40s NorCal Hot Rod Photos part 3

40s NORCAL RACE TRACK PHOTOS

Ed Jensen’s Collection shows an series of unique Custom Car and Hot Rod photos from the ’40’s Nor-Cal scene in his collection. This is part 3¬†of the series on Ed’s Hot Rod photos.

 
Some time ago we did an article about¬†photo’s from the Max Ferris ’36 Ford, perhaps better known as the Vern Simons¬†Harry Westergard built Ford.¬†This article was a part in the¬†series of articles on the¬†Ed Jensen’s Photo Collection. What we did not know at the time we did the article, was that Ed Jensen actually owned this car at the time those photos were taken. In fact, Ed owned the Harry Westergard built 1936 Ford Roadster¬†for quite a while. It was Tim Cunha, who informed us about the fact Ed own the car, it was also Tim who pointed out, that in some other¬†photo’s in this collection, we could see Ed¬†himself in the picture as well. Until then, we had not shown most of those photos, since we were unable to identify the people in the picture. But now we know that the owner of the collection, Ed Jenson is in them its time to share them here on the CCC.

[box_light]The photos in this article come from the Ed Jensons Collection. They were shared by Tim Cunha and scanned by Curtis Leipold. More amazing photos from the Ed Jenson 1940’s photo collection can be seen in the Ed Jenson section.[/box_light]

CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-3-08Ed Jenson posing with his 1927 Model T Track Roadster. 
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-3-09Same photo as above, but zoomed in on Ed and the Roadster.
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Most of the photo’s showing Ed were taken at the old Oakland Stadium on East 14th st in San Leandro Cal, where Ed and his friends raced their roadsters. Ed had a 1927 model T Ford Track Roadster, the “Jensen Special“. Several of the photos seen here have been seen in the other articles about Ed’s Collection, but I figured since they belong together, I add theme here again as well. All the photos are taken in the early 1940’s.

Ed was the man who took most of the photo’s in his collection, some were taken by friends, but all where taken with¬†his camera. Ed put all of them in nice photo album, and kept it safe and sound all these years. These¬†great snapshots from the early 1940’s were mostly taken in Sacramento, and surrounding area’s.

CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-3-07Ed’s number 88 Roaster was towed to the Race Track.
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-3-02Close up of Ed’s Roadster The Jenson Special 88 with the tow bar still attached to the roadster.
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-3-11Ed with helmet and goggles.
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-3-04(Above) Three photos of Ed Jenson in his Roadster on the Race Track.
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-3-01Great looking Model A Roadster Hot Rod on the streets of Sacramento. 
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-3-031936 Ford with dual carb intake.
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40s NorCal Hot Rod Photos part 2

40s NORCAL HOT ROD PHOTOS

Ed Jensen’s Collection shows an series of unique Custom Car and Hot Rod photos from the ’40’s Nor-Cal scene in his collection. This is part 2 of the series on Ed’s Hot Rod photos.

 
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e have been sharing some of the amazing photos of the Ed Jenson Collection in a few other CCC-Articles The link to those can be found in the bar below this writing. Sadly Ed is no longer with us, and he did not provide any information with these photos. So many of these cars are unidentified right now. But perhaps some of our viewers can help us identify these cars and we can add names to the car owners. What we do have is a selection of really great snapshots from the early 1940’s Sacramento, and surrounding Hot Rod scene.

These snapshots give us a really good feeling how it must have been back then, dirt or dirty roads, bare to the bones Hot Rods driving the street and used for the races and on the lakes in the weekend. We hope you will enjoy these 40s NorCal Hot Rod Photos.

