About Rik Hoving

Rik is the CCC editor in chief. As a custom car historian he is researching custom car history for many years. In 2004 he started the Custom Car Photo Archive that has become a place of joy for many custom car enthousiasts. Here at CCC Rik will bring you inspiring articles on the history of custom cars and builders. Like a true photo detective he will show us what's going on in all those amazing photos. He will write stories about everything you want to know in the realm of customizing. In daily life Rik is a Graphic Designer. He is married to the CCC webmaster and the father of a 10 year old son (they are both very happy with his excellent cooking skills)

Dick Lippert 49 Chevy

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Dick Lippert from upstate New York customized his 1949 Chevy in his parents drive way in 1953.

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By Dick Lippert

I bought the car in the summer of 1951 while in the service and was putting almost 900 miles per week driving home on weekends and etc.
While in Korea I gave much thought to what I would do to the car when I got home. I was determined to chop my 1949 Chevy convertible upon my return to my home in 1953, in upstate New York, USA. I had to wait for good weather in the spring to be able to do all the work, which had to be done in my parents driveway.

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The first version from 1953 still had the stock grille, but the hood had already been made one piece, smoothed and the headlights frenched with the then popular half moon chrome covers added

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Figuring out how the cut the top bows to match the chopped windshield and still be fully functional.

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Early stages. The windshield has already been chopped, the hood smoothed, headlights frenched, but we are still working on the top bows, and the door handles need to be shaved as well.

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Here the top bows have been all done and the new canvas is in place. The rear fenders have been molded, and smoothed, but the taillights have not been added to the final horizontal position.

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Comparing with a stock convertible.

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The Olds Bumpers at the back, the smoothed trunk and fenders and the lowered stance are a huge improvement over the stock one parked next to it.

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I was just shy of my 23rd birthday when I started the customization of my car. I learned all I needed to know from reading Hot Rod magazine since 1948 plus all the car magazines that were available at the time. I purchased a Oxy Acetylene welding out fit and had a small assortment of hand tools

I studied the top mechanism for hours and made the decision to go ahead and chop the windshield and modify the soft top to fit. I chopped the windshield 2 1/2″, used a one piece 50 Oldsmobile convertible windshield and took it to a local glass shop. I told him they can do it in California! He said he was able to cut for me. While cutting, a crack developed but he was able to stop it. I paid $ 44.- for the windshield – I was only making $ 66 per week – 2/3rds of my pay check. So I was happy they were able to save it.

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Profile photo shows the lowered and slightly nose up stance.

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I had to make a few changes to let one bow drop down behind the back seat, when folded down. Had to cut down and weld the vent windows and send off for re chroming. I had a local auto upholstery shop sew up a new top fabric because a stock top fabric kit would not fit the lowered top structure and etc.

Other changes I made were, removed handles, nosed one piece hood, molded in rear fenders, decked trunk and frenched headlights. The stock tail lights were rotated 90 degrees with added wind-splits near the rear edge of rear fender/quarter panel inspired by the 49 Ford. I used 50 Olds bumpers front and rear with exhaust exiting the rear tips and shortened bumper guards on the front. Most parts used came from the scrap pile.

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The Oldsmobile bumpers, the smoothed body, lower top and the turned 90 degrees taillights gave the car a completely more high end look.

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Later I added a ’49 Mercury grill surround, Chevy front fender sections switched right and left under the headlights, 1953 Chevy grill bar ( look what’s driving bye ) ’49 Mercury grille opening panel was welded to the Chevy hood and the ends to right and left modified. The hood bottom corners were radiused. I ended up working for the body shop that primed my car as I made progress and also painted it. The color was Burgundy Maroon, a stock 1949 Chevy color.

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Posing with the Chevy

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The 2 girls sitting in the back are my sister and a friend. The guy behind the wheel was a close friend.

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The low mounted, turned horizontal taillights give the car a much cleaner and lower look as this low angle color photo shows.

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Slight nose up stance gives the car an instant speed feel.

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The Chevy looks amazing with the top down….

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… or with the top up. The new lowered top bows give the top a beautiful flow.

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In 1954 I installed a 303 cubic inch Oldsmobile engine and drag raced it that summer. The weight of the Olds engine brought down the front of the car and helped with the nose up attitude. The car was at it’s best in the black and white photo I took in September 1955.

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After the door handles were shaved I added push buttons hidden in the belt line trim, just behind the doors. The red and white interior looked so sharp with the maroon pained garnish moldings and dash.

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Zoomed in at the dash.

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All of the colored pictures were taken in September of 1953 and as you can see at that time the car still had the stock grill. The only picture I have of my customized front end was taken in September 1955 and only in black and white. I cannot believe I didn’t take a color slide of it. I accidentally lost many pictures in the 60’s and it still hurts, even today.

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The only photo I took of the car with the new ’49 Mercury grille shell and floating ’53 Chevy grille bar was taken in September 1955. I think the car looked at it’s best like this.

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+9

Jim Skonzakes 1949 Buick

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Most people know Jim Skonzakes aka Jim Street from his Golden Sahara. But before that he owned several very nice Customs, including this 1949 Buick Roadmaster.

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Jim Skonzakes grew up in Dayton Ohio, far away from sunny California where the Custom Car style was born. This did not prevent a young Jim Skonzakes to fall in love with Custom Cars, and spend every spare moment he had on creating his dream Custom Cars. In 1954 that lead to the creation of the world famous Golden Sahara.

Jim’s parents owned a chain of launders shops in and around Dayton Ohio, which ensured a steady flow of money in the family. This allowed Jim to make road trips out to California to experience the fantastic Custom Car Scene, of which he had heard about from friend who had visit CA., in person. He absorbed all he could on the many trips he made to Los Angeles and other places. He quickly made friends there and found out about the Barris brothers, and the magical Custom Car Shops they had in the later part of the 1940’s and early 1950’s.

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One of Jim’s everyday drivers in the later part of the 1940’s was this nicely restyled 1941 Ford. He used this car to drive back and forth to California several times.

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In the later part of the 1940’s Jim owned an chopped and restyled 1941 Ford convertible, restyled in the typical California style. A style which he had studied on his trips to SoCal. Jim had been doing most the work on his own cars himself, including paint. At this time he also had a chopped ’39 Lincoln Zephyr, painted super glossy black (Sadly Jim was not able to locate any photos of this Custom, hopefully one day they will surface). Both of his Customs were drivers and he used them to make the trips to sunny California. The ’41 convertible in the summers and when it was a bit colder in Ohio he took the chopped ’39 Lincoln for another trip from Dayton, Ohio, to Los Angeles California.

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Earliest photo of the Jim Skonzakes ’49 Buick, still in progress. Photo was taken in 1950, possibly at the Santa Ana Drag Strip. The car’s top had already been created at this time, but was not installed. The hood still needed work at the bottom. When the photo was taken the car was painted with white primer, just as the Jack Stewart Ford behind it. Interestingly Jim would buy the Jack Stewart Ford a year or so after this photo was taken.

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During the many hours in his car on the around 2300 Miles trip, he started planning his next Custom, based on a 1949 Buick Roadmaster Convertible. In Los Angeles he discussed his plans with George Barris at the Barris Shop, and they made an agreement that Jim would rent some space at the Barris Shop so that he could work on the car himself, and at the same time have the option of having one or more of the Barris employees to help him out.

