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Early Custom Cars

March 27, 2014

41 Ford Hall Topped Convertible

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Written by: Rik Hoving
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HALL TOPPED CONVERTIBLE

Roy Herman is the current caretaker of this early 1950’s built custom 1941 Ford. An original custom with rare Hall padded top.

From 1973 and up the history on this late 1940’s early 1950’s built custom is known, and documented with some photos etc. Roy Herman, who bought the car in 2011, has been desperately search for more history on the car. Where did it come from when it was saved from the crusher by Moe Miller in 1973. And who was the original builder/owner of this 1941 Ford convertible. The Hall top – Hall was located in Oakland – might indicate it was built in Northern California.

There is some information that the car may have been customized circa 1949-50 after having the front end damaged in a collision. People seem to remember the car in the early days but no one could remember the owners’ names, or has any photos to proof this. The car looks similar to other 41 customs of the period except for the, turned side-ways 1949 Buick taillight treatment. That is rather unique for the 1941-48 Ford.

CCC-hall-topped-convertible-04-WThese are the earliest photos Roy has been able to find of his Ford. The photos were taken in the mid 1970’s, when Moe owned the car and had started to restore it. The complete body was stripped down to bare metal as we can see here. Moe had added the four rows of louvres by now.

 

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The unrestored Hall top is still in place in these photos. Later the canvas and padded material would be removed and the former Hall’s Top Shop employee would red the top in the same way they did in the 1940’s and ’50’s. The C.A. Hall Auto Top tag below comes from the Ron Brooks collection.

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The car is an early custom with an 3 1/2 inch chopped windshield. Most likely after the front-end got damaged in the collision this was replaced with the front of an ’46-’48 front Ford. The fenders were molded and leaded to the main body.  Door handles were removed and solenoid latches added. The Ford grille was replaced with an 1948 Cadillac grill and the surrounding sheet metal reshaped. 1949 Plymouth bumpers were added front and rear. And the most unique feature of this early custom are the 1949 Buick Taillights turned sideways, and molded into the rear fenders. Hall’s Auto Tops created the padded top.The car was painted a bright metallic green when found with many layers of paint under that. The 41 had no engine when found but was set up for a flathead with top loader trans and stock rear end.

 

Timeline of the Hall Topped 1941 Ford

  • On March 24 1973, Moe Miller of San Jose CA, buys an old custom 1941 Ford Convertible from a local auto wrecker. It was on it’s way to the crusher.
  • Moe along with help from friends Dean Essex and Ralph Reyes restored the 41 over the next several years.
  • Moe had an original employee from Hall tops redo the top.
  • The car was painted 55 Buick Titian Red with black interior.
  • Moe installed a 48 Mercury motor and punched the hood louvers.
  • By the time the car was finished Moe had his own shop in San Jose called Valley Custom Auto Body doing restorations, custom work, and louvers.
  • In April 1980 the car was featured in Vol 1 No. 1 of Classic and Custom magazine, a new California publication.
  • The car appeared at the Oakland Roadster Show in 1980.
  • 1985 Moe sells the car to a friend, Richard Periandri, also of San Jose.
  • Richard kept the 41 till 1995 then sold it to Los Gatos Ferarri dealer Brian Burnett.
  • Apparently Burnett sold the car to someone (unknown) in Texas.
  • In 1998 it was sold at Barrett Jackson Auction in Arizona. The car was now painted a darker maroon and had a white and maroon tuck and roll interior installed. It also had the Crestliner steering wheel, fender skirts, and Thickstun engine parts installed. A buyer brought the car home to British Columbia, Canada.
  • Roy Herman, the current owner purhased the ’41 Ford in 2011.

 

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Top and bottom show the feature article featured in Vol 1 No. 1 of Classic and Custom magazine. The text in the article was not quite accurate. Since it mentioned  nothing about the car being an original custom. And listed Moe and his friends actually doing all the customizing.

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CCC-hall-topped-convertible-10-W Ron Brooks took this photo of the ’41 Ford at the Oakland Roadster Show in 1980.

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These two photos, above and below, were taken in the early 1980’s. Moe had added single bar flipper hubcaps by now.

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CCC-hall-topped-convertible-08-WMike Shelley took the two photos above at the 1988 Paso Robles show.

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In 1993 Andy Southard used a photo of the 1941 Ford on the back cover of his book Custom Cars of the 1950’s. In the photo credits he did however write that Moe Miller built the car.

 

 

The photos above show the car as it sits now. When Roy bought the car it was repainted in a darker shade of maroon and the single bar flipper hubcaps were replaced by 1957 Cadillac hubcaps. Fortunately all the other details have been left intact, including the Spotlight and all other customizing elements. Obviously all previous owners after Moe have had the same passion for the car, and wanted to keep it as period as possible.

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CCC-hall-topped-convertible-14-WA good look at the modified 1946-48 Ford grille surround that was needed to make the 1948 Cadillac grille fit the front. 

 

CCC-hall-topped-convertible-13-WWonderful period upholstery, the original 1941 Ford dash and the Crestliner steering wheel

 

CCC-hall-topped-convertible-12-WA closer look at the turned side ways 1949 Buick taillights and the way the fender body line flows into the hand made and molded in taillight bucket. 

 

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CCC-hall-topped-convertible-18-WThis photo above, shows the Thickstun equipped  flathead engine. The set in shows how Moe used the 1941 Ford to promote his Valley Custom Auto Body shop business. The ad comes from an early Classics & Custom magazine.

If anybody recognizes the car, from the time prior to 1973. Most likely in California. Please let us know. Roy really would love to know the complete history of his car, and so do we. The most obvious features are the adaption of the 1946-48 Ford front sheet metal, the 1948 Cadillac grille and the best option to identify the car the side way mounted 1949 Buick taillights.

 

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About the Author

Profile photo of Rik Hoving
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)




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2 Comments


  1. Profile photo of Ron Brooks

    Really great to see this car has survived and still looks so good! Moe and I competed in the same class at that 1980 show along with the Buddy Ohasian Merc. I never realized he also had a Hall top. Another survivor!


  2. Profile photo of Kustoms Illustrated Magazine

    One of the most beautiful ’41/’48 Fords ever created.



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