[box_light]The photos in this article come from the Ed Jensons Collection. They were shared by Tim Cunha and scanned by Curtis Leipold. More amazing photos from the Ed Jenson 1940’s photo collection can be seen in the Ed Jensons section.[/box_light]

CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-11Connie Weidell’s nicely styled Model T roadster with side mounted exhaust and two carburetor stacks protruding thru the hood. Cut down ’32 Ford grille and good looking big and bigger white wall tires. (thank you Harley Peters for identifying it)
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-20Model A-Roadster with a ’35 Cadillac¬†dash adapted for a much more exclusive look.
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-14This ’29 Model A-Roadster is probably the same one as the photo above with the ’35 Caddy dash. I guess its the owner who is hiding out behind the two Carb intake.
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-17’39 Ford Phaeton with winter tires on the back.
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-16Another Model A Ford Roadster, this time one with the fenders still on. It looks like it was dressed up with some longer chrome plated headlights.
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-15Model A-Roadster in the works at this small size garage.
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-13Nice looking ’32 Ford Roadster with chopped windshield, dressed up two carb-ed flathead engine and nice looking ’36 Ford headlights.
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-25’42 License plate is mounted on this ’32 Ford Roadster with removed front fenders and running boards.
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-23Apparently the guys from the Sacramento scene also visited the speed shops in So-Cal. The guy in the photo looks like one of the owners of a ’36 Ford Coupe in another Ed Jenson article here on the CCC. The were visiting the Eddie Meyer Sunset Blvd. shop in Hollywood and thought it was special enough to take a snapshot of it.

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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-26Close up of the two carb-ed four banger engine from Model A-5-window coupe we showed in the first article on the Hot Rod photos of ed.
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-27Two more two Flatheads with stock heads and two carb intakes.

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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-29’29 Model A-Roadster with ’32 Ford grille and frame on the streets of Sacramento.
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-21’46-47 Cadillac Sedanette with Spotlights added.¬†
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-22Model T Roadster at the race tracks Getting ready for the race.

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40s NorCal Hot Rod Photos part 1

40s NORCAL HOT ROD PHOTOS

Besides Custom Car photos, Ed Jensen also had a series of Hot Rod photos from the ’40’s Nor-Cal scene in his collection. Amazing material, we will create¬†two articles using these fantastic images.

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e have been sharing some of the amazing photos of the Ed Jenson Collection in a few other CCC-Articles The link to those can be found in the bar below this writing. Sadly Ed is no longer with us, and he did not provide any information with these photos. So many of these cars are unidentified right now. But perhaps some of our viewers can help us identify these cars and we can add names to the car owners. What we do have is a selection of really great snapshots from the early 1940’s Sacramento, and surrounding Hot Rod scene.

These snapshots give us a really good feeling how it must have been back then, dirt or dirty roads, bare to the bones Hot Rods driving the street and used for the races and on the lakes in the weekend. One of the cars we do recognize is the Jack Calori ’29 Model A Roadster not to long after Jack bought it from builder Jack Davis. We hope you will enjoy these¬†40s NorCal Hot Rod Photos.

[box_light]The photos in this article come from the Ed Jensons Collection. They were shared by Tim Cunha and scanned by Curtis Leipold. More amazing photos from the Ed Jenson 1940’s photo collection can be seen in the Ed Jensons section.[/box_light]

CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-02Snapshot shows two 1932 Ford Roadsters and a customized 1936 Ford. The Roadster in the drive way sports single bar flipper hubcaps and 1940 Olsmobile bumpers. Interesting to see these Custom touches on a Hot Rod.
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-08Rough looking ’29 model A roadster with ’32 Ford grille, parked on a street corner with a mildly customized 1941 Studebaker parked behind it.¬†
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-18Probably the same Studebaker as in the photo above, but now with stock hubcaps and fender skirts. 
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-12I really like this photo of this 29 Model A Ford with ’32 Ford grill and home made dropped I-beam front axle. The car looks really touch with the nice house, flowers and trees in the background.
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-07’29 Model A Roadster, possibly an earlier photo of the same car as two photos up
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-06We have used this and the next nice snapshot¬†before in the Max Ferris 1936 Ford article, but since we show one more¬†photos of Jack Calori’s Roadster we figured we better show these¬†here as well.¬†Parked behind Jack’s Roadster is Max Ferris his 1936 Ford with its hood canted up.
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-19Snapshot showing part of the interior of Jack Calori’s roadster. 1940 Ford steering wheel, chrome plated dash with a nice row of instruments and the characteristic V-windshield.
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CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-05Unknown Model A Roadster on a ’32 Ford frame and what looks like an auburn gauge cluster in the dash.
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Possibly the early stages of a Hot Rod to be. Nice looking Model A 5-window coupe with lowered front suspension and two carb intake on the original four banger engine. Two different guys are posing with the same car, makes me wonder who the owner was.CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-03

CCC-ed-jenson-hot-rods-01This is the only photo of the series that came with a name Fred Block. Most likely the owner of this Model A Roadster with home made V-windshield. But other than that we do not know anything more about the¬†“Block Bullet”.
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Stay tuned for the second part of ’40’s Nor-Cal Hot Rod photos from the Ed Jensen Collection showing more nice snapshots.

