Classic American December 2017

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'68 Plymouth Satellite


STUNNER Rare '63 Sting Ray


'51 Series 62 Convertible Cadillac


GM's remarkable see-thru car!

Ben Klemenzson


Image: Mark Fagelson

Twist in the tail... I was driving behind a new European car the other day, after dark. It had very elaborate and fancy-looking tail-lights. In fact they almost looked like neon. I started thinking about how American cars from the Fifties up until recently used to use their tail-lights almost as identifiers from a distance. Fords tended to have round ones, Thunderbirds and Cougars had sequential tail-lights, Cadillacs the ‘Cathedral’ style vertical lights and at one stage in the Eighties Buicks would have a single strip running the width of the boot. Of course, the difference was then that if a bulb failed, all you had to do was unscrew the lens and swap it for a bulb bought over the counter at a parts store for a pound or less. How easy or cheap are these new ‘neon’ style tail-lights to replace? I would imagine they can only be done by the dealership and I would also imagine they’re pretty expensive too and only available as a ‘unit’. So does that mean we may soon see lots of people driving

around with tail-lights out because they can only be replaced by the dealership and/or are excessively expensive? I think I know what the answer to that one is…! I’ve also been interested in people’s reaction to the news that cars over 40 years old will be subject to a rolling exemption from MoTs from May next year. In a way, certain parts of the MoT are irrelevant to older cars, but most people are surprised it hasn’t been replaced with a basic safety/emissions test. It’s something I think we’ll continue to hear about and I, for one, will continue to have an equivalent to the annual MoT on my cars, as much as anything for the safety aspect and my own peace of mind.

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Contents December 2017



06 12 14 16 18 20 36 57 58 96 100 102 104 106 108 118

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News Letters Across the Pond Muscle Car Files Here to Obscurity Subscription Offer CA Shop Back Issues Tech Reviews Events Scale Autos Discoveries Drive Buy Private Classifieds Service Directory

1963 Corvette 1951 Cadillac 1968 Plymouth 1966 Chevy Impala 1973 Ford Torino US Automotive Plastic Pontiac

Events 74 Goodwood 76 Prescott 84 Hot Rod Picnic 86 A&M News 91 Bill Shepherd T-BIrd


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Stars & Stripes in full swing!

The company behind some of the UK’s best-loved classic car shows, Cheshire Auto Promotions, is delighted to announce that after two years of working with events organiser Mortons Media Group, it has sold its business to the Lincolnshire-based firm, publisher of Classic American. The three car shows, Stars & Stripes, Classic & Performance Car and Passion for Power, held at Tatton Park, Knutsford, near Manchester, will pass over to the Mortons events team with immediate effect, ready for the 2018 season. The shows were started by longtime car enthusiasts and friends Edgar Milner and Stuart Holmes and have been a labour of love for the duo over the last 30 years. From humble beginnings in 1987, they have

developed the shows into three of the biggest events of their kind in the UK. Sadly, Edgar passed away earlier this year. Stuart takes up the story: “We had been working with the team at Mortons for some time before Edgar sadly died and we wanted to complete our 30 years at Tatton before selling, which we achieved this year. Neither Edgar nor I were getting any younger and we had decided to sell some time back. We wanted to pass the business on to a team that would nurture and develop the shows, long into the future.” The three family shows regularly see visitors in excess of 20,000 with hundreds of classic car clubs displaying thousands of cars at each event, coupled with family entertainment, activities and music,

framed by the beautiful backdrop of Tatton Park’s Mansion House and grounds. Edgar’s widow, Elizabeth, said: “Edgar was delighted to be selling to Nigel and the team at Mortons. It was vitally important to him that the shows went to someone with a passion for cars.” Stuart Holmes will be staying on with the shows as a consultant and ensuring that it’s business as usual as the three events return next year. Talking about the deal, Mortons’ events director Nigel Hole said: “We are delighted to acquire three truly fantastic shows and that we will continue to work with Stuart and the team at Tatton Park. We will be bringing our wealth of expertise in the events arena, and looking to develop the shows over the years to come.”

Wild West re-enactment posse.

Dave Hodson and 1958 Buick Limited.


Get your diary out for a very special weekend in the beautiful grounds of

Tatton Park, Cheshire over the weekend of June 30 and July 1 next year!

