Joe Gertler 1941 Ford

 

JOE GERTLER 1941 FORD

 

From the Jamie Barter Photo Collection comes this series of slightly oddly restyled 1941 Ford Convertible photos. The car was created by Joe Gertler at the Raceway Garage in the Bronx around 1950.

Jamie Barter shared a new set of photos from his collection with the Custom Car Chronicle. The car in these photos are two versions of an 1941 Ford Convertible Restyled by Joe Gertler Sr. at his Raceway Garage in the Bronx (New York) around 1950. Joe Gertler Sr. started the Raceway Garage in 1939. He was an innovative perfectionist in custom building well-known racing craft, from airplanes and exotic sports cars, to the many racing cars and boats that came from his shop. It is estimated that he built approx 200 complete cars from 1937-1990

The cars created at the Raceway Garage are an odd mix of Sports Custom, Coachbuild, and Custom Restyled Cars all blended together. Joe Gertler was a pioneer Car builder on the East Coast of the USA who won many trophies with his uniquely restyled car. He was well known for building competitive Midgets and Sprint Cars, as well as Le Mans winning cars and Cars for well known people around New York City. Some had Custom body work, others received complete hand made bodies. The Raceway Garage was able to handle it all. More information about Joe Gertler and the Raceway Garage can be found on the Memaerobilia website.

Most of the cars created at the Raceway Garage shop are not really suited for the Custom Car Chronicle. But the car in the series of photos from the Jamie Barter Collection shows a very interesting mix of Custom Restyling inspired from sampled from the West Coast, as well as European Coachbuild influences. The photos show two versions of the same car. The first most likely photographed in the later part of the 1940’s the second most likely around 1950-51.

First version

The photos in Jimmie’s Collection came with no additional information, other that the car was based on 1941 Ford convertible and created by the Raceway Garage in New York. From what we can see in the photos it looks like the car was channeled over the frame, the fenders front and rear where raised to meet with the bottom of the body. The running boards were removed, and all four fenders were molded to the body. Possibly a different year and brand set of front fenders was used, or the ’41 Ford units were heavily modified. The front fenders were further modified into full fade away fenders. The hood was modified and a new much wider than stock front section was added, and a new hood line was cut along the belt line, and about a foot from the front of the hood. The front section of the nose was molded to the front fenders.

The windshield was chopped a few inches, vent windows cut accordingly and for the first version the working soft top was modified to fit the chopped windshield and covered in dark material. There is no photo showing the back of this version of the car, so we cannot see what kind of taillights were used, possibly 1948 Ford units turned 90’s degrees from original, possibly on custom made pods. It appears in the side view photo that the car already had exhaust tips in the rear portion of the rear fenders above the rear bumper. The first version of the car was painted dark and a set of fender skirts mounted on the rear fenders.

Side view shows the fender skirts, rounded front wheel openings, Lyons hubcaps on wide whites, and heavy stainless or chrome plated rocker trim, possibly created from 1947 Frazer rocker trim.
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The grille on the car looks to be made from 1946 Studebaker components. The front bumper appears to come from an 1947 Dodge. Notice the wide front of the hood and one continues shape with no hood lines.
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This photo shows the round front wheel openings a bit better. The car is parked in front of the Raceway Garage shop building. The Raceway Garage sign can be seen on the left side of the building.
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Second Version

Some time later, most likely around 1950-51 the car was updated by Joe, we are not sure if this car was Joe’s personal car, or one of the many he created for his customers. The car was modernized with reshaped front wheel opening, a new all custom made grille very much inspired by some European Coachbuild cars. New taillights with what looks like 1951 Lincoln taillights lenses and surrounds on new larger molded in pods. A Continental kit and long molded in splash pan at the rear. The bumpers were replaced by 199-50 DeSoto units, hubcaps update with a more modern set of aftermarket units. The folded top was replaced with a padded top covered in light colored canvas and now with the rear quarter windows filled in.The fender skirts were removed, and the car was painted a new, lighter two tone color. Personally I think the original version looked a lot better than the more Coachbuild inspired second version.