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Ed Jensons 36 Fords

 

ED JENSONS 36 FORDS

 

From the Ed Jenson’s wonderful 1940’s Sacramento area photo collection, come¬†these¬†photos of two¬†mildly customized 1936 Ford Coupes.



[dropcap]Ed[/dropcap] Jenson’s Collection contained mostly early/mid 1940’s Custom Car and Hot Rod photos from the Sacramento area. Ed was there to witness the “birth”¬†of¬†Customizing with local hero’s as Harry Westergard and George Barris and many others. Be sure to check out the other articles we have done on Ed’s amazing Collection. It shows us how it all started and that the Nor-Call scene was¬†very big in the early 1940’s.

In this article we like to show you two mildly customized 1936 Ford Coupes. Ed has passed away some time ago, and we have never been able to ask him any questions about these photos. So there are no names to go with the cars, and no stories about what happened with the cars later on, or who build them. These photos show the typical every day Custom Car, dressed up with aftermarket parts bought at the local speed shop, and some mild body modifications and possibly a new deep lacquer paint job to make it stand out from the crowd.

Special thanks to Ed Jenson and Tim Cunha for sharing this amazing collection.

[box_light]The photos in this article come from the Ed Jenson Collection. They were shared by Tim Cunha and scanned by Curtis Leipold. More amazing photos from Ed Jenson 1940’s photo collection can be seen in the¬†Ed Jenson Custom Car Chronicle section.[/box_light]


CCC-ed-jenson-36-ford-01-WThere is only one photo of this 1936 Ford Coupe in Ed’s Collection. This one is customized with mostly dress up parts, but it also has a nice looking set-in license plate with 1939 Ford tear drop taillights mounted next to it. To update the car a bit more a set of 1940 Ford had been mounted as well as a set of tear drop fender skirts. Black wall tires on the back, this photo was taken during WWII so white wall tires where near impossible to find. and ripple disk hubcaps and beauty rings on wide white wall tires on the front.
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CCC-ed-jenson-36-ford-06-WThe rest of the photos, or at least as far as we have been able to find out, are from another rather similar mildly customized ’36 Ford Coupe. Most likely this photo shows the owner with the car. He appears in more photos with the car. This is the only photo of this car with fender skirts mounted. Perhaps the hood and solid hood sides have been removed due to overheating of the hopped up flathead during the warm summer month. It appears the car was not lowered. The houses in the background are very nice as well.
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CCC-ed-jenson-36-ford-03-WSame guy with the Coupe. This time with the hood and hood sides on the car. Now the fender skirts have been removed, but that might also have been done after it hit something. Noticed the damaged rear fender.
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CCC-ed-jenson-36-ford-08-WThe car was taken to a local Body & Fenders Works for repair work on the rear fender. It looks like the owner is on cover alls on the left. Perhaps he worked at this body shop?
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CCC-ed-jenson-36-ford-07-WSame location, same car, different people.
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CCC-ed-jenson-36-ford-04-WThis photo gives us a nice look at the hopped up engine with the hood and solid hood sides in the up position. Noticed that the ripple disk hubcaps are dented as well.
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CCC-ed-jenson-36-ford-05-WAn enlarged section of the above photo shows more details. 
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CCC-ed-jenson-36-ford-02-WThis most likely is taken after the repair work on the rear fender, and possibly other parts as well. The ripple disk hubcaps have now been replaced with ripple disk single bar units. and the fender skirts have not been put back on. What a perfect every day Custom, the Ed Jensons 36 Fords.
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Max Ferris – Westergard 1936 Ford

 

MAX FERRIS WESTERGARD 1936 FORD

 

Restyling this car in the 1940 would have an impact on the custom car scene forever. The term “Harry Westergard style” came from the looks Harry achieved for this 1936 Ford.