From super-cool lowriders... hot rods...

... and picture perfect pick-ups....

... Stars & Stripes has it all! 7


With more than 30 classic car auctions under its belt and the continuing support from the Brooklands Auto Museum, near Weybridge, Surrey, Historics at Brooklands has established itself as the go-to auction house for a wide range of classic vehicles. Its September sale was a typical affair, consisting of more than 160 consignments, 33 of which were guaranteed to sell, as they were offered without reserve. From high-end Astons and Maseratis to humble Minis and a pre-war Austin Chummy, there was something for all tastes and budgets. The weather was kind, the bidding enthusiastic and at the end of the day, 116 lots, some 72%, found new owners, achieving a gross turnover in excess of £3m. No doubt post-auction deals secured some

additional sales as well. As usual, there were a few American cars alongside the diverse British classics and European exotica. Four Chevrolets were consigned, a Ford Mustang, a mid-Eighties Jeep and a Nineties Pontiac Firebird, with no reserve. Of these, only two failed to sell. The 1979 Camaro, a recently imported, but otherwise rather nondescript, dark blue T-Top coupe with a 5-litre V8 and an estimate of £9000 to £11,000, remained unsold. Similarly, a purposeful 1985 Jeep CJ7 Laredo was unable to meet its £10-12,000 estimate, so it too went home. In contrast, an attractive 1957 Corvette C1 in white with red side covings and a stunning red leather interior was enthusiastically received, achieving a creditable £50,000. A rare fuel-injected example,

No shrinking violet, this 1966 Mustang American bargain of the day. V6 manual Coupe. Extensive mods made it ideal 1995 Firebird had an excellent interior for both road and track use, and surely and Fire Red paint. Sold without contributed to its hammer price. reserve, it achieved just over £2000.

complete with factory hardtop, it was an older restoration imported from Las Vegas in 2007 and subsequently cosseted in a private collection. A 1963 Corvette Sting Ray Roadster extensively customised in the States, with stunning electric green paint, luxurious leather interior and a 480hp, 383cu in small-block V8, sold for a respectable £56,000 – far less than its claimed $156,000 makeover! A recently restored and imported 1967 El Camino attracted much attention on viewing day. Not surprisingly, it sold the following day for £14,280, a reasonable sum given its excellent paint and comfortable original interior. The 1966 Mustang coupe had been extensively, and no doubt expensively, upgraded to dualpurpose road/track use, complete with new suspension, high

Chunky tyres and a factory hardtop were not enough to encourage bidders sufficiently to reach this Jeep CJ7’s reserve.

Rare 1957 ‘fuelie’ C1 Corvette went under the hammer for £50,000.

Restomod, hot rod or street machine? The successful bidder paid £56,000 for this modified 1963 Sting Ray.

performance V8 and roll cage and sold for £26,320. The tidy ‘no reserve’ 1995 Fire Red V6 manual Firebird sold for £2016, a bargain! g

A thorough and sympathetic restoration on this recently imported 1967 El Camino wooed bidders to top £14,000.

ROMSEY BOXING DAY CRUISE The annual Romsey Boxing Day Cruise has become something of a fixture on the American automotive calendar in recent years. It’s a free, (non-profit making) event, for both vehicle owners and the public, but with a charity collection. It’s raised more than £27,000 for various charities over the last 15 years and just over £23,000 for Prostate Cancer UK, who they will again be collecting for this year. Organiser Steve Biddlecombe said “Once again, we have been kindly sponsored by Classic American advertiser Adrian Flux specialist car insurers who have


supported the event for some years now and the aim, as always, is for the event to simply be a fun get-together for classic car and bike enthusiasts and the public. “Due to the staggering attendance of 600-plus motors and 250-plus motorbikes each year I now strictly adhere to pre-1976 Euro classic cars, bikes and trucks and to pre-1996 American cars, hot rods and bikes. Celebrity chef James Martin is a fairly regular attendee and I’m often told that the event is one of the most eclectic classic car and bike meets people have ever been to!”

