Custom Grilles Vertical

 

CUSTOM GRILLES VERTICAL

 

Since the very early beginnings of Custom Restyling the grille has played a huge part in the overall design. Pioneer Customizers designed their own grilles, later swapped or modified grilles were the rage. Lets take a look at the early, vertical Custom Car grilles.



One of the key factors of Custom Restyling was, and still is, to hide the actual origin of the car, and make a car appear to be a more exotic car. The exclusive brand cars from the 1930’s ‚Äď when custom restyling really took off ‚Äď were Cadillac, LaSalle and Packard Duesenberg and a few others. These cars all had tall, Art Deco styled grilles and hoods, visualizing Class, Elegance, and Power. These were all wonderful designed grilles and from the very early days of custom restyling these particular grilles from the Cadillac’s, La Salle’s and Packards became the number one choice of many Customizer, or at least an important inspiration source.

Our journey in this case does starts actually before these higher-end car grilles were adapted to lower-end cars. The first Custom grilles to be used on Customized, restyled cars, were mostly hand made instead of adapting grilles from the more expensive brand cars. In the early 1930’s when car Customizing started time was relatively cheap compared to more modern times. Cheap labour made it possible for the custom restylers to create completely hand crafted details like grilles to set the restyled automobiles completely apart. The price of having those hand made grilles chrome plated was also far from what we are used to today.



Early Custom grilles

People like Frank Kurtis, George Duvall and later shops like Coachcraft designed unique grilles for their restyled cars. Grilles that required heavy modified stock or swapped grille parts, but more often complete scratch built units. Created from brass, or metal, with beautiful Art Deco styling crafted by skilled craftsman, completely smoothed before send out to be perfectly chrome plated. New grilles that made any regular automobile look like and exclusive top model and changed the overall appearance. One of the better samples of this is the multiple bar grille George DuVall designed for the SoCalif Plating 1935 Ford shop delivery car.

ccc-frank-kurtis-grilles-01Frank Kurtis created several custom built cars in the early 1930’s. Here are three samples with all hand made grilles Frank did.
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ccc-atlas-grilles-1933Frank Kurtis also did a 1931 Dodge panel for Atlas Chromium Plating company. He used a 1933 Ford grille to make it looks more modern, and streamlined. The all chrome plated grille on the race car is stunning as well.
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ccc-duvall-grille-01-1933Another pioneer when it comes to Custom Grilles was George DuVall. George worked for the Leonard DeBell’s¬†So Calif. Plating Company and designed many special parts. Including some exclusive custom grilles for the So Calif. Plating Co. shop trucks. This one, created by George DuVall was on an 1932 Ford Roadster So Calif Plating Co. Pick up and was photographed in 1933.
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ccc-duvall-grille-so-cal-plating-1936Perhaps George DuVall’s most popular grille he designed was on the 1935 Ford So Calif. Plating Co shop truck. All hand made from plated brass.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-duvall-01George DuVall dod several designs for the grille on the SoCalif Plating ’35 Ford, and used similar ideas for other designs as well.¬†These designs were created around 1935.
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Custom Grilles in Early Publications


Dan Post Publications

The first and most popular publications on Custom Cars were created by Dan Post. In his Custom restyling manuals, which he started in 1944, he described how you could restyle your car by updating or changing the grille of your car. Over the years he added more and more material to the subject of grilles and added a lot of photo samples in the Master Custom-Restyling Manual (1947) and later Blue Book of Custom restyling (1949-52). These early publications must have played a big role in the style and development of Customizing in general and of course also grille restyling in particular.

ccc-dan-post-grilles-01-1944From its first publication in 1944, Dan Post has been writing about custom restyled grilles. And which factory grilles could best be used for your car.
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ccc-dan-post-grilles-02-1944Special attention was payed by Dan Post to the ’38 Ford type grilles and how they could best be restyled.
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Edgar Almquist Publications

Edgar Almquist Styling manuals from around 1946-48 are another very important source for the Custom restylers in the 1940’s. When there were no regular magazines available yet it were these manuals that could be mail ordered or bought from the local speed and custom shop that brought the very welcome inspiration.


ccc-almquist-grilles-01-1946Edgar Almquist wrote a lot about restyling grilles in his 1946 Restyling Manual. He showed several cars with custom grilles and used simple drawings to illustrate his ideas.
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ccc-almquist-grilles-illustration-1946The Illustrations in the Almquist manual are easy to understand, and show how much impact these grille chances can have. Illustration #9 shows what happens when the grille is changed from vertical to horizontal. We will get back to that in part two on Custom Grilles, here on the CCC.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-car-adsThe most popular¬†grilles the pioneer customizers liked to use. ¬†1937-40 LaSalle’s, 1939-40 Nash, And 1942-48 Packard grilles.
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The Aftermarket

Another way to create the more appealing smaller, taller grille was to incorporate a so called “winter-grille“. Designed to keep the engine at temperature during the winter period. One of the companies that created these winter-grilles was Pines Winterfront Co. Today these are very high sought after aftermarket products.
Other aftermarket companies as Eastern and Cal Custom started to design and produce special narrow grille kits to personalize your car in a more bolt-on type of way. Especially for the backyard¬†customizers. Products like this were available from the late 1930’s.

ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-eastern-49Eastern Custom catalog from 1949 offer several components to create custom vertical grilles.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-eastern-49-02’39-41 Ford options. The aftermarket catalog show that the Fords were the most popular cars to customize. Those were the cars the aftermarket made the most custom restyling parts for.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-pines-wintergrilleThe Pines Winterfront Co. in Chicago created special winter-grilles for some¬†model cars in the 1930’s. These special¬†grille, reduced the open section of the factory stock¬†grille, and could even be close more manually to keep the engine hot in the color winter. One of their products was this winter-grille for the 1936 Ford. Early Customizers used the¬†outer part of this set up¬†to create Custom grille¬†surrounds.¬†
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Narrowed stock grilles

In the late 1930’s another trend was started. Factory stock grilles from lower-end cars were modified, restyled to make them look more attractive. Modified to make them work better with the restyled cars. When modifying these stock grilles the builder was inspired by the high-end car grilles. Grilles were narrowed by adding sheet metal to the sides, or new inserts were fabricated. creating much more streamlined grilles. These narrower grilles had of course one big disadvantage… Cooling of the engine. Often special below the bumper scoops, or side grilles needed to be created to prevent the engine from overheating.