CCC-max-ferris-westergard-18-WGene Winfield took this photo of the 1936 Ford in the parking lot of a NorCal circle track. Interesting to see the side window curtains installed. Most likely because it was winter time when Gene took the photo. Ed Jensen was most likely already the owner of the car when this photo was taken.
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[box_light]Most of the photos in this article come from the Ed Jenson Collection. They were shared by Tim Cunha and scanned by Curtis Leipold. More amazing photos from Ed Jensons 1940’s photo collection can be seen in the Ed Jensons Custom Car Chronicle section.[/box_light]


CCC-max-ferris-westergard-01-WThe Ford parked in front of Ed Jensen’s house.
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[dropcap]H[/dropcap]arry Westergard customized this 1936 Ford Roadster for Max Ferris in the early 1940’s. Harry Westergard was the best in reshaping an ‚Äúordinary‚ÄĚ Ford into an exclusive automobile. The Packard grille was one way, and, combining it with the long 1939 Buick headlights molded into the front fenders made it an instant winner. The Packard grille was found on a roll-over car at a local wrecking yard and was installed in a hand-shaped panel filling the stock grille opening. The front fenders were welded to the grille surround making the front piece one single unit. For the first version, the hood sides remained stock, but later on a set of smooth hood sides were installed, to clean it up even more. Harry chopped the windshield post and a padded top was constructed. To clean up the car and add some more class to the Ford, Harry filled in the complete belt line from the cowl all the way to the back, creating one smooth body.

All of the handles were shaved and the holes filled. The taillight stands were removed, the holes filled and 1939 Ford ‚Äúteardrop‚ÄĚ shaped taillights installed. A small rectangular hole with round corners just big enough to show the license plate numbers was cut into the panel below the trunk. The plate was installed from inside the car and sat behind a glass plate. These set-in license plates were a big trend in the 1940‚Äôs. Harry installed a set of 1937 DeSoto bumpers. It is interesting to see that Harry used a front and rear bumper on the car, while most customs only use the much flatter front bumper on both sides. The much rounder rear unit actually looks very good on Max‚Äôs car. Most likely the car was painted a maroon at first and later being repainted forest green.

CCC-max-ferris-westergard-02-WPackard Clipper grille and lowed headlights really improve the looks of a 1936 Ford.
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CCC-max-ferris-westergard-14-WThe Ferris Ford used a chrome plated dash with a 1941 Mercury gauge cluster and upside down Lincoln steering wheel.
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CCC-max-ferris-westergard-07-WThis and a few of the other photos show that these cars were daily users, and small mishaps happened. Notice the round 1937 DeSoto rear bumper.
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CCC-max-ferris-westergard-19-WA good look how Harry installed the Packard Clipper grille and Buick headlights.
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CCC-max-ferris-westergard-09-WFantastic early 1940’s photo from the Ed Jensons Collection showing the¬†roadster on the far right. But the main focus from the photographer in this photo was the Hot Rod. The Hot Rod is Jack Davis/Calori roadster, not long after Jack Davis sold it to Jack Calori.¬†A 1929 Model A Roadster on a 32 Ford frame with the cut down 32 Ford grille and with the home made V-style windshield and a hopped up engine with two carb intake is a really great sample of early 1940’s Hot Rods.
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CCC-max-ferris-westergard-10-WEnlarged section of the photo shown above shows Ed’s Roadster a bit more up close.
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CCC-max-ferris-westergard-05-WThe stock hood sides are now replaced with a set of smooth units. The shape of the padded top is perfectly proportioned. Here we can see Ed and a friend packing some stuff for one of their many road-trips in the car.
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CCC-max-ferris-westergard-08-WIn this photo we get a good look at the ’39 Ford taillights and set in license plate.
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CCC-max-ferris-westergard-04-WOn one of the many trip something must have broken down.
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CCC-max-ferris-westergard-12-WThe photo above and the one below are also taken by Gene Winfield. The roadster was used as rolling advertising for the Roadster races at the Oakland Stadium. Ed knew the promotor of the show and had offered to help promote the event for him.
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Max sold the car to Ed Jensen¬†who¬†owned the ’36 Ford for quite some time. Ed¬†later sold the car¬†to a guy who lived on the other side of the bay and the ¬†ended up over there. When Ed talked to Tim Cunha about the 36, he was not sure about the name of the guy he sold the car to, but possibly this¬†was Larry Chubbick, but it could have been somebody before Larry as well. when¬†Larry Chubbick owned the car he removed the skirts, and changed the suspension,¬†to give the car a slight forward rake. Larry also added a lot of speed parts and a Colombia 2-spped rear axle. Larry used the car as his daily driver and as some of the photos show it started to show signs of being well used. At one point Larry respainted the car in Cinnabar Red. In 1949 Vern Simons bought the car at a used car dealership. By then the rear fenders had been smoothed and a set of ¬†1941 Chevy taillights mounted on the DeSoto bumpers. In 1949 the ’36 Ford had seen a lot of road use and needed a full restoration. Vern hired Lyle Barteles from San Francisco to do the lead work on the car.¬†Vern painted the car in black and had Hall of Oakland redo the padded top.¬†In 1952 Vern took his 1936 Ford to Bonneville to race it. The team struggled a lot but eventually Verne managed to get a speed of 119.52 on his tag.

