shoot, I thought I had something on this one, but it was pics of a shoebox with a similarly styled front end, so I got nuthin'.

    Man, that's quite the snow Ed! To my Thanksgiving thankfulness list I will add living in a place where snow is rare and I can drive the sleds most all year. LOL Happy Thanksgiving y'all!
  4. I know what you mean Doc. I get false alarms all the time when doing research. The latest cars that were really confusing were this week's car and the red Chevy coupe that we touched on in W.E.H.T. #189. We're still trying to find who the owner of "Puppy Love" was. The chops were very similar, both were coupes and both were red. Lots of different custom mods, but a little change here, and a big change there and a person could think they were the same sleds.

    Larry Fleming not 52 Chevy e 1993 LSS.JPG

    1951 Chevy coupe e 91 LSS.JPG

    Oh yes, after living in Denver all my life, I'm really over snow. It seems like I've shoveled a Pikes Peak mountain amount of snow in my days. If it never snowed here again it wouldn't hurt my feelings.
    The weight of the snow from shoveling yesterday (about 3 hours worth) has my already worn out wrists aching this morning. Advil time I guess (lol)!
    Happy Thanksgiving Doc! E
  5. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 22,262

    Staff Member

    one of the many good things about this thread is that it makes me get my photo albums from the Kkoa shows of the 80's and 90's out. I thought for sure that I had seen this car somewhere but I did not find it in my shots from the shows back then. I am certain that @Sancho will probably find dozens of pics and history in one of his world famous seemingly effortless google searches....
  6. Also looks like the front fender trim was shortened on the red version. Seems like I've seen pictures of this car fairly recently, let me see if I can find anything...
  7. Well hell.... I thought I had seen it. Now I'm not finding anything! Like @OG lil E says, they all start to run together!
    Spooky, stanlow69, loudbang and 5 others like this.
  8. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
    chryslerfan55, Spooky, John B and 8 others like this.
  9. What Ever Happened To..........? number 195.

    1949 Mercury
    Owner: "Video Bob" Huff
    Michigan City, Indiana

    Those of you that have been following along with this thread as well as the "Kustom Blues" thread will know who Video Bob is. For you newbies, Video Bob is one of the one of the big reasons we are able to continue on with this thread week after week. Bob started shooting videos at car shows around 1983. He covered many events put together by the KKOA, KOA and many other national associations and clubs. His videos are very good with some interviews and lots of great car footage. It makes not being at a show almost as good as being there.
    You would have to figure that a guy that would travel all over the country and film many car shows would definitely be a car guy. For the longest time I wasn't sure if Bob was a car guy, or just a guy making a few extra bucks making car show videos. When I finally received the 1993 Leadsled Spectacular DVD way back when, I learned a little bit about the mysterious "Video Bob".
    At the '93 Spectacular, Bob took his awesome '49 Merc to the show to let everyone check out what he had. The car was only on the video a few times, but with its nicely sliced top, Chrysler 300 side trim and the unique grille made up of 11 Ford F-100 grille stars, the car wasn't just another chopped Merc. It was really cool. I don't know who was cruising the car around the fairgrounds as I assumed Bob was always behind the camera. The best shots of the car came when Bob's Merc pulled up to Jerry Titus during "How Cool Can You Cruise" at the '93 Leadsleds. Jerry interviewed the driver of the car, but the dialog on the DVD couldn't be heard too well. I guess that maybe one of Bob's buddies was given the honor of driving the Merc around and showing it off. Here's a few shots of the Merc driving up to talk to Jerry:

    Video Bob Huff 49 Merc a 93LSS.JPG

    Video Bob Huff 49 Merc b 93LSS.JPG

    In this picture you can see Jerry standing and waiting for the '49 to roll up to him to be interviewed.

    Video Bob Huff 49 Merc c 93LSS.JPG

    This shot was taken after the interview when the Merc was driving away. Note the great looking bubble skirts and the row of three '59 Cadillac taillights on each side of the car.

    Video Bob Huff 49 Merc d 93LSS.JPG

    I'm guessing that cruising a slammed and chopped Mercury all over the country and trying to film car shows would not have been easy. Bob always used a wildly painted 70s style van to shoot video out of. I'm guessing that this is why the '49 was only found on the '93 DVD. I never saw it at any other show that Bob filmed at that I have a video of, plus I never found anything on the car in magazines or on the internet.
    Bob was a very active part of the KOA, and he filmed many of their events, and was mentioned in the KOA's newsletter "The Styleline" quite a bit. In the January/February 1997 issue on page 29, Bob announced that he was getting ready to retire and get some well deserved rest. He was planning to do some travelling, and scale back his video making to just a few select events every year. I scanned the article so everyone can read what Bob's plans were.