A fantastic sample is the Santa Monica ’36 Ford 5-window coupe. The unknown customizer narrowed the top section of a stock ’36 ford grille sin such a way, that the top was now as narrow as the bottom section of the grille. The grille sides body panels were extended to match the narrowed grille. The top corners of the grille were radiuses, making the whole set up much more pleasing to the eye. The result was a completely vertical shaped grille, that still looked very much like a ’36 Ford grille, just more elegant. Two small elegantly styled “wing” grilles were created in the front fenders, to help cool the engine. The new grille set up fitted perfectly with the art deco look and feel of the rest of the custom restyling on this car. This one really is a stunning sample of early customizing.

CCC-36-ford-5-window-1941-02Santa Monica ’36 Ford 5-window coupe. Beautifully styled grille based on the stock ’36 Ford grille.¬†The main ’36 Ford grille was narrowed at the top, the top corners rounded with a larger than stock radius and new stainless trim. The side of the grille was filled in with shaped sheet metal. To make sure the engine would be cooled enough two small “wing grilles” were created in the same style as the main grille and added to the front fenders. Most likely special “tunnel’s to guide the air to the engine were added underneath the fenders. This photo was taken in Santa Monica in 1940.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-de-rosa-48Frank DeRosa with his 1936 Ford convertible with beautiful narrowed grille and sunken GM headlights in 1948. 
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-36-ford-09Bill Grader from Seattle created this great looking Roadster in Cadillac Cypress Green. He filled the grille sides more than some others leaving a very small opening, thus creating an optical very tall front of the car. This color photo shows the car in the early 1950’s after the original DeSoto bumpers had been replaced by ’49 Plymouth units.¬†
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-macminn-37fordEarly 1937 Ford sedan convertible custom with a narrowed grille. The sides of the stock grille are covered and a new vertical stainless trim piece was added to give the new smaller grille a nice finished look. Interesting to see the new belt line side trim to cover the grille side panels.
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Custom Made Grilles

In the early years of Custom restyling it was perhaps a bit more common to create all custom made grilles than it was later on. A few key factors played a big role for this. First of all, the custom restyles liked to be totally unique. And creating an custom made grille allowed for complete freedom in design. The low hourly rates and low prices for chrome plating also played a huge part. In cases like the cars created by Frank Kurtis and George DuVall (which can be seen above) the creativity an showing what could be done by the companies the cars/grilles were created for played a big roll. There complete custom grilles were more like an advertisement for what they could do for their customers. The result was extremely wonderful grilles working very well with the rest of the designs of the restyled cars.

CCC-Solomon-Wong-40Ford-01-70Coachcraft created a custom grille from chrome plated round bar for the 1940 Ford based Roadster for James Wong in 1940. The stock ’40 Ford grille insert was replaced by the new unit, and the side grilles were filled in. Later the filled in sections were replaced with louvered units once again, to help cool the more powerful engine then.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-36-ford-08Another early Custom with all hand made grille was this 1936 Ford 5-Window Coupe restyled by Howard Fall for Tommy Jamieson. The front end of the car was replaced with that from an 1938 Ford, and the whole grille area was redone with a hand made chrome plated insert. Most likely this set up caused some heating problems since in the late 1940’s early 1950’s¬†several holes were cut in the grille surround, allowing for some extra air to the engine.
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CCC-george-barris-36-ford-coupe-01George Barris personal 1936 Ford coupe might have used one of the Pines winter-grille surrounds to create this custom grille opening.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-36-ford-011936 Ford with a new grille cover with smaller vertical with round top and bottom grille opening, nicely molded to the front fenders. A new grille was created from what appears to be flat bar surround and round bars inside the opening. The whole unit was chrome plated for a nice finished look.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-37-chevy-011937 Chevy with Custom created grille opening. Possibly the bars using in the new opening come from a 1939 Nash. The new much narrower oval shaped grille changes the look of the Chevy completely.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-jimmy-summersJimmy Summers created a custom grille for his personal channeled 1940 Mercury with sectioned hood. The grille was created from flat bar stock and has been shaped to roughly resemble a Buick grille.
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In the early 1940’s customizers started to use the more exclusive car brand grilles like the afore mentioned Cadillac, La Salle and Packard grilles. They were taken from junk yards, or perhaps sometimes straight from the car dealers and adapted to smaller, cheaper lower-end-models from Ford, Chevy, Buick, etc. The grille designs from these high end brands were often of much nicer design, added much mored style, or length and height to these lower-end-models. And of coarse the idea of up-scaling the lower class cars played a roll in all this as well. And above all these nicely designed grilles just look so awesome in these restyled cars.




Packard Grilles

The Packard Clipper was introduced in April 1941, the car came with a wonderful Art-Deco styled narrow grill devised in two halts with small horizontal grille bars. This grille was an instant hit among the early customizers. This grille ended up on many restyled cars, and in many different ways. Larger model types as the Packard Super used larger, and most of all wider grilles with a similar design, but then with vertical grille bars. It was a bit more tricky to get these larger grilles to work with the customized cars, but especially 37-38 Chevies and 39-40 Fords looked very well with these larger grilles. The samples below illustrate that there were/are many ways to install one of these Packard grilles. Some are placed as high as possible, others simply start at the bottom of the grille opening and end a few inches below the hood opening.



