CAMPBELL 1942 FORD “BABY BLUEY”
Perfectly styled 1942 Ford by the Barris Kustom shop, owned by Custom Car photographer Marcia Campbell.
Marcia’s version of this 1942 Barris Ford was never featured or mentioned in any magazine until the article on Marcia Campbell in the Rodder’s Journal Issue 51. Until then, this Ford was known, to most people, as the Anne De Valle 1942 Ford, the girl who owned this car in the mid 1950’s. The Anne De Valle Ford had been updated over Marcia’s original version, with light paint, pin striping and different hubcaps which changed the look of this originally early 1950 built custom.
Listed as a Barris reworked car. This is how the 1942 was first shown in the magazines in the mid 1950’s. And this is how most people remembered this car until the Marcia Campbell photos which can be seen below surfaced.
Marcia Campbell standing proud – in what we now call the Sam Barris pose – next to her Barris Custom 1942 Ford Coupe. The photo was taken by Suzanne Irvin in 1950 at a Lincoln-Mercury assembly plant at Eastern and Slauson avenues.
In 1950, Marcia traded her first custom – a powder blue 1949 Chevy (the full feature on Marcia’s Chevy can be seen here), for this 1942 Ford. Marcia, however, was not the first owner of this car. It was Carl Abajian who bought it in stock form from his brother Danny. Carl then had the car customized at Barris. Two photos of the car, unfinished in light color primer, appear in the 1949 edition of the Dan Post Blue Book of Custom Restyling. It might have been Marcia who took those two photos. She worked a lot with Dan Post, and always hung out at the Barris shop so it is likely she took the photos. When Marcia received the car it was still in progress and she had Barris finish it according to her design requests.
This is one of the two photos of the 1942 Ford that appeared in the 1949 version of the Dan Post Blue Book of Custom Restyling. It looks like most of the work has been done on the car and it has been painted with a fresh coat of white primer. The glass indicates it’s been driven, and perhaps at the time of this photo the car was already owned by Marcia.
The car has a heavy, but well proportioned chopped top with 5 inches in the front and 7 taken out of the back. Straight B-Pillars with rounded door-top corners followed the shape of the side windows and were now almost identical to the radius of the door top at the front. The rear section of the top flows smoothly into the tulip area and into the trunk. Most likely Sam Barris used pre-shaped metal shapes from California Metal Shaping to create this area. As with most of the early radical customs, the drip rails were removed for an ultimate smooth look. The running boards were also removed and the doors lengthened at the bottom, as were the rear quarter panels, to cover the space where the boards used to be. All four fenders were welded to the body and molded in with a nice radius for a one piece smooth-looking body.
Barris used a 1949 Oldsmobile grille and front-bumper set up. The front sheet metal was modified to fit the new grille, and a new gravel pan was created to make the Olds bumper fit. The stock headlights were frenched and the side trim on the hood shortened to make the eye believe the back of the car is lower, and longer. At the rear the taillights were removed from the fenders. A 1947 Buick Special rear bumper was used at the back, and a set of 1946 Chevy taillights were mounted on the top portion of the new bumper. The car was lowered substantially with the front a little less than the rear for that perfect speed boat stance. A set of long, factory 1941 Ford/Mercury accessory fender skirts were added to the rear fenders and Cadillac Sombrero hubcaps were mounted on the wheels, surrounded with wide white wall tires.
Suzanne Irvin, Marcia’s partner, described the color of the car as an extremely dark blue with a hint of fine metallic. The interior was done in a simple white and tan tuck and roll. The dash was painted body color and it looks like the shifter was moved over to the left side, but nobody knows for sure. The steering wheel is the ever popular Mercury Monterey Accessory steering wheel. Marcia named her 1942 Ford “Baby Bluey.”
Marcia most likely sold the car around 1952 but so far we have not been able to find out if she sold it to Anne De Valle then, or to somebody else who later sold it to Anne. What we do know is the car was owned by Anne De Valle in 1955-56.
