Westergard classic 36 Ford

CLASSIC WESTERGARD FORD

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One of the finest Harry Westergard build early style custom cars is Jack Odbert’s 1936 Ford convertible.

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Original article from 2013, updated with Color Photo in July, 2020.

When I was about 20 years, I first saw a photo of Jack Odbert 1936 Ford convertible in the Best Hot Rods booklet (published by Facett Books in 1952). I totally fell in love with this one photo, that was shown in the chapter: “Album of Best Hot Rods”. The car reminded me of the bright yellow and white 1936 Ford, that Possies Hot Rod shop had built in the early 1980’s. The Best Hot Rods booklet listed Jack Odbert from Sacramento, California as the owner. But the name of the builder was not mentioned.

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1952 photo of Jack’s 1936, shows the wonderful speedboat stance of the car. It also shows how all the custom elements on the front of the car work together to create an unique classic look.

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Many years later I found a copy of the 1957 Trend Books Custom Cars annual, and in this there was a small article called: “Remember when”. In this article, two more photos of this stunning 1936 Ford convertible were shown. The car had been build by the Granddaddy of Early Customizing: Harry Westergard. Something I had already assumed, but now it was confirmed. This 1957 Annual showed a dead on front and rear photo. Both new photos showed this was a very well designed, and grafted 1936 Ford Custom Car.

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The 1941 Oldsmobile bumpers have a lot more body than the original Ford bumpers. These new bumpers fit close to the body, and the stock cut out at the center fits the LaSalle grille perfectly. The long over-riders give the front extra height.

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The Oldsmobile rear bumpers are perfect for the back as well where the heavy end sections flow well with the Fords fenders. The chrome surround on the set in license plate help with the classic feel of the car.

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Recently, perhaps a year or so ago, I came across a copy of the July 1984 issue of Classic & Custom magazine. This magazine has a two page article on Harry Westergard, and shows a few photos of the custom cars he created. And two of the photos show Jack’s 1936 Ford indoors. One nice front 3/4 view, and one partly shot from high up, inside a car dealer showroom in Sacramento, where a small Hot Rod and Custom Car show was held.

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Overview photo of the Sacramento Chevrolet dealer showroom. In 1950 there was a small Custom car and Hot Rod show, and in this photo we can already see 4 or 5 padded topped customs. At least three of them can be identified as Westergard Customs.

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As far as we have found out, there has never been a real proper feature done on Jack Odbert’s ’36 Ford, not back in the day, and not recently. In fact I have never even seen any other photos of the car, other than the ones shown here in this article. We have not been able to get in contact with anybody who knows what ever happened with the car, or knew Jack Odbert or his car. To me Jack’s Ford is one of the best ever Harry Westergard customs. The classic thin, high nose, padded topped convertible, looks so much more classic, and expensive than the original Ford it was based on, ever looked.

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Bryan Rusk shared this snapshot of the ’36 Ford Cabriolet from the Donovan Welch Collection. 

We also do not know exactly when the car was built. Some of the looks indicate the car might have been just after WWII. The earliest photo we have seen of it is however from 1950, when it was photographed at a local Chevrolet dealer showroom car show in Sacramento. The newest parts we can find on the car, are from 1947.

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This photo was also taken at the Sacramento Chevrolet dealer. It shows the car with 1950 black letters on yellow plates. It also appears that the skirts have been decorated with 1941 Buick trim pieces. Note that the small diameter spotlights are pointing forward.

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Garry Odbert shared this wonderful color slide of the Jack Odbert 1936 Ford. The photo was taken at the Sacramento Autorama. Possibly in the 1954, or 1955. Look at the color!

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Lets take a closer look at the customizing Harry Westergard performed on this car.
Larry chopped the windshield frame, and had a padded top made for it. Most likely done by the Hall Top Shop. Harry removed the stock grille, reshaped the opening to accept a 1937 LaSalle grille. The grille looks like it was made for the car. Even the bull nose, and chrome trim on top of the hood looks so perfect with the grille. Harry added some unidentified – longer than stock – headlights, and modeled them half way into the front fenders. This in combination with the tall, and narrow LaSalle rille, gave the illusion that the hood is now much higher than it originally was.

New smooth hood sides replace the original louvered units. The former small grilles on the horn openings in the front fender were reshaped to accept 1947 Ford parking lights. The stock bumpers were replaced by 1941 Oldsmobile units. These bumpers have a wonderful Art Deco look, and the thick end sections fit the Ford fenders perfectly. Harry kept the tall bumper guards which fit perfectly with the LaSalle grille up front.

At the back, the stock taillights were removed, and replaced with what appear to be low mounted 1946-48 Ford units, or perhaps 1940 Chevy units. The rear panels below the trunk were modified to accept a set in license plate, which was detailed with a chrome plated surround. This surround echoes the shape of the mail slot window in the padded top. The suspension was lowered bit for the perfect ride height, and set of black wall tires were detailed with Sombrero look alike, after market hubcaps.
Harry added spotlights, but smaller than the regular Appleton S-122 or S-522’s. He also shaved all the handles from the body, and most likely installed electric door openings.

We now know that the color of the car was an ultra brilliant gold metallic. Hopefully this article will generate some more talks about this car, and hopefully some of the older enthusiasts know more about it. If we do find out more, we will add it to this article.

Resources and more info
Best Hot Rods, Facett Books 1952
Custom Cars annual 1957, Trend Books
Classic & Custom magazine, July 1984

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Channeled 36 Ford

 

CHANNELED 36 FORD

 

Another Mystery Custom is this channeled 36 Ford that probably was restyled by Don Clark. The car has been owned for over 30 years by Doug Hall, and it now in the 3 Dog Museum in Pennsylvania.



This is one of those cars they has been on my mind for a very long time. It clearly is an old Custom Car that was either done in the 1940’s or in the early 1950’s. It is best known from the time it was owned by Doug Hall who drove it around for over 30 years in California and showed it at Paso Robles and other well known Car Shows in the 80’s and 90’s. I have been trying to find out as much info on this one as I could, but most people I asked about the car, do recognize it, have seen it in person, but do not know anything about its history… another mystery custom.

So this is not a complete story… and hopefully with the help of the Custom Car Chronicle readers we will be able to find some more puzzle pieces in the history of this Custom ’36 Ford.

Update May 22, 2018.
With the help of Anthony White and “Stilo 1971” we have been able to add a bit more history to this car. Some parts are still a bit vague, but we are getting there.


The ’36 Ford with ’40 Ford front end how it looked in the early 1990’s.
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At the rear we can see the removal of the character-line that extended from the original belt-line, how the rear fenders were molded to the body, and the use of 1940 Ford bumpers and 38-39 Ford teardrop taillights.
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I first learned about this Custom convertible in the 1990’s, when it was owned by Custom Car enthusiast Doug Hall who owned the car for many years. He drove the car to many California Car Shows in the 1980’s and 90’s, and I had seen it in a few of the magazine features on the shows he drove the car to. To me the car had this beautiful, 1940’s look painted metallic copper orange with white padded top, white wall tires and what appear to be home made large size single bar flipper hubcaps. The car had that nice kind of rough look to it, the pure feeling that those early Customs have. With the sectioned ’40 Ford front end, the removal of the “delicate” ’36 Ford belt line, which made the body sides look more aggressive. Not much was mentioned about the car in the publication I saw it in, only that it was an older custom.

A couple of years later I came across a old photo of a the car in the Don Montgomery book Hot Rods as they were. The car’s features are so distinctive that this must be the same car in the photo provided by Dr. Bob Atol. The photo caption in the Montgomery book did sadly not mention anything about who owned it, or who had created it. Then later I came across a photo of the car in the Spring 1963 issue of Popular Customs magazine. The car has changed a little since the early 1950’s photos, but was still very recognizable. The photo in the Popular Customs magazine showed two show signs with the car, and most likely these would mention the owner at the time, and perhaps even the builder, but sadly I have not been able to read any of the the text on the signs.

The best info on the Ford Custom o far comes from the 2012 published book East vs West Showdown book done by Joseph Alig & Stephen “Spike” Kilmer. In the book it was mentioned that Dr. Robert Atol (the same person who provided the early 1950’s photo for the Don Montgomery book) knew the car very well, had driven in it many times and was good friends with the guy who build the car in the early 1950’s.

According to the book the car was built by Don Clarke a perfectionist from the Pasadena Ca. area. He created the car for his own personal use are regular car. And he later sold it when he moved on to another passion.




The Early versions

The earliest photo we have been able to find of the ’36 Ford is this one from Dr. Bob Atol, used in the Don Montgomery book “Hot Rods as they were”. It shows that the car around 1952-53, was sitting on motor cycle front tires, had no louvers in the sectioned hood, used a ’40 Oldsmobile bumper with what appear to be ’46-48 Chevy bumper-guards, a dark color painted lower hood section, which continues on the two side grilles. the car had small size spotlights mounted on the A-pillars. Sadly the photo caption did not say much of the car, or who owned it, and created it.
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About the Restyling.

The car started live as an 1936 Ford Convertible, or Cabriolet. The body was channeled over the frame, and the body top section was cut off at the belt-line. The top of the cut down doors were reshaped and rolled to become the new, much lower top of the doors. The top hinge had to be moved down a few inches. The rear quarter panel tops were reshaped and the trunk metal welded in the new lower position. The character line from the belt-line all the way to the back of the car was eliminated in the process. The complete front of the car was removed and the cowl, hood and front fenders of an 1940 Ford were crafted on. The cowl had to be sectioned to fit the new lower body.

The hood was sectioned a few inches to fit the cowl, in the process the two hood halves were welded together and a slight peak was added. The belt-line was removed from the rear of the hood so that it would flow nicely with the new body shapes of the rest of the body. The front wheel openings were raised to make sure the front wheels could still turn. All four fenders were welded to the body and molded in to create one smooth body shape. 1940 Ford running boards were adopted to fir the ’36 Ford rear fenders. According Dr Atol all the metal work was done flawless all hammer welded metal, with nearly no lead used. The photo caption in the Don Montgomery book mentioned that the car had a set in license plate back then. Either this info was incorrect, or the hole was later filled. When Doug Hall bought the car there was no set in place on the back.

The windshield of the car was chopped a few inches and a padded top was created for it. Dough Hall, who would own the car from the 1970’s always thought it was an original Carson Top, but there is no proof for that since there never was a interior tag in the interior. The oldest photo shows that Don Clarke finished the car with 1940 Oldsmobile bumpers detailed with 1946-48 Chevy bumper guards. Below the ’40 Ford headlights some parking lights were mounted, which were oddly mostly covered by the ’40 Oldsmobile bumpers, perhaps indicating an earlier version with a different bumper up front? The photo also shows that the car used narrow motor cycle tires in the front, we are not sure why this was done. The rear fenders were dressed up with teardrop shaped bubble fender skirts, and small cone shaped moon hubcaps and small size Spotlights complete the restyling. We have no idea how the interior was finished.



Owned by Doug-McNaughton

Some time in the early to mid 1950’s Doug McCaughton from Alhambra Ca. bought the ’36 Ford. We are till working on the details and exact times, and hope to fill in this part of the information soon. Doug shared some photos with Stilo 1971 that showed that car with the early parking lights below the headlights, and some new 46-48 Ford bumpers added. At that time the car was partly in primer, but the distinctive dark color on the side grille followed over the hood sides is still there.

Doug owned the car for a good number of years, and at one point in the late 1950’s early 1960’s the car was damaged at the front in an accident. Doug redid the front end and ended up painting the car in a nice baby blue.