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Harry Westergard used a Packard grille on Gene Garrett’s¬†’36 Ford¬†convertible built in the early 1940’s (1943 photo). The rather low position might perhaps indicate this was one of the first Packard grilles he used¬†on the Customs he created.¬†
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-westergard-simonsHarry Westergard loved to use Packard Clipper grilles. This one he added to Max Ferris’s 1936 Ford Roadster. Harry created a beautiful filler panel, molded it to the front fenders and made the Packard grille fit like it came like it from the factory.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-westergard-salHarry also added a Packard Clipper grille to Sal Cacciola’s 1938 Chevy convertible. The Packard grille works extremely well on this car, where the hood starts at the flat spot of the top of the grille. As it always belonged on this car.¬†
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CCC-barris-dick-fowler-38-ford-09The Barris brothers reshaped the front of the hood, and hood sides to make the Packard Clipper grille work on Dick Fowler’s 1938 Ford Coupe around¬†1946-47. The new grille made the ’38 Ford look much taller than stock, and more exclusive.¬†
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-40-ford-01The 1940 Ford customs usually had stock grilles, or perhaps the sides filled in. The use of a Packard Clipper grille like on this chopped and padded topped convertible was rather rare, but looks surprisingly good. A lot of work was needed to the hood and side panels tao make it all work and look perfect.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-36-ford-02Interesting photo from the Howard Gribble shows how a Packard Clipper grille surrounds was added to the center of a stock ’36 Ford grille, on this ’36 Ford. The center bars were removed from the stock grille so that the Packard grille could fit inside. Typical backyard restyling, to make your “average” Ford look like a more expensive car.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-37-chevy-semasHarry Westergard used a larger Packard Super grille on Leroy Semas’s 1938 Chevy Coupe. Another really great sample of how to integrate thes grilles the best way. Harry Westergard was a great craftsman, and he was exceptionally skilled in using more exclusive grilles to make lower end car look at their very best.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-bertolucci-38-chevyDick Bertolucci used a larger Packard grille on his personal 1938 Chevy Coupe in the¬†late 1940’s early 1950’s. Dick still has the car today, and has been working on it in the last couple of years to restore it back to how it looked in the early 1950’s. The Packard Super grille is wider than the more common clipper grille, but suited the wider front of the ’38 Chevy very good. Dick had to reshape the side panels and hood a lot to make it wall look like it came this way.
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La Salle Grilles

The Cadillac La Salle grilles from 1937 to 1940 are the ones that were used the most on Custom Car. The ’37 and ’38 models had a slightly more square look, while the ’39 and ’40 units were extreme round with pointy shaped ends. The older models were a little easier to adapt to other cars, and fitted perfectly to the front of a ’36 Ford. one of the more popular cars to customized in the mid 1940’s. The ’39 and ’40 models came in several divergent versions, and were pretty hard to install right. Especially since the angle of the grille on the cars they were matted to, were different than that from the stock LaSalle, resulting in misaligning grille bars. When installed the right way the ’39’40 LaSalle grilles are the top of the line in custom grilles.

ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-36-ford-07Harry Westergard installed an 1937 La Salle grille on Jack Odbert’s¬†1936 Ford Convertible. Notice how the lower edge of the top portion of the grille sits level with the bottom of the hood. Details like this make a grille installment like this look like how it was always meant to look.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-caloriAnd of course we cannot forget the use of the LaSall grille on Jack Calori’s 1936 Ford. The what we know as typical Westergard look was created by Herb Renau in Long Beach in the later part of the 1940’s. Herb hand shaped the surround and fitted the¬†1939 LaSalle grille the best way possible. Stock ’39-40 LaSalles have a much more upright grille position than the 36 Ford has, so it was/is not an easy grille to adapt.¬†
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-westergard-38Harry Westergard loved to use Packard grilles, but he also used a few LaSalle grilles on the cars he restyled. For Norm Milne he reshape the hood and hood sides, and created a new grille surround to be able to use 1940 LaSalle grille on his ’38 Ford.
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Nash Grilles

Custom pioneers as¬†Harry Westergard,¬†George Barris,¬†Dick Bertolucci¬†and others started to experiment with other grilles on their customs. Grilles that usually had a more vertical feel than the stock grilles of the cars they were restyling. Grilles from a 1939¬†-’40 Nash for instance was another very popular grille. Not really a more exclusive or expensive feel, but it just looked right on many other cars. ¬†Both year grilles had similar styling, very narrow, tall with horizontal grille bars. The ’39 model was a a bit more robust, with heavier and fewer grille bars than the 1940 model. One thing that made the Nash grille a little harder to adapt in a good way to other car, was that the nose of the Nash was angled forward towards the top. If the Nash grille was adapted to other cars that had an angled backwards front of the car, the horizontal grille bars appeared to angle down in the new position. Later pioneer restyles found they could flip the grille upside down to prevent this problem.

ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-36-ford-03Frank Sandaval’s 1936 Ford shows a flipped upside down 1939 Nash grille in a hand shaped none molded surround. What makes the Nash grille on this car really stand out is the¬†us of a modified ’36 Ford grille surround trim.¬†Mid 1940’s photo fro the Howard Gribble Collection.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-36-ford-04Oregon base ’36 Ford Phaeton custom also uses an 1939 Nash grille, but the owner opted to use the grille in the stock position. 1942 photo.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-36-ford-05Close up reveals that by using the ’39 Nash grille in the stock way, the grille bars are not flowing with the Ford lines. This is cause by the forward angle of the grille on Nash cars, while the Ford have a slight leaned back grille. The Nash grilles work better upside down.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-36-ford-g-barrisGeorge Barris used a 1940 Nash grille inside a custom created grille opening on his personal 1936 Ford Convertible. George molded the new grille surround solid with the fenders for an ever smoother look.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-36-ford-06Bob Gill’s 1936 Ford uses a 1940 Nash grille¬†in a custom grille opening. This grille also has slightly dropped grille bars, indicating it was¬†not flipped upside down. Interesting to see in this photo is the extra air scoop added below the bumper to make sure the grille would be cooled after the hood sides were filled, and the grille opening was drastically reduced with the new custom grille. Bob was good friend with Jack Calori.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-37-chevy-021940 Nash grille installed in a new front section on this otherwise mildly restyled 1937-38 Chevy sedan. The narrow grille makes the front of the car look very tall, and the hood a “mile” long.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-kippwinward36fordPossibly one of the best ever installed Nash grilles is done by Kipp Winward who used an upside down 1939 Nash grille in his ’36 Ford 5-window Coupe. The photo of the car was taken in 2016, when the car was mostly finished on the outside.¬†
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Modified grilles

Other methods to customize grilles was to modify their appearance. The aftermarket had produced partly cover panel that would be bolted on. And you could create panels yourself that covered up parts of the stock grille, to make them look longer, narrower, or just shorter. ’38 and 39 Fords used stamped metal grilles with only a small plated trim ring as extra decoration. These were grilles that could easily be modified without having to replete the grille. It was very popular to cover up the top portion on this type of car, which gave the car a new look. Many ’40 Fords used special cover plates to cover up the side louvres, and the ’41 Fords looked stunning when the center grille was replaced with a smooth filler piece. And it was even better if these filler panels were not just bolted on, but actually welded, and blended in with the rest of the body, for a much smoother look.¬†With the newer car models after WWII customizers started to experiment with other brand grilles as well. Grilles that tarted to make the cars look wider.