    Bob Huff KOA Styleline JanFeb 97.jpg

    You can tell by reading the article that Bob was definitely a real car guy! A few years later, Bob and his wife Doris were featured on the cover of the March/April 2000 issue of "The Styleline". It featured their Merc parked under the service drive of their model filling station. Building that model station must have been a labor of love. It turned out sweet! The great Hub Harness has a similar little gas station in his backyard too. If you're ever down in Wichita, it is something everyone should see!

    Bob Huff Merc SL Mar-Apr 2000.jpg

    Not too long after the March/April 2000 issue my KOA membership ran out, so I didn't receive anymore Stylelines. I don't know if Bob was mentioned in them after that.
    I didn't have any more on Bob until he was mentioned right here in this thread a while back. His name came up in a discussion and he was mentioned by some notable HAMB members. @John B knows Bob and talks to him on occasion as well as Debb, the @KustomLincolnLady. John said that Bob was alive and well, and after retirement had moved from Michigan City, Indiana to the east coast. Debb said that she gets e-mails from Bob all the time, and that he was living in one of the Carolinas. She also said that he and Doris had gotten a divorce. Like I mentioned, we covered this a while back here on this thread. Here is a link to that page so you can check it out as I've paraphrased things a little bit.

    I try not to repeat a whole lot on this thread to keep it interesting and moving along, but I thought that we needed to include Bob's car in this thread as a tribute to a guy that has given us many hours of enjoyment via video tape. I don't think too many of you will fault me for that as Bob's car was a true leadsled! Besides we just barely touched on the car and no mention was made of what became of Bob's slinky flat black Merc. In the 1997 Styleline I posted above, Bob mentioned that he had quite a few cars over the years, but not many details were told. So what became of the Mercury? Did Bob paint it or was it left flat black? Maybe to Bob, the flat black was the final finish--nothing wrong with that. Was the car sold off to settle the divorce? Maybe Bob still has it and is rolling around the Carolinas looking cool. I hope it's the latter! I would love to see more pictures of the car than I found, including some interior pictures as well as some better pictures with more build details.
    Hey Bob, if you're out there, thanks a ton man. Your efforts will always be appreciated!
    I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Here the weather has FINALLY warmed up a little bit and the snow is starting to go away--for now. The mad dash to Christmas is well underway. Now guys, don't procrastinate, only 21 shopping days 'til Christmas! Can you believe it? Wow, I'd better get busy myself (lol)!
    Until next time, stay cool! E
  10. Spooky
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 1,863


    @OG lil E Hell yes man!
    Lookit all of the looks and responses!
    Well done, jefe'!!
  11. KustomLincolnLady
    Joined: Oct 17, 2003
    Posts: 1,020


    @ OG Lil E , I emailed Bob to see what or if he knows ans asked if he had some photos

    Sent from my SM-G935V using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  12. KustomLincolnLady
    Joined: Oct 17, 2003
    Posts: 1,020


    Bob, said the Merc was last seen in Tx then CA. Said he is offering a reward to locate the owner. Didn't say if he ever painted it and didn't send pics. Said he's been having computer probs. I'll see if I can get status of car when it left him.

    Sent from my SM-G935V using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  13. Thanks Spookman! Haven't seen you around here too much lately. Miss seeing you around town. Hope you and the family are well!
    Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your Thanksgiving story "For Ever Young".

    You can still spin a nice story. Looking forward to reading "The Red Racer" here in a few weeks. Merry Christmas pal! E

    Sounds like you're on the case Debb! Looking forward to seeing what ol' Bob has to share. Be nice if he could join us in our discussions here as I'm sure he would be a great source of stories and information! E
  14. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 22,262

    Staff Member

    yeah @KustomLincolnLady see if you can get Bob to join up here... he might get a kick out of people talking about his videos decades later....
  15. Great looking car. My favorite part is the skirts. I neeeeeeeeeed those skirts! :D
  16. John B
    Joined: Mar 9, 2001
    Posts: 1,369

    John B

    I've told him a few times that he needs to get on here and read this thread.

