Ron Sweeney's 1957 Ford
Restyled by Von Hunter
In 1962 Ron commissioned Von Hunter of Portland to restyle the car for him. The front end of the car was reshaped and fitted with frenched quad headlights, a rolled pan, and a special grille, made from stainless steel linoleum trim. The rear quarters were extended, and the fins were hand-shaped. The taillights were Pontiac lenses that Von Hunter set into frenched 1957 Buick front bumper guards. A rolled pan was also installed in the rear, along with a hand-formed grille. According to Car Craft Magazine, a 1958 Ford roof was chopped 2 1/2 inches before Von Hunter welded it to the car. All panels were filled before the car was dressed up with side trim from a 1955 Ford. The doors were shaved for handles, and the corners were rounded, before they were electrically operated. The hood corners were rounded as well.
The build was completed in 1962 and the car was named "Seaburst," after it's "Hunter Special" paint job of Blue-Green Metalflake and matching Blue-Green and White Naugahyde interior. The carpets were matching Blue-Green as well.
Sold to John Rudisill
"twofosho" on the HAMB saw the car in his High School Parking lot sometime in late 1963 or early 1964. By then Ron had traded it straight across for his buddy John Rudisill's red 1962 Chevrolet 409 Impala. John came from Portland, Oregon. "twofosho" remembers John sliding the rear quarter windows in. He asked why the windows slid in instead of roll up, and he explained that it was because it was originally built from a wrecked convertible.
Car Craft 10 Best Customs of 1963
March 5-8, 1964 John's Ford was shown at the 8th annual Portland Roadster Show. According to the souvenir program from the show, this version featured a Candy Apple Turquoise paint job. According to Car Craft Magazine the top was chopped 2 1/2 inches. In the souvenir program it is listed as a 3 inch chop.
Show Must Go On!
In the 1980s the car was redone by Von Hunter. In 2008 it won the Goodguys Best Custom and Celebrity Pick. In 2009 it won "Best of Show" at the Portland Roadster Show. In February of 2017, the old custom was owned by Ron Gerlitz. Ron needed some paintwork done on it, and he reached out to Von Hunter's son Scott. The paint was a custom mix, but Scott had a file cabinet with all of his dad's formulas. In April of 2017 Ron sold the car to William Young of Austin, Texas. Young kept on to the car for three years, before selling it to Mark Stewart of Dallas, Texas early in 2020. Early in 2022, Stewart told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama that his plans were to get the car out on the national show circuit again. "Seaburst was in the Grand National Roadster Show this last January 2022 and was awarded the Early Custom Radical 1955-1964 best of class award," Stewart told Kustomrama. "At the GNRS show I got to meet people that remembered the car from its early days in the Portland area and had the pleasure of meeting one of the previous owners. During the discussion, one interesting question was if I knew why Seaburst was wearing scallops at one of the Portland Roadster Shows. You have pictures from the show on your page and those pictures were taken by George Barris. I was told that John Rudisill was driving Seaburst up on a trailer that turned out to be too narrow and both sides were scrapped. In order to still be able to show the car a quick Scallop job was done to hide the scrapes. It sounds like a plausible story but as in all history stories, we may never know the full truth." Before the show, Stewart replaced the acrylic rear window with a 1957 Ford laminate rear window. "Only took 26 hours and 22 cuts to make it work," Stewart informed.
Magazine Features and Appearances
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