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Very popular modification of 1938 and ’39 Ford was to fill in the top portion of the louvered grille section on the hood sides. It changed the look of the car, but unlike the earlier style of creating Tall small grille it made the front appear to be lower than stock.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-41-ford-011941 Ford with filled in center section. A very popular treatment especially after the aftermarket companies made filler panels for this available. The owner of this Custom took it a step further and molded in the panel for a ultra smooth look. The car also appears to have an sort of air-scoop below the bumper for extra cooling. The Ford side grille have been remained.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-40-ford-02A 1939 Buick grille was used in a heavily reshaped front end on¬†Jim Chapkis’ 1940 Ford Coupe. Going more towards the modern, wider and lower horizontal look.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-ed-jaquesThe Valley Custom Shop in Burbank California was known for their exquisite craftsmanship and attention to details. For Ed Jacque they created a really wonderful horizontal bar grille insert to fit a stock 1941 Ford grille opening. 
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-ferhuson-36The Montrose Body Shop created this stunning looking all custom grille for¬†Gene Ferguson’s 1936 Ford coupe. The grille design shows how the Customizing style is changing from¬†vertical grilles towards the modern look of horizontal grilles.
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ccc-custom-grilles-vertical-collage-01A few more samples of Custom Vertical grilles.
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And even more variations of the Vertical grille.

The new cars that had low and wide new lines were introduced and became available. The tall grilled cars from before the war were still popular for some time, but for those who could get their hands on the newer model cars to restyle, low and wide was the way to go for grille designs. In part two we will take a closer look at the horizontal grilles in Custom Restyling. Stay tuned….

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CLASSIC CADDY

 

1941 CADILLAC CONVERTIBLE

 

In 2012 I came across 3 photos of a very nicely styled 1941 Cadillac convertible Custom. These very interesting in 1946 taken photos show a car that is a wonderful stylish early Custom example



I originally wrote this article back in 2013 when we had just started the Custom Car Chronicle. At first I did not know anything about these three photo’s, or actually negatives. The only thing I was able to find out was that the license plate was from 1946, so the photos were taken either in late 1945 or somewhere in 1946. But at the time I had no idea about where the photos were taken, who owned the car or who build the car. After the article was put on-line Wayne Hadfield came to the rescue¬†¬†with the identification of the location.

  • In July, 2013 Wayne¬†Wayne Hadfield identified the location where two, or possibly all three photos were taken. Using Google street view he identified the location as 2592 Telegraph Road, Berkeley, CA.¬†Some of the buildings in the photos are gone now, but others are still there. An image of the location can be seen at the end of the article.

CCC-41-caddy-classic-custom-sideThe unknown photographer must have not been very skilled at taking photos. He knew that the car he saw was something special, but the way he cropped the car, the fact that the horizon is not level and the subject is slightly out of focus indicate these were not taken by a professional photographer back in the mid 1940’s.
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  • On¬†December 12, 2013¬†Kurt mcCormick told us that the car was still around today.

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‚ÄúRegarding this black-roof ‚Äô41 cad convertible, you may like to know that this car still exists. It is still owned by the guy in california who bought it in the early fifties. I don‚Äôt have his permission to identify him, but the car is actually undergoing a slow restoration as we speak.”

Best regards, kustom kurt

Later Kurt mentioned that due to family issues the restoration did not have a priority. The good thing was that as far as Kurt could tell the car had never been changed  compared to the photos in this article.

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  • On¬†July 03, 2016¬†Kurt McKormick let us know that the ’41 Cadillac is now partly restored and¬†FOR SALE.
  • On¬†July 18, 2017¬†the car was sold to a new owner in Australia who will finish the restoration of this early Custom Cadillac.




The 1941 Cadillac Convertible

This 1941 Cadillac is a good sample of some Coachbuilding influences. The¬†Coachbuilding styles and techniques were copied by the young guys who started to modify their cheaper model cars in the late 1930‚Äôs and 40‚Äôs and this phenomenon would eventually be known as Customizing. The style of modifications done to this Cadillac reminds me of the Coachbuilt cars by the Coachcraft shop. Or the designs and work done by famous coachbuilders Bohman & Schwartz. The car features a chopped windshield and a very nicely shaped padded top.¬†The current (Summer 2016) owner of the Cadillac¬†(87 years) bought the Cadillac from the original owner¬†in 1953. The car was customized in 1942 in the Berkeley-Oakland California area. He could¬†not establish exactly whom the custom work was done by. Also the¬†two sons of the original owner (also both in their 80’s!) do not¬†recall the name of the shop who performed the original restyling back in 1942.

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Even the chrome outboard trunk hinges were replaced by inboard units to further clean up the rear of the car. The door handles were shaved as well as the hood side trim and the front fender trim. The rubber rock shield on the rear fender made place for a more in style polished stainless accessory unit. At the front the parking lights and hood letter were removed and the body smoothed. New parking/fog lights were added to the front bumper. All typical Custom touches. The car was lowered, but just a little bit, and is using the stock 1941 Cadillac hubcaps, which is again typical Coachbuilding style. These three photos taken just after WWII show wonderful mix of styles on this classic looking 1941 Cadillac Convertible.

This padded top is unlike most we know coming from Carson, Hall, Chavez or a few others, not covered with white canvas. But rather with a dark almost leatherette kind of material. Something similar to what was used by the Coachbuilders to cover metal tops on sedans or coupes for a more exclusive look. But clearly the top on this Cadillac is a lift off unit. It could also be possible that a dark canvas was used which was covered with a special coating to make it look like leather. An other technique sometimes used on coachbuilt cars. We now know that the top, as well as the interior was handled by Hall of Oakland. The rear fenders were modeled to the body, a typical Custom touch, and at first glance it looks like there are no taillights. The stock units were removed along with the fender trim. Below the bumper a set of hidden taillights are just visible.

CCC-41-caddy-classic-custom-rearThe back of this 1941 Cadillac is extremely clean. A lot of efforts were taken to get the desired look. The taillights were removed and custom taillight units mounted below the bumper just outside of the bumper guards. The rear fenders were molded to the main body. The trunk lid was shaved of the trim, handles and hinges and received a set in license plate. This all leads to an ultra smooth wonderfully shaped rear. The photo shows the mid 1940’s gas station and streets of an unknown California place. 
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Some new old photos

In early July 2016 we received some additional 1940’s¬†photos of this early Custom Car. David Zivot had been talking to the current owner about the Cadillac. He send us some quick snapshots taken with the phone of a collage¬†on his garage wall. They are not the best quality, but it is really great to see some more photos of this amazing nice and very early Classic Custom. Especially nice is the one color photo that shows us the taillights below the rear bumper.

