“My personal license plate on it says, ‘I love lemon pie’ because it’s bright yellow.”

The Ride
The Driver: Gary 
Car in Question: 1940 Ford Sedan Delivery
Spotted at: Bob’s Big Boy, 4211 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505
Odometer: 25,000
Car’s Nickname: Lemon Pie


Q: Welcome to Defend Your Ride Los Angeles. Let’s start with your neighborhood. Where do you live?

A: I live in Burbank. I’ve lived here for over 30 years. During my high school years, I used to come in and out of this Bob’s with my ’55 Chevy that I drove to high school. It’s really a great continuation for me because my wife passed away about four and a half years ago. The car hobby family is just so terrific. It’s a really wonderful thing.

Q: How old are you?

A: I’m 67 years old, and automobiles, especially nice ones, have been a part of my life ever since I was a small child. We had a neighbor back in the old neighborhood who actually owned a 1957 Mercedes Gullwing Coupe. So that was probably one of the first cars I ever put polish on. It’s a good way to get started.

Q: What is the Pala Ranch insignia on the side?

A: Pala Ranch is a horse ranch down near Temecula. As a matter of fact, when this car was converted into a hot rod as you see it now. Back in about 1984, the person who had the work done was associated with the ranch.

Q: Does your car have a nickname?

A: My personal license plate on it says, ‘I love lemon pie’ because it’s bright yellow.

Q: So Lemon Pie would be a good nickname for your car?

A: Absolutely.

Q: Why do you come here to Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank?

A: We’ve been having ad hoc Friday night car shows here since about 1952, 1953. We all remember doing it either with our parents, when we were in high school, or both. It’s a great gathering place because the management of Bob’s here is so good to us, and we try to help them any way we can.

Q: How long have you owned Lemon Pie?

A: I’ve only owned Lemon Pie for about two years. The previous owner had her for about 10 years, so the original owner—the folks who had it done—had it about 20 I guess, something in that area.

Q: And how did you acquire the vehicle?

A: It’s an interesting story. I had gone to a car show with a friend of mine in one of his cars. I hadn’t taken a car. And the Pala Ranch ’40 was parked right next to us. So we followed it in to be situated for the car show, and I admired the car. I told the owner how much I admired it. He had me take a look at it and then let me know that it was for sale. Within about five or six minutes, we had come up with a handshake. The very first hot rod I ever built back in 1965 was for my younger brother, so that he could drive it to high school, and it was a 1940 Ford Coupe. So the 1940s are kind of in my blood.

Q: Do you have any rules in your car?

A: Nobody drives it but me, that’s for sure! Nobody eats in it at all. And absolutely no smoking in the car. Other than that, it’s for friends to gather, admire, and we go from there.

Q: If your car had a human emotion, what would it be?

A: Oh, I think the human emotion it would have would be love because there are so many people who love it. And we try to take care of the folks we see on the road, give them the right-of-way, and let them know that they’re in friendly territory.

Q: Is there anything else we should know about your car?

A: The one thing I like to brag about is I never take the car out unless it’s clean. I don’t come out to Bob’s at night unless I’ve washed that car that week. If it needs wax, I wax it. I like the fact that it draws people in. We can have good conversations about it. It increases the interest in the car community and the hot rods. It’s just such a terrific community, and the people are so good. We gotta keep it going into the next generations.

Photos and interview by Michael Shen, blogger of lacantdrive.com

View previous Defend Your Ride features as well as other great stories for people who love cars at CBSLA.com/Autos