Joe Bailon

 The Candy King!

By Ðean Oliverio
Wonder Cougar Co., Ltd

Photo courtesy Tom VanNortwick  

The creator of “Candy Apple Red” paint and Kustomizer of “The Original Chopped Top Cougar” passed away September 25, 2017.

It was just a year too late, when I heard of Joe’s passing and Ron Samuels called to inform us – that Joe Bailon helped him create the chopped top cougar in 1970.

Our eyes widened, as he recalled the history behind his 1970 Mercury Cougar XR7 restyle.

Ron misses Joe quite a bit, especially when he thinks of the time spent kustomizing his car. Joe’s sense of humor is what he recalls most and of course, all the years of experience that comes with rebuilding vehicles into what Ron calls – “Eyeball Cars“.

When you study the way Joe Bailon chopped the top on the Cougar, you’ll immediately notice how the chop is just perfect. Joe chopped it, so the “tempered glass” window could roll up and meet the height of the lowered roof.

As far as kusomization goes, everyone knows what a nightmare tempered glass can do – in a plan to restyle any vehicle, especially in the 70’s.

The quarter windows in the back were eliminated and replaced with stationary plexiglass. It’s a shame that the pancake motors were ditched, because at the time of this writing they’re pretty hard to find.

Photo courtesy Tom VanNortwick

Years later after Joe and Ron restyled the Cougar, the car was replaced by a Corvette – according to Ron.

And when we talked over the phone, Ron mentioned that he might want to buy the vehicle back at some point. We can see how nostalgic this car is to Ron, especially after all these years and come to find that the car is still intact.

Joe’s expertise in chopping the top, modifying the front end and fashioning a custom grill. Not to mention replacing the sequential lights on the rear with Opel GT’s and the addition of exhaust tips out the bumper, is truly a work of art.

This chopped top cougar will always be an inspiration. Which is exactly why the Candy King would always call her "Bitchin" as told by Ron Samuels.

We’ll always remember what Joe has contributed to the Kustom Industry. From “Candy Apple Red Paint”, to Chopped Tops and Kustomizing brand new cars right off the dealership lot in 1970!

Joe Bailon’s memory lives on for those who knew him personally and the legacy of his creations.

Joe Bailon & Gene Winfield in 99′
Photo courtesy Tom VanNortwick