Custom Car Chronicle
custom carsEarly Custom CarsGeorge DuVall

’36 Ford in the Magnificent Thirties – Forties


A special era for custom cars is the late 1930’s till the late 1940’s. In this particular period the custom car style was really developed which ultimately lead to the famous early 1950’s customizing style.

These early years produced inspirational wild and originally styled customs. There was a wonderful mix of coach build influences, combined with factory accessories, aftermarket parts and splendid streamlining. The 1936 Ford 5-window coupe shown above has been published before. The inset photo has appeared in many articles that Dean Batchelor was responsible for.

This car is extremely inspiring. It sits higher than we are used to nowadays. It even has a slightly less chop than what we mostly see these days and the single spotlight is also something that we are not used to anymore. But this car is just as good as they get. The styling is just perfect. The grille is one of the best on any 1936 Fords ever. And it looks like a simple narrowed unit until you start comparing. The top radius is larger than on a stock grille. Most likely the whole outer trim piece is hand made. The combination of the removed running boards and addition of trim pieces on the frame cover and rock shield on the rear fender is just so classy! The trim pieces on the frame covers might have been inspired by the 1939 LaSalle… or could it be the way around?


A fairly unknown looker

The colorized photo was taken in Santa Monica in 1941 and it has been described as being painted maroon with gray. We have a strong feel that the customizing on this car has been done (or at least partly) by George DuVall. George was working on many dress up items during the time this car was built. And the grille changes are something just up his alley. The large photo shown here was found on ebay and the new owner of the photos was happy to share it with the Custom Car Photo Archive. (thank you!)

This for sure is one of our favorite custom car photos ever. So, what’s your favorite custom car photograph?


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 “’36 Ford in the Magnificent Thirties – Forties

  • WOW…..this 36 is one of the finest examples of a early Customs I’ve have ever seen. I love the colorized photo! I also like seeing the old signs & billboards in the background.

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