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Close up of the Buick. This white primer version shows off the beautiful fender skirt that Sam Barris crafted for the car. The guy with the hat all the way on the right is possible Jim.

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For Jim is was crucial that the Buick would be a very stylish Custom, not over the top, or with a load of extras add-ons he saw back home on Ohio’s Custom Cars. It needed to be something the GM designers could have dreamed up when first designing the car. With that in mind he asked Sam Barris if he could be hired to do the main metal work. Jim liked Sam very much, and loved his sense of style and had witnessed his amazing skills for metal work. Jim also hired Stan Getz who also worked for the Barris shop and together with Sam he would do most of the work on the car.

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Jim’s Buick at the first Petersen Motorama Show held in 1950 at the Shrine Convention Hall in Los Angeles, California. Jim was not present when this photo was taken, but George Barris was, and so was Jack Stewart, and other unknown guy with a Barris tag on his jacket, and two lovely girls. Notice how at these very early car shows, the trophies as well as other publicity material was displayed on the cars.

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Color photo taken by Jim on one of his trips from California to Dayton Ohio an around 2300 Mile (± 3700 KM) trip. Jim had protected the paint on the rear fenders with 1951 Oakland Roadster Posters. (Color photo was developed on April 17, 1951)

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They started with the suspension, ensuring a proper stance, before they could lay out the rest of the custom restyling. At the rear, the frame was C’d, so the rear axle would clear the frame. With the suspension work out of the way, Sam started the body work with the windshield frame, which he chopped 3 inches. The idea was to create a removable hard top for the car that made the car look just as good with or without the top. Not a padded top, that most convertibles had in those days, Jim liked those as well, but wanted something more exclusive for this Buick.

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1950 Indianapolis Auto Show. Jim Showed his just completely finished Buick, leaving a big impression with the east coast crowd.

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This photo gives a good look at how nice the rear window glass flowed with the chopped Cadillac top.

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Beautiful restyling, everything was done to make the car look better, not just different.

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In 1951 Jim took his Buick to the Indianapolis show again, the car had no changes since last year, except for many more miles being driven. Jim taped a Barris Business card to the vent window, a common thing to do back then, to advertise the body shop who had created the cars.

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Detail of the door showing the push button door opener that was installed on the rocker panel on both sides of the car, as well as the Barris Business card on the vent window.

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A similar Barris Kustom Automobiles business card as Jim used on his Buick. (from the Tom Hocker Collection)

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Chopping these GM convertible windshields is not as easy as many other cars from this age. The whole A-pillar is covered with stainless steel, which needs to be cut, reshaped and refitted. But Sam was an excellent metal man and after doing the inner structure of the A-pillar, he worked his magic on the stainless steel bright-work, as well as the vent windows.

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A friend of Jim took this photo of Jim with his just finished Buick in Dayton Ohio at the Carillon Park, a popular hang out place for car guys, back in the late 1940’s and 1950’s.

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With the windshield chopped to the right height Jim found a 1950 Cadillac fast back that would be used to create the custom removable hard-top top for the Buick. Jim never cared for the very heavy C-pillars on the stock ’49 Buick HT’s so together with Sam he designed the new c-pillar and rear window that would work with the new lower top, and looked nice, light and elegant.

When I asked Jim about the rear glass used in the car, and if it was perhaps made of plexiglass like so many rear windows on customs in those years, he mentioned that there was NO plexiglass on the Buick. They used real glass for it. But Jim could not remember from which car they had pirated the rear glass they used, but glass it was for sure. With the metal top all shaped they needed to add all the side window channels, which were created from reshaped units Jim had found and cut off junked cars at the nearby junk yard.

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The rear fenders of the Buick were removed and replaced with 1949 Cadillac units that Jim found at the Junk yard on a wrecked car with frontal damage. They needed a bit of reshaping to fit the Buick body which Sam Barris did, and he also molded them into the body, for the desired smoothed look. Also the rear bumper from the Cadillac was used, making the Buick appear much like a more exclusive Cadillac, and many people later would actually think Jim’s Custom was based on a Cadillac.

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Photo taken at the Dayton Ohio Carillon Park shows Jim’s Buick without the top during a summer cruise. The low stance, Custom Toothed grille, Cadillac rear fenders and chopped windshield all make this one outstanding Custom that made a huge impact on the Ohio Car enthusiasts. (Color photo developed Oct. 5, 1951)

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Sam modified some fender skirts to fit the Cadillac rear fenders. The new skirts are level with the bottom line of the rear fenders, creating a much nicer flow of the rear of the body into the bumper. All small design elements Jim and Sam agreed on would improve the cars looks. A new grille was made using the top bar of a 1950 Oldsmobile 98, in which Jim wanted to install some “heavy teeth”, for a bit more aggressive look. He Liked the shape of the new 1950 Buick teeth, but they required to be cut down at the bottom to fit the new opening. A lot of work, but the end result was spectacular.

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Eddie Martinez did the beautiful interior in Jim’s Buick, including the home made wrap around rear bench. The upholstery was done in black and beige, with white piping.

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Jim kept the Buick front bumper, as well as the stock bumper guards, they were very nice in shape and complemented all the rest of the customizing very well, so those were left in place. The headlight rings were welded to the fenders, and the headlights slightly frenched into them. The side trim of the Buick was replaced with the 1949 Cadillac unit. Sam installed a set of Appleton S-552 spotlights, and wide whitewall tires and Cadillac Sombrero hubcaps complete the finishing touches on Jim’s Buick.

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The dash board and garnish molding was painted black, just as the top, and the main gauge cluster and the glove box were chrome plated

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A better look at the home made wrap around rear bench. and the very wide, white piping that Eddie Martinez used.

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Shortly after the car was painted Jim drove it back to Los Angeles to have Eddie Martinez do a complete Custom interior with special hand made wrap around rear bench. Eddie upholstered the car in black with beige off set with shite piping. With the interior finished Jim entered the Buick in the 1950 Motorama show held in November 1950, and later several other shows on the east coast. Jim really enjoyed the Buick, it not only looked fantastic, but also drove like a dream. He drove it like this until around 1952, when Jim decided it was time for an update on the Buick using a few new parts to keep the car up to date.

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Jack Stewart ’41 Ford shortly after Jim bought, and drove to Dayton Ohio, parked next to his ’49 Buick at a local park in 1951.

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The car was primered in white and Jim would drive around for some time. This version shows in one photo taken at the Santa Ana drags. Soon after that photo was taken Jim drove the car back to Dayton, where he finished the work on the Buick. He extending the lower edge of the Buick hood, where it was indented to follow the original Buick grille. In the process Jim modified the stock molding on the Buick hood (which followed the stock Buick grille surround) and did not fit with the Olds grille bar at all. Jim decided to reshape the hood molding and let it flow to a center-point just above the new grille surround. The rest of the hood’s nose was completely smoothed. Now with all the body work finished Jim picked a Tokay Beige color for the main body and black for the top, and painted the car himself.

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The Buick at an 1951 East Coast Car Show, parked next to it is the Jack Stewart 1941 Ford Jim had just bought from Jack Stewart and driven from Los Angeles to Dayton Ohio. Two amazing Customs parked side by side.