    Bob did tell me that the people who own his old place in Indiana tore down the gas station. That made me sad. He also has videos for sale if anyone is looking for them. I have a list that he sent me on one of these computers that runs 4 or 5 pages. I'll see if I can find it and share it with anyone who wants it.
    Sancho, loudbang, 54delray and 4 others like this.
  17. KustomLincolnLady
    Joined: Oct 17, 2003
    Posts: 1,020


    Bob sent another email today, here it is "Unable to send pics at this time but interior is white button & tuffed with 57 DeSota dash autograghed by Barris, Bailon, Winfield & Foose"

    Sent from my SM-G935V using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    Sancho, John B, chryslerfan55 and 5 others like this.
  18. AChopped1950ford
    Joined: Sep 5, 2018
    Posts: 207


    Bob is a great guy !, we became good friends at all the shows we went to way back then, he gave my chopped 50 Ford a lot of coverage in his videos., If you see this Bob..........Hello, and Merry Christmas to you , Chuck Power.
    Sancho, John B, drdave and 4 others like this.
  19. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 5,929


    If anybody has a KKOA calendar from 2006. There is a picture of his Merc (primer)with light lavender flames with him standing next to it in cowboy boots and shorts. Not sure how old the picture is. Still need to update my printer/scanner.
    Sancho, John B, drdave and 4 others like this.
  20. What Ever Happened To..........? number 196.

    1957 Chevy "Alley Oop"
    Owner: ? ? ? ? ? ?
    ? ? ? ? ?, ? ? ? ? ?

    Before we get going tonight, I wanted to take a minute to thank you custom faithful for sticking around, following the thread and adding information when you can. I admit that lately the content might be a little boring as I have hit a rut and my information lines seem to have run dry. I'm still researching all the time, but results have been disappointing. I am currently waiting on some new (to me) old material that will hopefully produce more customs and information to share with you. Hopefully the content will improve to being closer to what it was when the thread was new and there was a lot of "low hanging fruit" to write about. Anyway, thanks again!
    This week's mild custom is one that I've had no luck finding out anything on. The only place I've ever seen this car was on the DVD for the 1991 Leadsled Spectacular in Hamilton, Ohio. There was only about 18 seconds of video on this car, but it made a real impression on me. I guess that pretty much any cool tri-five custom does this to me, as you just don't see too many of them today, or even years ago in the early custom renaissance of the late 70s and early 80s.
    This '57 was painted a beautiful dark blue or maybe purple. In the video, it looked like it could be kandy because of the ghost scallops. They looked like they were masked off, then shot with the kandy top coat. The tape forming the scallops was then removed and buried with many more coats of paint. That is just my guess. Without seeing it in person it's hard to tell the painting technique. At any rate, a sweet piece of work.
    As far as body mods go, the car was close to stock, the exception being a shaved hood, trunk and door handles. The stock grille was removed in favor of a '57 Buick unit. A great choice on a '57 Chevy as this was an easy mod that changes the Chevy's look a lot. Other add-ons were skirts, dummy spots and lake pipes. The headlight bezels and the upper grille chrome were painted the body color. I'm guessing this was the owner's way of giving the car a molded look without going through the pains of all the welding and bodywork for a molded grille shell and headlight buckets. Not totally traditional I guess, but I think it works well.

    57 Chevy Alley Oop a 91 LSS.JPG

    57 Chevy Alley Oop b 91 LSS.JPG

    Aside from the nice scallop job (which is very hard to see in my still photos--sorry) the other custom paint work was the name "Alley Oop" that was lettered on each quarter panel. You don't see names on customs much these days, but at one time, we all know that this was a popular trend.

    57 Chevy Alley Oop c 91 LSS.JPG

    You'll notice there was some nice striping on the shaved trunk lid. It's hard to tell in the video, but it looked like there was no other striping on the car.

    57 Chevy Alley Oop d 91 LSS.JPG

    This car just goes to show that building a mild custom used to be so easy. Take a great looking car (like a '57 Chevy), get rid of a few of the factory added doo-dads, add a few accessories, lower it, paint it up and hit the boulevard. Don't you wish that cars like this were still plentiful and affordable? I know I do!
    I've watched endless amounts of video searching for this fine '57 and I've come up with nothing. It seems like I've seen this car at a Sled Scene East or maybe one of the James Dean Run shows, but if it was on one of my videos, I'm yet to find it again. I'm hoping that seeing the few pictures I posted of this car will shake up everyone's memory banks. Maybe someone will recognize it from a magazine or a car show somewhere along the line. Better yet, some custom car show veteran will have some nice clear shots of this rare sled to share with us as well as some much needed owner information. I know the answers are out there for this cool '57 cruiser, but can we find them?
    I hope you folks that live in places that get wintery weather are safe, warm and dry tonight. I see that a good portion of the mid-west is getting some real wintery weather including some intense cold air from Canada. I know this kind of weather can be a real drag, but what can we expect with Christmas being just a few short weeks away, right? Ready or not, it's coming up fast!
    Have a great week everyone! See you next Tuesday! E
  21. John B
    Joined: Mar 9, 2001
    Posts: 1,369