David also mentioned something about the missing Hall top. When the current owner of the Caddy bought the car in 1953, he did not like the style of the black pyroxylin (leatherette) covering on the padded top, so he had Hall Tops re-do it in the typical white stay-fast covering. Then, years later the house he was storing the top in caught fire, badly damaging the top and framework.  Some time after that he also re-worked the sunken license plate area because of the cops getting after him about the plate not being visible enough.


CCC-41-caddy-classic-custom-color-01Color photo is most interesting since it really show the below the rear bumper mounted taillights really well. In all the other photos the taillights are very hard to see.
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CCC-41-caddy-classic-custom-old-01These photos of the car most likely pre-date the three negatives that I found a few years ago. White wall tires were very hard to come by during WWII, so most likely the car was first fitted with black wall tires as we can see in these photos.
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Location identified
Wayne Hadfield identified the location two, or possibly all these photos were taken. Using Google Street View he was able to identified the location as 2592 Telegraph Road, Berkeley, CA. Thanks Wayne. The houses in the photo appeared to him as typical NorCal houses, and that where he started his search. Pretty amazing he was able to find it.

Google Street View imageGoogle Street View image.
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The car as it looks now July 2016

In 2016 the Cadillac is mostly restored. The body is completely restored and the car is running and driving. However it still needs a top, complete upholstery and glass. The Cadillac still looks mostly the same as is does in the three old photos shown in this article. In July 2017 the car was sold to a new owner in Australia who plans to finish the restoration of the car as an early Custom Car.



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July 20, 2017. The Cadillac has been prepped for shipping and is picked up to be delivered to the shipper who will place it in a container and ship it to Australia.
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January 2018, the Cadillac has arrived in Australia and the restoration process to get it back to how it looked back in the early 1940’s has started.
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New hidden hinges from unknown origin were added in the 1940’s.
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De Rosa Chopped 41 Caddy

 

88 YEARS AND STILL AT IT

 

Frank De Rosa has been building Custom Cars since the 1940’s and today, August, 2015, at age 88 Frank is still at it. Lets check out his latest creation. A wonderful 1941 Cadillac Series 61 which he chopped together with his son Frank Jr.

 
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Frank De Rosa has been restyling cars in the Pittsburg, CA area since the mid-1940s. Together with his son Frank Jr they run a restoration and Custom Shop in Pittsburg, CA. The father-son team has over 100 years of building between them. Frank is mostly known for his very creative and outside the box thinking creations from the 1970’s and 1980’s. In the 1970s, they were part of the Northern California car builders that brought back customs. Although the De Rosa’s had never really left it!

At age 88, Frank is still doing what he loves best, creating custom cars, and the 1941 Cadillac in this article shows that he is still more than capable to do a super job on it. Perfectly balanced chop which of course could be done with the many years of experience of both Frank and Frank Jr. The 1941 Cadillac Series 61 in this article was done for a customer. But the car is for Sale as it is. Lets take a closer look at the De Rosa Chopped 41 Caddy.

Call Frank at 925-439-5115 or visit their Pittsburg shop at 1090 Harbor Street, for more info.
Frank De Rosa Custom Cars

 
CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-00Where is all begins. The body has been stripped from all the trim, glass, rubber and the interior completely removed. Frank is starting to take measurements to figure out where to make the cuts.
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CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-01A lot of thinking goes into chopping one of these Fleetline bodies, and Frank makes sure all the cut marks are exactly where he wants them to be.
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CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-02Marking the pie-cutsthat will be removed to make sure the top can be moved forwards and the B-Pillar be angled into its new position.
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CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-03Pie-cuts are also marked on the inside of the C-Pillar.
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CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-04And then… its time to make the first cuts. Together with Frank Jr (on the left) they are cutting the top at the marks Frank had previously made on the body.
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CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-05With a section already removed from the C-Pillar Frank is making more measurements to make sure it will all line up after the top has been dropped.
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CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-06The top is now dropped into its new position and the fine tuning of the pillars can start. Frank Jr is holding the door post, while Frank Sr is figuring out the best way to cut the B-Pillar for the most perfect flow.
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CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-07Great photo of Frank cutting a piece of shaped metal for the chopped top.
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CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-08All the main body work on the top has now been done, and its time to start on the details, like filling the trip holes and creating a new molded in drip rail.
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CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-09All body work on the top has now been done, and the main body has been put in primer. Notice also that the rear door corners have been rounded.
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CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-10A nice detail is the rounded top corner of the door. Frank chose to round the corner less than the window shape, making the B-Pillar a very interesting shape.
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CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-11The trunk had to be pie-cut sectioned to make the new shape of the chopped top flow with the rest of the body.
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CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-15First time out of the shop shows the wonderfully shaped body on the non dropped frame.
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CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-14Great flow of the trunk towards the top.
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CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-13Can you imagine how this car will look with a nice drop of the suspension and a wonderful dark organic paint job?
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For more info on this 1941 Cadillac or any other work that the De Rosa Custom Shop does. Call Frank 925-439-5115 or visit the De Rosa Custom Shop in Pittsburg, Ca. at 1090 Harbor Street.

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Larry Watson Cadillacs Part Two

 

LARRY WATSON CADILLACS Part two

 

Part two in the series of photos of Cadillacs custom painted by¬†Larry Watson. Very colorful and amazing photos from Larry’s Personal Photo Collection.

This is the second part in a series of two on the Cadillacs custom painted by Larry Watson. In the late 1950’s and early/mid 1960’s the Cadillac were very popular amongst the car guys. This period, when the line between¬†the Custom Car scene¬†and the low-rider scene began to fade, and new styles were born. Larry painted a huge amount of cadillac’s in the most wild, mild and experimental colors.

In the past we already had done a special article on Larry’s personal 1959 Cadillac and will do another one on his 1958 Brougham in the future. In this article we will again share some really great samples of Cadillac¬†custom painted by Larry… in no particular order. The majority of the photos in Larry’s Collection were made shortly after the cars were finished, parked in front of Larry’s shops, before the customer would pick them up.
Sadly a lot of Larry’s photos did not came with any information. Form some of the cars in the photos we know the owners name, others not. If somebody recognizes any of these cars, please let us know. We would love to add the names to these amazing cars in the photos.

