Featured Cars

July 19, 2017

Paul Barrow 31 Ford Sedan




Paul Barrow created his 1931 Ford Sedan with a Custom Restyling approach resulting in an perfectly proportioned Rod.

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Paul is a big fan of the cars produced by Valley Custom Shop , and when he found his Model A body in Atlanta in 1996, he knew the perfectly restyled look from this shop would be the direction for his new project. He wanted to blend the Valley Custom Shop style influence with a Lil Coffin style sedan, but in an early fifties way. When he came across pictures of Roy Desbrows 1932 Ford pickup he knew that was the style of front end he wanted for the car. A few decades earlier, Paul’s father Bill Barrow had started to built a customized rod based on an 1935 Hillman. He chopped, two-doored en sectioned that car in the chicken coupe behind the house. This car had similar styling influences that Paul used for his ’31 Ford. The Hillman was later sold and finished by Bob Welstead.

ccc-paul-barrow-31-ford-progress-01This is how Paul brought the Sedan body home to his shop in the UK in 1998… after the body-parts had been shipped in from the US.


After having shipped the body to Farnborough, England, where Paul lives, he started collecting ideas, making sketches and starting to cut up photos of Model A-Sedan’s. It took Paul some design work to end up with the perfect style he was after. He realized that with everything he had in mind for his sedan, it would be a lot of work, and some of the work he had planned would perhaps almost go unnoticed. But Paul remembered the work by his legends Neil Emory and Clayton Jensen,who operated the Valley Custom Shop out of Burbank California. They would sometimes go into the extreme to get just the perfect lines, where most people might not even have noticed what they had done, only that it looked so perfect.


ccc-paul-barrow-31-ford-09The wide white wall tires and ’41 Ford bumpers give the Sedan that early 50’s custom feel. 


The overal design of the car would be something that could have been created in the early 1950’s. A customizers Hot Rod. One other thing Paul realized was that he did not really have the skills to pull off all this work he had planned. But over a period of 8 years, Paul was able to get most of the work on his car done by himself, learning along the way. Paul started with a Model A-Frame which he stretched one inch, and kicked up 4 inches in the front, and 11 inches in the rear. It has a flattened ’37 Ford rear cross member, ’57 Chevy rear axle, and dropped Magnum front axle.

When all the chassis work was done, Paul could start on the body. He replaced all the rotten wood with steel boxing. The body was braced, and then the customizing could start. The rear wheel wells were moved up 6 inches into the body to make the top of the fenders just hit the belt line of the body. The body was then channeled 4 inches over the frame. The rear fenders had to be stretched 2 inches to meet the running boards. The front fenders had to be stretched and the firewall was recessed into the cowl. The bottom of the cowl was modified to flow with the fenders. Paul created his own three piece louvred hood to match the modified cowl and cut-down ’32 Ford grille shell. To get the the perfect proportions Paul had created with his cut photos he decided the top needed to be chopped 1 1/4 inch. Something that might go unnoticed to many viewers, although they all will experience how perfectly proportioned the body is.


ccc-paul-barrow-31-ford-03The hood and hood sides were all home made by Paul, while the original ’32 Ford grille was filled, peaked and cut at the bottom to fit the low new front of the car. The dropped headlight bar needed a lot of tweaking to get the headlights sit just as Paul had in mind.


ccc-paul-barrow-31-ford-02A good view of the dropped headlight bar and splash pan that flows from the front fenders around the frame rails.


With all the body customizing work completed the body was stripped completely and everything was metal finished till perfection. Then it was time to paint the car, Paul had chosen to stay with his early 1950’s theme and picked a 1952 Chevy Metallic green for the color. For the roof Paul was inspired by Art Chrisman’s sedan, which had a white vinyl insert. But Paul went a step further, and created the roof trim from D section brass which was chrome plated. The chrome trim was a nice offset from the green painted body to the white vinyl on the top. The finishing touch for the body was a set of 1941 Ford bumpers, not easy to find in the UK, but Paul found a set… which was in need of a lot of repair work, but Paul got them to look perfect. He also installed two 1938-39 Ford teardrop taillights on the rear fenders, added big and little wide whites mounted on body color rims with beauty rings and smooth moon hubcaps.

ccc-paul-barrow-31-ford-19Rear quarter view shows how the new 6 inch higher location of the top of the rear fenders flows with the belt line molding. The simple Ford teardrop taillights and reshaped ’41 Ford bumper give the car a perfect custom touch.


Graeme “Whiff” Smith did the upholstery on the Ford Sedan in bottle-green and off-white pleated Lionella seats over steel tube and sprung base frames created by Paul. The ’40 Ford steering wheel is mounted to a LimeWorks column mounted on a ’36 column drop. The dash is stock 1931 Ford with Stewart Warner gauges in the original cluster.


Paul created the body colored steel transmission cover, it is detailed with rivets and stainless screws. Upholstery was completed and green carpets added in the summer of 2017.



The whole interior has just as the outside, the perfect period look.


The white headliner gives the car some extra optical space inside.


Inside Paul had to redo the floor completely and built a new raised transmission tunnel that he finished beautifully and painted body color. The interior is very basic with only the seats upholstered in white and green naugahyde with a beautiful early 1950’s feel to it. For Engine Paul stayed with the theme of the car, and chose an 1956 Chevy power pack plus V8 engine. The red painted engine with silver Chevrolet scripts on the valve covers was a tight fit, but Paul made it work perfectly.

