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Jack Stewart MG part ONE




After selling his famous Ayala-Barris built 1941 Ford, Jack Stewart bought something completely different. A MG Sports car, which of course had to be customized as well, this time by his friend George Cerny.

When Palle Johansen and me were on our Jack Stewart Ford research trip, we interviewed Jack about his other cars he had owned over the years. And one car that was talked about was Jack’s customized MG. Jack had quite a bit of very interesting material on his old MG. We used some of it in the Jack Stewart Ford book, but now its time to share the other great photos Jack had saved since the early 1950’s.

Jack’s MG was restyled by his good friend friend George Cerny at Cerny’s Auto Paint Body & Fender Repair shop in Compton. And during the customizing photographer Felix Zelenka was at this shop. He decided Jack’s MG would be the perfect subject for an feature article on customizing Sports Cars. So the whole process was photographed. And after the car was finished Eric took many more photos comparing the customized MG with a stock one, to show the readers the difference between the two. Jack had several contact sheets from these photo shoots and in this first article on Jack’s Cerny built MG we are showing you the photos Eric Rickman took at the Holiday Motors, a local Foreign car dealer that was the perfect location for the comparing photos.

Eric Rickman’s and Felix Zelenka photos were used in a massive 10 page article  in the May 1954 issue of Car Craft magazine. Besides the regular feature article on the car, including a small color photo on the cover. Jack’s MG was also used to show some of the styling ideas George Cerny came up with for the MG. Customizing Sports Cars was getting more and more popular in those years, and the article on Jack’s MG helped grow this even more.

CCC-jack-stewart-cerny-mg-01-WMay 1954 issue of Car Craft Magazine.

CCC-jack-stewart-cerny-mg-09-WJack Stewart on the left and George Cerny on the right showing the old flamed hood side with stock louvers. This was to compare it with the custom unit with three rows of louvres George created for the car.

CCC-jack-stewart-cerny-mg-02-WThis photo show the difference in shape on the back portion of the MG Jack’s customized MG is on the left.

CCC-jack-stewart-cerny-mg-07-WComparing the front we can see the reshaped front fenders which look much smoother on Jack’s car. The chrome plated bumper created from round rod and shaped metal plates adds to the sporty look as well.

CCC-jack-stewart-cerny-mg-06-WAt the back George also created a new custom bumper. The spare tire was lowered 4 inches to give the car a better profile. Notice that the car did not have hubcaps installed on the passenger side during this photo shoot.

CCC-jack-stewart-cerny-mg-05-WAnother look at the back shows the difference of using wide whites and custom hubcaps (’53 Studebakers with fake knock-offs).

CCC-jack-stewart-cerny-mg-04-WGeorge Cerny used an chrome plated MG accessory grille insert for Jack’s car.

CCC-jack-stewart-cerny-mg-03-WJack’s MG was lowered a few inches for better looks and handling. Jack had a custom Tonneau Cover made that could be removed in sections.

CCC-jack-stewart-cerny-mg-08-WEric Rickman took many photos of Jack’s finished MG at the Compton Drive-In movie theater. We will be showing many more of those in the next article.

CCC-jack-stewart-cerny-mg-10-WJack Stewart has these two photos from this series framed on his office wall.





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)

One thought on “Jack Stewart MG part ONE

  • HI Rik……nice story about Jack’s little MG. The hubcap knock-offs were made by my ol’buddy Jot Horne of Bell Auto Parts fame.
    I’m looking forward to more info & photos on this one…………
    Cw. ……… ps. I love those big Drive-In Theater Murals, the company I was employed with (Foster & Kleiser) for 40 years hand painted all that artwork, most of them are all gone now……..c.

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