CCC-max-ferris-westergard-20-WThe reworked engine, Vern took a snapshot moments before it was reinstalled in the car from the trip to Bonneville in 1952.
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CCC-max-ferris-westergard-13-WThis photo of Vern’s Ford at Bonneville was listed on eBay some time ago. The 1951 date written on it should be 1952.
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When Vern Simons bought the car of the car lot he had no idea where it came from, or who built it. When the¬†Rodder’s Journal did an article on Vern’s unrestored Roadster in¬†issue No. 19¬†Vern found out much more on the history of the car. But one of the missing links, Ed Jenson, came into the picture after Tim Cunha recognized the roadster in the RJ article from the amazing photos in his friends Ed Jenson’s collection. So Tim made sure Ed and Vern met each other and were able to share many memories about the car.¬†Vern still owns this early Westergard custom.¬†After the car had been in storage and photographed for the Rodder’s Journal article, Vern decided it was time to start restoring the car. He choose the Foley bros. Custom Works shop in Redwood City to start the restoration around 2009. In 2011¬†Vern Simons was invited to show his 1936 Ford Roadster built by Harry Westergard at the GNRS Customs Then & Now show. The car arrived at the show in a slightly street rodded version. But after spending the weekend at the show, surrounded by nothing but Custom Cars, Vern came to the conclusion the car needs to get back to the full Custom style as it was intended by Harry Westergard in the early 1940’s.


CCC-max-ferris-westergard-16-WVern’s Ford parked in front of the¬†Foley bros. Custom Works shop during the start of the partial restoration.
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CCC-max-ferris-westergard-22-WThis photo shows the smoothed rear fenders and 1941 Chevy taillights mounted on the DeSoto bumper. This is how Vern Simons got the car.
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Vern’s Ford how it looks while it was shown at the 2011 GNRS Customs Then & Now exhibit.
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More info and resources

  • The Rodder’s Journal, Issue #19
  • Gene Winfield book
  • The American Custom Car, Pat Ganahl book
  • Kustoms Illustrated, Issue #35



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A day at the Races

SACRAMENTO BACK ROAD RACING

Ed Jenson’s photo collection gives us a really great feel how the young Nor-Car Hot Rodder’s raced their cars on the back roads of Sacramento.

We have been sharing some of the amazing photos of the Ed Jenson Collection before when we highlighted George Barris and Gene Garrett’s 1936 Fords. For this photo-report we like to focus on some of the Hot Rod related photos of Ed’s amazing photo collection. Most of the photos in this article were made during one of the many races Hot Rodder’s organized in the early 1940’s. This was before there were any official drag strips and guys wanted to race against each other to show who had the most powerful engine. These photos were taken somewhere “close” to Sacramento at some back-road. Many Hot Rods competed against each other on this long and empty road. We can see both Hot Rods as well as mild Custom Cars competing against each other.

The first couple of photos are of some of the guys getting ready for action, leaving their homes for a race trip into the hills.

