41 FORD MID 40s CUSTOM
In the early and mid 1940’s a lot of of simple, yet elegant Customs were created all over the US. Restyled cars for improved looks, not to to win points at cars shows.
[dropcap]In[/dropcap] the late 1930’s and early to mid 1940’s the Custom Cars as we know them today were developed. Young kids who did not have a huge amount of money to spend, but still would love to drive a special car started to modify their regulars Fords, Chevy’s and other brand cars. There were no magazines back then to tell you what you needed to do to chop a top, lower the suspension, nor were there car shows to look what others had done to their beautiful cars. It was the time the styles were developed by trial and error, but most of all by just looking at the car and figuring out what you did not like about it, and fix it to make it look better.
Even during WWII a lot of customizing went on, parts were getting hard to find, hence a lot of the cars build in these early 1940’s have black wall tires, or only white wall tires on the front. Simply because the white walls were not available, and if they were there, they would cost a small fortune. The Custom Cars back then were street driven cars. Most of the times the owners’ only form of transportation. Therefor the cars were besides beautiful restyled, also practical. The roads were not like they are today, so the cars were lowered, but not as much as they would be later, or like they are today.
The snapshot is actually rather small as can be seen here mounted with the period black photo borders.
This article shows a very nicely done 1941 Ford convertible photographed in 1945. The main body is mostly stock, but the windshield was chopped and a padded top was added. By the looks of it most likely by the Carson Top Shop. The Carson Top Shop usually created their padded tops in a jig, not on the car it self, and this jig created a slightly less streamlined look like we know for instance from Gaylord. The straight B-Pillar is another sign that this might be one built on the 1941 Ford Convertible jig by Carson. Most likely even the windshield was chopped by or handled by the Top shop. Usually the upholstery shop took care of the chopping of the windshield as well. The car is mildly lowered, has black wall tires and a set of chrome single bar flipper hubcaps with beauty rings. The license plate was recessed, rather deeply into the smoothed trunk. Another very typical modification for those days. The finishing touch was a set of 1937 DeSoto bumpers, they even used the more rounded rear bumper on the back of this 1941 Ford. Most of the times two more flatter front units are used. The spotlight was pointing forward, another typical detail for those days. Later the front where, where the glass is, would always be turned down to the hood, but not in the early/mid 1940’s.
The photo shows the car parked in the street, just like any other ordinary car in the street, not parked in a climate controlled garage or covered with custom made car covers. The photo comes from my own personal collection.
Enlarged we can see that the car looks to have painted headlight rings, and that it might even have an slight forward rake, which is unusual for a custom of those days. But with the lack of fender skirts it gives the car a more sports feel.
This photo shows the set in license plate in the trunk. It appears that the plate was mounted on a slight forward angle, possibly to be able to have some lights set up inside the trunk for night time plate vision. These cars were driven as a normal car. The round DeSoto rear bumper is evident in this photo.
The photo below shows how some of the more popular padded tops, like the one for the 1941 Ford, were created on a jig at the Carson Top Shop. Using a jig speeded up production time considerable. All bows and other material needed for the padded top, were made from pre-made templates, that could be used over and over again. The disadvantage was that the top was a more generic top, and not always flowed as nice as when the top was created on the car itself.
And Carson Top Shop employee could do his job standing inside the top. Something that could not have been done if the top was on the car.