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Jim’s daily drivers were always Custom Cars, so his ’49 Buick was no exception to that. Jim took this photo in February 1951, and this photo gives us a really great look at the flow of the rear window from the trunk to the top.
(Color photo was developed on Feb 1, 1951)

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Version Two

Jim made a few changes, including the addition of 1952 Cadillac taillights, which added even more style to the already classic lines of the car. Jim also adapted the same year Cadillac rear bumper that came with bumper tip exhaust holes, Perfect for his Buick. Jim repainting the body in his own mix of very deep purple, with a metallic lavender top, mixed in his favorite RM lacquer. He took the car on many road trips in this version and later when Jim’s other Barris project car, the Golden Sahara was finished, he sold the Buick. Sadly Jim has no idea what happened to the car, he has been on many hunts for it, when somebody mentioned he might have seen the car. But so far no luck. Hard to believe that such a wonderful trend setting Custom just disappeared.

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The 1952 make over of the Buick included new ’52 Cadillac taillights, rear bumper and a new deep-dark purple paint job with metallic lavender top. Jim mixed his own colors and painted the Buick himself.

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The front of the Buick remained the same in the make over. The new dark paint shows off the custom made peek on the front of the hood really well.

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The new taller ’52 Cadillac taillights and more stylish bumpers really fitted the rear of the car very well. Jim always loved how the Cadillac bumper tip exhaust holes looked on his car.

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The Second version of Jim’s Buick at an unidentified , most likely Ohio Car show around 1952.

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Jim’s Custom Buick has been very important in the history of the Custom Car. The 1949 Buick was finished in late 1950, very early for such a new car done as a full Custom. The Buick had an very unusual light color in an era that most Custom Cars were painted deep, dark organic colors. The light color was even more special because the Buick was already a very big car, and the light color made it stand out and looking even taller.

The main thing way this Buick Custom had such an impact was that Jim showed it both on the West as well as on the East Coast. Advertising the original Custom Look from California on the East Coast and with doing that must have inspired many young guys to create new Custom Cars. Jim had always been fascinated by California, and everything that came from there. But due to his family business he was “stuck” to Ohio. So he tried to create his own little California in Dayton, using his all California Styled Custom Cars. And hoped his friends would start building cars inspired by his California Styled Customs.

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+3

41 Merc Fade-Away Convertible

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41 MERC FADE-AWAY Convertible

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1941 Mercury Convertible with full fadeaway fenders and chopped padded top. A Mystery Published Custom Car.

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Over the years I have come across a lot of Unidentified Custom Car photos in the early Custom Car Publications. Mystery Customs that appeared in just a single publication, and sometimes even in multiple magazines or booklets, but always lacking any info on the original builder or owners name. In this series of articles I will be showing some of these Mystery Published Custom Cars, and hopefully the extra publicity will lead to some more information on these cars.

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Original article from 2016, updated in April 2019.

The first “Published Mystery Custom” is an very nicely done 1941 Mercury Convertible with full fade away fenders, chopped windshield, padded top and somewhat odd looking Lincoln grille.
The first time I saw a picture of this car was on Pat Ganahl‘s “The American Custom Car” book. On page 24 of this book he shows this mercury Custom with taped headlights, windshield and race numbers on the side at one of the Russetta Timing Association events. It is unsure when this even took place, but most likely around 1950. Perhaps one of the contender lists would reveal an owners name for this 1941 Custom. Pat wrote in his book that the car was an Ford, but later I found more material showing that the car was actually Mercury based.

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Pat Ganahl writes this about the photo in his book: While customs were built more for style than peed, some did turn up at the dry lakes, where heavy weight wasn’t a hindrance and streamlining actually helped. This anonymous Postwar Ford with Lincoln grille, chopped padded top, and full fade-away’s was competing at Russetta Timing Association meet.

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The other place I have found photos of this Custom was in the 1951 edition of the Speed and Mileage Manual by Edgar Almquist. The first edition of this manual was published in 1947, but I’m not sure if this ’41 Mercury was already part of it then.

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The side view shown in the Almquist Manual shows the really fantastic Custom restyling of the car. The full fade away front fenders, the molded in rear fenders and shaving of all the trim. 
The second photo of the car shown in the Almquist manual gives us a better look at the low mounted Lincoln grille, the reshaped front section and the stock headlights rings. The Windshield was chopped, but very conservative, perhaps around 2 inches. The front bumper appears to be a 1942 Buick Special rear bumper with the guards moved closer together.

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The 1941 Mystery Lincoln looks to be a very nicely restyled Custom Car, most likely created by one of the top shops in the later part of the 1940’s or around 1950. The full fade-away fenders done this way, all molded to the body with nice leaded edges, was something both the Ayala’s as well as the Barris shops were well known for. The overall proportions are right on the money, and even though the Lincoln grille is now considered and odd choice, or perhaps better said not the most attractive, back in the mid/late1940’s they were used on more Customs and considered a high-end choice.

Around the late 1940’s a lot of full Customs were produced and there were not to many magazines out there that could or would published these cars. The owners and the Custom Builders did not take as many photos of their projects as we all would have liked. And even though this Custom Mercury did get published back then, there was no mentioning of the builder to help promote his business.

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In 2019 this photo of the Mercury was shared on Facebook. So far I have been unable to find out where the photo was taken and who shared it originally. If anybody knows more about the photo location, or who owns the photo, please let us know.

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Enlarged section of the photo shows that the car has 1948-50 California license plates when this photo was taken. Most likely with the unknown owner standing proudly next to the car. The Lincoln grille is considered an odd choice today, but back in the 1940’s it was used a lot.

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Colormelacquer shared a photos with us showing the same location of the photo above in 2019. Not too much has changed….

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From what I can see in the photos the newest parts used on the car are from 1947, Cadillac Sombrero hubcaps. So this version of the car could not have been created before 1947. The padded top has a nice flow on the back and a straight B-pillars, most likely the same upholstery shop did a full custom interior for the car as well.

Who knows more about this rather nice 1941 Mercury Convertible Custom with full fade-away fenders. Who was the original owner, and who built it. Hopefully one of our readers remembers this car from back then, or has seen more photos of it. If so, please let us know and send Rik an email here at the Custom Car Chronicle.

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0

Palle Johansen 47 Caddy Introduction

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PALLE JOHANSEN 47 CADDY

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After many years in the works, Palle Johansens 1947 Cadillac Padded Topped Convertible Kustom is finally ready – enough – for its debut.

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For the last few years Palle has been working on and off on his 1947 Cadillac Kustom. Adding all the details he has had in his mind for a long time. From the extended front fenders with home made brass side trim, the smoothed rear fenders, set in license plate, had made taillights set into 1949 Cadillac guards, to the beautiful styled dashboard with center mounted modified 1948 Cadillac Gauge panel. And not to forget the deep-dark-gold paint with added bronze powder, just as the masters in the 1940’s and 50’s used.

Palle’s goal with this Cadillac was to build the perfect 40’s Kustom, that could have been created in the late 1940’s. His main inspiration were the Custom Cars created by the Ayala’s, Barris and other So Cal builders from the late 1940’s. And especially the 1942 Cadillac Convertible Custom George Barris created for himself as personal driver. George used an older/cheaper ’42 model and updated it with ’47 fenders and bumpers. Barris had Bill Gaylord create the super long and perfectly shaped padded top. David Martinez recreated the top for Palle’s Cadillac in 2013.