 

CCC-Jenson-Day-at-Races-03-WThe tag on the license plate of this stripped down 32 Ford reads 1942.

 

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CCC-Jenson-Day-at-Races-11-WThis very interesting photo shows an early version of the Jack Calori Model A Roadster. Most likely shortly after Jack bought it from Jack Davis. In the back on the right we can see the Harry Westergard-built Max Ferris / Vern Simon’s 1936 Ford roadster with Packard grille. And sitting next to it an 1936 Ford Phaeton with LaSalle grille.

 

And then on to the rendezvous point up in the hills where the race could start. The photos below show how close cars were parked next to the “drag strip”. It also shows that the spectators made way when the cars were coming and would go on the roads to watch the racing cars disappear in the distance.

 

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Two full fendered cars racing. The 1936 Ford on the left looks to have a narrowed stock grille. Right now the heavier 1941 Ford coupe is taking the lead. Perhaps the white truck in the back was blocking off other traffic while the race was going. Notice the smoothed and skirted 1941 Ford sedan parked on the left.

 

CCC-Jenson-Day-at-Races-05-WTwo 1932 Ford Roadsters at full speed.

 

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CCC-Jenson-Day-at-Races-06-WLooks like not everything went according to plan.

 

CCC-Jenson-Day-at-Races-08-WThese photos show that the race was held both ways. Or perhaps these photos were taken on different days.

 

CCC-Jenson-Day-at-Races-09-WCustomized 1932 Ford roadster on the left with custom bumpers and hubcaps, and what looks like a padded top.

 

CCC-Jenson-Day-at-Races-14-Wand into the distance…

 
Special thanks to Ed Jenson and Tim Cunha for sharing this amazing collection.

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George Barris personal ’36 Ford

 

BARRIS SACRAMENTO ’36 FORD

 

George Barris was still living in Sacramento, spending his spare time in Harry Westergard’s shop, when he build this 1936 Ford convertible as his very own Personal Every Daily Driver.


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George Barris grew up in Sacramento, California. He started his, life long lasting, love affair with custom cars right there. We know that George spend a lot of his spare time helping out, and working for Harry Westergard. George wanted to learn everything he could about customizing, and Harry was willing to show him the things he knew. But, until a set of amazing early Sacramento custom car photos from the Ed Jenson collection surfaced, we never really knew how much George Barris was influenced by the pioneer Harry Westergard. In a Custom Car Chronicle article, we show some photos of this collection, taken of Harry Westergard’s Gene Garrett’s 1936 Ford.¬†These photos shows how similar these two cars are, when they were photographed on the same day at the same location. (A photo showing both these cars can be seen at the end of this article)

Many interesting things are shown in these early photos. For instance, the modification of the filled-in area on the doors, just above the belt line. We can see that George had it filled on his Ford, while Garrett’s doors were still stock when these photos were taken in 1943. Eventually, Westergard would fill in this body crease on Garrett’s Ford as well. It is an odd, perhaps not really improving custom touch, but it sure is interesting to see that George did this modification on his car first. Was Harry influenced by Georges design on his own 1936 Ford? Or did they work together on the cars, and experimented the team on George his car first? I do not know if we will ever find the answer to this. Harry is long gone, and George already mixed up the Gene Garrett 1936 Ford and his own 1936 Ford in one of his own books.

CCC-George-Barris-36-Ford-1943-01This photo taken in 1943 shows George’s ’36 Ford still in progress in Sacramento Nor-Cal. Parked behind it on the far right of the photo we can see the front end of the in progress Gene Garrett’s 1936 Ford created by Harry Westergard.
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George built his 1936 Ford cabriolet not only for personal use, but also as a rolling advertisement of his skills as custom car builder. According to some of the Barris books, George built this car when he was working at Brown Brothers in Sacramento. During this period he spent much of his spare time at Harry Westergard’s shop.