We hope you will enjoy the Larry Watson Cadillacs Part Two.

[box_light]This article shows a selection of photos of Cadillac¬†Custom Cars. All these¬†photos come from the Larry Watson Personal Photo Collection. More on Larry’s personal collection can be found in the¬†Larry Watson section¬†on the CCC-Site. Or on the¬†Custom Car Photo Archive.¬†Special thanks to Roger O’Dell for scanning this amazing material and sharing them with us on the Custom Car Chronicle.[/box_light]
 
CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-part2-01Calvin Weicamp’s Candy red wit silver top 1959 Cadillac with wire wheels and double thin line white wall tires on the front and single units on the back.
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-part2-03Larry had his employee Ed Gray do the customizing on his 1961 Cadillac. The work included shortening the top fins with ten inches, double headlights, custom fine tubular grille and belflower tips. Then Larry painted the Cadillac in black pearl with a fine silver top.
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-part2-02This is the same Cadillac as above, which Larry redid in bright Candy Red with a champagne flaked roof. By then he had given the car to his wife Amedee.
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-part2-04Another 1961 Cadillac was painted a deep plum purple pearl with a silver top. The car had a tubular grille, a nice rake with thin line white wall tires with chrome reversed wheels.
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-part2-05Really great looking Fuchsia pearl with silver top painted 1962 Cadillac photographed at Larry’s¬†Lakewood Blvd. shop in Paramount, Ca. This one also has a set of thin line white wall tires mounted on chrome reserve wheels to give the car a more aggressive look.
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-part2-061961 Convertible in a wonderful deep teal-green photographed at Larry’s¬†Lakewood Blvd. shop.
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-part2-07Bill Ortega shaved the body of the emblems and handles on Larry Watson’s personal 1962 Cadillac before Larry painted the car in a striking black platinum pearl.¬†
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-part2-08Another photo of Larry’s Personal 1962 Cadillac photographed when it was sitting in Tom Shaw’s Cadillac dealer showroom. By now Larry had repainted the car in nitro black and a salt and pepper silver flake roof, although this last cannot really be seen in this photo.
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-part2-091960 Cadillac is brilliant silver with a super glossy black roof.
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-part2-10Candy dark orange-red 1960 convertible.
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-part2-111963 Cadillac in a dark candy red with silver top with the top portion of the top done in either flakes or cobwebbing. Mildly customized with handles and emblems removed and a set of dummy spotlights installed.
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-part2-12Larry painted this mostly stock 1963 Cadillac in pearl white.
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-part2-131965-66 Cadillac in a wonderful dark warm green at Larry’s Firestone Blvd. shop in Downey.
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-part2-16Dark green was used by Larry for Greg Morris’s 1969 Cadillac with black vinyl top.
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More Larry Watson painted Cadillac’s from the Larry Watson Personal Photo Collection can be seen in part One.
 
 
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Larry Watson Cadillacs Part one

 

LARRY WATSON CADILLACS Part one

 

Cadillac’s always have had something special about them. And if you then ad a wonderful paint-job by the master of custom-paint, Larry Watson, then you have something really special. Lets take a look at some of the Cadillac’s painted by Larry Watson, from Larry’s Personal Photo Collection.

 
In his long career Larry Watson painted numerous Cadillac’s. From customized cars with very wild experimental paint jobs to ultra clean very subtile paint jobs. Larry loved the classic¬†style of these Cadillac’s and¬†customized a few of them for his own personal use. We will do a two part series here on the Custom Car Chronicle showing some of the most exciting Cadillac’s Larry has painted in his career. In the past we already had done a special article on Larry’s personal 1959 Cadillac and will do another one on his 1958 Brougham in the future. In this article we will share some really great samples of the Larry Watson Cadillacs he painted… in no particular order. The majority of the photos in Larry’s Collection were made shortly after the cars were finished, parked in front of Larry’s shops, before the customer would pick them up.
 
[box_light]This article shows a selection of photos of Cadillac¬†Custom Cars. All these¬†photos come from the Larry Watson Personal Photo Collection. More on Larry’s personal collection can be found in the¬†Larry Watson section¬†on the CCC-Site. Or on the¬†Custom Car Photo Archive.¬†Special thanks to Roger O’Dell for scanning this amazing material and sharing them with us on the Custom Car Chronicle.[/box_light]
 
 

Ed Moberg’s 1950 Cadillac
Larry’s Personal Collection shows three photos of Ed Moberg’s 1950 mildly customized ¬†1950 Cadillac. These photos stand out in the collection, not because the car is really special, it is very nice though, but what really stands out is that other than most of the photos in the collection, these photos on Ed’s Cadillac are all staged, and taken in a really great surrounding. ¬†They do like something that was taken for a magazine feature, and perhaps they are, but so far we have not been able to find any magazine from the 1960’s that has featured this car. If you have ever seen this one in a magazine, please let us know, we would love to see it. Ed’s 1950 Cadillac had some emblems shaved, but most of the car remained as it came from the factory. Larry¬†painted the in a wonderful pearl ice mint green with a darker¬†green top¬†with cob webbing.¬†They had hydraulic suspension installed on the front, which allowed for that wonderful rake as we can see in these photos.
 
CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-16The License plate indicates this photo was taken between 1963 and 1969. The dressed up model with fantastic “cotton candy” hair, and the nice location do look like this and a few more taken at the same time were shot for a magazine feature or something like that.
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-09Mildly customized body and the hydraulic controlled suspension, with thin white wall tires mounted on wire wheels.
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Larry Watson’s 1959 Cadillac
Larry’s outline paint-job in candy burgundy over a brilliant white pear makes his 1959 Cadillac looks so much longer and lower than all the others ’59 Caddy’s you saw on the street back then. The addition of the Bellflower tip’s the lowering and the paint detailed Dodge Lancer hubcaps and the shaving of some trim make this car look like it came from outer space.¬†All this was done in 1959 when the car was still brand new. Can you imagine how people reacted when Larry drove this car on the streets or showed it at in and outdoor event¬†in the late 1950’s, early 1960’s. Check out the full¬†CCC-Article¬†on Larry’s 1959 Cadillac for much more on this great car.
 
CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-17Larry Watson’s 1959 Cadillac 62 Special parked in front of Larry’s¬†Rosecrans Blvd Bellflower shop with the Peanut House bar in the background.¬†
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-021958 Cadillac 62Convertible with some mild body modifications, including the shaving of the rear quarter “scoops” parked in fron of Larry’s Rosecrans Blvd shop. This is the only photo of this car in Larry’s Collection and is sadly a bit over exposed, so its a bit hard to see the right color, which appears to be a light champaign pearl white color.¬†
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-03Larry Watson painted this 1957 Cadillac¬†Series 62 hardtop Coupe de Ville in a deep dark candy Brown with a dark Coral pearl on the top. They removed some of the¬†chrome ornaments¬†to clean up the overall appearance of the car. A set of chrome reverse wheels – which is kind of unusual for this kind of car – and medium size white walls give this Cadillac a fantastic tough look. This is the only photo of the car in Larry’s Collection, and unfortunately there is no info on the owner or any other details…
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-04This 1942 Cadillac hearse is a very unusual car to start with, but when Larry added this lime green pearl and the car was outfitted with chrome rims and red thin-line tires it became “something completely different”.
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Bill Striker 1959 Cadillac
It is no secret that Larry Watson loved the lines on the 1959 Cadillac, he painted quite a few of them.¬†Larry painted his friend Bill Striker’s¬†1959 Cadillac in super black with a fine¬†metalflake¬†silver top. Supper straight body shaved hood and trunk and with a perfect black paint job make this car extremely elegant.
 
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-06This photo of Bill Striker’s cadillac in particular shows the super straight body and perfect black paint job. These 1959 Cadillacs did not need much to become stunning, and Larry always knew to add the right color combination to make them look even better.
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-07This side view shows the bellflower tips Bill installed.
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-08However the passenger side of Bill’s car shows some primer shots. The photo was taken at the same location, but at a different date (note the changes in the building in the background) Thats Larry Watson saying “hi” sitting in Bill Striker’s 1959 Cadillac. Look at the sparkling flakes in the paint on the roof. Pinky Richards is in the back seat.
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-10Tom Braggington’s 1951 Cadillac getting ready to be pained candy red over a pearl white base with a gold top.
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Tom Braggington’s 1951 Cadillac freshly painted by Larry Watson. I have no idea what the black shadow on the left of the photo is, perhaps somebody ducking to get out of the way? The car is parked in the back of Larry’s Rosecrans Blvd. shop, and must have been just out of the paint booth. Parts of the masking paper and tape are still on the car, and the rest lays in front of it on the floor…

 
CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-121959 Cadillac 64 РEldorado low on the ground with emblems and door handles shaved painted an unusual red-brown candy color.
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-131958 Cadillac Brougham that was owned by Steve Drale of Torrance, California. Great snapshot of a very nicely done mild Custom Cadillac with a wonderful candy Grape with lavender in the inset panel. The top of course is stainless steel which matches the colors perfect. Larry only did some paint repair work on this car.
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-14This 1960 Caddy was shaved of its emblems and put on a Californian rake¬†with¬†a set of¬†belflower pipes¬†before it was taken to Larry Watson’s shop.¬†Larry painted this this¬†Caddy in a great looking¬†dark candy purple with a lavender pear top. The¬†car runs chrome plated reverse rims on thin line white wall tires. A combination quite common back in the days.
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CCC-larry-watson-cadillacs-15The last photo in this article is of an incredible bright looking candy apple red with metalflake darker red roof painted 1960 series 62 Cadillac. 
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More Larry Watson painted Cadillac’s from the Larry Watson Personal Photo Collection coming soon in part two… stay tuned.
 
 
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Digital Restyling 1947 Cadillac Coupe

 

PHANTOM 47 CADILLAC COUPE

 

For the 1946-’47 year Cadillac¬†did not offer an Coupe model in their line.¬†For this Digital Restyling article I wanted to see how a coupe model would look like, and how well it could have been used as a full Custom Car.



Several years ago I was working on a Digital Restyling project for a client, and when the project was nearly finished the client mentioned he had an 1947 Cadillac¬†Series 60 Special Fleetwood four door. And asked me if I had any ideas¬†on how to customized it. Well I had, in fact I have always really liked¬†the 1946-47 Cadillac’s a lot. I absolutely love the pontoon fenders and the shape of the whole body, no matter which body style.¬†So I had already a lot of ideas in my mind for a full custom version of one of these 46-47 Cadillac’s. Although I had never really thought to much about using the four door as a base, but I did like the shape of the top on those. Sadly the client decided to let go of his Cadillac before the Digital Restyling project had started, so back then I never did the visuals I had in my head.

Some time ago I came across a nice photo, near dead on side view showing a 1947 Cadillac Series 60 Fleetwood a little from behind, and thought it would be perfect for the designs I had carried with me for all these years.

CCC-1947-cadillac-four-door-sedanThis was the photo I found online that I though had potential. I like the way the car looked in the photo, showing it slightly from the real, which would help showing the roof shape I had in mind a little better. I also like the slightly lower than eye height view, which would also help with the Digital Restyling process. The one thing I did not care for was the background… so that was the first thing I removed.
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The concept of a 1947 Cadillac coupe is not really new. I have seen one photo of one done in the late 1940’s early 1950’s that was published in the Rodder’s Journal Scrapbook. And Finish Designer and Illustrator Janne Kutja did a version of an Matranga styled coupe, which was published in a Rod & Custom Magazine a couple of years ago.

 

My ideas are a bit different from what I had seen. I wanted it to look like a factory built car, as something that really could have rolled out of the Cadillac Factory in 1947. And from there I would start with the customizing. When I started the project I decided to not do the factory stock version. with the stock height top, but go straight for a factory custom with a chopped top. Something that perhaps could have been built by Don Lee for a famous movie star in 1947. Don Lee built several early 1940’s Cadillac and LaSalle based Customs for Movie Stars. These were base on coupe models, and some had the rear quarter windows filled in.

Of course I was also very much inspired to do this project since I had been doing some Digital work on my friend Palle johansen’s 1947 Cadillac Convertible with Padded top. And figured that my version(s) of the 1947 Coupe would be a perfect car to be parked next to Palle’s Custom.

