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

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

  1. 54delray
    Joined: Dec 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,210

    from Fremont NE

    Ed. Love the positiveness at the end of your write-up!

    Great choice of a car. I bet a lot of us have that very copy Custom Cars in our library. I've never seen the updated version. Proof that a few simple changes can really "make" a car. I notice the shape of the grill opening also changed to compliment the new corvette teeth. That would require body work and paint. I can't imagine a total repaint to replicate the scallops and all. I wonder if a similar vibrant gold was fogged in to cover the front body work and into the beginning of the scallops.

    Can't help you with any info, but whoever has this in their garage .... lucky guy!
  2. I second Delray on everything he said...the positivity at the end of your posts, especially this last one. Also, this car demonstrates what a drastic change can be made with stance and tires. The Corvette grille is a nice change as well. Hope the car is still around.

    Funny story with that Custom Cars Magazine: in art class that year, one of our assignments one week was to draw something shiny.....I drew the bumper off that '55 Chevy on the cover. My art teacher said I really needed to expand my interests beyond cars and draw other things. I replied to him that I thought we were supposed to draw things that interest us. ;) He's probably still into the "broadness" of art....I'm still into the art of cars. LOL
  3. Thanks for the comments guys! Appreciate that.

    Hey Doc (@drdave), glad you chimed in here. I have a picture that I shot in a still off of the 1983 Leadsled Spectacular that I was going to send you in a PM, but I thought, "What the heck, I'll post it here and ask the questions", so here goes.
    We know you still have your long time owned Pontiac convertible. My questions are, did you attend the 1983 Spectacular in it? Was this your car? Sorry the shot is so bad, but it was the only time I saw the car on the DVD and it was the best shot I could get.
    Inquiring minds want to know..........E

    Docs Poncho 83LSS.JPG
  4. Kinda looks like my car, but I didn't get it until '84 and it was still maroon at that point, well before the lavender primer. Sadly, first spectacular I made it to was the 20th in Wichita in 2000, but the Pontiac had been off the road for years by then and I took my off-topic '68 Dodge wagon.
  5. merc007.jpg
    Wichita - 1984
  6. Nice to see you posting Bill! Missed you brother! Hope you've been well! E

    Thanks for clearing that up Doc. I knew the time frame was close. I figured there couldn't be that many early 60s Pontiac convertible customs out there. I'm sure there are way less now than then.
    Funny how now that all these cars are getting older people are afraid to make customs out of them. "They are too valuable." Now the big thing is resto-mods. Every car is basically restored with a modern fuel injected engine and large diameter old style reproduction muscle car wheels. I think it's because many of the guys that are retirement age now are building a similar copy of the muscle car they had back in school or couldn't have back then. I'm pretty sick of seeing a sea of them at car shows. Just my opinion. Long live customs! E
    Sancho, drdave, loudbang and 6 others like this.
  7. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,143


    I agree. I was at a show with my Olds a few weeks ago and an old-timer was giving the car a pretty good look-over and was shocked when I walked up and got something out of the glovebox. Said he was expecting a guy closer to his age.

    Customs need a more accessible point of entry for the uninformed public. The thread on Bad Chad got me thinking about that.
    Sancho, OG lil E, drdave and 5 others like this.
  8. What Ever Happened To..........? number 242.

    1951 Pontiac "La Bamba"
    Owners: Rob and Debb Butler
    Fort Wayne, Indiana

    The Butlers have been in the custom game for quite sometime. We covered, what at the time I thought was their Mercury in W.E.H.T. #226. It turns out the Butler's good friend Herb Ryerson loaned them his Mercury (#226) to take to the Spectacular in 1997 because their Pontiac was on display in a museum. Here's a link to the write up for those who may have missed it.

    I briefly touched on the Butler's '51 Pontiac and their Lincoln in the write up, and I mentioned that I planned to do a future write up on the Poncho. After lots of video watching and researching, I have quite a bit of information and pictures of the car to post, so I figured it was time to feature it. Although I have lots of information to share, I'm sure that Debb (@KustomLincolnLady) will chime in and correct any of my mistakes and fill us in on more details.
    I learned of the Butler's Pontiac a long time ago, but until I started researching it, I never realized how long they worked on it to get it how they wanted it. They drove the faithful Pontiac to many KKOA and other custom shows all over, and the car turned heads wherever it went.
    I'll start the story of their Pontiac from the earliest DVD and video finds that I came across, and work forward. The first video sighting was on the 1988 Leadsled Spectacular video that my good friend @PasoJohn sent me. I keep forgetting that I have this tape since it was stored with some other old videos, but that has changed. The tape is now saitting with all my other prize videos for future watching and reference searching.
    The Spectacular was in Holland, Michigan in 1988, and from the video it looked like a great turnout. Among all the cars was a very cool Pontiac two door in ruddy brown primer (one of my favorite shades of primer) with purple scallops. The primer/suede look during the custom renaissance was just starting to get going at that time, so seeing a car "painted" like that was pretty unusual. I've mentioned on the HAMB a number of times how my friend Charlie had a '63 Chrysler 300 with a ruddy brown primer job with a Watson style pink freeway scallop job on it around 1990. He ate a lot of crow over that choice, but we all thought it was very cool. Obviously the Butlers felt the same way. Here are a few shots from '88.