    John B

    I'm racking my brain because this one gives me that feeling that i should know it. Guess it's time to watch some of my videos.
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  22. Chaz
    Joined: Feb 24, 2004
    Posts: 5,016

    Member Emeritus

    Even with the fuzzy pictures you can tell that car had a helluva nice paint job... WOW
  23. cruzingratiot
    Joined: Oct 2, 2008
    Posts: 346

    from Detroit MI

    12189943_10153541412633387_1465695486137565157_n.jpg 12066025_10153541415833387_7699324193658449563_n.jpg found pics online no info
    Sancho, kidcampbell71, drdave and 6 others like this.
  24. What Ever Happened To..........? number 197.

    1956 Ford "Wild Bill's '56"
    Owner: "Wild Bill" ? ? ? ? ?
    Gillette, New Jersey

    This week's custom is another that joins the growing line of no owner information feature cars. The owner of this nifty '56 was a faithful custom enthusiast that went to many KKOA shows in the early to mid 90s. I've searched high and low for anything on this car, but the only real lead I have is the fact that "Wild Bill" put his name on the Connie kit of his sled.
    The first time the car appeared at a show on video was at Sled Scene East in 1992. The car was a very clean mild custom with a lot of east coast style touches. It had cruiser skirts, Connie kit, dual tip lake pipes, shaved hood and trunk and the requisite dummy spots. The addition of T-Bird wire hubcaps was a nice touch.

    Wild Bill 56 Ford a 92 SSE.JPG

    Wild Bill 56 Ford b 92 SSE.JPG

    One thing that was done to the car was the artistic touch of etched or engraved windows. This was a pretty popular trend in those days, and you don't see it much today. "Wild Bill" must have liked the old west--maybe that's where his namesake came from. His window etchings were pictures of covered wagons, native Americans on horses and tee pees. The work was on the rear window and the quarter windows.

    Wild Bill 56 Ford c 92 SSE.JPG

    Wild Bill 56 Ford d 92 SSE.JPG

    Wild Bill 56 Ford e 92 SSE.JPG

    1993 was a busy year for our friend Mr. "Wild Bill". He decided to do a good amount of travelling by attending Sled Scene East in Pennsylvania, and then later on that summer he dragged his custom to the Leadsled Spectacular in Springfield, Ohio. Now that's some cruisin'!
    At the '93 Sled Scene East there wasn't much footage of the car until the last part of the DVD. It was parked along the main road right by "Video Bob" Huff's Action Video trailer. You can see that some changes had been made to the little Customline. The door handles were now shaved, and the lake pipes were now molded to the bottoms of the fenders and were converted to triple cap. Also, in '92 the taillights looked to have Lee lenses on them. In '93 it looked like they were changed to Oldsmobile style bullets.

    Wild Bill 56 Ford L 93 SSE.JPG

    Wild Bill 56 Ford m 93 SSE.JPG

    It was also at the '93 Sled Scene East where we finally get a good look at the artwork on Bill's Connie kit:

    Wild Bill 56 Ford n 93 SSE.JPG

    Maybe one of you custom faithful will recognize the license plate by the style of lettering on it or the colors and can give us an idea of where the car was from. Zooming in just blurred the image on the DVD and the still photos, so no help there.
    At the Leadsled Spectacular "Video Bob" took a nice shot of what I'm assuming was "Wild Bill" and his wife or girlfriend. Sorry for the quality, but maybe someone will recognize them.

    Wild Bill 56 Ford f 93 LSS.JPG

    Here is one of the better fuzzy images of the car. The T-Bird wires are much easier to see, as well as the new lake pipe work done sometime after Sled Scene East 1992.

    Wild Bill 56 Ford g 93 LSS.JPG

    After seeing the car on three different videos, we finally get a peek at the interior. Lots of dice and doo-dads on the dash board, including a custom steering wheel cover with "Wild Bill" on it to match the Connie kit. We can also see the nice tuck 'n' roll interior done in peach and white. Note the unusual choice of having the pleats run horizontal instead of vertical.