The new lighter color, the padded top, and the lack of fender skirts changed the looks of the car completely. It also appears that the front end was lowered a bit giving the car an kind of odd looking forward rake.
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One other modification done to the car was a new hood line cut into the front section following the belt line all the way to the front of the nose.
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The rear bumper most likely comes from a ’49-50 DeSoto woody with its distinctive cut out which was perfect for the added continental kit. Notice the rather large (for a padded top) rear window.
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Not sure if this is the owner of the car, or Joe Gertler Sr. posing with the car.
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The new version of the car now has a set of 1949-50 DeSoto bumpers, and in this photo we can see the new hand made grille, and how the hood line was extended at the front so that the hood opens all the was to the front now.
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This a bit higher point of view shows the long exhaust tips mounted underneath the most likely ’51 Lincoln taillights on molded in pods, the long splash pan and continental kit. I have to say that the new version of the cars rear is not a improvement over the early version.
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Another odd thing from the updated version is the round rear wheel openings, while the fronts were squared off. Fender skirts might have looked better on this version as well.
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The car was painted in a new lighter color with the trunk and above the belt-line till the A-pillars in a darker color. This photo shows how the new taillights, long exhaust and spare tire are not really working to well. The original version of the car was much more in harmony.
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We came across a few photos of Joe and another guy working on new bodies Sports Car in the Raceway Garage Shop.
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Looks like there are plenty of project going on at the New York Bronx Raceway Garage Shop.
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Barter Collection 36 Ford Cabrio

 

36 FORD CABRIOLET

 

Jamie Barter has shared a few more photo from his early photo collection with us. This time he shared 3 photos of a heavily restyled 1936 Ford Cabriolet taken around 1948.



Jamie found these three photos at an recent (autumn 2017) eBay auction. The three photos all appear to have been taken in the later part of the 1940’s The license plate tag on the car is from 1948 or 1949. The only information that came with these three photos was that the photos were probably taken near San Jose, Gilroy, Salinas area. No other information was given by the ebay seller. So far Jamie, nor anybody else who has seen these photos has been able to identify the ’36 Ford Cabriolet in these photos. It appears that the photos have been carried with the owner in his wallet for many years, looks like he was very fond on the car.  If you know anything about this ’36 Ford, please email Rik Hoving so that we can share the information here.

The car in the photos is a ’36 Ford that has been channeled over its frame and to witch ’40 Ford front fenders and heavily sectioned hood have been added. The running boards have been removed after the body was dropped over the frame to make the bottom of the body sit near level with the bottom of the fenders. The windshield frame has been cut down at least 3-4 inches, and a padded top was created to fit the new lower windshield. The sectioned 1940 Ford hood had its top portion cut out to create a new hood opening. The hood sides were modified to fit with the ’36 Ford cowl. The door and trunk handles have been removed, and a custom gas filler door,possibly taken from a newer car, has been added to the drivers side rear fender.

Possible the owner/builder posing with his ’36 Ford with ’40 Ford front fenders and hood. It looks like the firewall was fitted with a an engine turned panel. 
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It appears that the car is still under construction. Looking at these photos I think that the flat front bumper (brand unknown) is too close to the body to make it possible to install a ’40 Ford grille in the opening. Perhaps the owner was still trying to figure out what to do for a grille. Also interesting to see is that the front bumper mounts have been lowered, after the channeling, to fit the stock holes in the 1940 Ford front fenders. While at the back the mounts seam to have been left in the stock position on the frame, which made it necessary to cut larger holes into the body and mount the rear bumper – a 1941 Ford unit – higher on the body compared to a stock ’36 Ford rear bumper position. A set of black wall tires are used, an indication that the car might have been created during or shortly after WWII when white wall tires were impossible to get. A set of single bar flipper hubcaps and beauty rings are used to dress up the wheel.


With the raised ’40 Ford front fenders, sectioned hood and heavy chopped windshield the car has become very low in overall height. Hard to tell the brand and year of the front bumper, but it looks to have been flattened to fit the Ford bumper mounts. 
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Another interesting detail is the “sunrise” interior door panel upholstery. A typical Art-Deco feature seen in some coachbuilt cars. It appears that the dashboard was home made and upholstered with a flat panel with gauges added set into it. The steering wheel is a 1940 Ford unit. The rear quarter photo were we can see the car with the door open shows how much the body was dropped over the frame. It also shows that the panel created to cover the frame has a lot of road debris on it. Once the running boards were removed the road dust and rain from the road would find its way into the interior between the frame cover and the upholstery panel on the door.

