Arty Ross fiberglass body - Wale & Candies Ewing Car - The Facts
by Glenn Cupit

This is hopefully the correct and accurate (or as close as possible after 45 years) story of this "urban legend".

For 30 years I have been in constant touch with Arty Ross, who painted the Wale & Candies Ewing car twice for Q-Ball Wale.

Q-Ball & I lived in New Orleans, Paul Candies lived about 50 miles away in desAllemands and Arty lived about 80 miles away, in Baton Rouge.

I was good friends with Q from 1956 until his death at Monroe, LA drag strip, July 3, 1965. We ran him and red-lighted the run before he was killed when his chute didn't open.

I am still in regular touch with Paul Candies, who I have known since 1958, when he became Q-Ball's partner in his first digger.

This is not FIRST hand, but it IS SECOND hand information!

I spent the afternoon today, with Arty at his shop in Baton Rouge. Arty had told me previously how this scenario unfolded and clarified some events in person with me, today. (11-24-09)

Arty made a mold off the rear body and cowl, after he completed the finish body work prior to paint, on the aluminum rear body. The Wayne Ewing body was only rough finished and had lots of hammer dents & ripples when Arty got the car from Q-Ball. Arty dolly straightened, filed and sanded the aluminum body so that very little primer was needed prior to painting. This occurred in Baton Rouge, fall-winter, 1962. Arty had just turned 21 and was doing paint jobs at his house.

Arty was a local hot rodder, known as a custom painter in the very early '60's and did some (if not the first?) metal flake jobs in the Baton Rouge - New Orleans area.

Arty was interested in fiberglass work, but had never made a mold of anything. He wanted to make this mold for the experience, plus it was a cool body! He had no intention of going into business SELLING bodies.

At that time he did not have Q-Ball's permission to make the mold. But, Q-Ball and "everybody" knew immediately that Arty had made a mold & Q never complained or commented to Arty. He painted the Ewing car blue metal flake. Paul & Q-Ball ran this car at Pomona in Feb, 1963.

Arty made ONE body, which stayed in his shop for a year. Arty sold no bodies at that time. The mold Arty made from the blue body was a one-piece mold, which had to be carefully cut to get the body out. Arty only made one body from it, which hung on the wall of Lester Guillory's shop. (See below photos. Also, Arty as he looked in 1964.)Because a one-piece mold is difficult to lay-up and pop out, Arty made a second mold from the orange car. This mold was a 2-piece mold. All bodies sold to Garlits came from this 2-piece mold. The 1-piece mold was destroyed.

A year later (fall-winter, 1963), Q-Ball returned to Arty's shop for the car to be re-painted (orange). Arty told Q that he would not charge him for re-painting the car orange, for making a mold off his body. Q said fine. That was the deal. Arty had sold no bodies at that point.

Q was very easy-going and could have cared less, especially since he didn't have to pay for the paint job. Paul came to Arty's house to pick up the car after the orange paint job was finished and asked Arty what he owed Arty? Arty told Paul: "Nothing, as I made a mold from your body". Paul obviously had not been informed by Q-Ball about the deal? Neither Paul nor Q was ever charged for the 2nd paint job. Neither Q-Ball, Paul nor Wayne Ewing ever said anything to Arty about him making the mold.

In late 1964, I had one of the first of these Arty Ross fiberglass copies of Q-Ball's Ewing aluminum rear body on my 1964 built, Cupit & Cunningham AA/FD. Wayne Smythe, my friend and chassis builder who lived in Westwego, bought the body from Arty Ross in late 1964. Arty's home shop was in Baton Rouge. Arty has had a commercial shop in Baton Rouge since the late '60's. (Today, Arty does not remember Wayne buying my body?)

Sometime in late '63, early 64, Connie Swingle came by Arty's shop and said that the fiberglass body hanging on the wall, would be great for Garlits' new chassis he was making for himself & others. Arty made him a body and Swingle took it to Garlits for his approval.

In the next few years, Arty sold Garlits 20-30 bodies to be put on Garlits' chassis that he made & sold. Many of Garlits', Swingle's and Art Malone's cars sported this Arty Ross body in '64, '65 and later. These bodies can be easily identified by the definite scalloped peak above the chute pack opening.

Arty continued to make these and delivered them to Garlits in Florida or Gar had them picked up in Baton Rouge. Arty put an "X" reinforcement on both sides of the bodies, (which is visible in one photo). He also embedded his business card at the center of the "X", which could be read through the fiberglass from the inside.

On one trip to Arty's shop, Swingle told Arty that Garlits would hold each shipment of bodies up to the light and look them over. Gar commented to Swingle that there were no air bubbles, lumps, etc and the hand laid-up bodies were light & strong.

Arty manufactured them for Garlits and Garlits sold them with the chassis he (and Swingle) built. Garlits knew where the mold originated, from the "get-go". This arrangement continued for several years.

As the bodies went out of style, and none had been made for many years, Arty gave the mold to Garlits for his museum (probably in the late '80's?). Arty intended the mold for Garlits' use in restoration of his cars that had the Arty Ross bodies.

Pat Foster's restoration body for the Wale & Candies blue cackle car, was made recently by Garlits from this same ORIGINAL Arty Ross mold. Garlits probably did not make many bodies after Arty gave him the mold, until Patty's. This mold was never "rebuilt" or "restored".

