SQUEEG JERGER 41 FORD
The creations of the late Dave Bell always have this wonderful cartoonish look and feel of the absolutely perfect shaped Custom or Hot Rod. Squeeg Jerger set out to recreate one of Dave’s creations and did a real fine job on it.
A little while ago we shared a story with you about Ken G’s 1956 Ford Ranchero and more. A short story of this skilled metal guy. We also mentioned in this article that Ken has been building cars for as long as he remembered and that he is still going strong doing building great cars. One of the more recent projects Ken has been involved with is this wonderfully styled 1941 Ford from the Mesa, Arizona based Squeeg Jerger shop. Ken was called in along the way to help realize Squeeg’s dream of recreating one of Dave Bell’s illustrations.
However it did not start out as a recreation. Ken mentioned that he was told that the 1941 Ford convertible had been sitting behind the shop for quite some time. And before he was called in, the car had been started on to be built as a 1940’s early 1950’s Custom Car with padded top. But that there was no clear plan for the car yet.
Ken’s words how the project got started.
The car had been started & Dave Bell gave Squeeg two pages of drawings which Squeeg wasn’t sold on. Then Tex Smith put out a book about how to draw cars. Dave Bell was one of the artists featured in the book. I saw this drawing in the book and showed it to Squeeg. That was the look he wanted so I made copies and used white out modifying them until the drawing was exactly what Squeeg wanted. The hard part about what I did was pinning people down knowing exactly what they wanted me to do which is the reason I made sure about where I was going on the car with that drawing in the first place.
One of the cars that Dave Bell used for inspiration to draw the 1941 Ford Convertible was the Valley Custom Shop built coupe for Ed Jacques. Squeeg also loved this car a lot, so some of the details, including the grille ended up being used in the design of his dream custom.
A few more of the sketches Dave made for the project. Notice how the whole front end on the main car in this sketch sheet has a totally different shape with the center portion of the grille missing and replaced by an extended peak from the hood. In all these sketches Dave already has the completely reshaped rear fenders with much more rounded shape than the 41 Ford has.
After sketches had been seen back and forth a final sketch was created and now it was up to the team at Squeeg Jerger’s Body shop to capture Dave sketch as close as possible. Easier said then done. It would involve a lot of body work to get the shapes in metal look anything like the sketches on paper. But with Ken doing a lot of the body work they where very determined to go all the way. This would include stretching panels, removing slices here and there and radiusing corners and the flow of panels to give the 1941 Ford that wonderful Dave Bell cartoonish look.
This bit dark photo show the reshaped rear fenders molded onto the body. A 1947 Plymouth bumper had already been modified by Squeeg to fit the body. Tape marks show that a lot more reshaping on the fenders needed to be done.
The fender skirts were fabricate from sheet aluminum. The fiberglass top was eventually created from wood and clay bucks. The one shown in these photos is a Gene Winfield units that they were going to use, but eventually decided was not having they shape they were after. Chip Foose eventually helped with the final shape of the top as well.
When Ken started to work on the front end of the car, he felt that on Bell’s artwork he had exaggerated the perspective. He thought that looked really good and wanted to capture that feeling. So that’s why he extended the hood 2.5 inches.
Note the headlights were shaped metal & not rings like you normally see when using the most used ’52-54 Ford Mercury headlights rings. Squeeg wanted the frenched look, but not the extended ring look, so it was decided to hand built the units, which would extend the front of the fenders with about two inches. The fender separation line, where some stainless trim is on a stock 1941 Ford was already filled in on the sides, and now also underneath the headlights. The front section still needs to be done.
Squeeg also wanted to use the wonderful styled hood peek from a 1969 Cadillac hood. So the center was cut out from a Cadillac hood and welded into the extended 1941 Ford hood of which the center piece was removed. The Cadillac hood can be seen here shortly before it was welded in place.
New headlights are all hammer welded now. Sadly Ken could not find any photos in his collection showing the major work he did to make the hood to fender line which is all hand made and created a perfectly fitting and gapped hood. A rarity on any 1941-48 Ford.
Tubing was used to carry line on the bottom of the body from front fender to rear fender. The door bottom corners were rounded to match the curvatures of the body. Pieces from a 1941 Ford rear fender were cut and pasted into the front fender to make the shapes more uniform and pleasing to the eye. The lower door hinges was discarded and a new hidden unit was created.
Skirts are made from aluminum, shaped on the English Wheel to match the Dave Bell illustrations and flush fitted to the fenders. The fenders aren’t just moulded as metal was shaped & welded in to form the curve. This way a lot less lead needed to be used. Also they were cut open underneath so not to cause a condensation trap which could rust faster.
One thing in particular Squeeg liked in Dave Bell’s illustration was the toothed scoops in the leading edge of the rear fenders. A lot of scratch building and fabrication went into the sections shown in this photo.
The rear fenders were extended downwards at the rear and a new splash pan was created to fit with the modified and narrowed 1947 Plymouth bumper. The holes in the rear fender are for flush fitting a pair of 1941 Studebaker taillights. The trunk corners were rounded and a lot of work went into flush fitting the trunk to the main body.
Lower rear edge of trunk was reworked to have a flush appearence. When Ken made tailight buckets he also made a pair for Rev. Scrubs 1940 Ford coupe which was being painted at Squeege’s at that time. The last photo shows the wooden bucks I created to shape these taillight buckets.
Rear fender line flows into the lower part of the rear bumper. The 1954 Kaiser bumper guard was modified to fit the Plymouth rear bumper and the bullets were modified to have the exhaust tips end in it.
Ken G. about the car.
Squeeg’s car is what I call ‘Modern Nostaligia.’ He deserves all the credit for the car. It was his dream from youth & he was in custom paint business from his love of cars. Customizing was always about restyling & it never stood still. Restoring is different as it goes back to what was in the past. So Squeeg’s car fit into the customizing class. Pure art at it’s finest.
In Part two we will show you some more details of this great looking 1941 Ford Customs. A custom which combines styles from several area’s, beautifully mixed to a very elegant Custom Convertible. There will also be plenty of photos from the finished car. Stay tuned….
Recourse and more info:
- Rodders Journal, magazine No. Eighteen
- Street Rodder, Magazine May 2002
- Rod & Custom, Magazine July 2002
(This article is made possible by)
6,337 total views, 1 views today