    Rob n Debb Butler 50 Pontiac a 88LSS.jpg

    Rob n Debb Butler 50 Pontiac b 88LSS.jpg

    The next video I saw the car on was in 1990. The Spectacular was again in Holland that year. The car looked pretty much the same, with the exception of a grille change. The tube grille was swapped out in favor of a '54 Pontiac unit. Hard choice to make as both grilles looked great!

    Rob n Debb Butler 50 Pontiac c 90LSS.JPG

    The only other change was what looked to be fresh primer spots where the door handles used to be. My '88 video wasn't clear enough to tell if the Pontiac still had door handles at that time or not. Maybe the bodywork just needed a touch up or something. Maybe Debb can clear that up.

    Rob n Debb Butler 50 Pontiac e 90LSS.JPG

    If you look closely at the first picture I posted from the '90 show where the hood was up, you can see some chrome lurking under the hood. At that time, there was also a nicely detailed flathead six powering the car. You have to admit that any flathead looks very cool all detailed out!

    Rob n Debb Butler 50 Pontiac g 90LSS.JPG

    For the interior, white tuck'n'roll was chosen to cover the seats and door panels. The dash looks to have had lots of customizing done to it as well.

    Rob n Debb Butler 50 Pontiac h 90LSS.JPG

    Rob n Debb Butler 50 Pontiac i 90LSS.JPG

    My next sighting didn't come from video. I watched the 1991 disc and I didn't see the Butler's car on it. My '91 disc has a hard time playing and it skips a lot, so maybe the car is on the disc. I really need to get a new copy. At any rate, the car seemed to be making its painted debut in the summer of '91. They drove to the Spectacular in Hamilton, Ohio, where it caught the eye of Rod & Custom. On page 73 in the December '91 issue, there was a great shot of the car in line waiting to cruise through "How Cool Can You Cruise". I'd say waiting for so long to paint the car was worth it as it turned out awesome. Same style scallop pattern in a light purple tone over an even lighter purple base. The Butler's paint job is one of my favorites!

    Rob n Debb Butler 50 Pontiac j RnC Dec 91 p73 91LSS.jpg

    In 1992 the Spectacular hit the road back to Holland, Michigan yet again. Here are a few shots of it in the grassy show area. It sure stands out from the many cool sleds parked all around it.

    Rob n Debb Butler 50 Pontiac m 93LSS.JPG

    Rob n Debb Butler 50 Pontiac n 93LSS.JPG

    The next few shots were taken during "How Cool Can You Cruise". This was an old Leadsled tradition that (as far as I know) isn't done anymore. I did it myself in my Buick at the 2000 Leadsled in Wichita and I had a ball. My good buddies Charlie and Paso John both shot it on video and I pull them out and watch 'em from time to time. Such good days! It really sucks that things have changed so much.
    In these shots, you can see Jerry Titus interviewing Rob getting the skinny on the '51. Jerry really seemed to be enjoying himself. Rob too!

    Rob n Debb Butler 50 Pontiac k 92LSS.JPG

    Rob n Debb Butler 50 Pontiac L 92LSS.JPG

    The Butler's had a busy summer in 1993, as a short number of weeks before the Spectacular, they cruised their Pontiac out to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to attend Sled Scene East. The car looks so nice sitting in the grass!

    Rob n Debb Butler 50 Pontiac O 93SSE.JPG

    Here are some shots of the engine compartment at that time. It is a better shot than the '90 show pictures and it gives you a good ides of the detail under there.

    Rob n Debb Butler 50 Pontiac q 93SSE.JPG

    Here you can get a nice view of the chrome panel that is just in front of the radiator. This is a nice touch.

    Rob n Debb Butler 50 Pontiac p 93SSE.JPG

    Moving to the interior you can see a few changes, including a center console and a nifty tuck'n'roll steering wheel cover.

    Rob n Debb Butler 50 Pontiac r 93SSE.JPG

    The Butler's hard work was rewarded as they were given a "One Fine Nine" award at Sled Scene East '93. Here is Rob receiving their award and stopping for a photo op with the late legendary Blaine Kauffman.