I spoke to Garlits at Bowling Green in 2006 and he told me that he could furnish another body for my 1965 digger that I wanted to recreate . . . which he did. Boogie Scott & I drove down and picked it up in Jan, 2008.

I personally saw and photographed Arty's original mold at Garlits' shop which was used in late 2007 to make the body for my Cupit & Cunningham 1965 AA/FD cackle car recreation. This original mold still exists today, which Arty says is EXACTLY the same as it was when he had made it in 1964. Even has the same wing nuts! I am regularly in touch with Boogie, who told me recently that he was the one who originally went to California to pick up Q-Ball's car at Ewing's shop in 1962. It was not nearly ready and he returned to Louisiana after driving all the way to California!

Another crew (Patty's "Alligator Wrestlers"?) had to be sent by Paul from Louisiana to pick it up. Boogie knows the rest of this episode, too. The story is that it STILL was not ready, so they "camped" at Ewing's shop until it was finished! I'm copying this to Paul for his input and recollections.

Glenn Cupit

Q-Ball Wale - Pomona Feb, 1963

Q-Ball - Paul Candies - Pomona, Feb 1963 

Wayne Ewing - Pomona - Feb, 1963

Paul Candies, Q-Ball (in car), Wayne Ewing, Pomona 2-63

Paul Candies, Q-Ball (in car), Wayne Ewing, Pomona 2-63

Paul Candies home-built trailer - Pomona, 2-63

Burglar John Harbard, Q-Ball, Candies, Pomona, 2-63

Paul pouring fuel - June 1963 

Lester Guillory' shop - late 1963-early 1964

No ID, Q-Ball's son, Joe Wale at Lester Guillory's.

Lester Guillory, Burglar John Harbard?

Lester Guillory welding headers. Ross body in back.

Arty Ross bodies ready for Garlits.

Arty's house, 1964

Pat Foster - Wale & Candies restoration 2006


Cupit & Cunningham cackle car, Bakersfield 10-09

Art Malone - 1964

Brougher & Reese Garlits chassis, Arty Ross body 1965-66

Garlits Swamp Rat VIII, Bowling Green 6-2006


From: Duncan
Sent: Saturday, July 8, 2006 2:35 PM
Subject: [Standard1320] Dragster Bodies

I noticed that the body on Garlits car at Bowling Green was fiberglass. Does anybody sell these bodies or know of a possible source? Thanks

On Jul 8, 2006, at 5:06 PM, Terrible Tom Barnhill wrote:

That body was brand new but the originals were fiberglass too. Don said that he found the mold for that body and asked a guy to clean it up and make him a chute pack body and asked him how much it would cost. The guy told him $150 so Don bought 6 of them. He might sell you one if you ask or he might be willing to have another one made for you. I bet it ain't $150 though!

Sent: Sat, 8 Jul 2006 18:41:47

Tom and group - I feel I should step in on the Garlits body shit before it gets much deeper. The body in question was built in 1963 by Wayne Ewing in Van Nuys Ca. It was built for Paul Candies and Q-Ball Wale, Ewing also built the car. I have the car at this time and have just completed a total restoration on it for Paul Candies.

When it was built and sent the paint shop a splash was taken off the hand formed aluminum body by an employee of the paint shop. This splash was done without the permission of Wayne or Wale and/or Candies. The thief produced a mold and pulled a few bodies from it before Wayne found out and went postal on the guy, that mold was destroyed at that time. One of the bodies produced by the thief ended up with Garlits, who mounted and ran it on one of his cars. Don, the clever man he is, got many comments on this body, so pulled another mold off his body and started selling them in the mid-sixties, many went to many racers including Glenn Cupit of the 1320.

When Paul asked me to restore the original Ewing car there was no sign of the body Wayne built, in thinking about it, I dimly remembered the Van Nuys 'happening' and wondered if any bodies still existed (?) I called Don and asked if he had or knew of any still around, he said no but I still have that mold somewhere!

He and TC drug it out of the scrap heap, I paid Gar to have it rebuilt and got a body out of it for the Candies resto. I laughed with Don and said: Now you won't pull anymore of these will you, we'd like an exclusive on this deal, you know he just laughed and winked, don't you?

Any questions as to whether he will have some for sale, what with the nostalgia craze and lack of tin benders and monied folk who can afford em'! Paying to rebuild the mold in Ocalla and getting a body was a tad more than $150 but I must say he was more than fair with me, maybe he likes me. ya' think?

Pat Foster

Sent: Sunday, July 09, 2006 12:27 PM
Subject: [Standard1320] Wale & Candies car "urban legend"

I remember hearing a story --and it may be a bit of an urban legend by this point-- involving the Wales & Candies car. If anyone knows Ewing, the guy was a master craftsman, but an incredible stroke. My ex-partner, John Guedel, used to piss Wayne off by wearing this old army jacket that had the construction times of various cars (Tugboat's beingone) written on the back with a Marks-A-lot.

The story I heard was that Candies got so exasperated that he sent a couple of guys ("Alligator Wrestlers" was the term I heard) to Ewing's shop to hasten the build process. These guys supposedly held him hostage in his shop, and refused to leave until Wayne finished the car. They would bring him food, etc. but not let him leave.

After putting up with Ewing, you can imagine the pleasure it was to deal with Hanna --a craftsman...and someone whom you could rely on.

Bill Holland


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