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Automotive Transformations

Automobiles that have been digitally modified from a simple color change, to a total customization...

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Babe Royer's 50 Ford Pickup colorized Actual Color

A little history of this truck from "Uncle Mike" Lauerman, Atwater, CA.


I may have mentioned my affiliation with Babe and this truck: I first saw it at age 12, (1954) right after Babe Royer opened his shop on The Alameda in San Jose.

It had a prominent parking place, right on the paved parkway on the corner, one couldn't miss it!

This pic was taken after a mild "update", as the original appointments included Cad Sombrero hubcaps; no 'overrider bar' on front bumper, it was 'clean'; Tonneau (or, 'tarp') was one color, white, and snapped in place every 5-1/2 inches; (I was inquisitive at 12, and measured it!) but the biggest thing was the bed-rail pipes. (Originally, it had 2" chrome stacks, turned at the ends 45 degrees; stacks ended at less than roof height.)

I HATED the new Bed Rail pipes, and told him so. He was cool, and said he didn't love 'em, but they were a Sales Advertising move. I believe this was the first truck with these pipes, as I never saw any previous, magazines or otherwise, and never at any car shows that I attended at that time. This 'update' was 1955. It wasn't long after that I began seeing trucks with Bed Rail Pipes, they were all over town!

Babe was one of the first to begin with the installation of Lakes Pipes, as well. In 1957, there was an ordinance prohibiting functional "Lakers", which resulted from a lawsuit that made the San Jose Mercury News! Prominent attorney James Boccardo handled the case, and every car downtown got stopped, and checked for "hot pipes". The lawsuit complained that a lady burned her leg on a "hot exposed exhaust pipe on a Custom Car that was parked". Big stink! My mom told me I'd better not be planning on putting those on my '36 three-window I was chopping the top on. "Wouldn't have 'em, they're for 'Gook-Wagons'", I replied. (At 15, we had our OWN ideas, right? Hah!)

The sign, as I recall, had the "blue Newport" part in red, as I recall. I think the lettering was yellow, as you have it. The red was dark, but not as dark as the maroon on the truck; I do recall that they were different 'tones', but didn't clash.

There was a NEW '52 Cadillac engine and Hydra-Matic, (4-spd. Hydro) and the truck turned low 90s at the old San Jose Drag Strip, on King Road. It was also used as a Push Truck for Les Joseph Speed Shop Altered 'T' Roadster, (lavender) which was also Cad Powered. Babe consorted with Les on yet another Drag Car, a '30 "A" Pickup, stripped, chopped, and a 3-ft. bed. (Cadillac also, w/Hydro. This 'truck' was also lavender, a 'trademark' for their Racing Partnership.)

When they quit racing in '59, Babe opened 3 more shops, and lost interest in the F1. The skirts came off, the rear was raised, and the whitewalls went away. It got a 'new' paint job, Chevrolet Engine red/orange, and looked awful. It was relegated to duties of "shop truck", and changed locations, out on Camden Ave. @ Highway 17, where it deteriorated like some old truck.

In 1984, I was helping a friend out at his shop (3 blocks from my shop) for a week or so, and in walks Babe Royer! Older now, he had sold Babe's Muffler Service (5 shops at the end) to Pitzer's Auto Parts. He still had the truck, and was delivering it to Neil's shop for an engine replacement. "Another Cad, I hope?" I asked. "Naw, Mike, you live in the Dark Ages! I'm puttin' a Chevy in it!" I begged him to consider the history of the truck, how long and well I had known it, etc., but he just laughed at the premise of returning it to its former glory. "Nobody would remember it", he said. BUT, he also mentioned that he had ALL the parts ever removed from it: Skirts, tarp, Appletons, even the original stacks!

Sorry to bore you with all this, but you seem like you are as passionate about all this as I am. ANY PICS OR STORIES about the 'formative' years and vehicles are well-received here, and I was THRILLED with your album.

As for some 'critique' on your Graphic Expertise: Never would have imagined this truck in green, it was so well chosen that I thought someone talked Babe out of it, and restored it this way!!!!!

If you re-do it in maroon, please email me a copy. I will display my model with both illustrations, with your blessings. IF you are going to do a model, the F1 Monogram is the subject, natch...Now get ready: The Nash Grille is available from Modelhaus, (Don Holthouse) as are the Cad Sombrero hubcaps. Olds Fiestas (Starfires?) three-blade spinners ('55 Olds) can also be had from Don, all in chrome if ordered that way.
Thanks for writing, and if you'd like to hear it, I have a marvellous story about Babe and his wife, and money, and how it never changed either one of them...Nice people.
Cheers, Mike in Atwater, CA

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Uploaded: August 27, 2004
1371 5

  • (Anonymously) (Private)
    4 years 10 months ago
    I have been looking for a picture of the truck. I too was about age 12 when I saw it for the first time in the mid 50's. I lived on Park Ave. so I was always riding my bike in the area and would see it almost every day. We would go to San Jose Speedway and see it pushing the hardtops. Charly Gardner, Hemet Ca
  • (Anonymously) (Private)
    7 years 1 month ago
    Babe is my grandfather and this truck is in my brothers garage completely restored and looks beautiful.
    • 7 years 1 month ago
      I would love to know more, Please email me.
      • Jen Keltner (Private)
        6 years 8 months ago
        What would you like to know?  I can be contacted at
        • Yank Glendon (Private)
          5 years 11 months ago
          My first PU was a 50. Thank God there are still people in the world that value the real forms of cunstomizing and restoring such great American automotive designs. Forget the the car hopping hydraulics--give me maroon anytime!!!