The Jack Calori Photo Album

 

JACK CALORI PHOTO ALBUM

 

Jack Calori gave away his amazing vintage photo album to a good friend, Billy Crewl. Billy showed me the album, and let me take some photos to share here on the CCC.

 
I had been in contact with Billy Crewl for some time. I had shared some old photos from the Ed Jenson Collection an a few showed the old Jack Calori roadster. Billy has a very special interest in this car, so he really enjoyed the photos. Billy mentioned he was very close friends with Jack Calori. After Jack passed away Jack’s daughter gave Billy her fathers old photo album with photos from the 1940’s. Billy also got some other memorabilia from Jack including some old goggles, his personal club plaque, timing tag, and a trophy. When Billy heard I was going to the 2013 GNRS in Pomona, he promised to come by at the booth I had there and show me the photo album. Well Billy stopped by the Kustom Kar Books booth. This was still early in the morning and the doors had not opened yet. So he took out this absolutely stunning album. A lot of very interesting late 1940’s photo. So much history in those photos. Sadly I was not able to scan the content of the album, but Billy let me to take photos of some of the content and share it here on the Custom Car Chronicle.

Thank you so much for sharing this great material with us Billy Crewl.

 
CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-00The wonderful leather worked cover of the black paper photo-album.
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Jack Calori took many photos in the 1940’s. Photos of his own cars in various stages, and locations, as well as other cars he liked or was interested in. He took many photos at the dry lakes and has created a really amazing photo album which has survived all these years. We will show you some of the amazing photos inside.
 
CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-20This photo shows Jack getting his roadster ready for another run at the dry lakes. That is Jack’s 1936 Ford before it was chopped in the background. 
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-17Jack’s 1936 Ford shortly after all the body work was done by Herb Reneau. This a bit blurry photo shows the work that Herb did to the front. Herb removed the original 1936 Ford grille, shaped a new steel panel to fill the hole and made a new opening to fit the 1939 La Salle grille. Herb also set a set of 1940 Chevy headlights low on the front fenders and removed the hinge in the hood top and welded the two pieces together to form a solid hood. The hood sides are all smooth units. Possibly aftermarket units. Later a set of louvres was punched into them. This front view also shows that the 1941 Ford bumpers have not yet been installed at this time. 
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-19This photo shows the smooth hood sides better. The work on the ’36 was done in late 47 and into 48. Jack was still using the ’36 as a tow car. Then sold his roadster kept the motor then put it in the 36 then ran russetta with it. I guess after a while the engine started to run hot and hey added the scoop underneath the grille to be able to cool the engine a bit better. And later, not shown in this album, they added louvres in the hood sided. The car is also running without the fender skirts at this point. But since there are no hubcaps on the rear wheels I guess the skirts were always planned, but just not on it in this photo.
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-22Another photo of the car shortly after it had been chopped. Herb had smoothed the rear fenders, created the set in license plate, added the 1941 Hudson taillights close to the plate. The car was still in primer, and the original bumpers were also still in place. 
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-18This photo was taken before the California Auto Top shop did their work in dark red Naugahyde. There are no door panels, and the seat looks to be covered with a blanket or something. It does show that the Ford Crestliner, the Pontiac speaker grille and the Stewart Warner gauges are all already in place.
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-13Jack’s 1936 Ford at Russetta Timing Association meet was one of my favorite snapshots in the album. The photo is not really to sharp, and the car was actually kind of small in the whole photo – this is just a cropped portion of the photo (The complete photo can be seen in the opening photo). I really love the way the car is reflected into the pool of water, and with the hills in the background. The car now runs the 1941 Ford bumpers as well.
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-15Another photo taken at the Russetta Timing Association meet. This photo also shows that the car did have a scoop underneath the grille/bumper already when it was using the solid hood sides. 
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-16This photo were taken before the Medley photo shoot for the November 1949 Hot Rod magazine photo shoot. The hood sides on the car are still smooth on this version. I guess Jack still had some heating problems despite the large scoop he added below the bumper. Most likley not to long after this photo was taken the louvres were added to the hood sides.
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-30This photo gives us a really good look at the chop Herb Reneau performed on Jacks Coupe… really nice, with just a bit lower in the front, which is how they come from the factory, and which gives the car a bit more Hot Rod feel, which Jack liked. Look at the reflections in the super smooth black paint. Unfortunately most of these wonderful trophies did not survive. Billy told me Jack gave the cars on top of the trophies to his son to play with. 
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-27The only trophy that survived is his worlds fastest roadster trophy the one in the middle in the black and white photo above the trophy photo.
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-31Jack sure loved  winning trophies.
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-24Not the best photo, the lighting inside at the GNRS building was very poor to take photos like this, but this one shows the full page Jack devoted to his friends, Bob Gill’s 1936 Ford coupe. Jack used the same Hudson taillight/set in license plate on his car, but Jack did not use the exhaust thru the rear fenders as Bob did on his Coupe. Obviously the grille on Bob’s car is different dan on Jacks, a Nash unit and  LaSalle unit is used on Jacks Ford.
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-23I took one better photo of Bob Gill’s 1936 Ford Coupe before Billy had to leave again. It was not until after I got back home from the GNRS and I had studies this photo a bit better, that I noticed the scoop underneath the bumper on Bob’s Ford. It shows a similar scoop as Jack Calori used on his famous 1936 Ford. I know the smooth hood sides and the much smaller than original custom grille (Nash on Bob’s Ford) must have caused some heating problems on the engine. So this was the way Bob and Jack fixed that problem. But could it have been an aftermarket part? Or is is something from another car they used for this? It does not really look home made to me. Anybody recognize the scoop below the grille/front bumper in this photo?
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-25Close up of the air-scoop below the grille.
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-02Another interesting photo from the Jack Calori photo album is this one showing Jack’s 1929 Roadster at one of the many lake races. The photo of the Roadster taken in 1947-48 is very nice, but as a Custom Car guy my eyes were immediately directed to the left side of this photo where a 1936 Ford is can be seen in the parking section.
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-28The car, cropped from the photo above – not sure if it is a coupe or a sedan – has a nice Packard clipper grille set into a new front section of the car. Otherwise the 36 Ford seams to be pretty mild with only a mild lowering with what looks like a nice speed boat stance, black wall tires and ripple disk hubcaps. The bumper looks to be of a 1940 Ford, but its a bit hard to tell.
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-26One of my favorite things to do on these old dry lake photos is spot the Custom Cars in the back ground. I know that most people like the dry lake racers in the foreground a lot better, but I’m just a Custom Car guy. I noticed this amazing dry lake racer which looks to be based on a cut down model T body. The single bar flipper hubcaps are a nice custom touch on this racer. But what really got me was the customized 1937-38 Ford convertible in the back ground. I added this section enlarged as an inset to the photo to take a better look at it. The car has a partly filled grille section and a custom grille that could have started out of a 1940-41 Chevy grille, or perhaps scratch built. Nothing really special, just an every day driver customized to its owners liking. The really nice thing is the guy kneeling in front of it taking a photo of it. Another Custom Car guy back then looking for the nice customs in the spectator section!
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-01Two photos of Jack’s Roadster.
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-09Nice ’32 Ford roadster with flipper disk hubcaps and other chrome accessories.
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-04Jack’s roadster with an interesting 1936 Ford behind it. Unfortunately we cannot see much of this car, but what we can see is interesting. I have enlarged the 36 Ford section, see the photo below.
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-05The headlight / front fender treatment looks a lot what Harry Westergard and George Barris were doing in the Sacramento area in the mid 1940’s. The headlight were put on top of the front fenders and a new tunnel was created to make them flow from the back portion of the front fender. The grille surround looks to be chrome lated, and the front bumper was replaced by a more heavy unit. It is also very interesting to see this was done on a 4-door car. And it sure makes me wonder how the rest of this car looked like.
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-14Jack later also owned this mildly customized 1950 Mercury. Nosed and decked, with frenched headlights. 
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CCC-jack-calori-photo-album-12Another photo from the Jack Calori collection shows an unidentified 1941 Ford Convertible custom. This photo was taken when Jack was working on his 1941 Ford Pick Up in the 1950’s. I guess the photo was taken in 1955 or close. And possibly the 1941 Ford belonged to a friend of Jack. The car looks to be an original 1940’s custom with a Carson top (the Carson Tops were always a bit more square.) The car was now fitter with less wide white wall tires, and possibly it was raised more over how it originally had looked. The car has all the signs of an early custom. Mild chop, no frenched headlights, door handles still in place, etc.
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In 2011 I had the pleasure to see the restored Jack Calori 1936 Ford at the Customs Then & Now event. And the car looked absolutely stunning in person. The supper gloss black paint over the supper straight customized body in combination with the bright red interior and with the black wall tires made this car looks absolutely stunning.
 
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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)

5 thoughts on “The Jack Calori Photo Album

  • July 5, 2015 at 19:18
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    Rik, these album images are a treasure trove! And with your eagle eye to catch custom details, we all are taken “shotgun” on a magic ride back in Time. Maybe more of that album can be made available to you. Hope, hope!
    Larry Pointer

  • July 6, 2015 at 22:01
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    Whilst reading this article I found myself holding my breath. As if I was lucky enough to uncover a secret that know one else had seen. I love this car! My absolute favourite custom and a style that I can hopefully capture with my personal 5 window project.

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