The earliest photos Doug had in his album appear to come from the first half of the 1950’s. The car is partly in primer now, the bumpers have changed to ’46-48 Ford units, but the dark paint detail on the side grille and hood sides is still the same as we can see in the photo from the Don Montgomery book.
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A bit closer on the above photo shows a ’49 Mercury in the drive way that was owned by Doug’s father. Doug had a sales receipt in his photo album for a ’49 Mercury that was dated Marc 28, 1956. That might mean that this photo was taken around 1956.
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Working on the repair of the front end of the car in July 1960. One day Doug fell asleep while driving the Ford, causing the damage.
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Apparently at this time Doug also decided to create a lift-off top for the car. Looks like he as using a coupe, or sedan top from a donor car. None of the photos we have seen so far shows the top in place. Another things we hope to get more info on soon.
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McCaughton posing with his freshly redone ’36 Ford convertible with ’40 Ford front end. Notice that there are no hood louvers. Those were added later.
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3/4 front view of the baby blue version. This is the same version as how it appeared in the Spring 1963 issue of Popular Customs show below.
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A rather bad quality photo, but it is interesting since it shows the white and light blue interior with dark blue carpets. It also shows that there is no set-in license plate at the back at this time.
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Doug McCaughton proudly showing his scrap-book with the ’36 Ford photos in 2018.
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Photo in the Spring 1963 issue of Popular Customs. By then the car had changed a bit, the bumpers were replaced with 1940 Ford units, the fender skirts had been removed, the running boards upholstered, the spotlights removed as well as the front fender mounted parking light. The car had been repainted.
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Doug Hall owner for 30 years

In the early 1970’s Doug Hall was able to buy the ’36 Ford from an collector in the Pomona Ca. area. The car looked amazing, but did not come with any info on who had owned it before the collector, or who had originally created it, and when. From what we have heard the car was in very good condition when Doug got it in the early 1970’s. But Doug thought it sat a little to high, so he lowered the suspension and did some work on the ’51 Oldsmobile engine that was in the car when he got it. Doug also added new fender skirts and Appleton Spotlights. Since the last photo from the 1963 publication the hood had been louvered, most likely to make it easier for the Olds engine to cool. At this moment we are unsure if the car was already painted bronze, but as far as we know it was. Doug would drive the car frequently and enter it at several California car shows in the 80’s and 90’s.

I have added this photo of a near stock ’36 Ford convertible to be able to compare the Custom version with.
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Side profile shows how low the car is, with the channeled body, the cut down ’36 Ford doors and rear quarter panels, the sectioned ’40 Ford hood and radiused front fenders. The windshield was chopped just the right amount for the optimal proportions with the padded top.
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It is amazing that they were able to get that ’51 Olds engine to fit the super low car.
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This is how most people remember the ’36 Ford… parked with the hood open at the 1980’s and 90’s California outdoor events.
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Doug Hall drove the car regularly, and its low profile looked stunning on the road.
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3 Dog Garage

After having owned the ’36 Ford Custom for over 30 years Doug Hall decided to let go of the car. With the help of a car broker the Custom found a new home at the 3 Dog Garage privately owned museum in Boyertown, Pennsylvania. The car has been part of their collection ever since, and is on display in the same shape as it was when Doug let it go. The car is however starting to show its age. The trunk had a dent, and the peak of the hood on the front is also dented.

This is how the Don Clarke ’36 Ford is now sitting in the 3-Dog-Garaga in Boyertown, Pennsylvania. The car is well used, I guess very much like the Custom Cars looked back in the 1940’s when these cars were the only way of transportation for most owners. (Along the way the front of the hood was dented)
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This photo shows the reshaped rear were the wrap around belt line had been completely removed from the back as well. It also shows how nicely the fenders were molded to the body. And it shows another dent.
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Interior uses a modified ’36 Ford dash with bold white pin-striping. Not sure when the race car type steering wheel was added.
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When Doug Hall bought the car it came without the teardrop skirts that were on the car originally. (but already missing in 1963) Doug added an aftermarket lipped skirt and lowered the suspension for an more dramatic look.
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A closer look to the huge diameter single bar flipper hubcaps. They appear to be handmade units, but I have no idea when they were made, or by who.
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If you have any information on the Don Clarke 1936 Ford, or perhaps some old photos from pre 1970, that would shed some more light on this mystery Custom, please Email Rik Hoving here at the Custom Car Chronicle. We would love to add any new information to the story to make it as complete as possible. Thank you.


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Santa Monica 36 Ford 5 Window

36 FORD 5 WINDOW

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Beautifully styled 1936 Ford 5 window Coupe from the Santa Monica area. Created around 1940 and a total mystery.

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I appreciate Customized Cars from all era’s and brands, and each era, en perhaps even each brand, and model produced that one car that does something special with you. Your personal favorite of that time, or model. The 1936 Ford in this article is my personal favorite Custom from the late 1930’s, early 1940’s… when it comes to coupes. There are many others from this time I love, but this one is special. To me this car has helped shape and define the looks of the Custom Car. Improving of the appearance of the restyled car. Overall the early Custom Car period from the late 1930’s till the mid 1940’s is very interesting to me, since the Custom Cars created during this period are so pure, and so creative.

The first time I saw a picture of this so fine ’36 Ford 5-window coupe was in a book called Custom Cars & Lead Sleds from Timothy Remus, published in 1990. I showed a rather large picture of the car and I fell totally in love with the styling of the car. Later I found that Dean Batchelor who had photographed the car in the early 1940’s had used it in several of his stories on early Custom Cars. And the first time he had used it was in the May 1953 issue of Rod & Custom

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The photo of the mystery 1936 Ford 5 window Coupe that Dean Batchelor took in the very early 1940’s.

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The Car looked absolutely perfect to me, with its medium chopped top, removed running boards, ribbed cover to hide the frame rails, reworked fenders with stainless rock shields on the rear fenders. Teardrop shaped skirts, Single bar flipper hubcaps, and that really well done narrowed stock ’36 Ford grille with additional grilles added to the lower front fenders. Smooth hood sides and a two tone paint job. It looked so much more classy and perfectly balanced to me than the stock ’36 Ford it was started with.

At one point Dean Batchelor mentioned that the car had been restyled by Santa Monica Body Works, but in later articles he mentioned he had no idea who owned the car, nor who created it. And even though I have done a lot of research on the car and talked to a lot of people about it, I also do not have any leads on any more information on it. I did however find another photos of the car, once that most likely a little older than the one Dean took. And it shows the car a bit more from the front. Dean mentioned that he took the photo in the early 1940’s in Santa Monica on Pico, close to Ocean Ave. And he remembered that car was gray, or silver gray with maroon

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In the May 1953 issue of Rod & Custom magazine Dean Batchelor showed the photo of the ’36 Ford photographed in Santa Monica for the first time (as far as I know) Here he mentioned that the Santa Monica Body Works did the work on the car. In later articles where he used the same photo, he mentioned that he had no idea who did the body work on the car.

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About the Ford

I think this ’36 Ford Custom is extremely inspiring. It is very typical for the era, creative, no nonsense restyling for a car that most likely was used on  daily base. The car was lowered, but not as much as later in the 1940’s or 1950’s. The roads back then were not as good as today, and these cars did see a lot of road use. The chop is perfectly balanced when you compare it to the rest of the body and the higher stance. The front end of the car is what makes it really special.

The grille is one of the best on any 1936 Fords ever done. It looks like a simple narrowed unit until you start comparing. The top radius is larger than on a stock grille. Most likely the whole outer trim piece is hand made, and the body panel surrounding it hand made to flow nicely into the grille and smooth hood sides. Most likely the hood sides are some early aftermarket products from possibly Eastern Auto Supply Comp. That company started very early and created a lot of parts for the early Custom Car enthusiast

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Close up showing the really nicely done narrowed  grille and to side grilles mounted nicely alongside the main grille. Another very popular accessory in that period was the amber colored fog lights. Notice how the license plate frame had broken of on one site of the 1940 license plate.

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To ensure the engine would stay cool during the warm California drives and the lack of cooling from the solid hood sides, two new very elegantly shaped grilles were added just below the headlights in the front fenders. with only the two photos of the car we have it is not possible to identify if these lower grilles were hand made, or came from another car and made to fit the ’36 Ford. My guess, especially judging the new main grille surround, is that the lower grilles were hand made. The new narrow grille and smooth hood sides give the front of the car a much longer and taller look and feel. According the book “Forever Fords” by Lorin Sorensen, the two side grilles used on the car are shortened Lincoln-Zephyr grilles. (thank you David Giller for this info)

Another aftermarket part possibly is the ribbed cover used to hide the frame rails after the running boards had been removed. I have seen this same set up on at least one other ’36 Ford, and possibly on more. This includes the stainless steel rock shield on the front of the rear fenders. The lower section of the back of the front fenders were nicely reshaped  and the whole restyling of this created a much more sporty feel for the Ford

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A close up of the two tone paint job, and how nice the separation line follows the body lines.

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Close up showing the ribbed frame cover, reshaped front fender lower edge and stainless steel rock shield for the rear fenders.

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The top was chopped less than 3 inches I think. In these early days I have seen some chops with angled back windshield and rear window to make up for the height difference. But in this case the top looks to have been stretched to meet the new location of the pillars. keeping the proportions of the top similar to stock, just lower, more dramatic.

The car has a set of small diameter single bar flipper ribbed hubcaps. The ribbed section of the hubcaps ties the ribs on the frame covers as well as the grilles together, creating a overall theme for the car. Unusual for the Custom are the use of stock bumpers, even back in the early 1940’s it was rather common to upgrade on bumpers, or use more stylish units, but not on this car. and I have to say that the dip in the stock front fender looks really good with the narrowed grille. The door handles are also left in place, which was done a lot back then, since the solenoid openers had not found their way into the Custom Car scene yet

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This ’36 Ford Coupe uses the same ribbed frame cover and stainless rock shield, making me believe these are aftermarket parts. The ribbed cover could also have an LaSalle heritage, but aftermarket is my first choice.

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The only other photo I have ever come across shows the car a little more from the front so that we can see the narrow grille and lower grilles a bit Better. (I found a very small picture of a negative on an expired ebay auction many year ago, and was able to track down the owner who kindly shared a nice scan of the photo with us.)

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As the close up photos show the detail work on the car looks to have been done really well. All work looks very straight, and professionally done. I especially like the unusual two tone paint job. And hoe the separation line is wrapping around the windshield pillar. Typical for the era is the single spotlight mounted on the drivers A-Pillar

In the late 1930’s and early 1940’s there were more people who could have done the work on this car. But one name that pops up in my head when I look at the grilles on this ’36 Ford is George DuVall. He created beautiful grilles for some of the most trend setting Customs. Could he have had a hand in the restyling of this ’36 Ford 5 window Coupe? The restyled Ford also has a look we later associate with Harry Westergard. I hope one day we will find out. Hopefully in the near future somebody will recognize the car and be able to shed some more light on the cars history who the owner was, who build it, and what happened to it. The two photos used in the article is all we have ever seen on this car. If you know more, please send us an email, we would love to share more about this cars history here on the Custom Car Chronicle

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For the Rodder’s Journal issue 33 I did a series of Colorized Custom Car photos, this ’36 Ford was one of them. So now we have a bit of a feeling how the car might have looked in color back in 1940.

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Altissimo 36 Ford Roadster VENUS

 

36 FORD ROADSTER VENUS

 

Brandon Penserini from Altissimo Restoration in Napa California set out to create his ultimate Hollywood Style 1936 Ford Roadster. Starting with an 5 Window Coupe he used his excellent skills to create this award winning Venus Roadster.


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In the summer of 2016 I saw a few photos of Brandon Penserini’s 1936 Ford project for the first time. Brandon owns the Altissimo Restoration Shop in Napa, California and he had recently finished Scott Robert’s beautiful Olive green 1954 Mercury. A Custom I helped pick the color for, which was beautifully matched by Altissimo. So I was really looking forward to see any new projects coming from Brandon’s Shop. The photos of the ’36 Ford Roadster Project really caught my eye because of the combination of Nash grille and DuVall style windshield. An absolutely beautiful combination, which I had never before seen combined on one car. Plus Brandon mentioned several times on his Instagram account that the car would have a lot of Hollywood Style Art-Deco influences…. I could not wait for new updates!