    Wild Bill 56 Ford j 93 LSS.JPG

    Wild Bill 56 Ford k 93 LSS.JPG

    In 1994 Bill took the Ford to Sled Scene East once more. The car was only shown for a brief few seconds and looked unchanged, so I didn't shoot any more pictures of it. After '94, the car seemed to go into hiding. I don't have another Sled Scene East video after 1994 until 2007, and the Ford was no where to be found on that DVD by then. What happened to it? Did Bill suddenly quit going to shows or was it redone and was no longer known as "Wild Bill's '56"? Maybe Bill still owned it, just with a new look. Maybe he sold the car and decided to get into a new hobby. What happened to Mr. and Mrs. "Wild Bill"? Let's hope we can find out.
    Can you believe next Tuesday is Christmas Eve already? December 2019 is just flying by! Since the next two Tuesdays are Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve respectively, I'll be doing our "What Ever Happened To..........? on Monday for the next two weeks. I figure everyone will be very busy on those days, so moving it up to Monday for a few weeks is the best thing to do. I hope this is okay with everyone. Those of you that look forward to this post every week only have to wait 6 days until the next one. Fun huh?
    Be sure to get your shopping done, and to all you married kats out there, be sure to get your beloved mother-in-law something nice! No fruitcake this year, ok?
    Ho, ho, ho, y'all! See you next Monday! E
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
  25. oldandkrusty
    Joined: Oct 8, 2002
    Posts: 2,131


    This '53 Buick has been owned for a number of years by Craig Wirth right here in Rochester, NY.
  26. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 22,262

    Staff Member

    yes it is... I believe that it was originally built by Dave Stuckey for Phil Kerner in 1960...
  27. What Ever Happened To..........? number 198.

    1964 Chevy Bel Air
    Owners: Ralph and Nancy Schindel
    Green Bay, Wisconsin

    This week's custom is the second featured by one of my personal heroes, Mr. Ralph Schindel. Ralph was a true "little guy" that built many cars himself in his own shop with the help of his son Jeff and a number of friends that would volunteer their help. Ralph's customs were always over the top, with a ton of back breaking work put into them to make them different and standout from the crowd.
    We covered Ralph's '61 "Bel Camino" a little while back (W.E.H.T. #180), and alot of Ralph's personal history was covered there. Here's a link in case anyone wants to go back and catch up.