It reminds me about a story Bob Drake told me about his road trips in the Jack Stewart Ford. That custom had the same situation, it was also channeled and door upholstery clamped against the frame cover was not enough to keep water from the road coming into the interior when he drove the car in wet conditions. He always carried several towels in the car which he would stuff in between the door and floor of the car to prevent the interior getting all wet and dirty. It sure looks like this ’36 Ford had a similar issue going.

The sunrise upholstery pattern give a very classic feel to this ’36 Ford Custom. The gas filler door and other body modifications indicate that the owner either was very handy and creative, or was able to spend some money on his dream car to have it built by a body shop.
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Close up show the engine turned fire wall panel.
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Close up of the sunrise door-panel upholstery, the padded dash with custom insert, and ’40 Ford steering wheel. 
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Close up of the rear shows the custom gas filler in the rear fender, the 39 or perhaps 41 Ford taillights sitting very low on the fender and what appears to be a ’49 license plate tag.
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I wonder if this ’36 Ford was ever finished with a nice gloss paint job, a new grille and possibly new front fender to clear the grille. There are pictures around from several ’36 Ford’s with ’40 Ford front ends grafted on, which was a common restyling method back in the 1940’s, but none looks to be similar to this one. Perhaps one of our readers will recognise this car, or perhaps the guy in the picture and shed some more light on this mystery Custom ’36 Ford.

Thank you Jamie to share these great Custom Car snapshots with us.



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Jamie Barter 34 Ford

 

34 FORD ROADSTER

 

Jamie Barter has shared a few more of his early photo collection with us. This time a series of photos of a customized 1934 Ford Roadster taken during WWII.

Jamie found these four negatives at an recent (summer 2015) eBay auction. And they show an early customized 1934 Ford Roadster. So far Jamie, not anybody else who has seen these photos has been able to identify this nice ’34 Ford Roadster in these photos. So if you know anything about it, please let us know. One of the first things you notice on this ’34 Ford Roadster is the V-windhsield. It is hard to tell from these photos if the owner/builder used an v-windshield from another car, or if it was home made to fit the 34 Ford cowl. We do know that it looks really good on the car. The top, possibly a modified soft top to fit the V-windshield, but perhaps it is a custom made padded top, hard to tell. Another Custom touch are the removed running boards and the slightly modified fenders where the running boards used to be. The “double” front bumper is something we have seen before, another real early custom touch.

 
CCC-jamie-barter-34-ford-roadster-05Images from the eBay auction show the original negatives and inverted samples.
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CCC-jamie-barter-34-ford-roadster-02This side view photo shows the nice rake of the V-windshield and that there was no filler panel made after the running boards were removed.
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CCC-jamie-barter-34-ford-roadster-04“Double” front bumper, fog lights, and a really great looking V-Windshield.
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CCC-jamie-barter-34-ford-roadster-03This rear 3/4 view shows that the rear bumper did not have the double up section added. It does show that the passenger side has the custom made side window curtain installed.
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CCC-jamie-barter-34-ford-roadster-01In this photo we have a good look at the License plate with the “V” tab attached to the upper right of the plate. This dates the photos of the car to somewhere between 1941 and 1944.
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Thank you Jamie for sharing another nice set of early photos, very much appreciated. A nice, perhaps a bit rough around the corners 1934 Ford early Custom. It makes me wonder when it was actually built, possibly even before WWII. It also makes me wonder what happened to this nice 1934 Ford Roadster. A car with a V-windshield like this but have been noticed. These photos show one again that also the 34 Ford was used back in the early days as Custom Material, and not only for Hot Rodding.

 
 
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Barter Collection 40 Merc

 

BARTER COLLECTION 40 MERC

 

Jamie Barter recently added these four old photos of an 1940 Mercury Convertible Custom to his Collection.

