Peretto 37 Ford Custom

PERETTO 37 FORD CUSTOM

Brothers Reno and Roy Peretto were two very creative craftsman, together they created at least two very interesting Customs. Amazingly, both cars survived. Lets take a look at the Peretto 37 Ford Custom

 
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his article is about possibly the first car the Peretto brothers from Alameda, California created. A very nicely styled convertible¬†based on a 1937 Ford Humpback Sedan built in the late 1940’s early 1950’s.¬†The first time I¬†came across this¬†car was when I bought a series¬†of¬†old¬†photos taken at the 1952 Oakland Roadster show. One of those photos showed this particular Sports Custom. The great thing about this photo is that it shows the National Roadster Show¬†name¬†card clearly visible in front of the car. This identified the car for me. At that time I was unable to find any further info on the car. But later I got in contact with Chris Ito, who happens to be the owner of another car created by the Paretto brothers. When Chris bought his Peretto¬†car, which is based on a 1949 Mercury, and researched it he came across some information on the brothers Reno and Roy Peretto, including a family photo album showing some photos of his 1949 Mercury, as well as the Sports Custom in this article. Chris scanned the photo and shared them with the Custom Car Chronicle. This was several years ago and we both had no idea what ever happened to this other Peretto Custom.
 
CCC-reno-paretto-37-ford-02-wEarly built stage photo shows that the windshield section was taken from the 1937 Ford, the left side still has a portion of the roof attached to it, and how it was split in the center to become full body width. The right side of the rear shows the new body shape created using the ’37 Ford rear roof section. Talk about creative building.
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CCC-reno-paretto-37-ford-03-w Photo taken at the same stage as above but showing the other side of the car reveals the hand rolled body side panels. Notice the clamped bar to make sure things aline at the bottom. The rear window still needs to be filled in and the humpback sedan trunk section is still in place.
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CCC-reno-paretto-37-ford-04-wRoy and Reno Paretto built the car mostly in the backyard¬†using¬†only very¬†limited tools. This photo shows the ’46 Chevy grille in place, the front wheel opening created, the windshield frame connected after being widended and the start of the door jabs. The hood still needed to be created.
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CCC-reno-paretto-37-ford-05-wAnother construction photo shows the new hand shaped trunk in place. The fit at the bottom still needs some fin etuning. The rear wheel opening is also cut out from the body sides and the top bows for the folding top is being worked on. If you look carefully you can see that the windshield header sections are connected after being widened, but that it still needs more work.
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In early 2013 I was contacted by a guy named Meryl who mentioned he had bough the Reno and Roy Peretto Sports Custom from an older Lady. He had seen the photos on the Custom Car Photo Archive site and wanted to know more about the car and the shop that built it. We talked, and I got him in contact with Chris Ito, who knew much more about the car and the brothers. Chris really wanted to buy the Sports Custom at that point. But several circumstances did not allow Chris to purchase the car and to reunite the two Peretto designed and built cars. The car was then offered on ebay and a few other auction sites, all with no sale. In early 2014 the car was offered for sale on ebay once more by Meryl, now with a reduced price, and this time the car found a new owner.
 
CCC-reno-paretto-37-ford-08-wThe grill is 1946 Chevy, with a 1949 front and 1947 Buick rear bumper.
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CCC-reno-paretto-37-ford-09-w 1947 Buick rear bumper with a hand shaped splash-pan and 1941 Lincoln taillights. The Mercury Monterey steering wheel was still with the car, but the second last owner decided he did not want to pay the extra $800.- for it… big mistake!
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CCC-reno-paretto-37-ford-10-wThis photo was taken at the 1952 Sports Car Show at the Oakland Exposition Bldg. Most likely by the show promotors, before the cars were put on display. This angle shows the beauty of the car.(thank you Ron Brooks for identifying the location)
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Both Peretto created cars show a good sense of styling and ingenuity. Its hard to understand that the car in this article is based on a 1937 Ford Sedan, with most of the body panels hand made or made from body sections from the original ’37 Ford body. Fortunately we have a few early construction photos that show the work done mostly by Reno who was self taught. It is amazing to see that the roof of the ’37 Ford sedan now forms the rear deck of the car with the window holes filled in. The only write up we have been able to find is in the 1951 Oakland Show program booklet with gives us a few more insights about the car which we could not see in the photos. Including the use of an¬†’46 Mercury engine and that the interior of the car was maroon and white.

The¬†cowl and windshield sections of the body were split in the center and¬†widened to give it more the proportions of the Nearly 1950’s cars. The body sides were completely made from hand shaped sheet metal. The front uses a ’46 Chevy grille and also the headlights come from a ’46 Chevy. Most likely the hood was also hand formed and was later fitted with an 1950 or 51 Mercury hood ornament. At the back the ’37 Ford roof was used cut in half. With the rear window section filled in as new trunk area¬†and the roof top corners creating pleasant rear corners. The unique things is how Reno and Roy created the sides of the car from shaped metal, and later added the wheel openings. Most of the times the wheel openings form the base for a custom body like this. The brothers had to create everything, from the door jambs, to the trunk and hood inner structures. The sides were decorated with a cut down 1950 Ford side trim. The hand made fender skirt at the back is very interesting. Its vertical line at the back is perhaps not as streamlined as the rest of the body, but notice how the top portion of the trim is hidden below the side trim and the front ends with the door backs. This is very creative design, especially for the time it was created.
 