Brandon had some beautiful glamor photos taken of his ’36 Ford with some beautiful Napa area backdrops creating a very much Hollywood style setting. This low angle front 3/4 view shows how beautiful all the styling elements used on Brandon’s 36 Ford come together. The light cream color was very much inspired by some of the ’30’s Duesenberg’s and Cadillac’s created for the rich and famous.
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Over the following month I followed the progress of Brandon’s ’36 Ford online, and saw it getting shaped from once a 5 window coupe parts project to a stunning looking ’36 Ford Roadster with many one off Custom Restyled elements. Slowly Brandon shared more and more details of the car he was creating for himself in his spare time at the shop. The car was going to be created as if it had been restyled for perhaps an Hollywood movie star back in 1937. As if it had been ordered from one of the Coachbuild companies so Bohman & Schwartz, or Darrin, or perhaps from early Custom Car Icon, George DuVall. Brandon mentioned several times that the goal was to debut the car at the 2017 Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona California. In late 2016, just weeks before the show it was clear that Brandon had to work many late nights to be able to get the car finished in time for the show. But he did make it in time, and the car debuted at the 2017 GNRS and was a HUGE success with the crowd.

During the creation of “Venus”, which is how Brandon named his project ’36 Ford Roadster, he tried to use as many vintage and period parts as possible. All in an extreme high concourse quality manner. He sourced the perfect color braided wires for all electric wiring, he hand made wire looms, and the all hand made wood dash with hand machined brass dash knob bases is absolutely stunning.



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FOR SALE

Brandon has decided to let go of his dream car 1936 Ford Roadster “Venus“, so that he can concentrate on a next project.

This is your chance to own a totally unique, extremely well crafted Hollywood style Concourse Quality ’36 Ford Roadster Custom.

Asking Price: $60,000 obo

Contact Brandon Penserini for more information and offers.

Phone: 707-225-4714
Email Brandon

Altissimo custom paint & restoration
120 Tower Rd. #3
Napa, CA 94559

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Lets hear from Brandon Penserini in his own words how he created this stunning Hollywood Style Custom ’36 Ford.

Venus started her life as a 1936 Ford 5 window. The body was neglected and was partially disassembled, presumably abandoned for a parts car until my friend picked it up for a project. He accumulated many original parts- many original FoMoCo. But plans changed when I convinced him to trade the car to me, as it was destined to become an Early Custom Car, resembling what would have been done during the 1930’s.

Rear quarter view by Trent Sherrill shows the extended rear fenders, hand made early style fender skirts, reshaped De Soto bumper, the “gentelman’s trunk above the regular trunk, and the spare tire cover which also houses the gas filler.
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Beautiful bird’s eye view photo showing the cockpit with the hand made wood dash, the home made V-Windshield and the Plante upholstered interior. PearlCraft in Australia did their magic on the pearl finish on the ’37 Ford Banjo Steering wheel, the gauge cluster and dash knobs.
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Some of the styling of this ’36 Ford was inspired by its bigger cousins, namely Packard, Duesenburg, and the larger Chryslers and V16 Cadillac Roadsters of the same era. In the 1930’s owning a full time “open car” was a pure luxury. Most Custom Roadsters did not have tops, as they were intended to be a fair weather only car and were likely one of many in the owner’s collection. The body of the ’36 Ford was very short in comparison to the Packard or Cadillac roadsters, which would prove to be the biggest challenge of the build. The result of Venus is a stunning, Bohman and Schwartz inspired 30’s styled roadster-a believable example of what would have or should have been done when coachbuilding was at it’s peak.

All of the sheet-metal, body and paint was done at Altissimo Restoration– an award winning shop, who does well at both a concourse setting and Custom Car Show scene. They win top honors every year and are especially praised for their paint work. They have won the highest honors, including the Bailon award, Custom of the Year and countless other awards including best of show, best paint and high scores at Pebble Beach.

Chris at Plante Interior did the beautiful in style upholstery in mahogany leather. The trunk of the car is done in the same style.
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Pearl wrapped 37 Ford Deluxe steering Banjo steering wheel and dash knobs. The dash’s instrument cluster was inspired by a ’36 Mercedes and has a pearl insert and utilized a 1934 Plymouth gauge cluster. The dash itself was handmade from Claro black walnut burl by Brandon. All of the bezels were made in house as well out of brass stock and turned and polished to perfect.
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Altissimo chopped the top off and created a Packard/DuVall style Custom Roadster windshield frame, which was hand made. The cockpit area was created by ending the body at the first style line, which lowered the profile and gave a sleeker silhouette and creating an illusion of a longer body. Essentially, the body line rolls into a bathtub style surround and a beautiful and seamless entry into the interior of the car. There is no channel, seal or glass to disrupt the flow of the body. Also, added was a second truck, which in 35 Cadillac called a “gentleman’s trunk”- a small trunk behind the cockpit, where the gentleman might store his ladies coat and purse.

The rear fenders were lengthened and both front and rear fender peaks were accentuated. Custom fender skirts were made, as well as Cadillac inspired louvered hood sides. The grill and surround is a ’40 Nash, the fender halves were molded to create a one piece nose, like the Duesenburg. The taillight are ’37 Chrysler on Plymouth stanchions. The exterior trunk handle was fashioned by hand. The wheels were finished with custom made baby moon flippers, similar to a 1934 Cadillac V16 roadster. The ribbed bumpers are original DeSoto, re-arched to match the 36’s contours and custom brackets made to sneak them close to body. The spare tire cover has a flipping hubcap that accommodates the fuel filler neck to disrupt any external body lines.

Stunning stitch work in beautiful leather by Chris Plante at Plante Interiors. Notice the beautiful finished wrap around section on top of the doors and dash.
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Brandon wanted to have as much Custom made as possible for the unique Coachbuild feel. He hand made the walnut dash and hand turned brass switch bezels for this unique one of a kind “Venus” dash.
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1937 Ford Banjo steering wheel beautiful restored, re-plated chrome and with that sparkling pearl detail finish by PearlCraft.
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Moving to the interior, one instantly notices the pearl wrapped 37 Ford Deluxe steering wheel and dash knobs. The dash’s instrument cluster was inspired by a 36 Mercedes with a pearl insert and utilized a 1934 Plymouth gauge cluster. The dash itself was handmade from Claro black walnut burl. All of the bezels were made in house as well out of brass stock and turned and polished to perfect.

The interior seats panels and all of the trunk areas were custom made and covered in a mahogany colored Italian leather. On the floor, you’ll find Lebaron Bonney’s wool, with edges bound in the same leather and custom floor mats. Both trunks are finished to the same quality as the cockpit. All interior work completed by Chris at Plante Interiors.

Photographer Trent Sherrill has the perfect feel to capture each car he photographs in its essence. Model Adriana Modabber poses with Brandon’s Hollywood style Custom ’36 Ford to give it the just perfect movie star feel.
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Brandon found a pair of ’37 Chrysler taillights and mounted them on Plymouth stanchions to create the perfect taillights to fit to the extended rear fenders of his ’36 Ford.
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The narrow 1940 Nash grille was flipped upside down to work better with the lines of the ’36 Ford. The grille surround was hand shaped and welded to the fenders for a much smoother look. The enhanced peak on the fenders, the v-shape of the Nash grille and the V-Windshield all work together for the well balanced Custom. The headlights are stock ’36 Ford, but mounted a little lower on the fenders.
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All of the bright-work and chrome plating was done by Sherm’s Custom Chrome and Plating, in Sacramento. Venus rolls of BF Goodrich Silvertown bias plies and is powered by a beautifully balanced and restored Ford Flathead 8BA in front of a Ford C-4 Automatic Transmission. Under the hood, you’ll find a Power-Gen alternator, a single black Stromberg, custom cloth wiring loom and ignition wires- everything is tidy and in show condition. It has a functioning choke, lots of copper and brass accents and a unique ignition wiring loom wrap.

Venus is stunning inside and out. She can be driven, shown or displayed in a winery, showroom or collection. While she was intended to be a custom from the 1930’s, using all period parts where applicable, she was built at a concourse level. Venus has been featured in Kustoms Illustrated, Traditional Rod and Culture, on the cover of Gasoline Magazine and shot for two others. In addition, she has won Best Paint, Custom D’elegance, and finalist for Custom of the Year.

Extended rear fenders, custom early styled fender skirts, Chrysler taillights, re-arched De Soto bumper and home made brackets for the just perfect bumper to body gap.
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Beautifully balanced and restored Ford Flathead 8BA. Power-Gen alternator, a single black Stromberg, custom cloth wiring loom and ignition wires- everything is tidy and in show condition. Not shown in the photo is the Ford C-4 Automatic Transmission.
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The Venus in its natural habitat. (Deadend magazine photo).
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This photo shows how the rear De Soto bumper was reshaped a little to work better with the spare tire cover and extended rear fenders. The new Roadster like body line created by Brandon flows perfectly around the cockpit.
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Any angle on “Venus” is breathtaking, but the front 3/4 view like this is my personal favorite view of Brandon’s ’36 Ford. Everything just works so wonderful from this angle.
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This dead-on front view shows how elements work together, from the v-shaped flipped upside down ’40 Nash grille, the ribbed De Soto bumpers, the Custom hood sides and the V-Windshield with the custom hood trim. Notice the turn signals sitting behind the horn grilles.
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Venus at its 2017 Gran National Roadster Show debut.
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Eric Reyes Lettering, Striping and Custom Painting created the stylish Show Sign for Venus.




How Venus was created

The Brandon Penserini Altissimo ’36 Ford Roadster was created from an ’36 Ford 5-window Coupe. Designed and build by Brandon as if it could have been restyled at one of the famous Coachbuilders in the later part of the 1930’s. Possibly for an Hollywood celebrity who wanted something ultra classic and stylish to cruise the beautiful sunny California roads back in the day. Brandon’s 1936 Ford Roadster named Venus was created at Brandon’s Altissimo Shop. It was Brandon’s personal project worked on mostly by himself in his spare time at the shop. But Brandon likes to thank several people for their support and help during the project. Special thanks go out to; Scott and Holly Roberts, John Aiello, Chris Plante, Rich Olivier, and the rest of the Penserini family.

This is how the project started, a ’36 Ford 5-window parts car project. Nice, but not really what Brandon had in mind.
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The project started with some frame work, and then it was time to remove the 5-window coupe top from the belt-line up. Brandon hand shaped a new roadster style cockpit surround.
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The cockpit surround was hand made from sheet metal styled after the ’36 Ford Roadster, but also at more high end roadsters which had a more wrap around surround. Notice the nicely finished door ends. In this photo the cowl section still had to be shaped.
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The flipped upside down ’40 Nash grille, new surround, Chevy hood sides and home made v-windshield mocked up.
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The hand made v-windshield with matching hood trim, and lots of vintage details thru-out the creating of Venus.
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All body work on Brandon’s ’36 Ford was metal finished till perfection before the primer was added.
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During the light cream paint process.
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The baby moon flippers, inspired by the early v16 Cadillac roadster are all made in house and beautiful plated at Sherm’s Custom Chrome.
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The engine in Brandon’s ’36 Ford is beautiful detailed and period perfect and painted dark brown to match the interior color
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Fresh plating from Sherm’s ready to get installed on the freshly painted Roadster. Each car created by Brandon’s Altissimo’s Shop gets an unique plaque installed on the firewall.
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Brandon completely hand made the ’36 roadster dash. Custom walnut burl, chrome and brass bezels and a 1933 Plymouth cluster.
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Perfectly styled and balanced ’36 Ford Roadster… VENUS.
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FOR SALE

Brandon has decided to let go of his dream car 1936 Ford Roadster “Venus“, so that he can concentrate on a next project.

This is your chance to own a totally unique, extremely well crafted Hollywood style Concourse Quality ’36 Ford Roadster Custom.

Asking Price: $60,000 obo

Contact Brandon Penserini for more information and offers.