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Inspiration for the Palle Johansen Cadillac is one that George Barris created for himself as personal driver in the late 1940’s. This Cadillac was updated from a 1942 model with new fenders, grille an bumpers.

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In 2014 Palle’s Cadillac was roughly finished, more like a driving project. Here seen on the road to the Old Style Weekend in Sweden.

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INTRUDUCING
The Palle Johansen Cadillac

This is an introduction article celebrating that Palle’s Cadillac has been finished enough for its debut at the Flatlands Motorama in Rosmalen, the Netherlands on April 6-7, 2019. Special thanks to the team of friends who have helped Palle to get the car finished in time for the show. We will go much more in depth on the car, all the details and how it was created at a later date. For now, lets enjoy some of the photos Palle took last weekend.

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For the first time out with the padded top back on the car on Saturday March 30, 2019. Kustom Car Perfection.

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The Dark Gold color was custom mixed with bronze powder added in the final coats. It looks really dark in the shadows, but ones the sun hits it it starts to glow and sparkle, and changes hues depending on the time of day.

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The extended and molded in front fenders flow harmoniously with the molded in rear fenders.

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The hood ornament end center trim was removed and the center peaked.

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Perfect side profile thanks to the extended cat-walk, heavily forward raked “B”-Pillar and flowing padded top.

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The Caddy…. and Palle are ready to Kustom Cruise this summer.

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The smaller size Danish license plates allowed the set in to be done below the truck.

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The taillights were home made to fit perfectly in the 1949 Cadillac bumper guards. The ’49 guards are larger in size than the ’47 model, making them a better option for the taillights.

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The front fender section on the doors were extended to make the car appear longer, the side trim was hand made from brass. The vent windows were also completely made from brass after to many hours were spend trying to make the units to work with the lowered top. This photo shows a little bit of the center mounted ’48 Cadillac Gauge pod.

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Teardrop shapes…

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The setting sun made the dark gold paint glow with a more red hue.

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A bit closer look at the custom mixed dark gold color with added bronze powder mixed in with the clear. Appleton Spotlights are mandatory on this style of Custom.

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High front view shows a little bit of the two tone leather interior created by Continental Custom Seats. (we will get back to that in a follow up article)

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Beautiful Birds view…

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The goal was to create a period Custom Car that could have been built around 1949. This Digital Restyled image shows Palle’s Cadillac parked next to George Barris his 1941 Buick photographed around 1948… Mission accomplished.

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Stay tuned for articles on the Palle Johansen 1947 Kustom Padded Topped Cadillac in the near future. When we will share some more of the details, interior, dash, how it was created etc. But for now we hope you have enjoyed these debut photos.

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+6

Don Britton 1950 Ford

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DON BRITTON 1950 FORD

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Don Britton 1950 Ford Sedan was restyled in 1950 by Chuck Calvin who sectioned the body for an unique look. Where is this well published Custom now?

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This elegant 1950 Ford sedan Custom Car has been featured in quite a few publications in the early 1950’s when the car was near new. Yet it never was one of those “popular” Customs that most people think about when you mention Custom Car.

The Don Britton Ford always has had a bit of mystery around it, at least that is how it felt to me. When the car was featured in the 1954 issue of Rod & Custom Magazine it was mentioned that in a very short period the car had changed hands several times, and therefor the original owners and builders name had been lost. That always sounded a bit odd to me, especially since earlier publications from 1951 had clearly listed Don Britton as the owner and Chuck Calvin as the builder. Even today when creating this article I find odd things about the car… In fact I’m still not even 100% sure all the photos used in this article are of he same car… or perhaps there were two nearly identical 1949-50 Sectioned Ford Sedan’s.

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In progress photo appeared in the 1951 published Trend Book #101 Custom Cars. The photo shows the car was lights colored and all the black areas is where the body work had taken place.

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Original Version – Don Britton

Lets start with the things we know. The very first Custom Cars Annual, Trend Book #101 first published in July 1951 showed a few photos of the Don Britton Ford Sedan, one of them of the car in progress with most of the work done, and the body partly in primer. The photo was taken in front of a body shop that I so far have not been able to identify. Not sure if Chuck Calvin, who was listed as the body man of the car in the same booklet on page 81, had his own body shop. Also included in the booklet was a wonderful photo of the Sectioned Finished sedan parked next to a bone stock 1950 Ford to compare the two.

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The Don Britton Sectioned sedan parked next to a bone stock 1950 Sedan.

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Don Britton was the owner of the D&B Auto Sales Lot on 8221 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood, California, a second hand car dealer specialized in Hot Rods and Custom Cars. We do not know how long Don actually owned the car, but it cannot be very long, since in 1952 the car already had moved to new owner. Possibly Don had his sectioned Sedan parked at the lot, as he most likely used it as a daily driver, and somebody visiting the lot, in search of a new Custom Car made him an offer he could not refuse.

First version of Don Britton’s 1950 Ford, possibly with Don behind the steering wheel.

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The rear view shows how the taillight wind-splits had been removed from the rear quarters, and new taillights were added in round holes in the 1949 Ford bumper guards. Notice the 1949 Chevy license plate suround.

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The firs time I saw pictures of this sectioned Shoebox Sedan was in the Fawcett Hot Rods book published in the early 1950’s the same booklet also had a couple of pictures of the Valley Custom Shop sectioned Ron Dunn 1949 Ford Coupe, and I really enjoyed comparing the two. In my eyes the Coupe Body of the Ron Dunn Ford lent itself better to the sectioning restyling than the sedan, especially with the top remaining stock height, which caused the Sedan to look slightly top-heavy… But I still was intrigued by the Sedan, I liked it a lot.

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The original version of the Don Britton Ford shows the car with the door handles in place, stock headlights, stock looking fender skirts, stock hubcaps, shortened rear quarter side trim, exhaust below the stock rear bumper with 1949 Bumper guards with integrated taillights.

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Chuck Calvin of Encino carefully measured the amount to be cut out through the body sides, 4 inches all around. He ten used tin snips and a metal saw to cut out the marked section. When the top and bottom halves were brought together, the fit was so perfect that Calvin did not have to use a welding rod, he merely fused the metal edges together with a torch.

The first version of the was not modified all that much, apart from the 4 inch section job the car dis have a rather stock appearance to it, which made it a very interesting custom. I could see how many people had to turn their heads when the car cruised the streets of SoCal. Viewers probably thought this was the newest model from the Ford Dealer. Especially since all the rest of the restyling was done so restrained and elegant… enhancing what was already there.

The other custom touches on the car are; The 1949-50 Ford grille surround was cut down at the bottom to fit inside the new reduced opening. The original Ford spinner grille was replaced with a single very elegant 1951 Kaiser floating grille bar. During the sectioning process it was decided the body would look better with the taillight wind-split removed, and the rear quarters smoothed. The taillights would later be incorporated into he bumper guards. Similar lights were also added to the front bumper guards which were used as direction turn indicators. The trunk had to be cut 4 inches to fit the new reduced in height opening, and the trim and emblems were removed at he same time. The hood also was shaved of the Ford letters and center trim.

The front wheel openings were slightly radiused with a more rounded top portion, to make sure the front wheels would not rub on steering. The low mounted side trim was shortened on the rear quarters to stop right in front of the stock accessory fender skirts. With all the body work completed the car was painted metallic maroon by Ted Nielson.

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Howard Markel did the interior in gray and black leatherette.