Apart from the upholstery, wiring and engine machine work, Paul did all the work on this car himself over a period of 8 years. Since it was Finished it has seen many road miles as well as many local, and foreign shows, were it won many awards. But after having enjoyed it for a good number of years Paul has decided to let it go, find a new owner for it that will enjoy it as much as he has done. And start a new project again.

ccc-paul-barrow-31-ford-06A good look at the 1952 Chevy fine metallic green paint.


ccc-paul-barrow-31-ford-07Modified dropped Magnum front axle and 1940 Ford drums.


ccc-paul-barrow-31-ford-11The bottom of the cowl was heavily modified to flow with the new location of the fenders. Paul Handmade the hood sides and made sure the new bead on the cowl would flow nicely around the fender line. 


ccc-paul-barrow-31-ford-20Side view really shows off the super low and well balanced lines on the Sedan. Paul used Firestone 7.10x15s with ’50 Chevy rear wheels on the back. On the front he used BFG Silvertown 6.70x15s on ’48 Ford rims.


ccc-paul-barrow-31-ford-14Graeme “Whiff” Smith was also responsible for the white roof. that has the stitches matching the body lines. Notice Paul’s wonderful chrome plated trim separating the body metal from the vinyl top.


ccc-paul-barrow-31-ford-17The 1956 Chevy engine was a tight fit, but Paul was able to get it in, and makes it all work perfectly.




ccc-paul-barrow-31-ford-15Just a few of the magazines that featured Paul’s Sedan.



This award winning 1931 Ford Model A Sedan has been built by Paul Barrow over a period of eight years in the style of the California coach builders turned customisers of the late 40’s and early 50’s. Concentrating almost purely on the lines, the sedan has had extensive modifications to its original chassis in order to make it sit 6” lower.

Almost every panel on the car has been massaged to accept these new lower lines including modifications to the lower front quarter panels which now sweep up into the custom made 3 piece hood.

New rear wheel reveals have been raised up into the belt line. A complimentary 1 1/4” roof chop and alterations to all four fenders due to the now deleted side aprons.

The running gear continues this early to mid fifties theme by employing the use of a fully rebuilt and rare 1956 Chevrolet Power Pack Plus engine which was one of the first high performance V8 engines produced by Chevrolet. This includes a rochester 4 barrel carburetor and power pack heads. The engine is finished in the correct, for 1956, red with silver script. A T5 gearbox and hydraulic clutch linked to a 1957 Chevrolet rear axle riding on early Ford front and rear springs and 1940 Ford hydraulic front brakes.

The styling is reminiscent of Roy Desbrows’ 1932 Ford built around 1952. The original 1932 ford grill shell which has been filled and peaked, is flanked by the cars custom made front apron, including 1941 Ford bumpers and heat dropped head lamp bar.

All this makes for well balanced silhouette finished in a 1952 Chevrolet metallic green. This car has been featured extensively in magazines all over the world and is regularly cited as an iconic car in the world of nostalgia hot-rodding.

Asking price £40,000 or near offer.

(Lowered price July 2017)

(English Pounds)

For more information, and offers, please email Paul Barrow.

(The car is located in Farnborough, England)


How the Sedan was created

Below are a few of the construction photos Paul took over the period of 8 years it took him to built his dream rod. He also shows the two cars that influenced him the most when creating his ’31 Ford. The 1935 Hillman four door sedan turned into a chopped, sectioned two door sedan by his father when paul was just a kid. And the perfectly proportioned 1932 Ford pick-up created by Roy Desbrows in 1952.

ccc-moulin-rouge-01Original inspiration for Paul was a car his father started and was later sold and finished by Bob Wellstead. It is a 1935 Hillman which has been chopped, chanelled, sectioned, 2 doored, 2 windows removed etc. (Images from: www.rodsnsods.)


ccc-roy-desbrows-32-ford-inspirationAnother major inspiration source was Roy Desbrows 1932 Ford pickup built in 1952.


ccc-paul-barrow-31-ford-progress-02The basic frame, stretched 1 inch, with a 4 inch drop in the front and 11 inches in the back.


ccc-paul-barrow-31-ford-progress-03New cross-members all hand made with the raised tunnel sections.


ccc-paul-barrow-31-ford-progress-041957 Chevy rear axle in place.


ccc-paul-barrow-31-ford-progress-05The rear wheel wells raised 6 inches up into the body, so that the top of the fenders sits now level with the bottom of the belt line trim.


ccc-paul-barrow-31-ford-progress-06The mostly completed car in bare metal at the first car show it attended in 2004. 


ccc-paul-barrow-31-ford-progress-07Paul’s Sedan compared to a ’31 Ford Hot Rod which body is mounted on the regular position on the frame. Notice how the subtile chop on Paul’s sedan brings everything even more in balance.




Asking price £40,000 or near offer.
(Price in English Pounds)

For more information, and offers, please email Paul Barrow.

(The car is located in Farnborough, England)


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About the Author

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)



  1. its so kool id like to have an kruies it all over till the tires went bald i bet i could make some purty awesome donuts with it love this a sedan rik,

  2. I’m with Memo. The first version of Lil Coffin comes to mind, a big inspiration for me back in the day. This one more subtle and refined, and a real driver! Shotgun!!!

  3. Beautiful car – love the proportions.
    It reminds me of the 1932 Ruxton sedans – long, low, and lovely!

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