Phone: 707-225-4714
Email Brandon

Altissimo custom paint & restoration
120 Tower Rd. #3
Napa, CA 94559

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Brian Holden 1936 Ford

 

Brian Holden 1936 Ford

 

Brian Holden rescued a Street Rodded 1936 Ford and restyled it into this gorgeous  vintage looking Custom. The Holy Grail of tail dragging Customs.



Sponsored Article



Brian Holden is a 67 year old (2017) car-guy from Vancouver, British Columbia and has been interested in Hot Rods & Custom Cars all his life. When he was a kid in the 1950’s and 60’s he spend his allowance on the Little Pages, Hot Rod and Rod & Custom magazine etc. Day dreaming about those cool cars and how he just knew something similar would be his in the not to distant future. And right he was about that, the future would bring Brian many Hot Rods, Customs, Sports Cars and Bikes.

Brian has had several Custom Cars in the past, a full Custom heavy chopped 1941 Ford Coupe, a Chevy Pick Up, Chopped Beetle, mild custom Ford Shoebox. But for his latest project Brian wanted something he was always dreaming about. The Holy Grail of all early style Tail-Dragging Customs, the 1936 Ford three window Coupe. He located his base coupe, disguised as a street rod with large diameter wheels, forward rake, but if you looked past all that, it was a perfect start for his dream project.

Brian’s 1936 Ford chopped 3-window coupe parked next to his colorful house in Vancouver BC.
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Before the car could be Custom Restyled it needed to be de-street-rodded. The wheels and tires had to go, the suspension set-up had to be change a lot to give the car the right stance. Brian bought a set of white wall radial tires from Coker, radial tires that look like bias ply tires (Bias look Radials as Cooker called them). Those with the steel wheels were mounted to make sure the stance of the car was right. During this time the body was taken off the frame, to make work easier, and to check the condition of the body. The body turned out to be in excellent shape with no rust what so ever, the ideal base for his project.

The rear window opens with the factory stock window crank.
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The interior of Brian’s 1936 Ford coupe looks very classic with the all cream colored all custom made dash, the Crestliner steering wheel and the beautiful vintage looking Naugahyde upholstery with white piping and burgundy carpeting.
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Drivers point of view…
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Close up of the beautifully designed and all custom made dash.
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To create a bit more optical space the headliner was done in a light colored material.
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With everything put back together, the car now looked already far better with its black wheels and white wall tires on a much better stance. Now it was time to take the car to Laurie Peterson from Canada Kustoms & Hot Rods for the Custom Restyling. The main feature would be the chopped top. It was decided that lowering the top with 3½ inch would work best for what Brian had in mind. Careful cutting and hand shaped filler pieces insured very little filler was needed and it made the top look like it came from the factory this way. Walden Speed Shop created the metal filler piece for the roof insert, and was welded in place by Laurie.

Grille, hood, hood-sides are all left factory stock, just cleaned up and fitted perfectly. Turn signals are integrated inside the stock ’36 Ford headlights. The bumper was cleaned up by removing the bumper guards.
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Stock taillights were used on the rear, and here the bumper guards were also removed for a cleaner, more custom look.
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The trunk is upholstered just as nice as the rest of the interior.
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The car came with glass fenders, which fitted the car perfect, so there was no need to replace them. To make the fenders fit the Custom theme better, the smooth glass running boards were replaced with Bob Drake aftermarket steel running boards with replica rubber covers. And for the ultimate taildragger look Brian added a set of glass teardrop shaped skirts to the rear fenders.

Brian’s plan was to create the ultimate from both worlds. A vintage looking Custom, with modern handling allowing for daily use if needed, long drives, and “easy” regular maintenance. The Street Rod based car turned out to be ideal for his plan. For the interior Brian had a similar plan, all vintage Custom looks combined with some more modern comforts. Brian wanted something special for the dash, so Laurie created one completely from scratch. An all new dash with a beautiful Custom, coachbuilt look, hidden behind the dash were some modern comforts as AC and heating. Another vintage interior component was a beautiful Ford Crestliner steering wheel. The color of the steering wheel rim was matched and repeated on the Custom made dash, which binds everything nicely together.



Brian’s chocolate brown 1936 Ford 3-window Coupe looks perfect from any angle. This low angle front three quarter view makes it look like it is emerging from the water like a vintage speed boat. The Perfect Custom look.
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A profile view of Brian’s 1936 Ford Coupe shows the real beauty of this vintage looking, and comfortably driving beauty.
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The seat is stock ’36 Ford, but completely rebuilt for ultimate comfort, before it was upholstered in wonderful looking burgundy vintage Naugahyde tuck & roll nicely finished with contrasting white piping. The door panels were done with the same material, all in vintage styling. The floor was covered with loop style burgundy carpets, and just as the rest of the interior these were finished in white piping as well. The chopped window garnish molding were chrome plated, and the windows were modified to work electric. To make it all look good the original window cranks activate the electric system. All the glass was replaced with new Coke Bottle Green glass, which gives the car a very nice luxurious look.

Perfect finish and paint.
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Chevy 350 engine.
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Vintage “Coke bottle green” tinted glass on all 4 windows make the car look even more classic.
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Brian has created his ultimate Custom chopped ’36 Ford Coupe, and has enjoyed it for some time now. It handles, drives and looks fantastic, but Brian’s mind is already working on a next project… not even sure what that will be, but he knows it will be a full Custom Project. Brian is one of those guys who wants everything, but he can only manage 2 cars at a time. Brian had his ‘36 Ford and a 1940 Ford DeLuxe Coupe (which is there to stay), so in the summer of 2017 the time had come and the ’36 had to find a new owner… so that Brian can move on to the next project. The new owner will ship Brian’s ’36 Ford to France where he lives.


Brian Holden’s 1936 Ford 3 Window Coupe Kustom Specs

The car was built with the look of an early traditional custom, but has the ability to be driven and maintained like a modern car. It shows beautifully, and drives comfortably at any speed. All work is done by skilled professionals. Many thanks to Laurie Peterson from “Canada Kustoms & Hot Rods” The car has not been shown in any major car show or magazine, so that can be the joy for the new owner.


The Body

  • The body is steel with absolutely no rust, the fenders are glass
  • The roof is chopped 3½ inch
  • The roof-insert is steel, built by Walden Speed Shop in Pomona California
  • All the custom work was performed by Laurie Peterson from Canada Kustoms & Hot Rods
  • The paint is polished base coat / clear coat, and shows beautifully with very few and very minor imperfections.


The Interior

  • The interior features a one-off custom made steel dashboard. It has an Auburn style engine turned gauge insert filled with vintage style Autometer gauges.
  • There are two original 1936 Ford round ashtrays, one at each en of the dash. These are used as vents for the Vintage Air + Heat system which is neatly hidden behind the dash.
  • Stock window cranks are used to activate power windows in the doors.
  • The rear window rolls down effortlessly with the stock handle.
  • All windows are in perfect condition and have the vintage Coke Bottle Tint
  • The interior has a stock 1936 Ford seat which is rebuilt, and very comfortable.
  • The upholstery is vintage Naugahyde in burgundy with white stitching and trim.
  • The carpeting is loop style burgundy, with white Naugahyde edging
  • The steering wheel is a Limeworks Ford Crestliner X-type wheel in a cream color.
  • The dash is painted in the same cream color to match the steering wheel, and burgundy to match the upholstery, there is a gold pinstripe to separate the two colors.


Suspension

  • 1936 Ford reinforced frame
  • New crossmember & transmission mount
  • Ford Mustang 2 front suspension
  • Power Rack & Pinion steering
  • 4 wheel disc brakes
  • Posies rear parralel leaf springs
  • 2 inch lowering blocks
  • Ford 9” differential with 3:55 gears fresh rebuild with disc brakes.
  • The wheels are steel from Wheel Vintiques
  • The tires are new from Coker they are Bias-look Radials they look and handle great!


Engine

  • Freshly built Chevy 350 Cu. In.
  • 4 bolt mains
  • 194 heads
  • Mild cam
  • Edelbrock 650 carb
  • Electronic ignition
  • Block hugger headers
  • Polished aluminum air cleaner, valve covers and air compressor
  • Polished aluminum 4 core radiator
  • Chrome GM onewire alternator
  • Stainless steel exhaust pipes.


Transmission

  • 100/R/4 – 4 Speed Autotrans
  • B+M Hot Rod Shifter
  • Electical
  • All new wiring harness
  • The main fuse panel is neatly hidden behind the drivers side kick panel for easy access.
  • The harness for air conditioning & heat is behind the passenger side kick panel.


When Brian bought the car it was a Street Rod. Big wheels, forward rake, painted smooth glass running boards.
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During the remake of the Street Rod into a Custom Car the body was lifted off the frame.
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This photo was taken after the stance had been adjusted, white wall tires and steel wheels were added… making it already look so much better.
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Chopping the top three and a half inches.
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Careful planning and precision cuts made sure the main work on the top could be done all in metal, only a very thin skim-coat of filler was needed in the end.
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Filler panels were created in the rear corners of the roof. Walden Speed Shop created the roof insert filler panel which was blended into the body by Laurie Peterson.
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Construction of the Custom Dash.
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When it came time for the color Brian contacted Rik Hoving Kustoms to create a few different color proposals. Brian had a few modern color in mind, colors that had a nice vintage look, and could possibly work with what he had in mind. In the end the colors that were chosen for these digital proposals all just did not have the look and feel Brian was hoping for, but the test did guide him into the final color. A custom mixed chocolate brown.

A few of the color samples Brian had in his mind before setting to chocolate brown.
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Body fine tuning and then… paint.
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Cruising time with Brian’s buddy Bob Larson and his Matranga inspired green 1940 Mercury.
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Barter Collection 36 Ford Cabrio

 

36 FORD CABRIOLET

 

Jamie Barter has shared a few more photo from his early photo collection with us. This time he shared 3 photos of a heavily restyled 1936 Ford Cabriolet taken around 1948.



Jamie found these three photos at an recent (autumn 2017) eBay auction. The three photos all appear to have been taken in the later part of the 1940’s The license plate tag on the car is from 1948 or 1949. The only information that came with these three photos was that the photos were probably taken near San Jose, Gilroy, Salinas area. No other information was given by the ebay seller. So far Jamie, nor anybody else who has seen these photos has been able to identify the ’36 Ford Cabriolet in these photos. It appears that the photos have been carried with the owner in his wallet for many years, looks like he was very fond on the car.  If you know anything about this ’36 Ford, please email Rik Hoving so that we can share the information here.

The car in the photos is a ’36 Ford that has been channeled over its frame and to witch ’40 Ford front fenders and heavily sectioned hood have been added. The running boards have been removed after the body was dropped over the frame to make the bottom of the body sit near level with the bottom of the fenders. The windshield frame has been cut down at least 3-4 inches, and a padded top was created to fit the new lower windshield. The sectioned 1940 Ford hood had its top portion cut out to create a new hood opening. The hood sides were modified to fit with the ’36 Ford cowl. The door and trunk handles have been removed, and a custom gas filler door,possibly taken from a newer car, has been added to the drivers side rear fender.

Possible the owner/builder posing with his ’36 Ford with ’40 Ford front fenders and hood. It looks like the firewall was fitted with a an engine turned panel. 
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It appears that the car is still under construction. Looking at these photos I think that the flat front bumper (brand unknown) is too close to the body to make it possible to install a ’40 Ford grille in the opening. Perhaps the owner was still trying to figure out what to do for a grille. Also interesting to see is that the front bumper mounts have been lowered, after the channeling, to fit the stock holes in the 1940 Ford front fenders. While at the back the mounts seam to have been left in the stock position on the frame, which made it necessary to cut larger holes into the body and mount the rear bumper – a 1941 Ford unit – higher on the body compared to a stock ’36 Ford rear bumper position. A set of black wall tires are used, an indication that the car might have been created during or shortly after WWII when white wall tires were impossible to get. A set of single bar flipper hubcaps and beauty rings are used to dress up the wheel.