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The suspension was lowered just a little bit to get everything back in proportion after the sectioning. The plan was a slight level lowering which was accomplished using lowering blocks in the back. The front end was dropped cutting two coils. This brought the car down to the perfect level right height. The original version of the car used the stock Ford hubcaps.

Howard Markel of Beverly Hills reworked the seats. He removed the lower, movable section of the front seat and reworked to bottom section to be mounted to the floor. The rear seat cushion and springs were cut down and rebuilt to sit level with the side window openings. The steering column location was also modified to be just right for the new seating position. The interior was upholstered in gray and black leatherette.

The finished first version of the car appeared in the 1951 Trend Book Custom Cars #101, and the July 1951 issue of Motor Trend.

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Chuck Calvin who was the body man responsible for the restyling and the sectioning of the body. The ’51 Motor Trend Magazine and 101 Trent Book Custom Cars has the car listed with with a 4 inch sectioned body, while the 1954 R&C magazine has it listed as 5 inch!

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Second Version – Dana Boller

In the October 1952 issue of Hop Up magazine the Sectioned Sedan was featured again. By now the car had changed hands and Dana Boller was the new owner. The car also had done some more restyling in the meantime. Not sure if these modifications were done while Don Britton owned the car, or after it had changed hands. The car was now listed as an 1949 model while it was listed as an 1950 model in the 1951 publications.

The door handles were removed and push buttons installed for all the openings. The headlights were frenched with a nice small lip. The grille surround was completely redone as well. a modified 1951 Ford grille surround was added that eliminated the 49-50 round center piece that was on the car before. The hood had to be filled in and a new peak was added to flows very nicely into the center of the grille surround.

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The car looked more custom in this version with the frenched headlights, ’51 Ford grille surround, lipped skirts and aftermarket hubcaps.

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Hop Up photographer Ralph Poole photographed Dana’s Ford with and without the fender skirts to show the readers the difference. The no skirt option makes the car look much lighter.

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New fender skirts were added, possibly aftermarket units, or cut down 1951 Mercury units. The antenna was moved from the stock location on the cowl, to the rear splash pan, a popular locations at the time.

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Also new for the Dana Boller version are the rear bumper exhaust outlets.

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A better look at the new exhaust outlets in the rear bumper.

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Close up of the bumper guard taillights and the splash pan mounted antenna.

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The Andrews and Evans sales lot ad showing the Ford on the far left was in Hop Up July 1953.

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Third Version – Mike Stone

From here on I have to say that I’m not 100% confident the car shown below is the same as the Don Britton Ford. There are some different details, including a new ’51 tag license plate, but for multiple reasons I do think this is still the same car. Mike Stone’s 1950 Ford had a four page feature in the July 1954 issue of Rod & Custom Magazine. Spence Murry spoke highly about this car in the article, and mentioned the cars mysterious past, which is very much the same as what is discovered about the Britton Ford.

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The Mike stone version of the Ford was even more elegant than the earlier versions. The removal of the skirts, addition of the full length side trim and use of ’51 Ford bumpers and guards made it look very sharp, and classy.

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The Don Britton and Dana Boller versions of the car had a 1951 California license plate 1N92582, the Mike Stone car has 1951 California plates 1X88047. We have seen this before on other famous custom cars that had different plates over the year. The most striking changed to the car are the use of 1951 Ford bumpers and bumper guards. The front bumper guards are stock, but in the rear new handmade vertical taillights were added. Resulting in a more elegant solution than on the early version, plus as an extra benefit the taillights are not also viable from the side of the car, an important safety feature.

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Also new on this version of the car is the grille opening. It appears as if a the grille surround from the previous version was modified with the use of a second 1951 Ford grille surround, which was flipped upside down to create a complete chrome grille surround. The Kaiser grille bar remained. Another change for this version is a full length side trim, which appears to be located a bit higher than on the earlier versions. This is one of the things that make me wonder if this is actually the same car, or perhaps there were two near identical sectioned Ford Shoebox Sedans?

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Close up of the new grille surround.

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This photo shows the nice peak added to the hood, and how it flows nice with the grille surround center line.

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With the use of the new 1951 Ford bumpers the exhaust was now re-routed to go back under the bumper again, just as it was on the original version. The ’49 Chevy license plate surround was modified to fit the ’51 bumper. The R&C article mentioned that 4 years ago when the car was originally restyled a 5 inch strip had been removed from the body. The other published articles had always mentioned it to be 4 inch.

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The interior colors for the car are now chartreuse and green. The car is now listed as being painted a deep metallic green when the photos for the July issue were taken. But Spence Murray mentioned in the article that right before the magazine went to print Mike had the car repainted all white.

In the 1990’s I came across an article on the long career of Sam Foose. In the Street Rodder Magazine article there was a small black and white photo of the Mike Stone version of the car, mentioning that Sam Foose had build the car using two totaled cars ’49 and ’51 Ford. The article did not state when Sam had build the car. Sam Foose was born in 1934, so he would have been 16 in 1950 when this car was build. Not sure if it is a mix up, or if Sam perhaps worked together with Chuck Calvin, or perhaps he worked on the car for the last changes around 1953-54? Mystery!

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As the 1954 R&C article mentioned Mike Stone repainted the car in white in 1954. I have been able to find a few photos in which the car appears in all white. Non of the photos I came across where taken of the car itself, but it appeared in the background. the two best photos were both taken at an outdoor event at the Hollywood Park Horse track parking lot in 1954. (perhaps early 1955)

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The new white paint shows off the radiused front wheel opening much better than the darker colors used on the earlier versions. Notice that the hood by now has been louvred and most likely the stock engine has been replaced, something Mike had mentioned in the R&C article he planned to do.

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Finally… there is one more photo that adds more mystery to the car… In one of Andy Southard’s books there is a color photo taken at the Barris Show showing an all white, a bit rough looking sectioned 1949-51 Ford sedan. The sectioning and removal of the stock taillights all match with the Britton Ford. Only odd thing is that the rear bumper and guards is now a 49-50 unit again, and the exhaust is back in the bumpers, like it was on the earlier version of the Britton Ford (although the exhaust tips are now much larger)

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Sectioned all white (off white) 1949-51 Ford Sedan, possibly owned by an Barris Shop employee parked at the Barris Kustom Shop around 1957. (Andy Southard photo)

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The photo was taken around 1957 I believe, and the car now has ’56 California plates on it. Again I’m not 100% sure it is the same car, but I do think it is. Now if all these photos are of the same car, the main question is… where is it now? what happened to it?

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Custom Car Revival 2019

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CCR 2019

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Time to block the date for the Custom Car Revival, the All Traditional Custom Car Show in Indianapolis in your agenda. This year the registration only event will be held on Saturday June 8, 2019

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Mark your calendar for the 100% all traditional Custom Car Show. The 2019 event will start on Thursday June 6th in the evening, more cars coming on Friday, and on Saturday June 8th, the actual show will be held from 9am to 4pm at Edwards Drive-in 2126 S. Sherman Drive Indianapolis, IN.

More info about the show can be found on the Custom Car Revival website, Facebook page, or contact Kevin Anderson KevinatCCR@gmail.com or phone: 317 4327733

Below are a few photos from the previous show.

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+2

Custom Car Art Prints and Wall Photos

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CUSTOM CAR ART PRINTS

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To help support the Custom Car Chronicle site we are now offering a new series of Art Prints of some very famous Custom Car Photos. From small size prints to floor to ceiling size Wall Art.