The cruise takes place in Romsey town centre in Aldi, Crosfield Hall and Broadwater Road car parks, by kind permission of Aldi and Test Valley Borough council. The

action starts at 9am and folds up at around 1pm, and there will be hot food and tea vans on site. All information is on the website:

SEMA 2017

Chip Foose Magnaflow ’32 Magnaflow, the industry leader in catalytic converters and performance exhaust systems, unveiled a Chip Foose-built ’32 Ford hot rod at the 2017 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Chip’s latest

creation features a period-correct supercharger mated to a Flathead Ford engine, pushing exhaust gases through a set of custom 180-degree Magnaflow headers.

Honeywell Garrett twin-turbo ’64 Dodge Polara on show Over on the Honeywell Garrett (global leaders in performance turbochargers) stand, they unveiled a unique 1964 Dodge Polara built for fabricator and bike builder Jesse James. Honeywell Garrett teamed

up with the Roadster Shop to create a twin-turbocharged, Hemi-powered Polara featuring custom Forgeline monoblock wheels and Nitto NT05R tyres sitting on a custom Roadster Shop Fast Track chassis.

WHERE’RE THE CRUISES?! If you’re wondering what’s happened to Classic American’s cruise section, we have decided to start it again from scratch. Many of the listings were obsolete and the process of trying to establish which cruises were still happening and which ones were long defunct was

proving very difficult to execute – so we’ve decided to rebuild the whole section from scratch. If you want your cruise included in the Events and Cruises section, either send in the listing by post or email it to us at We are unable to take listings over the phone. 9

Classic American


Farewell to Candyman Joe Bailon 1923-2017

Sad news as we learn talented customiser, and the father of candy painting, Joe Bailon has passed away. Bailon grew up in California the youngest of 10 children and worked in the Richmond shipyards. His first car was a 1929 Model A coupe bought by his brother. He applied scallops to it in 1937 and experimented with adding silver and metal flakes to paint at his first job as a car painter. Following his military discharge Bailon bought a $25 1936 Ford three-window coupe. After he lowered it, added fender skirts and painted it dark metallic red he sold the car for $750. That profit bought a crash-damaged 1941 Chevrolet coupe that he radically altered with new front and rear styling, chopped, filled roof and a chromed dashboard containing every gauge Stewart-Warner made. The Chevy, named Miss Elegance, was honoured at the 1951 Oakland Roadster Show with the ‘most unique dashboard’ award. Even though in a rush to get the car ready only one side was finished – meaning it was displayed against a wall. At the 1952 show the finished Chevy won the D’Elegance National Award. The recognition

allowed Bailon to expand his customising business to a dedicated shop in Hayward, California. Despite building a number of great customs, Bailon’s lasting contribution would always be the paint colour and technique that earned him the nickname ‘Candy Apple Joe.’ During a late night drive in 1946 Bailon grew entranced at the colour of the tail-lights of the 1939 Ford in front reflected in the rain-soaked street. “It was so pretty,” he later said, “I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to see the whole car the colour of that tail-light? I mixed all kinds of powders, paint, blends – everything I could get my hands on.” Bailon finally stumbled on the formula in 1956. “I got some Sherman Williams Extra Brilliant Maroon and I had some cans of bronze tinting powder. One day I knocked them over on my desk, I looked down and there was my tail-light colour. The more clear I used, the more like candy it looked.” After painting a 1950 Chevy coupe and discovering how to avoid paint blotches, he began to experiment with colours beyond red.

The ‘Candy Bird’ Thunderbird prominently featured his techniques, along with Tommy the Greek pinstriping and gold highlights. The deep shine and incredible glow of the finish meant Bailon was soon selling candy paints and instructions to other customising shops, many of whom continued using his methods without buying paints directly from Bailon. In 1960, the National Roadster Show inducted Bailon into the National Roadster Hall of Fame. Later that decade he moved his shop to southern California specifically to customise cars for Hollywood stars and for films, including collaborating on the Pink Panther Mobile. Bailon closed his Hollywood shop in 1984 to return to his roots building radical customs. He also began a long-term recreation of Miss Elegance, having sold the original in the early 1950s, and discovering that, after becoming a Hemi-powered street racer, the Chevy was crushed in the 1970s. Joe Bailon died on September 25, 2017 following a stroke. He was 94. MR

Joe Bailon’s first workshop was in San Leandro; the photo was taken in 1950.

Built in 1958, the Candy Bird is Bailon’s most famous custom.