With the raised ’40 Ford front fenders, sectioned hood and heavy chopped windshield the car has become very low in overall height. Hard to tell the brand and year of the front bumper, but it looks to have been flattened to fit the Ford bumper mounts. 
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Another interesting detail is the “sunrise” interior door panel upholstery. A typical Art-Deco feature seen in some coachbuilt cars. It appears that the dashboard was home made and upholstered with a flat panel with gauges added set into it. The steering wheel is a 1940 Ford unit. The rear quarter photo were we can see the car with the door open shows how much the body was dropped over the frame. It also shows that the panel created to cover the frame has a lot of road debris on it. Once the running boards were removed the road dust and rain from the road would find its way into the interior between the frame cover and the upholstery panel on the door.

It reminds me about a story Bob Drake told me about his road trips in the Jack Stewart Ford. That custom had the same situation, it was also channeled and door upholstery clamped against the frame cover was not enough to keep water from the road coming into the interior when he drove the car in wet conditions. He always carried several towels in the car which he would stuff in between the door and floor of the car to prevent the interior getting all wet and dirty. It sure looks like this ’36 Ford had a similar issue going.

The sunrise upholstery pattern give a very classic feel to this ’36 Ford Custom. The gas filler door and other body modifications indicate that the owner either was very handy and creative, or was able to spend some money on his dream car to have it built by a body shop.
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Close up show the engine turned fire wall panel.
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Close up of the sunrise door-panel upholstery, the padded dash with custom insert, and ’40 Ford steering wheel. 
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Close up of the rear shows the custom gas filler in the rear fender, the 39 or perhaps 41 Ford taillights sitting very low on the fender and what appears to be a ’49 license plate tag.
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I wonder if this ’36 Ford was ever finished with a nice gloss paint job, a new grille and possibly new front fender to clear the grille. There are pictures around from several ’36 Ford’s with ’40 Ford front ends grafted on, which was a common restyling method back in the 1940’s, but none looks to be similar to this one. Perhaps one of our readers will recognise this car, or perhaps the guy in the picture and shed some more light on this mystery Custom ’36 Ford.

Thank you Jamie to share these great Custom Car snapshots with us.



(This article is made possible by)

CCC-sponsor-ad-vintage-kustoms-01


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Carson Style 36 Ford

CARSON STYLE 36 FORD

David E Zivot wanted a California Top 1936 Ford Roadster Custom. Restyled in line with how the cars were built shortly after WWII. He was able to create this stunning example of the Carson Style Custom.


© by Michelle M. Yiatras
Timechanic ™
(Original article from June 2011)


Carson Style

Like Clark Gable might have felt before the War started (joyfully married, with an Oscar) and after it ended (drinking with reckless abandon), when a fellow parked his stock roadster to enlist in the Good Fight, he returned with a heightened perspective. Although he may have made the ultimate sacrifices (a limb, a spouse, a brother or uncle), he didn’t sacrifice style. These designs were stirring deep inside and reverberated in many post-War customs that matriculated from the college of WW2. Upright men and women returned to shepherd a more dignified era.

Eddie Martinez at his workbench in the summer of 2011.
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Eddie Martinez is a funny old guy, and he was a funny young guy. When he was six and his Mama told him to put the scrap boot on the beans, he thought she meant in the pot instead of in the coal stove for fuel. So that night they had “frijoles a la zapata”. When you see him today (June 2011) in his mid-70’s shuffling like Tim Conway and sore arms wrapped in gauze like the Mummy, a lot of it is for dramatic effect. He wants you to feel a little sorry for him because he knows he’s a little annoying. Eddie (Darryl Starbird’s National Rod & Custom Car HoF) has been multi-awarded for his quick draw with the sewing machine. Eddie was always the go to when you wanted upholstery or a correct Carson style top.

Eddie’s business card from back in the early 1950’s.
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He furnished a myriad range including from his first ’40 Ford (Car Craft front page & Long Beach Best Upholstery) in the mid-50’s, Barris’ ’29 Ford Model A roadster “Emperor”, Ed Roth’sOutlaw” & “Beatnik Bandit”, Larry Watson’s ’57 Cadillac Eldorado, Stone-Woods-Cook ’41 Willys Gasser, Dan Houck’s ’46 Ford convertible, to the Duncan Emmons Merc. So when the day arrived for Eddie to pass the torch over to custom and hot rod upholsterer, David Martinez (no relation), of Martinez Industries, there was definitely some fireworks. Eddie shuffled one way across David’s shop and out the door muttering, “I guess I’ll just go kill myself,” from the side of his mouth, and then shuffled back through with, “I forgot something.

David Martinez at his Martines Industries shop.
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Martinez Industries was at the time the ’36 Ford was built, located in Gardena, CA. (now located in Palm Springs, CA.) David Martinez, supplanted from Indiana, is mid-30’s and yet has the sensibilities of a post-WW2 timer. Usually he’s at his bench or in the car’s trenches applying his reet pleats to the tune of Artie Shaw, Jack Benny, or Dragnet, echoing Philco radio shows, not Eminem. He’s clad in vintage coveralls and has an earnest eye and handshake. It’s no wonder that he and David Zivot would become fast friends.

John & Virginia Wolf  at El Mirage dry lakes in 1949.
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David Zivot acquired the stock 1936 Ford roadster from AHRF Pioneer, John Wolf of Sherman Oaks, CA. David & I visited John and Virginia several times at their original So-Cal home, surrounded by magnolia trees and hummingbirds, they’ve lived in since they first got married in 1950. They are vigorous and feisty in their late-70’s and regularly attend V8 Club treks. They still look as youthful as they did at the dry lakes when they began courting in 1948. John got the car from Ray Brown (another AHRF Pioneer). Together they built the ’46 Mercury V8 flathead displacing a 3 3/8” bore and 4” stroke, J & E forged pistons, Winfield SU-1A cam, block letter Edelbrock heads, Super-Dual intake, a pair of Chandler-Groves mixers, ’39 trans with Lincoln Zephyr gear set, terminating in a ’40 Ford rear end with 3:54 cogs.
All of which Zivot freshened up mechanically and made reliable as a daily driver.

Ray Brown and Bud M. (photo courtesy AHRF).
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Before any miles could be racked up, the car was invited to be part of the GNRS 2011 special display “Customs Then and Now”, as representative of an immediate pre-War/post-War California custom. Although the car was stock when David Zivot acquired it, the goal was always an authentic as possible, chopped, black lacquered, tear drop skirted, rolled and pleated, solid hood sided, Carson top padded, boulevard runner.

Restoration work, turning the Stock ’36 Ford Roadster into an 1940’s Custom Car.
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Zivot always admired what was once known as a “California Top”, “Which has its genesis in the 1920’s, when middle to upper income owners wanted a smooth, unbroken, contour on their flashy roadsters and cabriolets. This look necessitated that the top be a non-folding, removable as a unit affair, that set the look of these so equipped cars apart from others on the street. The popularity of this style of top reached its apogee in the immediate pre-War period, interrupted by the Second World War, and continued to be popular into the early 50’s. Some of the more renown and accomplished makers of these tops were Hall, Gaylord, Switzer-Fraizer, and of course Carson-Hauser. After diligent research, Eddie Martinez was one of the only craftsmen left who could make the top accurately, with the proper materials and profile.

Building the padded top frame with the just right shape for the ’36 Ford.
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Building the headliner first so that it can be easily worked on before the outside covering is added. The the frame gets covered with straps that will hold the padding.
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With all the straps added the padding is applied and shaped. 
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Padding is followed by the outside canvas beautifully stitched.
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Nearly finished car in dark gray primer, black wall tires with Single Bar Flipper Hubcaps and the finished padded top. Just like how they looked back in the early-mid 1940’s.
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After the body was painted super gloss black David Martinez created the two tone interior with nice wide and rounded 40’s style Rolled & pleated.
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This may well probably be Eddie’s last Carson top, and elderly illnesses interfered with him finishing this top he initiated. So David Martinez, proprietor of the metal fabrication and custom upholstery shop, was enlisted. He was the driving force in completing this Carson style top in a reasonable time, and it wouldn’t have happened if not for his intervention and assistance. You’ll recognize his work on Bugs’ ’35 Ford coupe “Ruby Deluxe”, Ralph Whitworth’s ’16 Ford Model T bucket “Trojan”, Piero De Luca’s ’31 Ford Model A coupe “Live Wire”, Von Franco’s ’22 Ford Model T roadster “Lightening Bug”, and Kurt McCormick’s ’41 Cadillac convertible “Westergard Custom”, among others. The venerable Kennedy Brothers of Pomona, CA, did the preliminary suspension work to bring the car closer to earth, filled the deck and door handles, and chopped the windshield down to a manageable height. The black lacquer job was the finale work of Zivot and Alan Brunson.

Rick Lefeldt ’36 Ford Roadster from 1946.
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David Zivot is unrelenting, “The Rick Lefeldt ’36 Ford Roadster built in 1946 in Modesto, CA, was a strong influence on the ’41-46 War Years style I was after. As Don Montgomery referred to it in Authentic Hot Rods, ‘This was a very desirable car.’ To build a traditional style car and stay true to the tradition is a distinction difficult to obtain and not always accomplished. The distinction is between proper customization and over customization. There are sins and omissions that are allowable and can be overlooked. However, base coat/clear coat paint is a cardinal sin, and the particular color one chooses to paint their car ought to mirror the photographic evidence of the period. No amount of Hail Mary’s can absolve these. Yet, I didn’t nail it 100%. This car was built to a standard rather than an ideal.
Driving this car, or any type of vintage vehicle, in a modern town like Las Vegas (or Los Angeles), represents something that doesn’t exist anymore. It’s like trying to resuscitate the Rat Pack. “Especially one composed with American historical veracity,” Zivot is wistful, “The audience doesn’t get the references.






GNRS 2011 Customs Then & Now

The 62nd annual Grand National Roadster Show (aka the Oakland Roadster Show), January 28-30 at the Fairplex in Pomona, CA, Building #9, featured 75 of the most significant historical custom cars in an exclusive indoor display, “Customs: Then & Now”, as the theme for this year. Rik Hoving was one of the organizers of this part of the event, contributing his tremendous graphic design and photojournalist skills to the array. Rounding up in attendance the likes of master builders George Barris, Jack Stewart, Dean Jeffries, Blackie G, Jesse Lopez, Hershel Conway, Gene Winfield, Greg Sharp, among others, including himself, to light up the room. The cars were dazzling jewels in the constellation of customs, the Frank Kurtis Tommmy Lee 37 Ford Speedster, Harry Westergard 32 Ford Roadster, Bob Hirohata 51 Merc, Kurt McCormick 41 Buick Roadmaster, Glenn Johnson 37 Ford Roadster, Mox Miller 58 Chevy Impala, Larry Watson 58 Ford T-Bird, Mark Morton 54 Merc, so many the room was sparkling.



Overview photo of Building N0. 9 at the 2011 GNRS Customs Then & Now exhibit.
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Organizing administrator, Axle Idzardi, invited David Zivot to display his 1936 Ford roadster with the custom Carson top to represent an accurate pre-War/post-War early custom of the WW2 influenced era. Besides diligently photographing all the exhibited cars for publication reviews and archives of the Show, Rik spent weeks in advance of the Show designing and constructing the brilliant and radiant graphic signage that graced the stages. The first thing one noticed was the two large banners that were in the front of Building # Nine. Those were huge photos, with the Show logo on them. He also created 24 ceiling hanging banners, 36” X 60”. All 24 were double-sided, specially selected by Rik to complement on one side an original Business Card, and on the other side one of the cars in the room. On Sunday afternoon the banners were auctioned as collectibles and the proceeds went to charity.


These Show events don’t manifest with a magic wand. We’re always grateful and astonished at the magnum opus as a result of marvelous effort in this case by Axle Idzardi and Rik Hoving. We trust they keep their cars in the race.

