Restoration of the Jimmy Summers 1936 Ford

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  • #72853
    Rik Hoving
    Keymaster

    I’m going to share this restoration of the Jimmy Summers fadeaway 1936 Ford Coupe story here on behalf of Jim Bobowski, the owner of the car.

    The test is written by Jim, so the “I” in the text is Jim, and not me .

    This incredible saga starts on May 11, 2009 when Carlos started a thread on the HAMB called “Any old California guys know this car?“ and attached ta series photos of a 1936 Ford chopped coupe with fade away fender remains rusting away in a field in Ohio.

    All Carlos knew about the time was this “The story I have on this car it was Summers built in 1946 and was sold to a GI on his way home from Korea and driven to Ohio in 1951 . Was Maroon in color” He was looking for some more information on the old Custom.

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    I immediately recognized this car was the Jimmy Summers built 1936 Ford coupe from the very early 1940s. Only a very few photos of this car had been shared back then. A few in the old Dan Post publications, and a very nice photo in one of the Don Montgomery books. But the car was so distinctive with its unusual full fade away fenders and raised rear fender. That even with the whole front ent missing the car could be positive identified as the Jimmy Summers restyled 1936 Ford Coupe.

     

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    I immediately set out to reach Carlos to see if he had any contact info own the current owner of the car, to try to find out if the Coupe could be bought. I would love to be able to put this historic Custom back into how it used to look in the early 1940’s.
    After many attempts unfortunately it seemed like the owner would not part with it….

     

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    #72854
    Rik Hoving
    Keymaster

    From Jim…

    So just to wrap up the fast recap, after unsuccessfully attempting to purchase the car and never even receiving a response from someone, I read a posting on the Hamb thread as well as here on the Custom Car Chronicle in April 2010 that the car was sold!

    These are the pictures that were posted of the car finally being drug out of the field by the new owner and delivered to its new home.

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    To say I was completely disappointed would be an understatement.

    It was good to see the new photos though. The new photos were a bit larger than the super small snapshots posted in 2009, and they showed how much body rot there was on the bottom of the car from sitting in the field for a good number of years. It also showed a bit more of the “missing” parts as the front fenders and fade away fender section that were supposedly stored inside the car. And the new photos showed that very well might be the case. The car looked bad, but salvageable, if handled by the right people.

    Then in 2016 I saw an ad on the Custom Car Chronicle that the new owner had decided to put the car up for sale.
    I reached out to the owner but he was very hard to get a hold of and it did not really seem like he wanted to sell the car at all.

    Almost a year later, in 2017, after trying numerous times, I was finally able to strike a deal…

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    #72856
    Rik Hoving
    Keymaster

    From Jim…

    One of the concerns I had was probably the same concern that many Hamb members, as well as custom car historians had, which was if the Summers hand made front fenders, etc. were still with the car. Or if they were stolen like had been reported.

    When I had finally contacted the seller he sent me these never before seen crappy cell phone pictures showing all of the parts that came with the car after he had pulled from the field.

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    After carefully looking at these pictures I realized that basically all of the original parts, front fenders, hood tops, hood sides, bumpers, fender skirts, garnish moldings, etc. were still with the car. I became excited to make the purchase.

    The question as to how much of the original car remained, was answered, basically the car was in bad shape, but complete.

    On a sidenote, the chrome garnish moldings must have been stored indoors because upon pick up we noticed that the chrome was still in very nice shape.

    The car was picked up in Ohio and brought directly to Schuchart Customs in York, PA to assess what we had just acquired…

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    #72867
    Rik Hoving
    Keymaster

    From Jim…

    We were very happy to see so many of the original parts still being there that when the parts arrived at Schuchart Customs, we decided to loosely bolt everything included together.
    Not only because we wanted to see exactly what we had, get a good visual of what the car originally looked like and set a starting baseline. Plus we also thought it would be cool to let people see it all in one piece for the first time in over 60 years.

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    #72868
    Rik Hoving
    Keymaster

    After enjoying the bolted together remains and dreaming about how it would look all finished it was time to get really started. The Custom was disassembled, and off to the sandblaster she went !

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    #72869
    Rik Hoving
    Keymaster

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    #72870
    Rik Hoving
    Keymaster

    More from Jim…

    In the the original Hamb thread from 2009, when the car was originally discovered, some people posted that the car should be cloned, re-bodied or that there would not be much original car left to work with. That was just not an option for us!

    Our goal from day one was to preserve as much work that Jimmy Summers had his own hands on as possible. This meant we had to plan everything ahead from the moment we started to start pulling it apart, and blast it to bare metal. We were very careful to try and leave as much of the original Jimmy Summers installed lead as well.

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    Since Jon (Schuchart) knew we would have to replace the door skins, since they were rotted not only on the bottom, but in the middle where the fade-aways were bolted on, we did not blast the lowers, or any part that we knew we’d be replacing.

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    The big news was that we had always heard stories about what a master metal man Jimmy Summers was, but it was not until we got the car back from the blaster and saw how amazing his metal work was on the chop that we got the full picture of how amazing his skills really were.

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    The metal is a little scarred from rust, but you can barely see where his cut lines were.
    Keep in mind, this was 1940, when this car was only four years old, when Jimmy did the metal work on this car !

    This is the first time in over 75 years anybody sees this Jimmy Summers metalwork in bare metal.

    More to come. Jim

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    #72871
    Rik Hoving
    Keymaster

    From Jim…

     

    So now it was time to think about how we were going to repair the body. Our goal was never to do a pebble beach type restoration, but rather just return it to how it looked in 1941, when the car was freshly done by Jimmy Summers.

    With that being said, we also knew that we wanted to repair the body, where needed, using original 1936 Ford sheet metal wherever possible.
    One of the first things to do was to replace the rusted out floor. We felt it would be best to find a nice rust free original floor and sub rail set up. Unfortunately, those are not that easy to find when you are looking for them.
    We ended up finding this decent Midwest body that was completely trashed on top, but the all important bottom looked to be good.

    A perfect candidate we thought…

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    #72872
    Rik Hoving
    Keymaster

    When the body arrived we cut away all of the crushed body that we were not going to use. Then we sent the floor pan out to the blaster to get a better look at what we had. Upon getting it back we were disappointed to see that although the sub rails and wheel wells were pretty nice, the floor pan itself was unusable.
    We were almost back to square one…

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    #72873
    Rik Hoving
    Keymaster

    From Jim…

    While chatting with a good friend of mine on the West Coast and bitching about how I could not find a good floor pan, he chimes in with “I have a good one if you need it”, he sent pictures and it looked perfect for what we needed.

    After getting it blasted, this floor sure was exactly what we needed. John proceeded to install the pan into our sub rails and we were back on track.
    This felt really great, we were making progress !

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    #72908
    Rik Hoving
    Keymaster

    From Jim…

    OK, with the sub rails and floor handled, it was time to start fixing the cowl.

    We took the bottom 6 inches from the crushed donor body and grafted them to our cowl.
    Jon then made some very basic angle brackets that were exactly like the ones Jimmy Summers used in 1940.
    This is a place where a lot of builders try to get crafty and show off their fabrication skills and over engineer things.

    Our goal here was to put the car back exactly as it was.
    Nothing better, nothing worse.

     

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    #72909
    David
    Participant

    Thanks for posting this all up Rik! Knowing the before pics and getting to see the finished car last week at the GNRS was really inspiring. Looking forward to seeing how it all came together. Nothing short of amazing!

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