The CandyBird Restoration

Curtis Mcgann fills an American Icon's Shoes to help restore this famous custom T-Bird by Joe Balion

The Car ( Skip to Images )

The Candybird originally called “Bailon Bird”, is a custom vehicle that holds significant importance in the world of automotive design and customization. Originally designed by Joe Bailon and owned by Joe Castro, the Candybird represents a unique blend of artistic creativity, innovation, and craftsmanship.

Joe Bailon, a legendary custom car builder, is renowned for his pioneering work in automotive customization. In the 1950s, Bailon developed a revolutionary painting technique known as “candy paint.” This technique involved layering translucent colors over a metallic base coat, resulting in a deep, vibrant, and lustrous finish. The Candybird was one of Bailon’s most notable creations, showcasing his mastery of candy paint.

Owned by Joe Castro, a prominent figure in the custom car scene, the Candybird became an iconic symbol of automotive excellence. The vehicle featured a sleek and streamlined design, complemented by a mesmerizing candy paint job that accentuated its contours and curves. The Candybird stood out from the crowd, captivating enthusiasts and admirers with its unique aesthetic appeal.

The significance of the Candybird extends beyond its striking appearance. The vehicle became a symbol of individuality and personal expression within the automotive community. It represented the limitless possibilities of customization and the ability to transform a standard car into a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

Moreover, the Candybird played a crucial role in influencing and inspiring future generations of custom car builders and designers. Its innovative design elements and the revolutionary candy painting technique pioneered by Joe Bailon left a lasting impact on the automotive industry. The Candybird served as a source of inspiration, encouraging creativity and pushing the boundaries of what was possible in the realm of custom vehicles.

Joe Balion CandyBird custom car awards

The famous car was sold multiple times over the years, with many owners intending to restore it, CandyBird fell into disarray. After multiple restorations stalling, including one with Bailon himself, the CandyBird was almost forgotten, until spotted by its new owners. The current owners Wes and Kevin Bennett happened to spot an ad online for the famous vehicle and purchased it in late December 2018. Wes and his son Kevin enlisted Noel Customs to begin the restorations and hired Curtis Mcgann to resurrect the famous Ballon CandyBird paint job. The Bennetts and Curtis Mcgann decided to use American Icon Finishes to bring this iconic American custom back to its full potential.

Car Craft and Custom Cars magazine covers

The Painter ( Skip to Images )

Curtis McGann is a highly skilled custom vehicle painter who has established a name for himself in the automotive industry and carved out his own unique style and identity as a custom vehicle painter. He constantly seeks to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation, infusing his own artistic sensibilities into each project. Born into a family with a rich legacy in the field, Curtis carries forward the proud tradition set by his grandfather, well known in the industry.

Growing up surrounded by automobiles and a deep appreciation for craftsmanship, Curtis developed a passion for custom vehicle painting at a young age. Inspired by his grandfather’s exceptional talent and dedication, Curtis decided to follow in his footsteps and pursue a career in the same field while carving out his own unique style and identity as a custom vehicle painter. He constantly seeks to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation, infusing his own artistic sensibilities into each project.

The CandyBird presented a lot of challenges. Anyone who has ever attempted a “Candy” paint job, quickly realizes how much can go wrong. Throw in matching a legendary original paint job from a master, not being able to paint the entire car in one piece, and not doing it in a pristine paint booth but rather an outfitted garage. It’s enough to give any master painter the cold sweats! And yes, you can paint a candy in pieces and have it match. It takes a little extra planning and a careful, consistent technique.

Another major hurdle Curtis overcame was mixing a custom gold base for the right amount of shimmer and hue base for the red coats. It took a few mixes to get it right, but this is just part of the process for Curtis. A master painter knows attention to detail in every step of the process, and using great products makes it come together.

Learn more about the CandyBird at and follow @curtis.mcgann.9 and @AmericanIconFinishes on social.


P-Series DTS Primer Kits

$51.54/Start At
  • Works as a Build primer or primer Sealer
  • Two Part Formula
  • Meets all VOC requirements in the USA
  • A True Direct to Surface Primer
  • Slow, Medium, and Fast Reducers Available
  • Formulated and Made in USA

Base Coats Kits

$51.14/Start At
  • High Solids
  • Extremely UV Stable
  • High Durability
  • Meets VOC requirements in the USA
  • 2K Urethane
  • Formulated and Made in USA

Clear Coat Kits

$133.47/Starts At
  • Show, Euro, Universal High Solid Clears
  • True Clear, No Color, No Yellow Tint
  • National Rule and California Compliant VOCs
  • No Shrink with Extreme UV Protection
  • Slow, Medium, and Fast Activators
  • Formulated and Made in USA

Graphene Ceramic Coatings

$29.99/Starts At
  • Works on all Surfaces including Wraps
  • Super High Ceramic and Graphene Content
  • Higher Contact Angle than Competition
  • Extreme Low Slide Angle
  • 1140 Pro Protects for 9+ Years
  • Formulated and Made in USA