 
Jamie Barter loves early style Hot Rod and Custom Car, and has been collecting old photos for many years. Fortunately for us, he loves to share these photos. He is not, like some collectors, keeping them in private files, but he scans the originals and shares them with as many people as possible. Just sharing the things he loves, knowing other people will enjoy them as much as he does, and sometimes to see if somebody else knows more about the subject of the photo. We have recently added a CCC-SECTION for Jamie’s Photo Collection and we will be sharing some more of his collection in the near future.
 
 
Lets take a closer look at the four photos Jamie recently added to his collection.
At first glance these photos have a very much late 1940’s feel, but when I took a closer look I noticed that the License plate on the Mercury was the 1952-55 Style. I could not make out the actual date from the scans so I asked Jamie if he could see it on the original photo. 1953! was his reply. Not really what we both expected, we both had the feeling it was more like 1948. So it appears that this Custom Mercury was already kind of outdated when these snapshots were taken.

So far we also have not been able to identify the car, it is a pretty “generic” Custom with no real details that set it apart from others making it rather hard to identify. The only two items I can see that might help are the 1940 Chevy taillights and the license plate protection bar. The padded top looks to be in a style that the Carson Top Shop was best known for, a little more boxy than what Gaylord or others would do. Most likely made on the special jig the Carson Shop was using for these tops. All the work looks to be done several prior to when these photos where taken, most likely in the mid 1940’s judging the style of the restyling.

CCC-jpb-1940-merc-convert-03This rear 3/4 view is my personal favorite since we cannot see that the hood is actual missing in this photo.
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CCC-jpb-1940-merc-convert-01The taillights used on the Mercury appear to originate from a 1940 Chevy, not a taillight that was used a lot. But they do look good. The license plate guard is another unit that is not seen a lot, and is one more thing that makes me believe this is an older custom. The 1937 DeSoto ribbed bumper is a classic touch, that suits any 1940 Mercury really well.
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CCC-jpb-1940-merc-convert-02The interior photo is sadly a bit blurry, but we still can make out the Ford accessory steering wheel, the Appleton Spotlight handles and a pretty plain upholstery, another indication that this is an older Custom. 
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CCC-jpb-1940-merc-convert-04The last photo, the front 3/4 shot shows that the car was driving around with no hood and no grille. We can only speculate why this was done. Perhaps the owner was a racer, perhaps the “old” engine was overheated a lot. We can see a two carb intake, and some chrome goodies on the engine. The left on door handles and the well used character are more signs of the age of this Custom.
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Thank you Jamie for sharing these great photos with us, and hopefully somebody on the CCC will recognize the car, and can shed some more light on the history of it. We all would love to know more about it, who owned it originally, who restyled it, and where were the photos taken? If you know anything, please leave a comment, or email Rik.
 
 
 
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Dry lake Greetings

 

DRY LAKE GREETINGS

 

Some time ago I came across this really neat snapshot on ebay. Two cars with a plane parked on the Salt Flats in 1949.

 
When I was browsing ebay for some old photos, like I do from time to time, I came across this really nice looking snapshot. Two cars and a plane sitting on a dry lake. I noticed that the two cars were mildly customized, or perhaps a better term in this case would be dressed up. It was a nice photo… giving a very nice feel of the late 1940’s. I saved the ad and went on browsing. Then I came across a photo of this girl standing next to a 1941 Chevy with single bar flipper hubcaps. I immediately recognized it from the snapshot with the 1946-48 Mercury and the plane.  So I looked at the seller and what else he had to offer.

 

CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-01This is the one photo I bought from the collection. I just love everything about this one, it is such a nice photo. A couple of mild custom and plane parked on the salt and the owners getting ready to watch the the cars at full speed.
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There were 21 photos that looked to be taken at the same time, by the same people, coming from the same collection. I saved the ebay photos and did not really think about it for a couple of days. Until I was looking for something on my computer and came across the photo with the two cars and the plane again. I just could not stop looking at it. I had seen some photos in the Wally Welch Photo Album where Wally was flying an small airplane similar to the one in this photo. Wally Welch was very much into Custom Cars, but also in Hot Rods, and I knew he could fly, so With this photo I could imagine how people like Wally Welch, with a passion for cars and the ability to fly a plane would go out, rent a plane and fly it out to Bonneville to watch the cars race the salt lake. This photo, and the others offered on ebay have nothing to do with Wally Welch, at least not as far as I know, but it just inspired me enough to make an offer on the one photo. I was the only one who bid on it, and ten days later I received it in my mailbox. Its a really nice snapshot.
 
CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-02Cropped section of the photo shows the dressed up 1946-48 Mercury coupe with Californian plates and the 1941 Chevy that has been dropped in the back a bit with single bar flipper hubcaps. Nothing really special, just every day drivers from some car loving guys.
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I then started to look a little better at the other photo I had downloaded to my computer, the once I did not bid on. I have no idea if they sold, or not. All I have from them are the digital photos that were used for the ebay ads. There was no information about the photos when they were listed on ebay… but to me it looks like perhaps two guys and a girl friend made a trip out to Bonneville to see the Hot Rod’s race at the lakes. I cannot make out from which state the 1941 Chevy come. There is no state indication on the license plate. One other photo in the series shows a 1949 License plate, so most likely this trip was made in 1949. And possibly the guys and girl had been dreaming about this trip for some time, hence all the snapshots that were taken during the trip.

CCC-Member Jimmy Barter corrected me on this writing. He let me know that there where a lot more than 21 photos in this collection. And that the trip was not made to Bonneville alone. He was able to buy 60 photos from this collection and he was able to recognize a few other locations as well. The airplane photo and the Woman next to the ’40 Chev plus the coupe speed runs and the 2 roadsters (sepia coloured) are from El Mirage. The photo of the trophy presentation is from Saugus drag strip. Thank you Jimmy for the extra info.
 
CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-03Another photo shows the girl friend with the 1941 Chevy. If somebody recognizes the license plate, please let me know. Typical snapshot with the horizon on an angle, vertical photos when a horizontal would have been a better choice… but still I love the idea of the photo taken to show the friends at home the Chevy and the girl made it out to Bonneville.
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CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-04Slight speedboat stance with single bar flipper hubcaps… and a tough looking girl…
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The one photo I was able to buy started this story. To me it gives a very good image of how it was back in the 1940’s. The rest of the photos from the ebay auctions made up the rest of the story in my head. It made me wonder how it must have been to make a special trip like that back then. These snapshots might have been part of a personal collection for many decades. Inside a photo-album, the one from the 1949 Bonneville trip. An album that perhaps was taken out from time to time, to re-live that wonderful trip again. Perhaps the album was found in an estate sale in recent years and each photo sold off individually… greeting new stories with the new owners.
 
CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-05The road to the lakes… a whole lot of “nothing”.
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CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-09Another proof to show back home that they made it to the Salt Flats.
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CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-10Possibly the owner of the 1941 Chevy and his girlfriend close the the Salt Flats.
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CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-11The two guys brushing their teeth… 
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CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-06Distant speeding Hot Rod on the salt.
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CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-07’36 Ford at full speed… a little closer to the track.
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CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-08Full speed Hot Rod…
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CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-12They also hung out in the pits, looking at the cars, taking some snapshots and watching the award ceremony.
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CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-13A few more snapshots from the pits era with the Pierson Bros cars in one of the photos.
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Hot Rod Coupe Prints by Jimmy

HOT ROD COUPE PRINTS BY JIMMY

CCC-Hot Rod contributer and Hot Rod illustrator Jimmy B has released a set of ten Hot Rod Coupe Illustrations. Lets take a look at closer look at Jimmy’s work.

 
The set of 10 Hot Rod Coupe illustrations are limited to 200 sets. All will be hand numbered and signed by Jimmy. The set comes in a great looking matt celloglazed die-cut folder. The folder opens from the back side which shows each of the included coupe illustrations.
The 10 Illustrations are printed on heavy 300 gsm card and are neatly stored inside this folder.

The prints are on 300 gsm card. The dimensions are 11.69″ x 8.25″ (A4, 297mm x 210mm).
 
