Part two on the LeRoy Goulart 1951 Ford Shoebox concentrated on the second and third version of the car with the help of the Goulart Photo Collection.
In part one we showed you the early version of LeRoy’s Shoebox. After showing his car for some time, LeRoy decided it was time for a make-over, and a bit more radical this time. Still the end result could be considered a mild custom. Although perhaps it can be considered a wild-mild custom. Since it still had a lot of body work done, but not the chopped top or sectioned body, that is considered a must, in order to deserve the title “wild custom car”.
Once more LeRoy teamed up with his brother Ray, and later on in the process with Gene Winfield. First on the list was to modify the V-Shaped stock Shoebox windshield, and replace it with a round 1952 Ford unit. In fact the whole cowl and front section of the roof and A-pillars of a 1952 Ford donor car, was installed on the Shoebox body. Some adjustment work was needed to match the slightly smaller ’52 Ford windshield in the Shoebox opening. The front of the car was already reshaped in the first round. But LeRoy now wanted to have canted quad headlights.
Most of this work was done at the Winfield shop. The top and bottom portion of the grille opening, remained as it was created in the first version. But the sides, as well as the singe hooded headlights, were cut out. 1957 Chrysler Imperial quad headlights were positioned with the top light in the original Ford headlights position, and the whole headlight unit on angle. Round rod was shaped around the new headlights, to create a new opening flowing from the top of the fenders to the center of the old grille opening. The 1956 Chrysler grille bars were modified to fit the new opening. The front bumper remained the same as on the first version, and worked really well with the new grille headlight combination. The rear of the car remained the same as the first version, with the exception of the added scoop above the rear window.
In Ray’s original design sketches the sides of the car were altered dramatically as well. Newly shaped wheel openings, which matched the new shaped front of the car much better. Round rod was bend in a tear drop shape, to create a new wheel opening for both the front, and rear wheels. The shaped rod was welded to the body, and the inside body metal was cut out and concave shaped panels shaped, and installed in the new opening. Later these coves would be covered with hand shaped stainless steel panels. The ’55 Dodge side trim, and lake pipes were not altered. Once all the work was finished at the Winfield shop, Gene painted the car pearl white, with candy green fogged in around the edges.
Great photo of LeRoy Goulart’s Shoebox in the white version. This one shows the work on the wheel well sculptured metal. Round rod was hand shaped, and molded into the body. The original body panel inside this shape was cut out, and replaced with concave shaped panels. This photo shows how extremely low this car is. LeRoy changed the hubcaps with what appears to be 1957 Chysler units. Notice how the drip rail from the 1952 Ford front section of the top continues onto the stock drip rail.
The sculptured fender well’s, and license plate holder are really working great on this car. And so are the 1956 Olds taillights set into extended wind-splits, another wonderful detail of this great Custom Car.
With every version of the car LeRoy was doing very well at the Car Shows. He won a huge selection of trophies during the period he showed the car. This snapshot shows the car in its white version, parked on the lawn with the trophies proudly displayed in front of the car.
This photo shows how low the car really was… LOW! The car was raised a bit later on, to increase drive-ability. LeRoy did drive this car quite a bit, but it really was a bit to low to be really comfortable, practical and most of all safe. The 1957 Plymouth hubcaps are back on the car again as well, and they will also stay on the car after it was repainted green.
Lanny Erickson shared three really great color photos of LeRoy’s Shoebox with us. This is the all white with green fades version. And these are the only photos we have ever seen in color of the car in this version.
Shit happens… LeRoy Goulart’s 1951 Ford is shown here in the the white version, and it also shows the reason why it was later changed to the better known green version. DAMAGE… besides this passenger side rear fender damage the car was also damaged at the front. Sad for sure, but mishaps like this gave the owner/builders a good opportunity to give their Customs a face lift and score more points at the next Car Show season.
After showing the car in this version for some time, LeRoy damaged the passenger rear fender, and the front of the car. So it was back to Gene Winfield for repair work, and a completely new paint job. LeRoy really loved the original Winfield green version of the car, and decided the car should be green again.
A photo of LeRoy Goulart after he won the Outstanding Award at the 8th Sacramento Autorama and Motor Sports Review in 1958 with his Shoebox. This photo also shows the nicely tuck&roll covered top portion of the dash. If you look closely, you can see a wire coming of the working spotlights.
In 1960 LeRoy experienced once more that the car was really to low to travel comfortable with, and more important safe. On a trip from Minnesota to his home in California, he spun the car on an icy road in Wyoming. He landed in the field next to the road, and damaged the underside of the car since it was just to low. At that time he decided to let go of the car, he stored it in a close by barn, and would later advertise it in the paper. He sold the car by phone and never saw it back again. The last thing he heard about his old love was that it was left on the side of a street out in the open.
Resource and more info:
- Gene Winfield book, The Legendary Custom Cars and Hot Rods of Gene Winfield
- Custom Cars magazine, January 1958
- Rod & Custom magazine, July 1958
- LeRoy Goulart Collection
Go back to Part One.
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