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I have received quite a few request for wall size posters for the famous 1954 Thrifty parking lot car show photo that I colorized many years ago. We have had them available as photo poster for a few years, but some people would like to have them floor to ceiling size in their home or garage. Well good news for those people, they are now available for our new www.society6.com/customcarchronicle shop.

I have been searching for a good place to offer these Huge Wall posters as well as some good quality Art Prints of some of the other colorized photos as well as regular Iconic Custom Car photos for some time. Recently I was told about the great products and service from Society6. This is an business that produces good quality Printed Art and offers an individual online shop for customers, perfect for the product of the Custom Car Chronicle. A perfect way to help support the Custom Car Chronicle site.

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One of their great products are what they call Wall Murals, Huge 8 x 8 feet, or 12 x 8 feet Photo prints divided in 4 or 6 rolls of self-adhesive rolls. Which was perfect for what I planned to do with the Thrifty Parking Lot Custom Car Show photo.

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I have created a few Iconic Custom Car images that are now available from our new shop. At this moment we offer 4 types of prints:

1-Art Prints: Available in five sizes, from mini to x-large, Gallery quality Giclée print, Natural white, matte, ultra smooth background, 100% cotton, acid and lignin-free archival paper, Epson K3 archival inks for high-quality print.

2-Framed Art Prints: The frame is made of solid wood from socially and environmentally responsible forests. This framed art provides a minimal style that perfectly complements any design. Available in six sizes, in walnut, pecan or natural colors. Natural white, matte, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin-free archival paper. Solid wood frame dimensions: 0.75” (W) x 1.25” (Depth). Gesso coating for rich color and smooth finish. Premium shatterproof acrylic cover. Acid-free dust cover on the back. Includes hanging hardware.

3-Frameless Canvas Prints: With edge-to-edge prints and a nice depth, they’re great for hanging or setting on any flat surface. Available in three sizes. Bright white, fine poly-cotton blend matte canvas. Printed with the latest generation, long lasting Epson archival inks. Hand-stretched wrap over 1½” deep wood stretcher bars. Individually trimmed. Includes hanging hardware.

4-Wall Murals: With these Wall Murals, you can cover an entire wall with an Iconic Custom – just line up the panels and stick them on. They’re easy to peel off too, leaving no sticky residue behind. With crisp, vibrant colors and images, this stunning wall decor lets you create an amazing permanent or temporary space. Available in two floor-to-ceiling sizes. Size in feet: 8’ Mural comes with four 2’(W) x 8’(H) panels. Size in feet: 12′ Mural comes with six 2’ x 8’ panels. Printed on self-adhesive woven polyester fabric panels, easy to stick on and off. Matte finish and texture. Features vibrant, water-based, non-toxic inks. Washable with mild soap and water.

Below are the Iconic Custom Car Images that are now available at our new Society6 Shop, some of these are available as Art Prints all the way up to Wall Murals, while others did not work on Canvas or the super large Wall Mural and are only available as Art-Prints.

If there are any images you would like to see part of this series, drop us an email, and we will see what we can do.

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Special Note
These posters are manufactured in the USA and also shipped from the USA. At this point I’m testing the waters and see if there is enough demand for these Huge Posters, as well as the new art prints. If there is, then I will also see if I can create similar products in Europe for the European customers. Until then, these prints available for Word Wide Shipping, but keep in mind that there might be an additional import tax when ordering outside the US.
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Larry Watson 57 Chevies

LARRY WATSON 57 CHEVIES

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Larry Watson Painted a great number of 1957 Chevies in his career, some mild with only added scallops, and some very wild with full pearl and Candy paint jobs.

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The 1957 Chevy is the one of the always popular Tri-Five Chevies 1955-1956 and 1957 that gets the least customized, at least in the past few decades. The car has always been very popular among restoration people, as well as with the street machine crowd. But for some reason it was never used a lot as Custom Car. That said… I was quite surprised to find sucha great number of Larry Watson paineted ’57 Chevies in the Larry Watson Personal Photo Archive.

I have to say that most of the Larry Watson painted ’57 Chevies are only mildly restyled, most only with suspension and tire-hubcaps dress up customizing. But it does show that the ’57 Chevies were used as base. The first samples of Larry adding scallops to stock bodied ’57 Chevies come from Larry’s very first shop at 1016 E Artesia in North Long Beach. Larry had this shop from 1957 to 1958. Making the ’57 Chevies at this shop brand new, or nearly new cars.

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Completely stock bodies Hard-Top with lowered suspension, lakes pipes, Four bar hubcaps, ’54 Chevy grille and a set of Larry Watson scallops. Notice the real Appleton Spotlights. Photo taken in front of Larry’s1016 E Artesia in North Long Beach Shop.

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Another earl black and white photo shows a hard top with scallops with bold white outlines. The body and even the suspension seam to remain mostly stock. Except for the aftermarket bumper over-riders.

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Another scallop paint job by Larry Watson on a stock bodies Hard-Top. The scallops are fading front to rear and have a white pinstriped outline. The interesting part about these scallops is that they are a mix of flames and scallops. A further development from those above. Only real modification seams to be the addition 1957 Plymouth hubcaps, and a slight stance adjustment.

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Rear view of the same ’57 Chevy Hard-Top as above.

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This ’57 Chevy 2-door sedan is interesting since Larry had a few different photos of the car in his collection. These black and white photos show the car painted all black in front of Larry’s 1016 E Artesia in North Long Beach Shop. Beautiful mild custom with the right stance, white wall tires, three bar hubcaps and lakes pipes.

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Larry also had a few photos of the same car, but now with nice pale yellow to red scallops in his Collection. The unidentified member had a Renegades Long Beach club plaque in the rear window.

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Another black ’57 Hard top that Larry did shows early style scallops in gold with fading red details, outlined in white on this mildly restyled, nosed and emblems removed ’57 Chevy. The photo was taken at Larry’s 1016 E Artesia, North Long Beach shop. 

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One of my personal favorite scallops paint job by Larry Watson is done on this unidentified pale yellow ’57 Chevy hard-top. The scallop Larry added to the side of the car looks so perfect on the car and enhances the shaped of the body and trim. The 4-bar lancers and perfect size white wall tires sure help as well.

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Larry adding the silver for the scallops on the unidentified Chevy. Masking tape and partly masked with newspapers painting outside in the driveway of his first shop.

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Same car as the photo above shows that it was updated a little later. First version had the single scallop on the sides, which was later duplicated with a second one above it, and a second scallop hides the body work needed for the emblem removal of the nose.

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This is one of the very few ’57 Chevies done by Larry Watson that made it into the magazines 1959 Custom Car Annual, and a few others. But sadly no owners name was ever mentioned. (James Potter photo.)

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Candy blue scallops, most likely over a silver base on this stock bodies, lowered Hard-Top. This photo was taken in front of Larry’s9012 Rosecrans blvd. Bellflower Shop.

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Interesting photo of an in progress ’57 Chevy at Larry’s Rosecrans Shop shows that at this time Larry did not even remove most of the trim, just taped off. Larry had upgraded to using actual masking paper by now.

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Larry adding some red accents to silver scallops on an unidentified ’57 Chevy.