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Coupes include in the set

  • Lynn Yakel ’32
  • Frank ‘Ike’ Iacono ’33
  • Chrisman bros. ’30
  • Bill Phy ’33
  • Fran Hernandez ’32
  • Harold Casaurang ’34
  • Chopped & Channelled ’32
  • Alex Xydias ’34
  • Pierson Bros ’34
  • Doug Hartelt ’34

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CCC-jimmy-hot-rod-coupe-prints-048 of the 10 illustrations are shown above.
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Pricing

The price is $14.- + postage (email Jimmy for actual postage cost)

Email Jimmy to order.
 
 

A little more info about Jimmy.

G’day, my name is Jimmy Barter I am a 32 year old graphic designer and illustrator from Australia, most people know me as Jimmy B on various message boards. I have worked as graphic designer and illustrator for 12 years.

As some of you know I am passionate about the early days of Hot Rodding which includes Customs. I have always been interested in history but when I was 13 I was diagnosed with Osgood–Schlatter’s, basically the ligaments in my knees pulled away from the tibia in both legs while I was running. This forced me to spend the Summer of ’95 on the couch resting my legs. This is when I dug thru my Dads magazine collection which included Australian Hot Rod, Australian Hot Rodding Review, Custom Rodder (oz) all from the mid 60s to late 70s. Reading those mags done two things, cemented my desire to research the early days as much as possible and when I started drawing cars, the latest of which are included in my Hot Rod Coupe print set.

Knowledge without sharing is a pointless endeavour so I always try to share what I learn as it can help someone with a project or identify a old forgotten hot rod, this sharing has lead some people to call me a historian, personally I see myself as an enthusiast. Researching those early days helps keep that period alive as those that lived it are slowly passing.

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Project wise I have been building a 1925 Chev roadster for 8 years, inspired by the Spurgin-Giovanine roadster. I have two more ’25 Chevs to build later on, A 1941 Ford ute & slowly collecting parts for a full fended ’28 A roadster.

To see and read more about Jimmy’s passion for early days Hot Rodding,
check out his blog Hot Rods of the dry lakes era or his Jimmy Barter blog.

 
Email Jimmy to order.
 

 
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Bob Giovanine’s lakes modified

PIONEERS IN LAKE BED RACING

The story of Bob Giovanine’s lakes modified is a story of many elements but it starts in 1937 with Bob Rufi and Chuck Spurgin finding a ’24 Dodge touring body and chassis in Decker Canyon.

See the boys were planning a trip to Oregon and both men could not fit in Rufi’s one man Modified. So using the mechanicals from Rufi’s one man they built their long haul 2-man, for whatever reason the Oregon trip did not eventuate but they still had the 2-man (Rufi stored the one-man body/chassis). In 1938 with the introduction of a Streamliner class Rufi & Chuck added a wood and Canvas tail to the Modified, subsequently they were the first to run the streamliner class. In late ’38 Rufi started planning the build of his famous streamliner. This left the two-man modified engineless. The rear wood and canvas streamlining was also removed as it was no longer legal under SCTA rules.

Between 1938-39 Bob Giovanine built his first modified (no info yet to pinpoint a build date). In 1940 Bob teamed up with Babe Ouse. Ouse ran his Ford flathead 4 topped with a Winfield head in Bob’s modified. At the same time Bob was starting to learn about Chevy 4s like those run by his fellow Albata club members. The Albatas were the most knowledgable and most successful at getting the maximum hp from the ancient Chevy 4. Bob picked up all the tricks he could from Ralph Schenck, Bob Rufi and Jim White. The 1940 season saw Bob’s newly built Chevy 4 without a home & the 2-man now owned by Chuck engineless. So a partnership was formed & they were successful with a 122 mph run. The Giovanine/Ouse entry managed a 118mph run.

1941 saw major changes, Chuck ran his 1925 Chevy roadster for the first time. Postwar it would become famous as the Spurgin/Giovanine roadster. Rufi had crashed his record setting streamliner at the end of 1940 and was recovering from his injuries. The crash caused Rufi to retire from racing and he enlisted and went to Hawaii where he was building apartments for the military (Rufi was working 8 miles from Pearl Harbor when it was attacked).