CCC-reno-paretto-37-ford-07-wInterior was done in white and maroon according the 1952 National Roadster show program. Somewhere along the line the interior was redone in white and black.
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CCC-reno-paretto-37-ford-06-w The 1941 Lincoln dash is a great looking dash with its huge gauge face behind the steering column.
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CCC-reno-paretto-37-ford-12This is the cars description from the 1951 Oakland Roadster show program. (from the Ron Brooks collection)
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CCC-reno-paretto-37-ford-26The trophy that the Peretto brothers won with the ’37 Ford at the 1951 National Roadster show is still with the car today.
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CCC-reno-paretto-37-ford-14This is the first photo I ever saw of Reno and Roy Peretto’s Custom. A photo taken at the 1952 National Roadster Show in Oakland California.
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CCC-reno-paretto-37-ford-01-w The original 1952 National Roadster Show show card.  Interesting to see that these signs were all done by hand lettering.
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CCC-reno-paretto-37-ford-15-w Another show card, this one comes from the 1952 Sports Car Show at the Oakland Exposition Bldg. It looks like the red portion of this show car is actually printed and the rest was done by hand lettering.
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CCC-reno-paretto-37-ford-11-wThe car is repainted in this photo, and it appears to be painted a lighter color than the other photos show. We can see that the headlights have been molded in now, but the hood is still one piece, and not shortened with the front molded to the fenders, as it is on the car now.
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We know that the car was finished in time for the 1951 National Roadster Show in Oakland California since it won third price there in the Custom devision. The car was also shown at the 1952 Oakland show since we have a photo showing the car there. And there are two more show cards in the collection that indicate the brothers did show their car(s) at various shows in the early 1950’s.

At some point, perhaps when the brothers decided to built another car based on a 1950 Mercury convertible, the ’37 Ford Custom was sold. According the story it was sold to a befriend plumber, who enjoyed it for many years. Later the car was sold again to another person who hang on to it for a long time, and most likely stored it rather than enjoyed it on the road. When this person passed away the car was sold as part of his estate sale. Somewhere along the line the front end of the car was modified. The Chevy grille was removed and a new hand made front section was created. Not really an improvement, but I guess the idea was to create more of a sports car than a custom out of the car. Fortunately the chevy grille is still with the car and so is the 1951 National Roadster Show trophy.
 
CCC-reno-paretto-37-ford-21The eBay auction from April. 2014, ended with 13 bids. Meryl, the second last seller showed very minimal and very poor photos of the car, making the car look a lot less attractive than it really is.
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The Paretto Ford ready for transport

CCC-reno-paretto-37-ford-13The front-end and grille is the only major part that has changed over the years. The side grilles with integrated parking lights are actually rather pleasing, but the center grille, and especially the insert looks a bit odd. (photo courtesy of Chris Ito)
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CCC-reno-paretto-37-ford-19Sadly the original Mercury Monterey accessory steering wheel is no longer with the car. The radio is missing from the dash, but every thing else looks to be there. (photo courtesy of Chris Ito)
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Arriving at the current (2014) owner

CCC-reno-paretto-37-ford-23The original ’46 Chevy grille installed the the Paretto brothers came with the car.
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CCC-reno-paretto-37-ford-25Behind the bench, visible from inside the trunk we can see whats left of the soft top. Sadly we have not been able to find any photos of the car with the top up, so we have no idea of the shape of the folding top.
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CCC-reno-paretto-37-ford-27In May 2015 George, the current owner of the Peretto Sports Custom was able to find and speak to Debbie Peretto,window of Roy Peretto. She George the 15 inch in diameter silver plated tray, which the car won for second place in the 1952 Oakland International Sports Car Show! (the show card for this show can be seen in this article if you scroll up a bit) The award was still sitting on Roy’s work bench, in the same house where he built the car in 1950!!! Now finally reunited with the car again.
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The other Peretto Custom

The other Peretto Custom, based on a 1949 Mercury is one that has found a good home with Chris Ito. He¬†has done a lot of work on researching this¬†Paretto Custom, and during his research he came across the info on the ’37 Ford in this article as well. While working on the Mercury and reading about both cars¬†as much as possible, he has¬†fallen in love, not only with his ’49 Mercury, but also with the 1937 Ford. Chris¬†would have loved to bring these two Peretto brother cars together, but the time and conditions were not right. Hopefully in the future these two cars can be seen, shown or even share a garage together. Time will tell.
We will come back on Chris Ito’s Peretto brothers 1949 Mercury at a later date.
 
CCC-reno-paretto-Mercury-01Chris Ito’s 1949 Mercury Peretto Brothers Custom. Just as with the ’37 Ford¬†it is nearly impossible to tell¬†what brand and year this car originated by just looking at it.
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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)

3 thoughts on “Peretto 37 Ford Custom

  • June 30, 2014 at 19:14
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    you know… these brothers actually displayed taste and well thought out design principles in the execution of the two examples shown here. The one based upon the ’37 ford is reminiscent of some early Frank Kurtis designs. Kudos.

  • July 9, 2014 at 07:13
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    Hey Rik , I looked at my photos from the early Sports Car Shows and the wood background was used at the 1952 Sports Car Show at the Oakland Exposition Bldg.

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