Custom Car Chronicle
custom carsPublished Material

Jack Stewart Book Anniversary




It has been a little over a year now since I put the final touches on my first Custom Car book: “The Jack Stewart Ford Book”. Last weekend I took some time off, sat down with a good cup of coffee in my favorite chair, and took out a copy of my book. I had not looked in the book for some time, and when I opened the book all the fun memories I had  in creating this project, came back.


Creating this book was a long lasting dream come true. I had created many magazine articles, wrote many online articles on message boards, and created books for the design agency I worked for. But I had never created a complete book about my favorite subject… Custom Cars. I knew I had the technical capability, but the ideal situation to actual start an immense project like this, just never had happened until… Palle Johansen asked me if I wanted to join him on his research trip to the US.

This was a journey to find more information on the Jack Stewart 1941 Ford, Palle  had acquired a few months prior. After some proper research and preparations, we flew out from Denmark to the US in October 2010. There we would meet with previous owners of the Jack Stewart Ford. Jim Street in Ohio, was the first one on our list, followed by Bob Drake in Indiana, and ending in California with Jack Stewart himself. On our way back home, we realized we had gathered so much information, and scanned so much material, that it would be a shame not to do something really special with all this unique and wonderful material. We started talking about doing a book. But how could I create a book about just one car, and still keep it interesting for an larger audience – other than the few people who were involved in restoring the car.

CCC_Stewart-Book-Street-Shop-WOur first visit on our research trip was with Jim Street. Jim took us to his warehouse were he builts his boats. Here he showed us the first photos of the Jack Stewart Ford we would see that trip. This was an incredible color-photo from 1951 which he took, shortly after he had brought the car over to Ohio. The amazing color photo, which can be seen laying on one of his work benches was our favorite photo from day one. So it ended up on the cover of the book.

Fortunately, all the owners of the Jack Stewart Ford turned out to be very interesting persons,  who have all left behind a great deal of Automotive history. So the idea was to follow the Jack Stewart Ford over the years, and make side tracks to show what the owners of the Ford were doing, prior and past owning the car. Each owner would get their own chapter that highlighted their personal automotive history and their years with the Jack Stewart Ford. We were pleasantly surprised, all owners still cherished their special historic material, and precious memories. We felt honored that they shared both memories and material with us.

Investigating one single car and its history was a wonderful experience, to an extend I had never done before. I had done a lot of research on plenty of custom cars in the past, but I never written a complete book about them. It was not always easy to line up the different stories, and point of views from all the people involved. But once all the different personal stories, and memories were combined with the photos, books, and magazines, the real history of the car started to unfold. It was wonderful listening to these guys, telling us about the time they drove the car. Or in Jack’s case the time the car was built, and how he witnessed the car getting more beautiful each time he went to the Ayala, and later the Barris shop.

When I started the project, I first had to determine the size of the the book. When I had created a few sample pages, I send it to Palle so we could talk about it. I made some samples of different fonts to use. Which would be the best to read and the most attractive and fitting the 1950’s theme at the same time. Once everything was settled we contacted the printer in Denmark. We changed the size of the book slightly, so that we could have maximum use of the large printing paper size. Once the already created pages were changed to the chosen format, I could start writing, and creating the book… the fun could start.

CCC-Jack-Stewart-Book-Samples-WThese are the first couple of sample pages I send to Palle in June 2012. Nothing more than a quick sketch and a start of the project. After this first roughed sketch, the final page lay-out was developed, and everything you see here was changed. However, the cover photo remained on the cover ever since this first sketch.

We had so much information that, especially for the personal chapters, it was sometimes almost impossible to stay focused. For instance Jim Street (Skonzakes) had many wonderful custom cars, prior, and past owning the Jack Stewart Ford. Several of them could be used for a book on their own. Cars like the famous Golden Sahara for instance. We now have 17 pages devoted to that car alone. But there is so much more material. Still we ended up with the most accurate, and unique material on the Golden Sahara ever published.

CCC-Jack-Steward-Ford-Fonts-WSamples were made to find the best fonts and colors to use.

During the creation of the book, Palle Johansen, and his team worked full speed at restoring the Jack Stewart Ford. At one point the decision was made to ship the car to the US, to be displayed at the Grand National Roadster show. The car needed to be shipped from Denmark to the US in November 2012. And by that date the books needed to be completely finished as well. Needless to say, it was a very hectic couple of weeks.

