The passing of Joe Bailon

Joe Bailon passed away on September 25th, 2017 at the age of 94.

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Joe Bailon was born on March 18, 1923 in Newcastle, California, United States, the youngest of ten children. He is a car customizer and best known as the creator of the paint color "Candy Apple Red." His 1941 Chevy, Miss Elegance, established him as a top-rank customizer. He is a charter member of National Rod & Custom Car Hall of Fame.

The fantastic colors he created and the ultra-smooth paint jobs that look six inches deep are his trademark and have been admired wherever custom cars are shown. One night he was driving and became entranced by the glowing taillights of the car ahead of him. "It was so pretty," he said. "I thought, wouldn't it be nice to see the whole car the color of that taillight?" For the next 10 years, he was on a quest for the perfect red, mixing and layering paints in countless combinations. Finally, in 1956, he "threw some gold powder on the bench, mixed it with Sherwin-Williams extra-brilliant maroon and clear lacquer, and there it was at last."

The San Francisco Rod, Custom and Motorcycle Show annually confers the Joe Bailon Elegance Award. This award is given to the car for the "visual appearance" of the paint, interior, engine, design and suspension. The trophy is a one-of-a-kind designed only for this award, topped with a Candy Apple Red apple hand painted by Joe Bailon himself.

Among cars he has done are Zsa Zsa Gabor's Rolls-Royce, Danny Thomas' Continental, a Cadillac station wagon for Dean Martin, a Vega wagon for Sammy Davis, Jr. Joe also built the Olds Toronado-powered Pink Panther car, which has appeared in several movies and made many public appearances. He is currently building an exact replica of Miss Elegance.

Joe and Marie Bailon make their home in Auburn, California. Joe Bailon along with local customizers, including David Polney of Marysville, California, put on the annual Joe Bailon's "Blast to the Past," which is held at the Auburn Fairgrounds. The show includes several hand-built cars by Goat Roper Kustoms of Marysville, alongside many cars from local car club the Poor Boys of Sacramento. Cars are judged and are awarded Joe's famous Candy Apple Clock and other awards.

Give Joe's wife, Marie, a call: (530) 823-1633