custom cars

May 30, 2015

In the Works – Gary Emory 1939 Ford




Gary Emory, son of the legendary Custom Car builder and co-founder of the Valley Custom Shop, Neil Emory, is working on his tribute to the Valley Custom Shop Custom 1939 Ford convertible.

Having been always very impressed by the cars that have come out of the Valley Custom Shop in the 1940’s and 1950’s it was now time to Gary emory to have his own real Valley Custom Shop inspired Custom. The car is being built by Gary’s brother Don Emory and is coming along really nice.
CCC-itw-gary-emory-eric-black-01Eric Black created this wonderful Artist impression of how Gary’s 1939 Ford Convertible Valley Custom Tribute will look like finished.



Automotive designer and Illustrator Eric Black just finished the artist impression for Gary. Gary has his own ideas about the custom, invluenced by the creations created by his father, but also his brother Don had a few things to say about the design. So the 1941 Buick skirts Gary had planned to use have been tossed advised by Don, and Don also “hates” white wall tires, so despite the Eric Black illustration with white wall Gary will also prepare a set of black wall fitted wheels to keep everybody happy.
Speaking of wheels. Gary is still looking for a full set of Single Bar flipper hubcaps. So if you know about a set, similar to the once in the photo below, let us know and we will pass it on to Gary.
How it all started back in 1957
The front half of the car was done in 1957 by Gary’s father Neil Emory and his uncle Clayton Jensen. It was part of a Rod and Custom how to channel series in the December 1957 Issue of Rod & Custom magazine.
The body has been channeled over the frame, with the fenders left in stock position. The cowl and hood are sectioned and the rear quarter panels cut to allow the body to be dropped.
CCC-itw-gary-emory-39-ford-rc-01The four page R&C article from 1957 shows the steps needed to channel a 1940 Ford. This was one of the specialties of the Valley Custom Shop.


CCC-valley-custom-shop-channel-01A the 5-inch strip has been removed from the firewall and cowl, and the body has been repositioned. The gap is in the process of being seam-welded. Lotsa bodywork lies ahead.


CCC-valley-custom-shop-channel-02Since the ’40 was to be dropped 5 inches, a 5-inch panel of metal was welded to the stock flooring, following the outline of the frame. The floor was then cut out along the inside edge of this panel and rewelded to the top. In the ’50s it was not uncommon to see the body welded to the frame after channeling, but devising rubber or leather body isolators is preferred.


CCC-valley-custom-shop-channel-03In order to retain the stock height of the rear fenders, an arc was cut in the body from the bottom of the wheel opening to the deck opening.


CCC-valley-custom-shop-channel-04Once the body was dropped inside of the lower arch, the overlapping metal was cut away, and the pieces were seam-welded. A load of metalwork? Yup, but leaving the fenders at stock height looks better and emphasizes the lowered look.


CCC-valley-custom-shop-channel-05Once the reinstalled body was welded to the fabricated 5-inch step, the floor was welded atop the step. Here, Valley Custom’s Neil Emory does some final body welding.



The work done on the car as of the end of May 2015
Gary and Don have joined the ’40 standard coupe customized in 1957 with parts of an ’39 DeLuxe Convertible, to create a phantom 1939 Ford DeLuxe Convertible. The car will have no running boards, similar to the Glen Hooker 1939 Mercury the Valley Custom Shop built. Further inspiration for the car comes from the Ralph Jilek sectioned 1940 Ford and also from the 1937 Dodge convertible, Gary’s father built in the 1940’s, before Gary was born. We will keep you posted on the progress on Gary’s 1939 Ford here on the Custom Car Chronicle. Stay tuned….
CCC-itw-gary-emory-39-ford-02The back of Gary’s ’39 will have 2 set in plates, just like his fathers 1937 Dodge. One for the license plate, and one for Throttle Stompers Burbank club plaque.



CCC-itw-gary-emory-39-ford-01Chopped windshield and top of the cowl from the 39 Ford convertible has been added to the 1940 lower cowl section.


CCC-itw-gary-emory-39-ford-03Gary is still looking for a full set of these single bar ripple disk hubcaps for his Valley Custom Shop tribute project.


CCC-itw-gary-emory-39-ford-primer-01Updated on June 25, 2015. The car is now in primer, and nearly ready for the black paint.



Emory-1939-Ford-05-wUpdate from August 17, 2015. The car has now been painted.






CCC-valley-custom-shop-ralph-jilek-01One of the cars Gary was inspired by to create his 1939 Ford was the perfectly proportioned sectiond 1940 Ford convertible the Valley Custom Shop created for Ralf Jilek.


CCC-niel-emory-1937-dodge-01Gary’s father’s 1937 Dodge Convertible which Neil built in the early 1940’s was the inspiration for the the double set in license plate set-up.



CCC-itw-gary-emory-eric-black-02Amazing style and details in Eric Black’s illustration.




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About the Author

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)


  1. Really happy to see the Valley Custom flame burning brightly! It has been a light for way more of us than Neil Emory or Clayton Jensen ever imagined they had sparked.
    Larry Pointer


  2. Valley Custom jobs always stood out for me.


  3. That is a stunning proposal by Eric Black. Glad to see the Emory wheel turn full circle. I agree with Tony, something about Valley Customs work that stands up and above. Inspirational.


  4. This will be beautiful. I regret that it won’t have whitewalls!


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