Marcia Campbell photo: Joe Urritta Ford

JOE URRITTA’S FOUR FOOT CUSTOM

Joe Urritta’s 1941 Ford was built by Sam Barris, was on the cover of the July 1950 issue of Motor Trend magazine. Based on a two-door sedan, Sam cut this car in so many pieces that nobody believed it could be put back together as a car.

Joe’s 1941 Ford had a 2/3 page article in Motor Trend magazine showing four photos inside and one on the cover. All photo credits in the Motor Trend magazine go to Thomas J. Medley.

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The scan above shows the complete photo proof with the crop marks and instructions for the print preparations.

So why is this photo of Joe Urritta’s 1941 Ford – used in the Motor Trend magazine article, credited to Thomas J. Medley – in the Marcia Campbell Collection?

Of the four photos used in the Motor Trend article, one is crucially different in style and contrast. We can see that, even in black and white. The photos with the Dachsen and the one with the horse (on the cover) are most likely taken by Thomas J. Medley. These photos were probably taken especially for the Motor Trend magazine to go with the article. Perhaps the Motor Trend magazine editor already had the other photos, but was missing some artistic photos for the cover. Or perhaps it was the way around.

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The Motor Trend article on Joe’s 1941 Ford. The top photo is made by Thomas J. Medley. The other three photos by Marcia Campbell.

CCC-Joe_Urritta-MT-July-50-CoverThe same photos (minus the ones photographed by Thomas J. Medley) have been used by Dan Posts. In his 1951 – and later edition of – the Blue Book of Custom Restyling he gave Marcia Campbell credit for these four photos. Dan Post and Marcia Campbell were very good friends They shared a lot of interest including their love for the horseless carriage.

This is the 1951 edition of the Dan Post Blue Book of Custom Restyling. There is a lot more background around the car than it shows with the crop marks on the photo proof.
This is the 1951 edition of the Dan Post Blue Book of Custom Restyling. There is a lot more background around the car than it shows with the crop marks on the photo proof.

The scan we show here was created from a proof sheet made from Marcia’s original negatives. And by the look of the crop marks in red, it looks like this one was used for the Motor Trend magazine. The photo used in the Dan Post book was cropped wider and showed a lot more background. Unfortunately, the proof sheet was rather over-exposed. Some of the details we can still see in the magazine and book prints, are missing from this photo.

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This shows the photo cut out using the crop marks on the proof.

We have no idea where the photo was taken. We know that the car owner was from Fresno California. It could very well be that the car was photographed there. Or perhaps in the LA area where Marcia lived.

The Joe Urritta 1941 Ford is an extreme custom car that is credited mostly to Sam Barris. Sam based the car on a 1941 Ford two-door sedan body. Sam sectioned the body, cut of the complete top and used convertible doors and cowl to create a convertible sedan. The body was channeled over the frame with the fenders front and rear raised up into the body. The hood was sectioned to compensate for the drop and the sectioning. Both fenders had the body crease hammered out to make them completely smooth and were molded to the body. The front fenders were extended at the back and a fade away shape was created to fade them into the doors. Sam added a 1947 Oldsmobile grille to the modified front, and both front and rear used 1948 Ford bumpers. The padded top was built by Marian Cattles in Sacramento. Marcia’s photo shows how a 1947 Studebaker dashboard was used inside. The car was first painted dark iridescent forrest green and was later redone in maroon.

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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)

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