Color proofs were made, last minute changes, and even an extra trip to the US to visit Jim Street, and collect more info, and material were needed to get the book as accurate as possible. The deadline for the printer was nearing, and there was one section in the book – The Tech sheet- that was still lacking images. I wanted three photos of the Jack Stewart Ford in bare metal. A dead on front, rear and side photo. But for this the car needed to be as complete as possible, with all the parts attached on the car. And when the time was there to make these photos, the weather was terrible. It was raining throughout the day. With the car in bare metal there was no way it could be photographed outside. On the last day – deadline day –  the sky cleared long enough for Palle to push the car outside. Finally, the so much needed photos could be taken… another deadline made.

When the color proofs were checked, and photos and text corrected, print ready pdf files were generated.  The book was completely finished and wired to the printer in Denmark. Pfffff… I took the day off after that. But realized I had to jump back right in. All the promotional material for the book and the book publishers website had to be finished before the books were printed and bound.

CCC-Jack-Steward-Ford-Proof01-WCCC-Jack-Steward-Ford-Proof03-WCCC-Jack-Steward-Ford-Proof02-WWhen the book was in the final stages, all the scans were made, and image corrections done. It was time to create an image proof consisting of three large sheets. They could be filled with a selection of the 570 images in the book, text and colors to proof. This was a digital proof, very close to the actual print colors.

CCC-Uploading-Files-JSF-WAll the final pdf print files were uploaded to the Printers FTP server. We were on a hefty deadline schedule because the books had to be shipped to the GNRS. The last couple of days I worked around the clock.

CCC-Jack-Stewart-Ford-Proofs-01Digital print proofs were created from my pdf files. And they were returned to me for final approval  and corrections. The proofs were checked with the digital files as well as with the real photos for the best possible result. A few small things were found that needed to be corrected/adjusted, and then the final GO was given to the printer in Denmark.

CCC-Jack-Stewart-Ford-Printer-03Printing plates were created. This photo shows a section of one of the color black printing plates. These plates are mounted in the press, and the ink will stick to the blue sections only, then transferred onto the paper. Four of these plates, each for their own CMYK color, are needed for the full color printing process.


CCC-Jack-Stewart-Ford-Printer-01The two photos above show the printer at work. Each large paper sheets contains 6 spreads of the book. 1500 books were printed.

The books were delivered to Palle Johansen’s house, and a day later I drove up to Denmark (a 6 hour drive) to pick up about half of the books. This was the first time I actually hold my own book as a finished product in my hands. It is hard to explain how it feels when everything you have composed in your mind, comes together. It was a very special moment. This was also the first time I saw the Jack Stewart Ford again after the restoration project had begun. The car looked amazing in bare metal, and was almost ready to be packed inside the sea-container, and shipped to the US. The next day I drove home. And from that moment on, I was very busy filling the many pre-orders, and new orders for the book for several days. The book has World-wide been very well received.

CCC-Rik-First-Look-at-book-WI picked up the books from Palle on November 23, 2012. Palle took this photo of me when I had just opened the book for the first time, standing next to the Jack Stewart Ford in bare metal.

CCC-Jack-Stewart-Magazines-WThe book and the Jack Stewart Ford Project received quite a bit of publicity. Here are a few samples.

CCC-Bob-Jack-Signing-WOne of the highlights of the projects was when former owners of the 1941 Ford Bob Drake (left) and Jack Stewart met each other for the first time ever. Here Bob and Jack are sharing fun memories about the time they owned the old Ford Custom, while signing books at the 2013 GNRS in Pomona, California.





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)

3 thoughts on “Jack Stewart Book Anniversary

  • I have really enjoyed “The Jack Stewart Ford” book that you wrote and put together with so much new custom car information. It is a “must have” for us custom fans of that wonderful era!

  • Bring back good memories Rik!..also bring back memories from a very stressfull period, but it was worth it! makes me wanna work on the car again soon!

  • Okay! I’m gonna dust off my copy yet again for that wonderful “journey in time”!! I enjoy The Jack Stewart Ford volume over and over; Thanks Rik and thanks too to Pelle and the other owners for building and repeatedly saving this iconic custom!

Leave a Reply