    Rob n Debb Butler 50 Pontiac s 93SSE.JPG

    Here is another still that I thought was pretty neat. As the show was ending and the cars were filing out, Debb proudly holds out their award to the camera for "Video Bob" Huff to capture on video for posterity. A brief moment that was cool to see on the DVD. Sorry the shot is so dark. These photo stills are a challenge.
    By the way, check out the cool frenched antennas in the door!

    Rob n Debb Butler 50 Pontiac t 93SSE.JPG

    Here is a shot that I found on the internet somewhere. I can't recall who took it or posted it, and for that I apologize. It's a shot taken at Sled Scene East. I don't know what year it was. Neat shot that captured the Butler's slick Pontiac parked next to Mark Wojcik's (@chopolds) incredible chopped '55 Oldsmobile. Talk about a great picture!

    Rob n Debb Butler 50 Pontiac u Sled Scene East.jpg

    The Butler's dedication to the KKOA continued on in 1994 as they were a few of the handful of people that travelled to the ill fated 1994 Spectacular in Huntsville, Alabama. The show wasn't nearly as successful as it had been up to that point, and the KKOA struggled to make it back to where it was. 1994 was a big change from years past.
    I didn't take any pictures from the '94 show, but you can bet that Rob and Debb were there.
    Being long time KKOA members, the Butler's submitted their '51 to the KKOA for the books that were published in 1993 and in 2003. Their car appeared in the first KKOA book (1993) on page 105. The little caption the Butler's wrote for the picture gave some great information on the specs and features of the car.

    Rob n Debb Butler 50 Pontiac v 1st KKOA Book p105.jpg

    In the second book (2003) the Pontiac was featured on page 174. We get a nice look at the Pontiac "in living color". In the caption it mentions that the engine had been changed to a Cadillac 472. I'd like to hear more on this, and when (and why) it was changed out.

    Rob N Debb Butler 50 Pontiac w 2nd KKOA Book p174.jpg

    After the 2003 book sighting we'll have to ask Debb to see where the history of the Pontiac goes. I know the car was sold at one point, but I don't know who bought it or when it was sold. I'm sure Debb will be more than happy to tell us "What Ever Happened To..........?" their beloved Pontiac also known as "La Bamba".

    Rob n Debb Butler 50 Pontiac ww KLL.jpg

    Boy, 2020 just continues to chug on by. Hard to believe we are just a few weeks shy of Thanksgiving. 2020 will be a memory very soon. I hope you are all holding up well during these weird, crazy and uncertain times, and I hope that our weekly gathering here on the "What Ever Happened To..........?" thread gives you a little escape from what's going on. Thanks for continuing to follow the thread and for sticking around.
    Take care y'all! I'll see you next week! E
  9. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 22,286

    Staff Member

    Happy birthday ED !!!!!
    Sancho, drdave, 54delray and 4 others like this.
  10. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 22,286

    Staff Member

    The Butlers Pontiac ended up in England of all places.....
    Sancho, drdave, 54delray and 5 others like this.
  11. Uh-oh, I guess the jig is up (lol)..........E

    Wow, England?!? It figures it would go overseas somewhere as it's a very nice car! E
    Sancho, drdave, 54delray and 5 others like this.
  12. John B
    Joined: Mar 9, 2001
    Posts: 1,369

    John B

    Debb and I were talking the other day that it's weird that both our ponchos ended up in England.

    I always thought theirs was a 51 like mine.

    Sent from my LGL158VL using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    Tman, Sancho, chryslerfan55 and 5 others like this.
  13. KustomLincolnLady
    Joined: Oct 17, 2003
    Posts: 1,020


    Same here what Mark said

    Sent from my SM-G935V using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    Sancho, chryslerfan55, drdave and 4 others like this.
  14. KustomLincolnLady
    Joined: Oct 17, 2003
    Posts: 1,020


    Happy Birthday Ed.

    Wow, what a write up, I didn't even remember the yrs and what shows we were at lol.

    So we drove the car for a bit in just primer. We knew what color it would be, because for over a week Rob would bring home spray samples until I finally found just what I wanted lol.
    So he laid out the scallops on the primer to see how he wanted them.
    In 88 the door handles were still on. So you were correct about the primer spot.

    We sold the car in 99 I believe, it went to a car dealer who ran it thru the auction in Indy , worst mistake we ever made sold for 22k. We sold it for less than 9k
    From there it went to MN where it was in a guys collection for several years.
    I lost track of her when he sold it for about 2 yrs. Then I got a call from a museum in TX, it remained in their collection for several yrs, and then again went to auction.
    Was sold to a car dealer in St Loius MO.
    From there it was purchased by Darrell Johnson and went to the UK.
    He had it for 2 or 3 yrs and sold it to Mal Fischer , also in the UK. He owned it for about a yr and had his friend that had a car lot sell it in 2019. I contacted the lot and asked them to pass along my info , but either they didn't or the new person wasn't interested. So now I've lost track

    As far as the motor goes we were on our way home from Maybe Baby in TN and the tranny gave out. A friend had the caddy motor so we swapped it out.

