Ray Erickson's 1948 Mercury

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Ray's wife, Joanie Erickson, next to the Merc
Ray next to the Merc
The Merc next to a Al Lawson's 1953 Studebaker that Ray chopped.
The La Hoya as it looked when it was featured on the cover of Car Craft September 1963.
The grille emblem Ray engraved for the La Hoya. It never made the car as he sold it before it was done. Ray still has the emblem today.

1948 Mercury Coupe owned and restyled by Kansas City Cranktwisters member Ray Erickson of Kansas City, Missouri. Ray named the car "La Hoya", but sold it before it was completed, and the new owner renamed it "El Toro". Before Ray got the car, it had belonged to his wife's kid brother. Joan's kid brother crashed the car into a telephone pole in a rainstorm, and damaged the right front fender. Ray had loaned him the fullhouse flathead and transmission from his 1934 Ford Convertible, so after the wreck he just gave Ray the car. Ray began by sectioning the body 6 inches. The sectioned body was channeled over the frame, the hood was pancaked, and Ray fit the car with a pair of 1941 Buick front fenders that Ed Sherman had given him. Ray also began to chop the car. At the time he worked at Hallmark Cards as an engraver. He brought some photos of the car to work in order to show the car to the guys at work. One of the guys shortened the length of the car, making it a GT type custom rod. Ray liked the design a lot, so he went home and cut off the chopped roof. Then he shortened the frame and body 18 inches. He moved the rear fenders next to the door jamb. Ray threw away the stock roof, and used his 1950 Mercury roof on it instead. The new roof was chopped about 4 inches and hardtopped before Ray tacked it onto La Hoya. When the the car was completely welded up and almost finished, Ray began to worry about loosing his wife and child as he had been consumed with cars for such a long time, so he decided to abandon the build. He yanked out the fullhouse flathead and transmission, and traded the body and frame to a guy named Gilbert Strange. Ray traded the car for a complete Naugahyde interior and carpets for his 1952 DeSoto Hardtop.[1]

Gilbert took the car to Thompson/Hall Bodyshop and had them finish it out, and paint it orange. Gilbert named the car "El Toro" and it was like this the car was featured in Car Craft September 1963. The story never mentioned Ray. After featuring the car without mentioning Ray, Car Craft got so many complaint letters that they had to run an apology. The apology was printed 3 months later. Gilbert showed the La Hoya at the Muncipal Auditorium and other places. Gilbert later sold the car to a Doctor.[1]

Magazine Features

Car Craft September 1963



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