About Joe Bailon

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Prunes to Candy Apples Joe Bailon's Story (continued)

There are no side windows, so the car is a true hardtop. But that's no problem because, according to Joe junior, "If the sun isn't out, neither is the Merc." The engine is still a Flathead Merc, with Edelbrock heads and Edelbrock triple manifold. Gas is pumped from the tank via an electric pump to eliminate the age-old Flathead problem of vapor lock on a hot day. The Flathead is mated to a C-4 automatic transmission. Joe junior now steers the Merc with a Nardi wheel installed on a '66 Riviera tilt column. Bailon completed the dashboard with the installation of an instrument panel holding gold-plated Stewart-Warner instruments. Once the car was "finished" and running, it was ready for paint to complete the job. At the time, it was black, and Joe called it the Black Widow, but he wanted it to be painted a different color. When a car has gone through as much as the Merc had, the paint job has to be the best.

Through Lady Luck, perhaps, Joe Figueroa was thrown together with Crazy Art of Art's Kustom Kolors in Glendora, California. Art had always wanted to paint a Bailon custom, and here was Bailon's latest and best just waiting for his fine hand to finish it. Apparently, Art offered to paint the Merc "just for the honor of it," with the colors and paint scheme to be left to his discretion. His choices were four shades of Candy Red Pearl. First, a Candy Red Strawberry base was applied to the entire car, then a combination of Candy Red Pearl, Candy Gold Pearl, and Candy Blue Pearl was applied over that. The gold and blue pearls were actually shades of red, but tinted toward gold and blue, respectively. The final flair was the striping, also done by Art, in Candy Red Strawberry, the same color as the base coat, which no longer showed through directly, although it influenced every color that went over it.