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Late afternoon photo of this unidentified 1957 Chevy at the Larry Watson Rosecrans Blvd shop in 1959. Larry painted this mildly customized 1957 Chevy Sedan in pearl white and added panels to outline the character lines of the Chevy. He painted the panels in pearl light blue and fogged them in with candy blue. One of Larry’s wildest paint jobs on a ’57 Chevy. The car had wide white walls with Custom three bar spinners and full lakes pipes, dummy spotlights and lowered stance.

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Dallas Eichstadt’s 1957 Chevy 2 door sedan has not been modified much. Just some suspension mods to give it that Californian stance, combined with the right size white walls and Dodge Lancer four bar hubcaps. Both a perfect choice for this type of mild custom. Then Larry added his magic with a pearl white paint-job, followed by some carefully taping of the subtle outlines of the top, and teardrop/scallop elements around the wheel openings. Then he painted several coats of candy yellow creating a super bright yellow. The last step for Larry was outline the white with a very thin black pin stripe.

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Two invoices that Larry kept shows us that Dallas Eichstadt had to pay $210 1960 USD for the Candy Yellow and white pearl as can be seen in the photo above. Sadly we do not have a picture of the Pearl Blue Chevy from the invoice on the right.

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Another nice two door sedan was left mostly stock and all the customizing was done with the stance/wheels/tires and the paint job. Some of the body badges where removed and then Larry added a wonderful combination of pearl ice green on the main body and candy dark green on the top. The car was set on a forward rake with small size white wall tires on chrome reserve wheels.

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Another 2-door sedan with beautiful Candy green body with silver flake roof and rear panel photographed in front of Larry’s Lakewood Blvd., Paramount shop. Amazingly the photo was taken at the moment the Chrisman Mercury Comet was passing by in the background.

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Candy blue and pearl light blue on the top in the mid 1960’s.

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Typical mid 1960’s paint job from Larry Watson. Simple two tone on this mostly stock 1957 Chevy. Larry painted the car in a brilliant candy orange with a metallic warm gold on the top. By this time Larry had found out he could make much more money when he did more simple paint jobs, instead of the wild panel, fade, flame and special effects paint jobs he did in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. Even though the outside of the unidentified 1957 Chevy is stock it looks like it has a pretty wild all custom interior.

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This great looking lavender pearl and Candy grape 1957 Chevy painted by Larry is yet another proof that these cars look so good as mild Custom Car. And it makes me wonder why we don’t see them more done like this today.

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Larry even painted a ’57 Chevy four door. Purple and lavender.

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Very nicely done 1957 Chevy Nomad.
Larry painted the smoothed Nomad in a metal-flake medium blue with some veiling in silver around the B-pillar and above the doors. And blue cow-webbing on the silver panel below the side trim. And most likely hydraulics on the front.

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This close up photo gives a better look at the paint Larry used, the blue cob webbing on the lower panel and the silver veiling gun effects on the roof and B-pillar. Notice the molded in sunken antenna on the front fender and the white and yellow striped tires. Anybody knows who’s car this was?

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Bright red with silver rood inserts on this Nomad with Hydraulic suspension was photographed at Larry’s Firestone Blvd. shop in Downey. It was the last photo photo I could find in his collection showing a Watson painted ’57 Chevy. 

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+3

Eric Black 1936 Ford Roadster

ERIC BLACK 36 FORD ROADSTER

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In 2017 Vintage Automotive Designer Eric Black designed a stunning looking Coachbuild influenced stretched 1936 Ford Roadster. A design that is now taking shape in metal by the team at Hollywood Hot Rods.

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On NOVEMBER 9, 2017 Eric Black Design shared one image of an beautiful restyled 1936 Ford Roadster on hit Instagram. And this is what he wrote about it.
“From my “Hyperstock” collection. What if Edsel had been given more rein after his influential European trip? This is my version of a ’36 Ford Roadster factory style custom, where rather than replacing the identifiable Ford elements with a non-Ford piece, they are enhanced versions of the original. There were many formal moves in the making of this profile, most notably the rearward shift of the passenger cell. This project is currently available and I have many more ideas that would make this car a serious AMBR contender, if you’re into that sort of thing. Serious inquires DM of email design@eblackdesign.com”

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I was capture by the shear beauty of the Custom design, the perfect balance of the car. It seamed like Erick had re-scaled an 1936 Ford, and created it as a Mercury, or Lincoln exclusive factory custom. With the longer wheelbase design Eric had solved the forward look of the cabin on a stock ’36 Ford Roadster. A design glitch that happened when the original designs of the ’36 Ford had to be made production ready, and a solution needed to be found for the space behind the cabin on the dicky-seat versions. Reading Eric Blacks info with the photo I sure hoped that somebody would step in and actually create this stunning eBlack design.

In January 2019 I was searching for something online when I came across and 3/4 view of the eBlack ’36 Ford Roadster design, which brought me to the Hollywood Hot Rods website. 4 stunning design images that Eric Black had created were shared with the info that the project had started showing a few pictures of a widened and stretched ’36 Ford body. I was extremely happy with the news that my favorite eBlack designed ’36 Ford Roadster project would become reality. And that the Hollywood Hot Rods Shop was creating the car.

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Eric Black designed this stunning Packard for the Hollywood Hot Rods Shop and the was car awarded America’s Most Beautiful Roadster AMBR in 2017.

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The Hollywood and Eric Black collaboration goes back some time and together they have created some stunning automotive art, including the 2017 AMBR winning Custom Packard. In February 2019 the Hollywood Hot Rod Shop shared a few more images of their new ’36 Ford Roadster Project. Lets hope these sneak peak photos will keep coming thru-out the project. I have started a new thread on the CCC-Forum which I will be updating with new material as soon as is is being shared by Hollywood Hot Rods.

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Side view illustration comparing a stock ’36 Ford Roadster with the Eric Black designed Roadster.

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Side view of the Eric Black ’36 Ford Roadster as how it will be created by the Hollywood Hot Rods Shop. Some changes were made from the original design created in 2017. Including lowered headlights, longer nose and angled grille.

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Front 3/4 view shows the beautiful mix of Coachbuilding and Custom Restyling.

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Eric also created a version without the flush fit skirts.

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3/4 front view of the skirt-less version.

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Original idea, what needs to be done, and the production visual all in one image.

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The image above was posted by Eric Black on his Instagram. Showing the original concept in the top image, the fine tuned “production” version in thebottom image, and what needs to be done in between. And this is what Eric said about it.
eBDCo for Hollywood Hot Rods.
Q: What’s the best part of my job?
A: Sometimes I come up with really (really) weird ideas and I just happen to know people WAY more talented than me who can turn them into reality. Case in point is the ‘36 Ford Roadster underway at Hollywood Hot Rods. The upper drawing was the late-night idea. The lower is the developed version. The big idea was to have an absolutely identifiable and iconic vehicle and change the scale. Sort of hit it with a ray gun and make it just a bit more, well, grand. With a notion of the Ford form language of the mid ‘30s but up the level of detail to the grand cars beyond even the elegant Lincolns of the era.
I will admit it’s a bit of a stretch, but think of a Ford stepping out as a Duesenberg. As a matter of fact, the ‘34 Duesenberg Model J with coachwork by Graber was a massive influence formally on this design.
The details of the car are still quite identifiable as ‘36 Ford but with just a bit more care and elegance with each piece. We have yet to sort out the interior, and I am very excited to work through the design with Troy and the rest of his talented crew. I hope you enjoy seeing this weird idea come to life as much as I will.”