    We were in Hamilton 1991, first time in paint, took home a lowering block!!

    I miss that car, we were starting to have issues with it and Rob was tired of it, so when the Lincoln was done we sold it.

    Trying to add a few photos, wont let me

    Sent from my SM-G935V using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    Tman, Sancho, chryslerfan55 and 8 others like this.
  15. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,994

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    Rob and Deb Butler: Great Kustom cars, great Kustom people!
    Happy Birthday, Ed!
  16. Thanks so much for the reply Debb! I love good custom stories and history, and I'm sure everyone that follows this thread does too. Getting rid of it must have been hard, even if it was having problems. I'd miss it too.
    Oh yeah, thanks for the birthday wishes! E

    Couldn't agree more Mark. Also, thanks for the well wishes! E
    Sancho, loudbang, 54delray and 5 others like this.
  17. Happy birthday Ed! Cool car Deb! Too bad the new owner never made contact for whatever reason. Would be cool to know what it's up to these days
    Sancho, loudbang, 54delray and 3 others like this.
  18. Thanks Doc! E
  19. Roger O'Dell
    Joined: Jan 21, 2008
    Posts: 1,143

    Roger O'Dell

  20. straykatkustoms
    Joined: Oct 30, 2001
    Posts: 16,115


    Happy Birthday Ed!
    Sancho, loudbang, 54delray and 2 others like this.
  21. Thanks guys! E
    Sancho, loudbang and 54delray like this.
  22. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 5,942


    Happy belated birthday. . As I have posted this before. IMG_20200728_0002.jpg
    demmel, Sancho, drdave and 7 others like this.
  23. Sum54ford
    Joined: May 24, 2012
    Posts: 205

    from St. Louis

    724EBACA-9DFD-4BAD-AF5D-5A3E5683901E.jpeg Here is a pic from The James Dean Run in the early 90s.
    Sancho, drdave, OG lil E and 6 others like this.
  24. KustomLincolnLady
    Joined: Oct 17, 2003
    Posts: 1,020


    Thought you guys might enjoy these. after the first guys bought it they went crazy with pinstriping on the deck lid, dash and engine compartment. The one picture Ed posted has the spots turned facing out lol. the museum did that.

    someone added air after we sold it and messed up the engine compartment lol

    a few pics, from the start, crazy but I don't think I have a picture of the flathead done up :( have to have one somewhere. 1images.jpg 16.jpg 19 (1).jpg HA0415-216137_4.jpg i4mages.jpg images.jpg jghfgd11.jpg pontiac.jpg
    R A Wrench, Sancho, John B and 10 others like this.
  25. Thanks Jim! E
    chryslerfan55, Sancho and loudbang like this.
  26. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,994

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    Heard yesterday, that NJ custom guy, and fellow Renegades club member, Larry Simonetti has passed away. RIP, Larry. LarryS_pontiac.jpg
  27. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 5,942


  28. Very sorry to hear this. Mr. Simonutti was always a personal hero of mine. He was like a misplaced California lowrider guy in New Jersey building custom style lowriders, or lowrider style customs, however you want to say it. Always dug his Pontiac and the Airmobile '59 Impala. Both of these cars were featured right here in this thread.
    As a personal tribute to him, I thought I'd include the links to the write-ups:

    1959 Impala W.E.H.T. #130

    1960 Pontiac W.E.H.T. #155

    Thanks for sharing the news Mark. Larry will be missed. My deepest condolences to all his family and friends.
    Vaya con Dios, Mr. Simonutti..........E
  29. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 5,942


    A show in Pennsylvania as it appears in Rod Action 1995. IMG_20201116_0001.jpg
  30. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,994

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    Yes, Ed, Larry was a wonderful guy. Never saw him angry, or even close to it, always friendly, and mellow! One of the cool things about the NJ Renegades car club, was that we had our meetings at the member's houses. Taking turns (except John Pazsik, he had them at the shop, so guys could see what was "in the works"). Larry and his wife hosted really fun meetings. His wife raised African violets, and would give each member one to bring home to their wife. She also made a delicious Apple Crisp, that I loved, she gave me the recipe and I still make it today! I'll always think of Larry and his wife when I make it.
    He had 4 cars, I believe, while he was in our club. A chopped late model pick up, his 60 Poncho, the 59 Impala, and last, the tu-tone green 48 Poncho that had the 100$ bill clearcoated onto the top of the fender. "Easy Money".

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