Ed’s photos of Georges car, show the car is still rather rough, but most of the work has already been done on it. George removed the running boards, and filled, and reshaped the back of the front fenders. He chopped the windshield, and used a padded top. According George had Hall Tops out of Oakland create the top for him. But in these 1943 photos, we can see that the top already looks rather old and used. So we are unsure if this is the Hall top he is referring to, or that this one is an older used top he bought somewhere. 1939 Ford taillights were slightly recessed into the rear fenders, another unusual feature on George his car that we have not seen done very often in the 1940’s. The license plate was recessed, and placed behind glass on the lower body panel below the trunk. He molded in headlight buckets, low into the front fenders. The headlights on Georges car are a lot lower, and closer to the grille than what Harry Westergard did on Gene‚Äôs Ford. George used a 1939 Nash grille to make the front look taller, and more elegant. George used, just as Harry did on Gene’s Ford,¬† 1934 Pontiac hood sides and tear drop shaped fender skirts with Buick trim pieces. George used Appleton spotlights, ripple disk hubcaps and 1937 DeSoto Bumpers.

CCC-George-Barris-36-Ford-1943-03 Cropped detail of one of Ed Jenson’s photos shows the rough body on George’s¬†Ford. This photo gives us a good look at the frenched 1939 Ford taillights, the set-in license plate as well as the well worn dark colored padded top and double exhaust with large diameter tips.
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It looks like George had driven his chopped Ford for some time already, judging by the wear and tear on the Hall top. It also looks like George had applied some heavy amounts of lead when molding the rear fenders to the body, and had not filed and sanded the lead yet. The recessed 1939 Ford taillights ‚Äď of which one is broken ‚Äď are a nice touch.

CCC-George-Barris-36-Ford-1943-04In this slightly fuzzy photo we can see George ran his car without the hood and hood sides that day. Perhaps they were not finished yet. We can also see the molded in longer than stock headlights, the reshaped back portion of the rear fenders, the very wavy frame rail cover, and the filled in body crease on the door, above the beltline.
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CCC-Barris-36-Ford-HopUpMay53-WIn the May 1953 issue of Hop Up magazine,  was an article on the Barris Shop. In this article two photos of Georges personal 1936 Ford were used. One unfinished without rear bumpers and fender skirts, and once complete finished and painted.
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CCC-George-Barris-36-Ford-1945-08A very young George Barris in his recently finished 1936 Ford. The photo was take after George had driven the car from Sacramento to Los Angeles  during WWII.
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CCC-George-Barris-36-Ford-1943-07One other photo of Georges 1936 Ford as a finished car was taken from a building top, for an interesting birds-eye point of view. It shows the nice lines the molded in longer headlights create.
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After Ed took the photos of the unfinished car, George continued to work on it. Eventually, when all the work was fine-tuned, he painted it with many coats of medium blue lacquer.  This 1936 Ford, was the car that George drove when he moved to Los Angeles in 1944. It is also the car he used to impress many guys and girls with, because of the door electric poppers he had installed to open the doors. At the time he was one of the first to use these. Most other cars that had the door handles shave off, had to be opened by hidden handles, or through the open windows on the inside. George damaged the front end of this Ford in an accident. He took a job at the Jones Brothers body shop in LA, and made a deal that he could used the shop tools and space to fix his own 36 Ford, in exchange of doing shop work for them. George remained with this shop for some time, and brought in new custom orientated clients to the shop. Later George sold the 1936 Ford in LA, and never saw it again.



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The in-progress photos of George Barris’s and Gene¬†¬†Garrett’s 1936 Fords¬†are of¬†great historical importance. Over the years, both cars have been mixed up in several publications ‚Äď especially the Westergard Gene Garrett Ford¬†(on the right in the photo below)¬†¬†is¬†often misleadingly “identified”¬†as the George Barris 1936 Ford. This photo shows that Harry Westergard, and George Barris were working on similar styled cars at the same time¬†in the early 1940’s.¬†They both worked together during that period, and we can state that this collaboration must have influenced both in creating their own distinctive custom car style. More on the Gene Garrett Westergard restyled 1936 Ford can be found in this CCC-Article.

CCC-George-Barris-36-Ford-1943-05This 1943 photo, shows George Barris­’ 1936 Ford on the left, and Gene Garrett’s Westergard­ built Ford on the right.
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Gene Garrett’s Westergard Ford

EARLY WESTERGARD

Gene Garrett brought his already mildly customized 1936 Ford convertible to Harry Westergard, to have it turned into -what nowadays is considered-, the first Westergard styled 36 Ford.