The ’36 Ford banners.
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David Martinez posing withe the ’36 Ford at the GNRS 2011.
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At the GNRS Customs Then & Now in 2011.
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Side view shows the really wonderful shape of the Eddie Martinez designed padded top. 
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TECH SPEC

Original Owner: David & Louis Zivot (car has been sold to new owner)
Occupation: Historian
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Designer: David Zivot
Engine Builder: David Z
Year: 1936
Make: Ford Roadster
Color: Tuxedo Black
Paint Type: Lacquer
Painter: Jeff Savage & Alan Brunson
Engine: 1947 284 cid Mercury, br 3 3/8” x str 4”; J & E forged pistons; Winfield SU-1A cam
Trans: 1939 Ford with Lincoln Zephyr gears
Exhaust: Cast iron Fenton with dual Porter mufflers
Intake/Carb: Original Edelbrock Super-Dual with 94 type carbs
Ignition: Modified Ford crab type
Rear End: 1940 Ford banjo 3:54 final drive
Suspension: Stock Ford transverse leaf
Brakes: 1940 Ford juice
Wheels: Original 1940 Ford steelies
Tires: 600 x 16 Firestone
Seats: 1936 Ford Coupe
Upholstery: Rolled & pleated Carson style; designed by David Z; laid out & executed by David Martinez Industries
Dashboard: Stock chromed
Steering Column: Stock column with 1937 Ford box
Gauges: Stock
Headlights: Stock
Taillights: Stock
Horn: Original Garvin air horns
Steering Wheel: 1936 Ford banjo
Body: 1940 Buick skirts; 1940 Olds bumpers; 1940’s Eastern Auto Accessory solid hood sides; Original 1940’s accessory bull nose; knobs all original 1930-40’s Bakelite

Michelle created this Carson Top Shop based car show sign for the 1936 Ford.
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1936 Ford Roadster Early Style Custom

© by David E. Zivot
Timechanic ™



The ‘36 Ford roadster was never a plentiful commodity. Very seldom seen today, they were uncommonly encountered even during the 1940’s and 50’s. When featured in car oriented publications during those decades, the terms “rare”, “scarce”, and “not often found” were applied. Talking with fellows who are old enough to know (80+), ’36 Ford roadsters were coveted and well used whether hopped-up, warmed over, or customized. They say “well used” because rolling stock being hard to come by during the War years, and a couple years after, they drove the hell out of ‘em. Especially since they were light, easy to maintain, and thrifty. But most of all they were girl-grabbers. Stylish and sporty, and when lowered, smoothed, and customized, even more so.

Notice that the car’s stance is rather “high”, just as they were back in the 1940’s.
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I’d had a ’36 rag top in my past, but it was largely junk. My desire to have a really solid and straight one was complicated by the unfortunate fact that most of what you will find in the world today are not too far removed from the earlier one I had. I was close to giving up the chase when I was informed that a real hot rod guy by the name of Johnny Wolf might sell his. Now John Wolf is no ordinary early Ford V8 guy, and his roadster was no ordinary early V8. John has a long history of dry lakes, street, and Bonneville hi-speed runs. His hand at building flatheads that pour on the coals is equally legendary. So this roadster of his looks River Rouge stock on the outside. Under the hood is one of John’s Mercury flathead motors circa 1946, built by him and Ray Brown. Yes, that Ray Brown. The car was owned by Ray before selling it to John. Considering this remarkable pedigree, and that the car had this very hot flathead, I made the deal.

The round shape of the padded top flows nice with the shape of the trunk of the Ford.
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The 1940’s Eastern Auto Accessory solid hood sides make the car look so smooth.
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Now stock high-hat height Fords are not my way. So it was time for lowering all around, chopped windshield, solid hood sides, tear drop skirts, bullnose, streamline bumpers. A shave here and a shave there, and of course black nitro lacquer. The only other thing to do was the ultimate Los Angeles golden era touch. A Carson padded top. I mean Carson, because I wouldn’t have one that wasn’t as accurate and as clinically exact to the product that Glen Hauser was turning out from 1938-46. I wanted the type and profile seen just before WW2 and was in vogue until about 1947. It would only make sense to have a complementary 1940’s Carson style interior as well, right?

David Zivot studied countless old photos to capture the right mid 1940’s Carson Top Shop interior look. David Martinez was able to make it look a perfect as possible.
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This is a real Ford roadster that is set up the way they were done in California during the period 1940-47. From the City of Los Angeles proper, east to Pasadena, south to San Diego, heading west to Santa Monica, or north to Santa Barbara, this was the most desirable custom ride of the time, and represents the high end of that restyling. This particular approach is the most traditional, and yet timeless in its taste and appeal. ’36 Ford roadsters were few and far between even during the 40’s and 50’s, and were much sought after. Finding one of this caliber is even more improbable when considering the former ownership.

The two owners prior to me, Ray Brown and Johnny Wolf, both of whom are extremely well known and respected original California hot rodders, engine-chassis builders, racers, and inductees to the American Hot Rod Foundation. Ray Brown owned and drove this roadster regularly, then sold it to John Wolf, who also drove and maintained it impeccably. The built Mercury flathead motor and drive train are a result of their efforts. Anyone who knows these guys or does the research will attest to their skills at engine building and putting together old Ford roadsters. Ray Brown’s ’32 Ford roadster currently resides at the Peterson Museum (they paid $135,000 for it in 1999, valued at $350,000 today).

Michelle posing with the Ford.
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Other legendary talent had a hand in this car. Eddie Martinez built his final authentic Carson style padded top for this roadster, accurate in every detail and line. He had the expert assistance and quality workmanship of David Martinez, also a Carson top and upholstery specialist. David Martinez Industries was responsible for the exact replication of a 1940’s Carson or Gaylord interior, down to the proper carpet and contrasting binding. Plus a spot-on set of side curtains. As for the subject of California tops, they were also a very fashionable (and practical) addition to touring cars, phaetons, roadsters, and runabouts, in the U.S. during approximately the same period. It’s interesting that a motorist could acquire one through expensive coach maker and dealer sources, as well as do-it-yourself kits that the owner could assemble and install himself. I have seen evidence of these on all makes from Packard to Model T. Some appearing to be a facsimile of a folding top, while others look like later Carson style so-called padded top. Because of their construction, very few have survived for historical inspection. However they can readily be seen in the background scenes of silent films shot in sunny Southern California, featuring Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, Laurel & Hardy, and others.

David Martinez was also responsible for the spot-on set of side curtains for the chopped Ford.
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1940 Oldsmobile bumpers, Firestone 600 x 16 white wall tires, Hollywood flipper disc hubcaps with beauty rings on black painted ’40 Ford wheels.
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The short list of period approved modifications done, with attention to period essentials, and were considered must haves in the 40’s: lowered (pre-War) stance, chopped windshield and posts, removable padded top with headliner complementing upholstery, solid hood sides, bull nose grill, ’40 Olds bumpers, centered plate mount, smoothed deck and doors, ’40 Ford 16” rims with Firestone wide whites, Hollywood flipper disc hubcaps, ’40 Buick teardrop fender skirts, teardrop accessory sealed beam headlights. Hand rubbed black lacquer of course. Interior modifications and upgrades of the era include: ’36 Ford three-window coupe seat and seat frame (backrest lifts up for access to trunk area), chromed dash, banjo steering wheel. The two-tone rolled and pleated upholstery is done in the correct fashion of individually hand stuffed pleats and rolls with correct form and contour. Chassis, engine, and driveline highlights: ’40 Ford steering, original Ed “Axle” Stewart dago’ed (dropped) axle, tube aircraft type shocks front and rear, ’41 Ford dropped spindles and hydraulic brakes, ’40 rear end with 3:54 gears, ’39 Ford heavy duty 3 speed trans with early 26 tooth Zephyr gears. ’46 Mercury V8 flathead engine as built by Ray Brown and John Wolf to their usual specs: 284 cid, 3 3/8 bore, 4” stroke, J & E forged pistons, Winfield SU-1A cam, NOS early original block letter Edelbrock heads and early NOS Edelbrock super-dual intake manifold with a pair of NOS Holley 2110 carburetors. Ignition 59A 12127 crab style distributor. Original Fenton cast iron headers flowing into 22” Smitty’s. NOS original ’36 Ford radiator. The grill is perfect. Car runs very fast and strong, handles and drives well. This car was a low miles Ford, and retains all its original sheet metal and components that it was delivered with.


This roadster, was chosen from a very select number nationwide to participate in a limited gathering of famous, influential, or otherwise iconic customs, in a separate Building #9 at the 2011 Grand National Roadster Show at the Fairplex in Pomona. This exhibit known as “Customs Then & Now”, organized by Axel Idzardi, Rik Hoving, Jeff Neppl and Luke Karosi, displayed these representative historic customs from the early 1940’s up to the 60’s.


I was able to get the result I wanted. Thanks to Jason & Joe Kennedy (chop & lowering), Eddie Martinez, David Martinez (top & interior), Alan & Carl Brunson (paint), Michelley, & lots of design and wrench work by myself. Bart Bartoni’s 1946 photograph of Rick Lefeldt’s epoch ’36 was a spectre of inspiration.







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Bob Fairman 1936 Ford Coupe

 

BOB FAIRMAN 1936 FORD

 

Around 1941 Jimmy Summers and Bob Fairman create this full Custom 1936 Ford Coupe with fade away fenders. A trend setting Custom Car Icon.



The first time I saw a picture of this wild looking ’36 Ford chopped Coupe with full fade-away fenders was in the Hot Rod Memory book published by Don Montgomery in 1991. The photo he shared was from the Mel Paisley collection. The photo caption did not provide much information, it did not mention the builder, or the owner. Id did mention that that particular photo was taken in 1945, so I already knew the car was an very early full custom job.  Later I came across one or two more published photos in the Dan Post books that I had bought from online auctions. A friend of mine in the US mentioned that the car was built by Jimmy Summers. Which made sense because of the very early fade-away fenders. But no other info was found at the time.

More information about the car was gathered when Carlos started a thread named ANY OLD CALIFORNIA GUYS KNOW THIS CAR ? on the HAMB on May 12, 2009. Carlos had taken a series of photos of an very rusted chopped top ’36 Ford coupe with full fade away fenders in a field in Ohio. At the time my Custom Car Photo Archive already had all the photos I had found on the car listed under the Jimmy Summers section. So it was not long before the link to the Jimmy Summers section was added to the HAMB thread. Carlos happened to be a friend of the guy who stored the car for the then owner of the car. The car was not supposed to be stored outside, but it was, and it it destroyed much of the car. Carlos posted the photos to try to find out more about the history of the car. At the time it was known that the car came from California, the name Summer had been mentioned as the builder, but he had no other information, nor old photos of it.

When I found the thread on the HAMB I really could not believe that A, the car had survived and B somebody who made sure the car had survived would leave it sit outside rusting in a field. But I was thrilled and hoped somebody would be able to buy the remains and get it completely restored. This was an very early full Custom Car, created by Jimmy Summers, Custom Car pioneer. And not much of his work is still with us, so this car really needed to be saved.

I was able to get in touch with Eddie Montgomery who lived close to where the car was located, and he knew the owner of the car and was able to tell me more about how the car got in the field in such bad shape, and also how this California built Custom ended up in this field in Ohio.

On this thread it was also mentioned that in the Art of Hot Rod book by Ken Gross, the foreword written by Alex Xydias mentioned the car and the owner. The owner of the ’36 Ford was, according to Alex Xydias, Bob Fairman aka “Barbells” a guy who worked for Jimmy Summers at his Melrose Ave., Ca. shop in the early 1940’s. The foreword mentioned the year 1946, but I later found out that the car was actually built several years before that. It was really great to have a name with the car now.

Alex Xydias, founder of the So-Cal Speed Shop, remembered the name of the guy working with Jimmy Summers in the early 1940’s who owned the ’36 Ford with full fade-away fenders. Bob Fairman aka “Barbells”.
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About the Ford

Over the years I have collected very photo I was able to find of the Bob Fairman 1936 Ford, and fortunately more and more show up. It really is amazing that so many photos have been taken of this car, yet so little is known about it. There also never was a proper magazine feature on the car. Most likely because the car was done so early, and the magazines to feature it did not come out 7 or so year after it had been finished.