This photo was taken at the same day and same location as the photo shown above. Except Marica was now behind the camera instead of in front of it. This photo show the wonderful designed front of the car with the Oldsmobile bumper and grille nicely intergrated with the 1942 Ford sheet metal. The stance and flow of the car is absolutely perfect.
This fantastic photo of the ’42 Ford with at least four girls inside the car with Marcia behind the wheel shows the best stance of this car ever. This photo must have been a snapshot that Marcia kept in her purse, or wallet. It shows marks of being carried around for a long time; the scratches and torn edges, show she really liked this car a lot.
The interior was done in off-white and tan rolls and pleats, and diamond pattern panels on the floor. Mercury Monterey Steering wheel and Appleton Spotlights where standard equipment for any late ’40’s early ’50’s custom car.
The Anne DeValle version
When Anne took the 1942 Ford to the Barris shop in the mid 1950’s the style of her car was far from up-to-date. Not too much was changed over the original version of the car, but enough to make it look completely different, and fit in better with the then current styles.
The hood was punched with louvres, the long 1941 Ford/Merc fender skirts where discarded and replaced with shorter 1946-48 lipped aftermarket units. The exhaust was changed from exiting below the rear bumper, to a shorter version exiting just in front of the rear wheels. Barris repainted the car in a Sierra Gold. The Cadillac hubcaps were replaced with Oldsmobile hubcaps with customized four bar centers. Dean Jeffries was hired to do the typical mid 1950’s heavy white, none flattering pin striping. The car was ready again for some car shows in the mid 1950’s.
Photos of his version of the car were used in several magazines and later in a few books as well. Since the first Marcia Campbell version was never featured in any magazine, nor book (except for two very small black and white photos of the unidentified car in white primer in the Dan Post book) the car was consequently always known as the Anne DeValle 1942 Ford.
The strange thing is that even in the Barris books nothing was mentioned about the Marcia Campbell connection when photos of Anne’s version of the car were shown in the Barris Techniques Volume one book.
Even though the changes from Marcia’s first version are minimal after the remake, Marcia’s dark blue version appears to be much more in balance.
The interior in the car remained mostly the same after Anne had Barris redo the car. Major change was the Siera-gold, new body color) painted dash. This photo shows the door extension panels Barris created to cover the section where the running boards used to be.
The later versions
In 1957-58 Don Pinkley bought the car in California from a car lot. He worked at a body shop back then, and there he painted the car midnight blue with gold surrounding on the grille and small scallops around the headlights. The car only had a front bench – the rear bench was removed and the space filled with a custom cocktail lounge, all upholstered in Mexico. In the fall of 1958 he drove in the Ford to Wooster, Ohio. At that moment the car had a souped-up Chevy engine, which he burnt up in the desert. He traded the bad running engine for a souped-up flathead, burnt that up, did another trade, this time for a stock flathead. And that engine got him home to Ohio. There he replaced it with 1950 Olds engine to match the grille. Don named the car “Pinkley’s Creeper”.
Iggy Bara, custom car enthusiast, heard about an old, in poor shape custom car in a shed. When he went to the place and took a good look at it, he recognized it as the Anne DeValle’s 1942 Ford. He was very excited and thought this was a real coincidence, since Iggy had been working on recreating the Anne DeValle Ford in the previous years. Iggy bought the remains of the original Barris car, and took them home. The car has had a rough live, but all considered it was not in a very bad state. Original plans where to restore it as an early version of the Anne De Valle Ford. Siera Gold without the striping. But after that the new photos of the Marcia Campbell version have surfaced, Iggy has decided he will go for this much cleaner and classic 1950 look.
These two photos show the car as Iggy found it. The molded-in front fenders had been removed for unknown reason. Fortunately the front fenders and the front sheet metal including the grille and all other parts were in the barn behind the car.
Reference and more info
- Dan Post, Blue book of Custom Restyling
- Restyle your car, Trend Book No. 143 1957
- Rodder’s Journal, Number 51, Marcia Campbell article
- Barris Kustom Techniques of the 50’s, Volume 1
Special thanks to Michelle M. Yiatras & David E. Zivot