Custom Car Chronicle
Valley Custom Shop

Dave Peters 1949 Ford




Dave Peters 1949 Ford Sedan. The Valley Custom Shop study in restrained Custom Restyling.

Most of the Custom Shops have developed a style of their own. A certain look for the cars that are created in these shops, or perhaps just some details that will tell which shop was responsible for particular Custom. Especially in the early days there were a couple of Custom Shops that were responsible for the styles, the trends, the looks. The Valley Custom Shop, run by Neil Emory and Clayton Jensen was known for their fine restrained, almost factory Custom look. This shop was able to make cars looks amazing with subtle restyling. Restyling elements that are all very balanced, and chosen to enhance the looks of the car.


Dave Peters ’49 Ford Sedan is a perfect example for the Valley Custom Shop looks and feel. The work done on the car can be considered mild custom work, but the overall effect is a lot more than that, and perhaps is best represented with “the way the factory should have done it”.

Dave’s 1949 Ford Sedan was featured in a two page article in the September 1954 issue of Car Craft, but was in fact already done quite some time before it was published. Most of the photos we have seen of the car show a license plated with 1951 dates on the car. The title of the Car Craft feature was THE CLEAN ONE. And that the car sure was after the Valley Custom Shop was done with it.

1950 photos

Robert E Canaan took several photos of Dave Peters 1949 Ford around 1950. These photos have been shared by the Revs Institute. These photos show the car with 1950 California plates and the only main difference we can see with photos taken in 1951, and later are the fender skirts and the Valley Custom Glendale car club plaque hanging from the rear bumper.

ccc-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-revs-05It looks like photographer Robert E. Canaan accidentally found Dave Peters Ford parked along side the road. These photos were not staged. The Valley Custom Shop did a great job in cleaning up and making the Ford Sedan look much more attractive.

ccc-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-revs-02The use of the Mercury grille, or perhaps it was an Canadian Ford grille and Mercury grille surround with extended down hood looks really fantastic on the car. It makes you wonder why we have not seen this done more often. Notice the frenched headlights, this was done pre the lipped 1952-54 Ford / Mercury headlights with recessed rings that later became so popular. The smooth look of the headlights fits the overall styling excellent.


ccc-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-revs-04The early version used smooth fender skirts. Possibly modified 1949-50 Mercury units. The later version had cut down lipped 1951 Mercury skirts.

ccc-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-revs-01Zoomed in for a better look at the great front end restyling done by the Valley Custom Shop.

ccc-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-revs-06Valley Customs Glendale car club plaque. The plaque fits the Valley Custom Shop Burbank care perfectly.


CCC-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-06Two of these Robert E. Canaan photos were used¬†to point out the¬†grille in Dave’s Ford as good sample.

An interesting detail is the smooth fender skirts on the car when these photos were taken in 1950. Fender skirts were available as factory option, or from the aftermarket, but as fas as I know, none looked like these. The shape of them remind me of those created by Sam Barris on his personal ’49 Mercury, as well as on Jerry Quesnell’s Mercury. Perhaps the Valley Custom Shop also converted a taller than the Ford, ’49 Mercury skirt to fit to Dave’s Sedan.

Detail look at the custom skirts from the rear. 

1951 photos 

CCC-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-01The front view shows how nice the grille, grille surround and hood modifications work together.

A 1949 Mercury grille surround was narrowed a bit to fit the 1949 Ford, the Mercury grille was also reduced in with to fit the adjusted grille shell. The top portion of the Mercury grille surround was cut off and welded to the bottom of the Ford hood. This created a wonderful rolling shape from the top of the hood all the way to the back side of the grille and then the grille rolled from its back to the chrome strip that was left from the original 1949 Ford grille sitting on the molded in front splash-pan. The hood was cleaned up the emblems, but the center strip remained, and the hood ornament was replaced with an aftermarket bull nose piece for the perfect look. The headlight rings were molded to the front fenders making them look just a bit longer.

CCC-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-02Shaved emblems and handles, reshaped side trim, lipped and cut down ’51 Mercury skirts now replace the smooth units used in 1950. All this and a super smooth body make Dave’s 1949 For an very elegant ride.

CCC-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-05Dual exhaust, Chevy license plate surround chrome strips on the rear fenders and an smooth trunk including shaved external hinges made it absolutely perfect. Makes you really wonder how great this car must have looked in color.

The door handles were shaved and the front section of the side-trim was simplified. A set of 1951 Mercury fender skirts was cut at the top and its top corners were reshaped and the whole units adjusted to fit the Ford body. The trunk was shaved of its emblems, and the exterior hinges were replace with some internal units for an ultimate clean look. The top of the fender line received a chrome welting strip from the drip rails all the way back to the rear splash pan.

A set of Appleton Spotlights was installed, and both the front and rear bumpers received a Chevy license plate frame. The car was lowered mildly both front and rear and a set of wide white wall tires was added with custom moon shaped with one ring aftermarket hubcaps were installed. These hubcaps were a favorite items for the guys at the Valley Custom Show since the used them on a lot of their creations. These hubcaps are so simple, yet so elegant, and they fit this Valley Custom, as well as all the others so perfectly.

CCC-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-03This closer-up photo shows the smooth extended down hood as well as the chrome strip at the base of the Mercury grille opening which comes from the original 1949 Ford grille. Details like this make the Valley Custom Shop built cars so special.


Once the work on the car was finished the whole body was sanded smooth and coated in many layers of dark midnight blue lacquer paint by Johnny Hagen. The interior, in a matching simple but elegant white and blue tuck & roll, was done by Floyd Tipton, who worked with the Valley Custom on several other cars as well. The engine was rebuilt and dressed up with a set of finned Navaro heads and a three carb intake manifold with three Stromberg carburetors.

CCC-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-04Floyd Tipton was responsible for the very elegant two tone interior in dark blue and white.

CCC-floyd-tipton-upholstery-01Floyd Tipton at work in another Valley Custom creations, the Ron Dunn 1950 Ford.

CCC-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-07The clean One two page feature article in the September 1954 issue of Car Craft Magazine.

The finished Ford is an very elegant restyled Custom which could be used for daily transportation with ease, and that most likely is how Dave used it.¬†The car has the looks and level of details that the Ford Designers most likely had in mind when they first designed the car, but from which had to be stepped back a bit due to production methods and costs. The Canadian 1949 Ford meteor has a similar grille as the one used in Dave’s 1949 Ford, inspired on the 1949 Mercury unit. The car was used in several magazines for its clean restyling as well as the wonderful and creative grille design.

We have no information about¬†what happened to this great Custom by the Valley Custom Shop. Perhaps it is still around, and changed over the decades into a more restyled custom car. Or perhaps it is still hiding in somebody’s garage… or perhaps its long gone. If you know more about Dave Peters’ 1949 Ford restyled by the Valley Custom Shop, please let us know,¬†email us at the CCC.


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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)

2 thoughts on “Dave Peters 1949 Ford

  • i am a big fan of Valley Custom and this car in particular is really nice because of its understated, clean looks, The ’49 Ford looks so good in this mild custom style and the interior is perfectly matched to the exterior. Back in the day, my older brother and his friends called those type of hubcaps “full moons”.

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