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With Rufi retired from racing Bob Giovanine acquired Rufi’s old one-man modified body/chassis and set out to rebuild his Modified. Now here is where things start to muddle up. Bob built his new modified in Ouse’s backyard. In two early build photos you can clearly see Rufi’s old no.77 one-man body sitting a top of Bob’s Modified chassis. In another photo you can see a rolling chassis behind Bob’s this is from another famous Modified, this time the Knapton/White car which was being changed about the same period as Bob Giovanine’s mod. The Knapton/White modified was later owned by Bill Swartzrock & Jack Lehman also Albata members. From there it was sold to Doug Caruthers then Leroy Neumayer. It is now restored as the Chrisman bros no.25 dragster.

So basically we have Bob Giovanine’s modified being rebuilt with Bob Rufi’s old modified body. Babe Ouse acquired Bob Giovanine’s old modified body and likely used the discarded Bob Knapton modified chassis to house his Ford banger. The Bob Knapton modified seems to have been updated with Bob Rufi’s one-man chassis which wasn’t being used the Chevy curved rear kick up can be seen in photos post ’41.

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Back to Bob Giovanine’s modified, the front suspension was a ’32 heavy axle which was an uncommon sight on anything other than a stock ’32. For a lakes modified it was very unusual. Spring and spring perches were also ’32. The wishbone was replaced with 2 model T wishbones converted to run as hairpins. The rear end was Chevy with a shortened torque tube. Model A radius rods mounted to the outside chassis rails. The rear spring was Model T with Model T rear crossmember. Once completed Bob ran 122.5mph. With the Attack on Pearl Harbor Bob mothballed the modified and joined the Navy for WWII. Bob tried for submarine duty but once the Navy learned of his aircraft experience, he was assigned to & stationed at Moffett Field, California working on AT-6’s and SNJ’s for the duration of the war.

Post ww2 Albata member Jim White who by then had reverted to his real name Jim Harrell bought Bob Giovanine’s prewar modified less engine. Jim shoehorned a Flathead V8 into his newly purchased modified. Jim along with his brother Nick started Harrell racing equipment so the ex-Giovanine modified played an important role in the development of Harrell speed equipment. In 1946 Jim’s modified recorded a speed of 126.40mph. After 1946 the modified was run only a couple times and then disappeared. Where did it go? Was it parted out? Scrapped? or patiently waiting to see the light of day?

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Bob Giovanine 1939 Chevy Coupe

A HOT RODDERS CUSTOM CAR.

Bob Giovanine is not a name normally associated with Custom cars but in 1939-40 he owned a cool Chevy custom. As a member of the Albata club Bob is widely known for his exploits on the dry lakes in the 30s and 40s.

Post war Bob teamed up with club mate Chuck Spurgin to claim the 1948 S.C.T.A. points championship with a 1925 Chevy roadster, Hot Rod Magazine selected the roadster to appear on the March 1949 cover.
I will delve into this and other cars in future articles.

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After leaving high school in 1937 Bob found employment at Vultee Aircraft & in 1939 he purchased a brand new 1939 Chevy Coupe. Like many Californian youth Bob customized his new ride with nosed hood, white wall tyres, baby moon caps & fender skirts. The license plate wasn’t recessed which one might have expected from the time period, this may have been left high as Bob towed his and other club members race cars out to Muroc & El Mirage.

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The interesting area of customizing is that of the front sheet metal, the top half of the grille was eliminated and filled with sheet metal (much like George Bistayne 1938 Ford convertible sedan). The new filler panels weren’t moulded to the hood but to the fenders. The headlights appear like they have been moulded also, the stock fender grilles were retained.
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Unfortunately Bob was rear ended at the corner of Western & Florence by a drunk driver and as you can see from one of the photos did extensive damage. From what I understand the car was not repaired, a sad ending.

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Who knows, had he not been rear ended Bob may have customized his Chevy coupe further. Bob’s custom Chevy is not famous like the So-Cal Plating’s ’35 Ford Phaeton but is a great example of what you would have seen on the streets of LA. The Chevy was present among many greats of early hot rodding, it had towed the Bob Knapton’s modified (later owned by Doug Caruthers & restored today as Chrisman #25 dragster). The Chevy also towed Bob Rufi’s streamliner wreck home in November 1940.

Photos courtesy Curt Giovanine.

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