Published photo appears to have a 1941 License plate, and is the oldest known photo of the Bob Fairman ’36 Ford. Not only are the full fade away fenders very unusual for 1941, so are the shaved door handles. Most custom cars still had door handles around this time.
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The body of the car was channeled over the frame to get it low, the running boards were removed. The grille was sectioned and due to the channeling of the body the fenders are now higher mounted on the body. The top was chopped and now has really nice proportions and flows really nice. The canvas roof panel was filled in with a shaped metal section. The front fenders were reshaped completely, it is unsure if Jimmy Summers used the stock ’36 Ford front fenders, or perhaps a bit newer 39 Ford fenders, or perhaps completely hand made the units.

Jimmy created the full fade away panels before there were any production cars that had these. (The first factory created full fade away fenders were on the 1942 Buick’s). The panels had to be completely hand made. Not sure if Jimmy did the shaping on these, or if perhaps California Metal Shaping, or a similar company pre-shaped these panels based on Jimmy’s instructions. All four fenders were not – like we are so used to from other customs from the later part of the 1940’s – molded to the body, instead they are still bolt ons, which require some nice fitting, especially of the rear fenders. The full fade away panels on the doors and quarter panels are also bolt on units.

CCC-fadeaway-fenders-summers-03Photo taken in the early 1940’s show the rather bulbous full Fade-Away fenders on Bob Fairman’s 1936 Ford. The new fender lines looks a lot like the fenders used on the Jaguar XK120, but those did not come out until 1948.
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The license plate on Bob Fairman had the 06 Q 511 number which was given to the car in 1941. (1940 plates were yellow with black letters) This photo shows how a pressed metal 1941 top has been added over the 1941 Plate. California license plated had aluminum stamped corners with a red “V” in 1943 and 1944. By 1945 the plates changed completely again. Now black with white numbers, and Cal 45 in a narrow white box on the top.
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Jimmy hand made new hood sides to fit the lower hood and the fade away fenders. The headlight were replaced with fender mounted ’37-38 Ford units. At the rear a set of ’38-39 Ford teardrop taillights were added to the body, next to the fenders. Rather unusual for the time, Jimmy removed all door handles on the car and created foot controlled buttons underneath the fender. Could this possibly the first installment of push button doors?

The stock ’36 Ford bumpers were replaced by bolder 1941 Ford units with bumper guards, over rider and accessory corner pieces. Not sure if the suspension was modified in any way. The car sits, just like most of the Custom Cars built in the early 1940’s rather high. Jimmy installed wide white wall tires and added small diameter single bar flipper hubcaps with beauty rings. The very early single bar flipper hubcaps had a much smaller smooth section than the later units that became more popular. A set of teardrop shaped fender skirts was mounted on the rear fenders.


This and the next photo have just recently been shared by Denver Dan. it is always great if some new photos of this early custom showing up. especially if they show the car really good as these do. 
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In this photo we can see that the it was taken when the car had the 1942 plates on it. Both photos show that the single bar flipper hubcaps that were used are a lot smaller in diameter of the plain section that those we know best from the mid 40’s and up. These photos also show that the car was painted a light color, but that the white wall tires are a lot whiter. It really makes me wonder about the hue of the paint on the car.
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The car was painted in a light color, sometimes it is referred to as white, but I think it was not white, but rather light shade of a color. The difference between the body color and the white wall tires is to big for the paint to be white. Eddie Montgomery remembers that the car was a dove gray when he first saw it. And that it was later painted a bronze maroon metallic.

The oldest photo I have been able to locate of the car shows it with 1941 License plates on it. So far I have not been able to find out when the car was built, but since the car is using 1941 Ford bumpers – which look to be the newest parts on the car – the car was most likely built in late 1940 or early 1941.


From the National Hot Rod Foundation Collection comes this photo taken at a parking lot, possibly for some sort of event. We do not know when this photo was taken. This photo is the only one I have seen that shows the car with a vent window installed, and judging the reflection, with the door window in the op position. Notice the super straight reflection.
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Bad scan of a bit fuzzy photo shows the car at possibly another shop. The photo comes from the Bob Sorrel Collection and it looks like a ’46 license plate tag is used on the ’45 plate.
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This was actually the first photo I ever saw of the Bob Fairman Jimmy Summers built 1936 Ford. Mel Paisley mentioned in the Don Montgomery books that the photo was taken in 1945. By now the rear white wall tire has been replaced by a black wall unit. An cowl mounted antenna was added, and the bumper end accessory pieces are removed.
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Judging the photos it appears that the car was on a For Sale car lot around 1945-46. One unidentified lot that we can only see a partial lot name “Al H…”  with other sings showing “Cash for Cars“. Two other photos (taken by Strother MacMinn) show the car at the Smith Car Co. Hot Rod and Custom Cars for sale lot next to The Spot restaurant in 1946. We do not know what happened to the car after it had been photographed on these Car Lots…. but we do know that the car was bought in the early 1950’s and was driven to Ohio by the new owner.

Gary Emory shared this photo of the Fairman Ford with us. It shows the car parked what looks to be a car dealer or so. The plates are ’45 units with possibly a 46 tag. Notice the Curb-feelers mounted on the rear fender, just below the end of the fender skirt and at the front fender in front of the door. The photo gives us a nice look at the set in license plate, with glass cover.
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Two more photos from the Gary Emory Collection.
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These photos appear to have been taken at the same place. It looks like a second hand car dealer “Al H…” Cash for Cars. Perhaps the car was parked in front of the dealer building to attract customers. These screen shots come from an eBay offering from some time ago.
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Then due to the rubber shortage during and after WWII the car now had all black wall tires mounted, front and rear.
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Around 1946 the car was for sale at the Smith Car Co. lot. The car had black wall tires. Obviously the photographer was more interested in Hot Rods than Custom Cars. (Strother MacMinn photo)
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The ’32 Ford Roadster parked next to the ’36 Ford has a ’46 registration sticker on the ’45 license plate. Most likely the car was for sale at the Smith Car Co. lot around 1946, and perhaps these are the last known photos of the car before it went to the east coats around 1953. (Strother MacMinn photo)
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The first time Bob’s ’36 Ford was used in a publication, as far as I know, was in two Dan Post publications, both published in 1947. The California Custom Car Photo album on the left, and the Master Custom-Restyling Manual on the right. Two different photos were used, one with white walls, the other with black walls and the cowl mounted antenna. 
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Jimmy summer photographed in 1946 and one of his ads from an 1948 Hot Rod magazine.
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The Ford goes to Ohio

Thanks to Eddie Montgomery and Don Kretzer we do know a bit more about the car and what happened to it from the early 1950’s until now. In the early 1950’s somewhere between 1951 and 53, (several different stories tell different years for this event) a Ohio based young guy named Joe Johnson got back from serving the marine or Army during the Korean War. He was discharged in California and before he returned home to Ohio, he found this chopped and fade-away fendered 1936 Ford Custom on a used car lot in Los Angeles.  The story does not tell which car lot he found the car at.

When Joe found the car was already painted bronze / maroon metallic. Joe bought the car and drove it across the country to his hometown of Sparguarsville (sp), Ohio. Joe then he used the car as his daily driver for a few years. During this time the car was usually parked in front of Joe’s home, and it was there where a very young Don Kretzer saw the car, and fell in love with it. John Eddington from Greenfield bought the car from Joe and not long after that the engine blew. John fixed the engine and used it up to 1957. By then the car was primer gray, but it is unsure if Joe or John primered the car. John parked the car at his house, first inside, later outside. Sadly we have not been able to find any photos of the car when it was painted metallic Bronze.

After the car had been stored inside for some time it was moved outside and left unprotected to the elements – 2009.
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The hood and grille had already been stolen then, but otherwise the car is complete, the front fenders are supposed to be stored inside the car, but I have not seen any photos of those so far. The outside storage has left its marks on the car, the body is rusted and body panels are dented. But the experts say it is still possible the bring it back to life. (2009 photos)
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In 1972 the owner of the car took the ’36 Ford to a local body shop for an estimate on a total repair. They said it could not be done and laughed at him. The owner then decided to take the car to the crusher, but Don Kretzer was able to talk him out of that and offered to store the car at his place. The car sat inside his barn for many years, until the roof collapsed and the car was moved outside again where it was left in the elements and the condition of the car quickly became worse. During this time the front fenders, hood and grille were stolen of the car, the current wear about of those parts are unknown. Most likely lost for ever.

In May 2009 Carlos, a friend of Don posted the photos on the HAMB, trying to find out more information. Many phone calls were made from people all around the US to try and buy the remains of the Jimmy Summers ’36 Ford, but the eccentric owner of the car had no interest in selling. Some time later the owner of the car was in a bad car crash and the control of his estate was left to his family. In 2010 the car became available and was sold to Steve. On April 3, 2010 Eddie Montgomery helped Steve in recovering the car from the field it had been stored in for many years.  The plan was to get the car fully restored.

In April 2010, after the owner of the car had a major car accident the car is finally sold and is here being prepared to be pulled out of the field to be stored in better conditions.
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The drivers side door fade away section is stored inside the car, and sticking out of the rear window.
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The car on the truck ready to be taken home to the new owner in 2010.
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The plan is to do a full restoration on the car and bring it back how it was originally built in the early 1940’s. Parts are collected and some of the work is started. 
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Timeframe on the Bob Fairman Jimmy Summers 36 Ford.

  • 1941 (approx.) Created by Jimmy Summers and Bob Fairman at the Summers Melrose Ave. shop in Los Angeles Ca.
  • 1945 (approx.) The rear white wall tires are replaced by black wall tires.
  • 1945-46 (approx.) The car is For Sale on at least two car lots.
  • 1946 (approx.) Addition of the cowl mounted antenna and removal of the Accessory bumper ends.
  • 1951-53 (approx.) Joe Johnson from Sparguarsville (sp), Ohio buys the car from an Los Angeles Car Lot after coming back from the Korean War. He drives the car cross country to his home in Ohio. Joe is using the car as his daily driver for some time, and has it repainted bronze / maroon metallic.
  • 1951-53 (approx.) Joe Johnson sells the cat to John Eddington of Greenfield, Ohio. Not long after that the engine but John fixes the engine and drives the car until 1957.
  • 1957 John Eddington parks the car at his home in Greenfield, first inside, later outside.
  • 1972 The owner of the car takes the ’36 Ford to a local body shop for an estimate on a total repair.
  • 1972 After the owner wants to crush the car, Don Kretzer offers to store it at his place, which he does. The car was stored in his barn, at some point the roof collapsed and the car was pushed outside.
  • 2009 Photos of of the heavily rusted remains appear on the HAMB, people try to buy the remains but the owner declines all offers.
  • 2010 After the owner has been in a serious car accident the car gets sold.
  • 2016 October 22nd The car is offered For Sale again on the Custom Car Chronicle.
  • 2016 October 29th Due to some legal issues the For Sale ad is suspended. The car is not for sale anymore.

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News on the car December 2016

On October 22nd, 2016  I heard from the current owner Steve that the Ford was up for sale now. Since 2010, after he had pulled the car from the field, he had been gathering material for the restoration, a new frame, front fenders, a flathead engine and other parts and pieces. But he never really got around to get the whole project started. So it was time to look for a new owner who would be able to tackle the difficult job to bring the Bob Fairman, Jimmy Summers ’36 Ford coupe back to life again.

A for Sale add was created here on the Custom Car Chronicle and several people contacted Steve about the car. On October 29th Steve asked me to pull the ad from the CCC. Apparently there where some legal issues about ownership of the cars remains, and sadly the quest to find a good new home for the car, to see a possible full restoration was stopped.