    Many of you that know me, know I love the crazy east coast style, and Ralph did a lot of building in that style. His builds always intrigued me, and when I would look at one of his creations, I would often think to myself, "How the hell did he do that?!?!?" (lol). I was never lucky enough to see the Bel Camino in person, but I've seen a lot of video footage of it and I absolutely love it.
    I was fortunate to see Ralph's wild '64 Bel Air in person at my first Leadsled Spectacular back in 2000 in Wichita. Incidentally, it was at that same show when I had the pleasure of meeting Ralph. Such a nice guy with a ton of talent, and the patience to answer a young dumb guy's custom questions.
    I remember when me and the rest of the Metalflake Misfits arrived at the fairgrounds at the 20th. We found a spot on the entrance end of the show grounds. It was a great spot to be as we could see all the cars rolling into the show for a great weekend of fun. We had shade, a cooler full of cold pop and water and a comfy chair to sit in. We got all settled in and were watching the candy and suede coated parade cruise on by. It was a hot day and it didn't take long for Charlie to knock down a Diet Coke and he was ready for another. We were talking customs when Charlie stood up to go to the cooler for another one when he says in kind of in a mumble, "Check out this crazy mama-jamma!" He was looking towards the road and we all jumped out of our chairs turning to see Ralph in his white '64 slowly cruising down the road through the fairgrounds. Right behind was his son Jeff following in an equally wild '58 Chevy. We must have been a sight! Standing there watching as the pair rolled by, mouths wide open with a look of amazement on our faces silently staring and taking it all in. Once the cars got a good distance down the road, Charlie said "I'm going to go catch up with those two. I have to see them up close!" Charlie asked who wanted to go and I spoke up right away and said "Let's go!" Charlie's son Eddie didn't want to go, and Mitch wanted to stay behind also. They had just come back a little bit before from a long walk to the other side of the grounds checking out cars and they were ready to sit a little longer and have a cold drink and more rest.
    Charlie and I headed out to find the wild sleds. It wasn't too long of a walk and we soon caught up to the Schindels. They were still settling in getting their chairs and other car show necessities out, but they graciously stopped their work to talk to us. Ralph and Charlie hit it off right away as Charlie was a big time bondo slinger like Ralph, and they were quickly caught up in great car customizing "war stories". I was walking around the cars pointing out neat details and tricks that I liked, and Ralph would fill in all the details of how he pulled them off.
    We stopped to talk to the Schindels all weekend whenever the cars were sitting around and not cruising the grounds. I was so taken by the cars that I missed way too much of the custom conversation Charlie and Ralph were having, but the parts I did hear are what memories are made of.
    I was lucky enough to see Ralph at a few other Leadsleds and I was always amazed that he remembered me by name and was always very nice. A true friend.
    Sadly we lost Charlie March 23, 2008, and I remember reading right here on the HAMB when Ralph passed away on August 23, 2013. Both of these men were a large influence on me as each of them did things their way, but always made sure they were having fun while doing it. Fun guys to be around, and always the first in the car when there was a custom run to head off to.
    I'm so glad I got to see the '64 in person. I've been to quite a few Spectaculars, but the Chevy was only there in 2000. Other years when I went, Ralph was in his Merc.
    As far as the '64 goes, what else can be said but wild? '53 Buick headlights with a '54 Chevy grille. A chopped top, extended quarter panels with one of the longest pairs of cruiser/bubble skirts ever made installed on them as well as a set of Packard taillights. It also had rolled pans front and rear, frenched antennas and a long list of other custom modifications. A lot of guys would say that all of this was no big deal as it had been done many, many times before. I would agree that yes it has, but on a '64 Chevy Bel Air? There's only one of those, and Ralph built it!
    I took a boatload of pictures at the 20th, but I can't seem to find them. I'm hoping I didn't lend my photo album of pictures of that show out to someone and they didn't return it. Problem is, if I did loan it out, I can't remember who I loaned it to. I'm pretty sure it's around here somewhere, just misplaced by you-know-who. Getting old is the pits, huh? At any rate, you'll have to bear with me as I only have a few nice shots from the Carnut website, and some blurry stills from my copy of @PasoJohn's 20th Leadsled Spectacular video. As wild as this car was, I'm sure someone will post more pictures of it.
    Here are the two shots from Carnut. Unfortunately there are only pictures taken of the front of the car.

    Ralph Schindel 64 Chevy h 00 LSS Carnut.jpg

    Ralph Schindel 64 Chevy i 00 LSS Carnut.jpg

    Here is a straight on shot of the Buick headlights and '54 Chevy grille:

    Ralph Schindel 64 Chevy b 00 LSS.JPG

    Here's a side shot where you can see the dual frenched antennas, molded lake pipes, and the front edge of those wild skirts!

    Ralph Schindel 64 Chevy c 00 LSS.JPG

    This is a continued shot of the skirts and the extended quarters. Note the '50 Merc rear window!

    Ralph Schindel 64 Chevy d 00 LSS.JPG

    Here is a rare look at the back of the Chevy showing the Packard taillights and rolled rear pan:

    Ralph Schindel 64 Chevy e 00 LSS.JPG

    The last picture I have is a peek of the interior just to show the car did have the dash of a '64 Chevy.

    Ralph Schindel 64 Chevy f 00 LSS.JPG

    In the write-up of W.E.H.T.#180, @John B managed to get ahold of Ralph's son Jeff and he said the Chevy was sold to a person in Green Bay, but no details were given of its current condition or if it makes it out on the street every now and then.
    I wonder if the current owner has any idea of the amount of work that went into this car to transform it into the one of a kind wild custom that it is. I hope the car gets to shows now and then to show the great work and talent of my late friend, Mr. Ralph Schindel..........
    Well gang, Christmas is just around the corner, and it won't be long after that 2019 will be a memory. I hope you all have a joyous Christmas full of happiness, family, friends and many great memories to enjoy years from now.
    One quick reminder, we'll be right back here next Monday. We'll be getting back to our regular Tuesday schedule starting January 7, 2020.
    MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone! See you next week! E
  28. 40LUV
    Joined: Dec 30, 2003
    Posts: 1,833

    from Mid Jersey

    Wild Bill was from New Jersey. He was known for having flame throwers which produced pretty big flames. I ran into him when he was working at an Auto Parts store in the Bridgewater, NJ area, but that could be 10 years ago by now. Haven't seen his car around here for a while.
    54delray, Sancho, loudbang and 4 others like this.
  29. Thanks for the information @40LUV! I'll update the header state for "Wild Bill". E
    54delray, Sancho, loudbang and 4 others like this.

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