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The base material…

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Overview photo shows that the body is not only stretched, but also widened. A complete jig has been fabricated based on the Eric Black designs, for the car ensuring perfect fit.

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The main body is stretched with longer doors as well as a stretched cowl.

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Be sure to check the CCC-Forum Post on the Eric Black Designed 1936 Ford Roadster from time to time. There I will be sharing all the new updates on the project. Click the image below to fist the Forum Post.

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41 Mercury Sedan Conv

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Digital Restyling the 1941 Mercury Sedan. Inspired by the Barris Joe Urritta 1941 Ford and Harry Bradley Designs 41 Mercury Sedan Conv.

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In 1949 Sam Barris restyled a 1941 Ford two door Sedan for owner Joe Urritta. The most exceptional concept of this car was that Sam turned it from a regular sedan to a convertible sedan, cutting off the top, adding a convertible cowl and doors and channeled the body over the frame creating an unique look. I have always really liked the Urritta Ford, which was also known as the “4 Foot Kustom”. And for many years I have been wondering why not more Sedans had been turned Convertible Sedans in the beautiful late 1940’s style.

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Side view of the original Sam Barris Restyled Joe Urritta 1941 Ford.

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In 1990 Car Designer and Custom Car enthusiast Harry Bradley set out to create an new age Custom based on the Joe Urritta 1941 Ford designs. A complete concept which included a brake down of the original car, how that was created step by step, to many design illustrations how the Bradley Tribute Ford would look like. An article with some of mr. Bradley’s concepts sketches appeared in an 90’s Street Rodder Magazine and made a HUGE impact on me.

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Harry Bradley created this beautiful side view of his Concept Tribute Ford with the top removed and an front/side/rear illustration of the original Joe Urritta Ford.

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Later Butch Hurley and Rod Powell were contracted to create a real car roughly based on the Harry Bradley Designs. That car was never meant to be an exact interpretation of the original Urritta Ford, nor the Bradley Tribute designs. Although very thrilled with the seldom seen gold painted Tribute Ford, I kept on wondering how a 41 Sedan might look with some of the Harry Bradley Designs incorporated, but still created as an late 40’s, early 50’s style Custom. And the more I thought about it, the more I felt that a longer wheel base ’41 Mercury Sedan might be an even better start for a project like this.

A little while ago I came across an nice side view image of an 1941 Mercury Sedan. (dead-on side view images are pretty rare, so I was very happy with this one, even though it was not as perfect as I had hoped for) Now my Digital Restyling of the Urritta/Bradley Inspired 1941 Mercury Sedan Convertible could start.

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Original photo I started with for the Digital Restyling.

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I wanted to create this car as how it could have been done back in the late 1940’s early 1950’s, but I wanted my version to be a little less radical as the Urritta Ford. Not channeled that much, and the hood not so much sectioned, to create a little more “practical” proportions. The ’41 Mercury hood always has the tendency to optically go down in the front, and to prevent this I decided to pie cut the whole body with more taken from the bottom of the body at the rear than the front during the angled channeling. There is no need to actually section the body, since the rear fenders will be raised, and the bottom of the body will be hidden by the fade away fenders.

The hood does need to be sectioned to fit in the new position, and will need to be sectioned a little more towards the back to get the right flow and slight nose up in the front look I’m after.

I cut off the top, and reshaped the tops of the body. I first added slightly curved up original convertible door tops and vent window’s but did not care for the look, so I decided to keep the tops level with the belt-line, and use different vent windows (49 Chevy in my case, but anything could made to work) I slightly angled the windshield back, to create a bit more optical speed.

I then set out to create the fade away fenders. I wanted to create full length fade-away fenders, unlike those used on the Urritta Ford which fade away into the doors. But I wanted mine to be less high than those on the Bradley Tribute Ford. I also wanted the bottom of the door to stop before the bottom of the body, leaving a small section of fender below the doors, making the door look a bit longer.

When I started on the roof shape I knew I had to make a lot of changes to the rear portion of the car. The rear of the body needs to be angled forward, the top of the trunk needs to be lowered, and the section from the belt-line up at the rear needs to be all reshaped. And to make this all work the best way, the rear top portion of the rear fenders need to be angled back and reshaped.

To create the look I was after I had to do quite a bit of work on the rear fender. the top portion was cut off, and moved forward, the rear portion was reshaped to create a bit more teardrop shape. The lower edge at the back was moved down a bit and at the front it was angled forwards towards the top. I have even thought about using an ’39-40 mercury fender to create the look I was after, but decided to work with the ’41 unit and just reshape it a lot. The character line on the fender was cut out and re-positioned to flow better with the fade-away fender line.

My original idea was to create one car with three different tops.
1 Original style padded top
2 Padded top with wrap around rear window
3 Metal top in a similar way as the Bertolucci created top for the Buddy Ohanesian 1940 Mercury.

But later I decided to change this idea a bit and create three different version, and not include the full metal top, but rather create a more streamlined hard-top looking unit using a wrap around window for that as well.

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Digital Restyling Versions

Late 1940’s Version

The first version I did was a car that could have been done around 1948. The car was update with ’48 Ford bumpers, Appleton Spotlights, shortened side trim on the hood, stock taillights re-positioned to flow with the fender line. single bar flipper hubcaps on wide white wall tires. I added a dark green color to this version, as a tribute to the original Joe Urritta Ford version.

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First version is how it could have looked around 1948.

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Early 1950’s Version

The second version I did was actually the version I had in my mind all this time. The one with the wrap around rear window which was inspired by the harry Bradley Sketches. I really wanted to see how this more traditional looking wrap around rear window would look on an padded top, very much as how Bill Gaylord perhaps might have done it.

I choose to leave the belt-line trim at stock length for this version, to create a bit more optical length. The hubcaps were updated to Cadillac Sombrero units, and the bumpers are created from 1947 Cadillac units from which the bottom part was sectioned, as well as the bumper guards. This was inspired from the Harry Bradley design, but incorporated as period units.

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Second version from around the early 1950’s.

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Mid 1950’s version

The last version is created as a Custom that could have been done around 1954 perhaps. The top was created using 1950 Chevy Hard-Top metal which was stretched and reshaped to fit the lines of the ’41 Mercury. I added a small scoop in the leading edge of the rear fenders and added three small teeth. The bumpers are still the sectioned 1947 Cadillac units, but now with the complete bottom section removed, and discarding the guards all together for a much more sleeker look.

The hubcaps were updated with ’53 Cadillac units on tired with slightly smaller white wall section. And the center part of the ’53 hubcaps are replaced with the centers of the Cadillac Sombrero hubcaps. I added some teal paint to the main body and contrasting gold for the top.

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Last version (for now) as how it could have looked if created around 1954.

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The Harry Bradley Tribute

Below are a few of the many design sketched Harry Bradley created for his “Tribute” 1941 Ford design. His sketches inspired me a lot to create the car with the thin bumpers, wrap around rear window and full fade-away fenders. Perhaps one day I will create a Digital Version of the ’41 Mercury that is a lot closer to these Harry Bradley Designs than those I have done now. Time will tell…

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In progress photo of the Butch Hurley/Rod Powell creation from the Butch Hurley photo Albums.

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The finished Tribute Ford in gold paint.

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