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Early Custom Cars

March 28, 2014

Another Valley Custom Masterpiece

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Written by: Rik Hoving
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VALLEY CUSTOM MASTERPIECE IDENTIFIED

 

Eric Berge shared some amazing photos of a chopped and channeled 1940 Ford coupe on his Facebook. It turns out to be an previously unknown Valley Custom Shop masterpiece.


In Early March 2014 Dick Page pointed out that Eric Berge had shared some amazing photos old photos on his Facebook. I took a look and found a set of amazing photos taken in 1951. Most of the photos were of an very well proportioned chopped and channeled with sectioned hood 1940 Ford coupe. The car was clearly very well built But at the time came with very little information.
Eric wrote this on his Facebook.

These pictures are from 1951 and they are my friends father’s 1940 ford. His name is Byron Walton and he let me check out his photo album. His daughter work’s at my shop in the office, and this morning she asked if i’d care to look at some picture’s of her father’s 40 ford and that it was chopped and channeled.

After looking at the photos some time I realized I had seen it before. And I knew where. In the Hod Rod Handbook booklet published by Fawcett books in the early 1950’s there was one photo taken at the DuBont used motors cars lot. That particular photo did not mention anything about the 1940 Ford in the photo, so I had always wondered how the rest would look, and who was the builder and owner. I opened the booklet and the license plates matched, it sure was the same car. I emailed Eric the photo, to let him know the car he showed was published.

CCC-byron-walton-valley-custom-01-WThe photo with Byron’s 1940 Ford on the left as it was shown in the Hot Rod Handbook fawcett booklet No 129.

 


I had studie the photos really well and everything on the car looks to be very well designed and built. The car must have been built by a good quality shop, or a very handy craftsman at his home shop who also had the ability to create such a well balanced channeled and chopped car. Not an easy task. The name Valley Custom came to mind, but so far there was no proof.


CCC-byron-walton-valley-custom-12-WEspecially from the front the proportioned remind a bit about the Valley Custom Shop built Ralph Jilek 1940 Ford convertible. But that car has the rear fenders raised to the beltline and also kept the running boards which are removed on Byron’s Coupe.

 


CCC-byron-walton-valley-custom-11-WVery pleasing side view shows well balanced chop. The rear fenders have material removed from the bottom to fit level with the bottom of the body. The front fenders look to have been rotated a little and possebly some material was removed from the rer bottom portion of the fender.

 


CCC-byron-walton-valley-custom-07-WThe stock taillight have been replace with elegant units from a 1941 Buick. The bumpers front and rear are 1947-48 Ford units.

 


CCC-byron-walton-valley-custom-04-WAdding the 1939 Ford stainless window trim to the 1940 Ford makes a huge difference. It makes the chopped windshield pop out at you. A big improvement over the rubber with only stainless center piece of the 1940 Fords. One of the few factory “updates” I personally never understood.

 

Today March 28, 2014, Eric share some more information. And now we know for sure this is an Valley Custom Shop built custom. As far as we know formerly unidentified and besides the one photo posted above never published as a Valley Custom Shop creation. Here is the information Eric shared on his facebook.


All right some facts on the forty in the picture. Built and painted by Valley Custom Shop in Burbank. The engine is a ’39 merc flathead. Originally built for a customer on Balboa Island. The car lot picture was ’51 or ’52, The  girl who shared the father’s album’s, bought it from a Rod and Custom lot, (but not the Dubont lot) he paid $1,800.00 dollars. He sold it in ’56 to a guy with the last name Simpson whom was from Texas for the sum of $300.00. The interior was light blue tuck n roll. The last time Byron saw the car, it had an old’s engine installed. He thought he saw a picture in a muffler ad in street rodder with the car picture taken in front of the Edison buiding in Ingelwood.

 

Amazing news, it does not happen all that often that a new old custom from one of the major shops is identified, yet alone be one such a beautiful one. Now we have to find out if the car still exist today. I have already started a search. So far no luck. But perhaps with this article some people might recognize it.


The car looks a lot like the Fred Cain 1939 Ford that was restored and recently for sale, but this is not the same car. Hopefully the car is still around, perhaps redone as a Hot Rod or something like that. If we find out more, we will update this article.

CCC-byron-walton-valley-custom-10-WPossibly the front wheel openings were radiused a little to allow the wide white wall tires to turn free from rubbing. The Sombrero hubcaps looks wonderful on the car.

 


CCC-byron-walton-valley-custom-09-WThis photo shows how deep the body was channeled over the frame. The seat bottom are mounted directly on the floor to allow the driver and passenger to sit in the car. Notice the exhaust under the front door. Possibly the car was used for racing as well. The lip on the bottom portion of the rear fenders leading edge is an interesting styling element.

 

CCC-byron-walton-valley-custom-05-WThe dash looks to be mostly stock with four round gauges replacing the stock gauge panel. An extra tag is mounted on the steering column.

 


CCC-byron-walton-valley-custom-08-WPlenty of chrome was used on the 1939 Mercury engine.

 


CCC-byron-walton-valley-custom-14-WEven the trunk with very little space after the channeling was nicely upholstered. This was a very nice well-built custom.

 


CCC-byron-walton-valley-custom-06-WByron’s best friend Otto, posing with the coupe. The location is a well know location. A few Barris customs have also been photographed there in the late 1940’s early 1950’s.

 


CCC-byron-walton-valley-custom-13-WMyron and his then girlfriend, now wife, posing very happy with the car. The hood was removed since the Mercury engine ran hot in during the summer month.

 


Many thanks to Byron’s daughter for for sharing the photos with Eric Berge, and Eric for scanning the photos and sharing those with the info on his facebook.


 



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About the Author

Profile photo of Rik Hoving
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)




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