Ed Jenson’s amazing collection of old Sacramento based Hot Rods and Custom Car photos, gives us a good look at the early work of Harry Westergard.

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In 1943 Gene Garrett took his 1936 Ford to Harry Westergard. The car was already customized a bit by an unknown shop, where they had removed the running boards. Something we don’t see much these days. But back in the early 1940’s, this was a very common customizing trick. It is said that this car is the first ‚Äė36 Ford that has the well known ‚ÄúWestergard style‚ÄĚ to it. The car was built around 1943. Harry chopped the windshield a couple of inches. He filled in the stock grille opening, and used a 1941/42 Packard Clipper grille in its place to give the car more elegance. A set of non-stock headlights were molded into the tops of the front fenders; perhaps not the most elegant modification. But remember, this is 1943, and the custom style is in its infancy. The running boards had already been removed when Harry got the car, but Harry did reshaped the back portion of the front fenders to make them look much better ‚Äď like something that could have come from an expensive sports car. Harry also made a filler piece to fit under the body, and hide the frame from view.

The holes left in the rear fender – from the running board mounts – were filled and covered with a rock shield. In the close up photo, we can see that, at that point, the rock shield was rather crude, and looked to be made out of ribbed material. The hood sides were filled in using 1934 Pontiac hood sides. At the back of Gene’s ford, Harry sunk the license plate just above the bumper, and below the trunk. Harry also installed a set of Appleton spotlights, mounted 1937 DeSoto bumpers front, and rear and ripple disk flipper hubcaps on wide white wall tires. Later Harry would finish the car with a a new lift-off top. Harry loved to use sheet metal shapes taken from other cars. To fabricated the top on Gene’s Ford, he used the top from a wrecked 1937 Pontiac, and reshaped it.
Harry painted the car in two-tone green, while Gene was in the army. According to the stories, Butler Rugard ‚Äď who has owned several Harry Westergard customs ‚Äď , bought the car from Gene, just a couple of days after Harry had finished it.

CCC-Gene-Garrett-36Ford-01-WThis early 1940’s photo from the Ed Jenson Collection shows Gene’s 1936 Ford in progress on the streets of Sacramento.

 

CCC-Gene-Garrett-36Ford-02-WThis close up shows how Harry Westergard shaped a new nose piece, and adapted the Packard grille to it. The hood looks to welded into one piece with a smoothed center. It also shows the bare metal work on the front fender mounted Headlights. We can also see how the front fender was extended  into a pointed back portion. And it looks like the Appleton Spotlights were none plated units. Only one stock DeSoto bumper guard is used, mounted in the center of the bumper.

 

CCC-Gene-Garrett-36Ford-04-WThis close up shows the ribbed rock shield on the rear fender. The teardrop shaped skirts and 1941 Buick trim piece turned upside down.

 

CCC-Gene-Garrett-36Ford-03-WThis photo shows the car all finished and painted shades of green. It also shows the new lift off top Harry created for the car. Oddly the white wall tires that were on the car during construction, are now replaced with black wall tires.

 

CCC-Gene-Garrett-36Ford-05-W A look at the back, shows us the use of 1939 teardrop shaped taillights, mounted low on the rear fenders. The set in license plate, is also mounted as low as possible. And the double rear window in the hand made top.

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After that the car disappeared. We have no idea what happened to this milestone custom 1936 Ford. Wouldn’t it be great to find a car like this sitting an a garage? Hopefully this car is still around today.

The Gene Garrett 1936 Ford is often mistaken to be the George Barris 1936 Ford. Several publications made this mix up. But luckily, we found a photo in Ed Jenson’s amazing collection, that shows both George Barris’, and Gene Garrett’s 36 Fords in one photo, as can be seen below.
We will be sharing more on this amazing photo in an upcoming article on George Barris his 1936 Ford. Stay tuned.

 

CCC-Garrett-Barris-36Ford-01-WThis wonderful early 1940’s photo shows George Barris’ ¬†unfinished 1936 Ford in front of the unfinished Gene Garrett 1936 Ford.

 

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