The Miss Elegance Chevrolet.

Classic American

Mail Richard and Paul at Prescott.


Hi Ben, Just wanted to say thanks for the Prescott Hill Climb prize that I won in your magazine competition. I have enclosed a picture taken just after my ride up the hill (that’s me on the right with the owner of the car, Richard, together with the car used). The weather forecast for the day was terrible – however the rain stopped at 10.30 and the rest of the day was dry but chilly, a very enjoyable day out ! Paul Ross Via email We’re glad you enjoyed it Paul, it’s just a shame the weather put a bit of a dampener on things things… literally!

Email us at: or write to: Classic American Magazine, PO Box 99, Horncastle, Lincs LN9 6LZ



MoT EXEMPTION ‘BAD’ FOR 40-PLUS-YEAR-OLD CARS Dear Classic American, I read about this exemption in the November issue and I’m not impressed. I believe that our classic cars should continue to be subject to annual safety checks, and as responsible owners we should continue to do this regardless of changing legislation. Even acknowledging the fact that many of these cars cover little mileage these days, we all know that lack of use can cause as many problems with old cars as anything else. What if the seals in your brake master cylinder had failed? Doesn’t bear thinking about for the owner’s family riding on board or anyone else unlucky enough to get in the way. I thought this was a bad move when it was introduced for pre1960 cars and I hold the same opinion now. If saving money for the classic car community was the motivation, something which I very much doubt from politicians, it would be far better for the age-related exemption to be applied to VAT on parts and labour instead. That would encourage owners to be more diligent with maintenance and

We recommend a basic annual safety check.

restorations to the benefit of the industry and all road users. And would you buy a 40-plus-yearold car that hadn’t had an MoT for several years? I think such a status would surely devalue the car, at best. But I reckon I’d leave it alone. However, this poses a question regarding light conversions for American vehicles. Currently cars manufactured after 1965 are required to have orange turn signals. It’s an open secret that some owners achieve an ‘understanding’ that enables them to avoid this better than others. So, if I’m no longer legally required to have an MoT for my ’76 Caddy, does that mean I needn’t worry about a light

conversion either? I doubt it, but it’s an interesting question and I’d be keen to receive yours and your readership’s opinion. Danyel Mills Letchworth Herts. Your letter – and plenty of the others we received on this matter – reflect a concern shared by many Classic American readers. Fortunately classic car owners tend to look after their cars better than the average motorist and are more careful (that’s why our insurance premiums are lower!) so we suspect that most will continue to have some actual safety test every year, if not an actual MoT itself.

That’s all Volks! CONVERTIBLE ASSETS Dear Classic American, Please could you settle an argument me and a mate have been having. He says vinyl roofs were introduced on American cars to hide ugly welds and seams on their roofs. I say they were introduced to make hardtops look like convertibles, especially with the windows down. Who’s right? LeRoy Gaston Chelmsford Essex

You’re right, LeRoy, in that it was what they were first introduced for, but your friend is also correct in that’s their purpose on limousines, where the vinyl roofs cover the seams and welds which are a result lt of chopping the original sedans and inseerting segments to lengthen the vehicles.


Dear Classic American, I must agree with M Collier about VW camper vans (Mail, no. 318, Horrific Discovery). Amusingly, I have two friends that have VW camper vans, the first made one ‘good’ (?) one out of two wrecks. It stands on his drive under a cover. When I asked him why I had never seen it move, he said that he had only ever been anywhere in it once and that it was the “most embarrassing vehicle I have ever driven”. When I asked why, he said that he had taken it on holiday to Scotland and asked if I “had

ever driven up a long winding hill, with only 34bhp on tap, having a queue of cars behind stretching out of sight and the speed dropping below 30mph!”. The last time I spoke to my other friend he had only been out in his twice. It came home on the back of a recovery truck on both occasions – that’s VW for you! Give me a Chevy Day Van every time. Malcolm Hayes Southam Warwickshire Not wanting to start a VW versus American vehicles turf

war, we’re inclined to agree with you; although there’s probably someone in a VW magazine writing about how shocking the fuel consumption is in Chevy Day Vans compared with VW camper vans… Plus day vans are not really designed for camping, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish!

Chevy Day Van? Yes please!