The car is now once again sitting, fortunately now in much better conditions than around 2009. But it does make me sad the car is not undergoing full restoration again. I sure hope the legal matters will be solved soon, so that it will go to a new home and undergo full restoration. The Bob Fairman, Jimmy Summers 1936 Ford coupe with full fade-away fenders is a very important historic Custom and it deserves to be restored and enjoyed again.

The Jimmy Summers Ford might not be the best ever looking custom with its bold bulbous fade-away fenders. But for sure it was trend setting and the inspiration for many others. It might be the first custom with Full fade-away fenders, as well as the first use of some sort of push button controlled doors.

News on the car October 2017

In October 2017we got the wonderful news that the Bob Fairman Jimmy Summers 1936 Ford Coupe has been bought by a new owner. And that the car is now being worked on to get completely restored. The new owner mentioned the car was far more complete than was thought at first. It is party in very poor condition, but very much restorable. The remain have been put together and set on a set of wheels so for the first time in many years looks again as a car. More on this wonderful news in THIS CCC-Article.


Special thanks to Eddie Montgomery for sharing a lot of information and the photos from the 2009 till 2016 condition of the car.


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We are still looking for more information on the Jimmy Summers, Bob Fairman 1936 Ford Coupe Custom. We would love to know the original color of the car, and how long Bob owned the car before it ended up on the Cars For Sale Lot. We would love to know who had the car repainted metallic bronze, and we of course would love to see some photos of this version o the car. If you have any more information about this car, please email Rik at the Custom Car Chronicle so that we can complete the story on this Jimmy Summers Trend Setting Custom Car icon.

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Front-end Swap on Early Customs

 

FRONT-END SWAPS on EARLY CUSTOMS

 

In the 1940s and early 1950s quite a few older cars were Custom updated with more modern front-ends. To make them look more modern and above all better



From early on a very popular method to update your car, to make it look more expensive, or newer was to add a newer grille, preferably from an upscale car. The new grille disguised the cars origins, made it look a lot better, more powerful and more exclusive. At one point somebody, and we have no idea who this was, or when, came up with the idea to not only add a grille from a different car, but rather add the complete front end. One thought is that it might have happened in the case of some frontal damage, and the whole front end needed to be replaced anyway.

In the research about this topic I came across a great number of Fords from ’35 – ’38 that had received more modern front ends as part of their Custom Restyling. In contrast with what was done with “just” a grille replacement, the new front ends used on the older bodies were mostly Ford and Chevy units. And not like on the grille replacements from the more expensive, exotic brand cars. Main reason for this is obviously the size difference which would require a lot of extra work to make both brand cars fit together. While staying with all Ford designed material (or similar sized cars) required a more reasonable amount of work to merge the two components together to become one.

The method of Custom restyling with updating the complete front end of a car with a more modern unit is not described in any of the early Custom Car manuals I have been bale to find. Unlike most other techniques this one, even though it was used quite a bit in the 1940’s, was never discussed or explained, or promoted much.

ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-27-chevy-al-hawkinsAl Hawkins 1927 Chevrolet Phaeton with a ’34 Ford Grill, hood and modified fenders. Perhaps this one does not fit the subject of this article completely, but I wanted to include it here since it does demonstrate how much more modern a car can look with a new front end. From a rather boxy ’27 Chevy to a beautiful streamlined 34 Ford, with a almost sectioned main body. Very clever use of material. The ripple disk hubcaps, teardrop headlights, reshaped front fenders and ’40 Ford bumpers give the car a nice modern custom look in the mid 1940’s.  (Don Montgomery and NHRF photos)
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-011936 Ford sedan convertible with a ’40 Ford front end grafted on. Beautiful early/mid 1940’s look and feel Custom car. It looks like the owner posing with the car is really proud about it as well. The black wall tires and overall look make me believe this car was done during, or shortly after WWII.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-02A better look at the same ’36 Ford with ’40 Ford front end shows how nice the two car components work together. Even though the beltline on the ’40 Ford hood does not match with the lower belt line on the ’36 Ford, it does give the impression that the line is continued on the door character line above the belt line. The convertible doors make this work really well, actually better than roadster doors. Hot (Oiler Hot Rod club member Elrod mentioned on Instagram that this ’36 Ford belonged to Bup Kentner, founding Oilers member. The car was built by Gene Shelby)
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-03Photographed in the early 1950’s, this ’36 Ford convertible is often overlooked as an ‘1940 Ford. The ’36 Ford convertible had its windshield chopped and the beltline smoothed in. The ’40 Ford front end was grafted on, and the hood sectioned with the belt line taken out in the process.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-04The same car in the early 1960’s.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-06And fully restored in 1980’s at an Paso Robles car show now with padded top installed.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-07Chip Chipman took this photo at an 80’s Paso Robles event and it gives us a better look at the work that was done to get the lines of the hood and body match. removal of all body character lines, for a much smoother look than the original ’36 Ford.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-08’37 Ford coupe wit filled rear quarter windows and ’40 Ford front-end grafted on. This is also an original ’40’s custom, although the original builder has not yet been identified. The work on this one was done very nice and the way the belt line of the ’37 Ford body and ’40 Ford hood is really nicely done. The removal of the running boards indicated that this car was originally restyled in the early/mid 1940’s. It was completely restored a decade or two ago.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-22This front 3/4 view shows how great the two different bodies work together. The stainless around the ’37 V-windshield works so much better than the original ’40 Ford coupe windshield frame. To make it all work  the rear of the front fenders had to be extended down to meet the bottom of the body (where the running boards used to be) and the wheel openings were raised for a better balance and make sure the wheels could be turned for sharp corners.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-10Photo taken at the first annual Pennsylvania Autorama in 1954 shows Ralph Hayes’ 1936 Ford Coupe with a new front end that looks to have come from a 1940-41 Studebaker combined with a ’36 Chevy grille, and 49 Plymouth bumpers. It gave the ’36 Ford a completely new bold look. 
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-11Another photo taken at the Pennsylvania Autorama in 1954 shows this 1937-38 Ford coupe with 1940 Ford front end grafted on. A great looking coupe with the rear quarter windows filled in. The ’40 Ford end sure makes the cal look smoother and newer. (Scan courtesy of Craig, Shanon, and Tracy Bowman. scanned by Antiqueynot)
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-12Brian Butler shared these photos of an 1935 Ford Phaeton he found that uses a ’39 Ford front end. The restyling on this old custom was done really nice and everything looks to flow really nice. I really wonder how this beauty might have looked al finished back in the early/mid 1940’s.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-13This high angle photo show how nice the bold, v-haped hood flows with the smooth roadster wrap around cowl. The best of both worlds.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-14Louis Cote 1936 Ford roadster with a ’40 Ford front-end grafted on. Another great sample of this Custom Restyling technique and how it updated the older body. 
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-15The side view shows that the belt-line of the ’36 Ford roadster body and the ’40 Ford hood do not line up at all. The builder took the easy way and reshaped the belt-line section on the cowl, to make the belt line from the hood flow into the door line. 
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-16Low angle front 3/4 photo shows the much more modern look of the ’36 Ford. The 46 Ford bumpers help even more. The dip in the beltline on the cowl is something we have seen one more of this type of restyling. It sets apart the more home built customs from the professional shop built samples.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-17The March 1953 isssue of Rod & Custom magazine showed Dick Reeves 1936 Ford Phaeton with an 1948 Chevy front-end with 48 Cadillac grille grafted on. A set of full fade away fender was added to update the main body even more and the windshield is said to be a Kurtis unit. The article gives credit for the body work to Custom Craft and Valley Custom Shop for the work. I sadly have never seen a picture of this car showing if it has been finished or not. Very interesting Custom.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-18An late 1990’s issue of Rod & Custom magazine shared this ’36 Ford roadster with ’39 Ford front end. There was no information given about the cars origin, but by the looks of it I guess it was based on an 1940’s created custom. 
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-19Trend Books Restyle your Car from 1952 showed this ’36 Ford Roadster with ’39 Ford front-end added to it. Very similar to the one shown above, but on this one the body was channeled with sectioned hood and the fenders cut to sit level with the bottom of the body. 
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-20One of the best known more modern front end swaps is done by the talented crew at the Valley Custom Shop. They used an 1940 Ford front end on an 1938 Ford sedan convertible body for owner Ray Vega. The result is a stunning perfectly balanced more modern looking custom.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-21To be able to make the ’40 Ford front-end work with the ’38Ford main body the hood was sectioned, the belt line on it smoothed and the bottom of the front fenders on the rear extended down to meet the running boards. The new front end made the car look much lower and wider than original.
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Updating cars with newer front ends was used later on as well,but not as much. I have seen ’39 Mercury’s with ’40 front ends, 46-48 front-ends on the ’41 Fords, ’49 Ford with ’51 Ford front ends etc. All modifications to make the cars looks a bit more modern, but the results were never more obvious than what was done with these early body style cars shown in this article. It is a very interesting early restyling technique with great results, especially when done right.




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Leroy Carson 36 Ford Survivor

 

LEROY CARSON 36 FORD SURVIVOR

 

Jeff Neppl visited the October 2016 Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield California. One car stood out to him, this 1936 Ford Cabriolet mild custom Survivor.


On October 21-23 the annual Hot Rod Reunion was held at the Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield California. The races are quite a spectacle, and then there is the parking lot area. And there some very interesting cars appear every years. This year Jeff Neppl visited the event, and came across this mildly restyled 1936 Ford Cabriolet that was restyled in 1946. The ’36 Ford was presented as a wedding present to Leroy Carson in 1946. Some of the old photos shown further on in the article where taken on Leroy and Margaret Carson’s honeymoon in San Francisco.

ccc-leroy-carson-36-ford-survivor-01The car is still wearing the original black paint. Despite Leroy’s last name, the top on the car is an original folding top.
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ccc-leroy-carson-36-ford-survivor-02The 1938 Buick Bumpers were added some time after Leroy got the car.
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Back in 1946 the Ford was mildly updated with a set of ripple disc single bar flipper hubcaps, fender skirts a new interior and a mild lowering of the suspension. Over the years a few more things were modified, but the car always remained a mild custom resembling the feeling as how it was first created. The car’s engine was updated with Eddie Meyer heads and a two carb intake manifold. The stock bumpers were replaced with some bolder 1938 Buick units. The fender skirts were updated with Buick trim, a set of spotlights was installed and the steering wheel was replaced with the popular Mercury Monterey accessory steering wheel.

ccc-leroy-carson-36-ford-survivor-03Eddie Meyer heads with a two carb intake and a Thuckstun air-cleaner.
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ccc-leroy-carson-36-ford-survivor-04The custom upholstery in bright red and white is the original Leroy had installed, and so is the rare Mercury Monterey accessory steering wheel. 
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The Ford was Leroy’s daily driver untill 1962, when Leroy’s son Tommy broke a piston while drag racing a 1958 Chevy Impala. After that the car was put in storage where it remained until the entire Carson Collection was purchased in 2010. two years later Leroy passed away. The current owners of the car who took it to the 2016 Hot Rod Reunion are Bobby Gaines & Dave McMillen.

ccc-leroy-carson-36-ford-survivor-05The two photos of the left show the car in its first version when Leroy and Margaret had just received the car. Those photos were taken on their honeymoon. The photo on the right shows the car with he Buick bumper and the added spotlights.
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ccc-leroy-carson-36-ford-survivor-06A few more photos from the Honeymoon trip to San Francisco in the ’36 Ford.
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ccc-leroy-carson-36-ford-survivor-07The photos on the right show the car with added white wall tires, the top photo has Leroy’s son Tommy posing with the car. The photo on the bottom left shows the ’36 Ford next to Leroy’s 1955 Chevy which he bought brand new.
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It is truly amazing that a car like this has survived, and has never been touched after it was stored in 1962. It is also amazing that in all those years Leroy owned the car, and used it as his driver, the car was not updated more than it has. Most other cars were updated when the scene changed, but not Leroy’s ’36 Ford Cabriolet. A true time machine.

Special thanks to Jeff Neppl for taking the photos.




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