The Phantom 5-Window Coupe

CCC-1947-cadillac-5-w-coupe-00Version 00 РFirst version is conservative, as if it was built by a shop like Don Lee in California for a famous Movie Start who wanted something different.
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I first started with lowering the body a little in the front and a bit more in the back. Then I transformed the car into a two door by filling in the door lines and moving the front door line further to the rear. I figured out where I wanted to have the rear base of the new coupe style roof on the body, moved everything forward and extended¬†and reshaped¬†the trunk¬†to fit the new lines.¬†I really like the shape of the windows on the four door Fleetwood, and wanted to use those, at least in the first more conservative version.¬†I chopped the top until I had a nice profile. I’m not sure how much the top is chopped, but my guess is between two and thee inches. These Cadillacs do not need to be chopped too much to look good.


CCC-1947-cadillac-5-w-coupe-01Version 5-W-01¬†–¬†The second version was cleaned up a little. Its basically the same as the first image, but I shaved the trunk, removed the stock taillights and created bumper guard taillights.
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CCC-1947-cadillac-5-w-coupe-01bVersion 5-W-01b¬†–¬†I wanted to see one more variation on this version, stretched front fenders. Not fade aways all the way to the rear fender, I was going to do those later as well, but rather extended pontoon door pieces with a less rounded bottom section.
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CCC-1947-cadillac-5-w-coupe-02Version 5-W-02¬†–¬†Next up was a slightly different side window and B-pillar shape. I loved the large radius on the stock version, but the dip in the drip-rails take a little bit of “speed” away from the overall look. So I created a more traditional drip rail, and reshaped the window corners and top section of the B-Pillar.
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CCC-1947-Cadillac-5-w-coupe-03Version 5-W-03¬†–¬†Another version based on the same design is 03 where I added full fade-way fenders. This created a completely different look. I think that the 1940-47 Cadillac’s look really great with full fade-away fenders, and they really enhance the lines on this coupe version. One thing I did not try on this style was one with the drip rails shaved. Perhaps I will add it later.
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CCC-1947-cadillac-5-w-coupe-04Version 5-W-04¬†–¬†A variation on the 5-window them shows the usage of the doors I had designed for the three window coupe, with the long curved B-Pillar. The rear quarter window follow the shape of the door lines. I think this version looks the best with the drip rails in place, since it ties all the lines together.
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CCC-1947-cadillac-5-w-coupe-05Version 5-W-05¬†–¬†Same as above, but now with the drip rail above rear quarter window removed and only used around the door opening.
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CCC-1947-cadillac-5-w-coupe-06Version 5-W-06¬†–¬†This is¬†version of the 5-window Coupe with the b-pillars angled forward. I Did not want the side windows to become to short at the top after reshaping the B-Pillars, so I ended up widening¬†the doors to the three window width. This created the side window profile and proportions I was looking for. This version has drip rails and stock taillights.
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CCC-1947-cadillac-5-w-coupe-07Version 5-W-07¬†–¬†Same 5-window coupe version as above, only difference is that this version has the drip rails shaved, full fade-away fenders and the stock taillights shaved.
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The Phantom 3-Window Coupe

CCC-1947-cadillac-3-w-coupe-04Version 04 РInspired by the Don Lee creations and a 1939 Cadillac I had designed for Quentin Hall, I also wanted to try a three window coupe version based on this 1947 Cadillac as well. I extended the door a bit more, and reshaped the rear of the door windows using the rear portion of the rear doors  from the four door. I had to reshape the rear a bit here and there to make it all work together, but once done I really liked the feeling of this one.
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CCC-1947-cadillac-3-w-coupe-04bVersion 04b¬†– This version is basically the same as the number 04 above, but now the whole body has been shaved. Door handles and antenna removed. But I did keep the lady on the hood. I think that hood ornament looks so great on these cars. I also changed the back-groud photo… just for fun.
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CCC-1947-cadillac-3-w-coupe-04c-newVersion 04c РOne more variation on the three window theme is this one with the stock fenders which gives the car a completely different look. The use of 1953 Cadillac hubcaps also make a huge difference. Hard to say which body style version I prefer.
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CCC-1947-cadillac-3-w-coupe-04dVersion 04d РAnother version of the three window coupe shows a shorter top and longer trunk, giving the car a more sporty look.
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The Phantom Hard-Top Coupe

CCC-1947-cadillac-ht-coupe-05Version 05 РThe final version I wanted to see was a Hard-Topped version. The first one I did has a new side window opening. It is based on the 5-window coupe side windows, but was reshaped to look better for this version. It is not a real Hard-Top since the doors still have a frame around it, but the looks are all Hard-Top.
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CCC-1947-cadillac-ht-coupe-05bVersion 05b РSame as Number 05 above, but now with full fade away fenders.
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CCC-1947-cadillac-ht-coupe-06Version 06¬†– The next variation was another “fake” Hard-Topped version with Matranga/Hirohata Merc styled side window. For this I reshaped the roof a bit more. I chopped it a little further and made it flow more in the back. Compared to the Hirohata Merc this Cadillac has much taller side windows. I did not want to create a too “cartoonish” car out of it for this project. The full fade-away fenders look really well on this side window style also. Another version with the 1953 hubcaps.
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CCC-1947-cadillac-ht-coupe-06bVersion 06b РSame as above, but now with the stock fenders.
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CCC-1947-cadillac-ht-coupe-06cVersion 06c¬†–¬†So far all the versions I had created used the stock, but shortened Cadillac belt line trim which wraps around under the rear window. I really like that look, especially on these Cadillacs, since they give it a certain style element. But I did want to see how it would look with the top molded into the rear of the body and the lines from the trunk nicely flowing into the roof. I did want to keep the belt line trim, so I shortened it and let it stop slightly further on the belt line than where the rear window ends.¬†
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CCC-1947-cadillac-3-w-coupe-06dVersion 06d¬†–¬†Last version I created is similar as above, but then with the stock fender, and I used the 1953 Cadillac hubcaps again on this version.
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I hope you have enjoyed looking at these Digital Restyled versions of the 1947 Cadillac Phantom Coupe as much I as had creating them. Now hopefully somebody gets inspired enough to turn their 1946-47 Cadillac Four door Fleetwood into one of these versions shown on the Custom Car Chronicle. If you do… please let us know. I¬†would love to see one of these come to live in metal.

Rik Hoving

 

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[box_light]

Are you day dreaming about your own perfect dream custom?

  • Do you wonder what your precious car would (or could!) look like, even before you start cutting on it?
  • Would you like to see different paint variations and styled on your custom car before you even start to mask the car, or order that expensive new paint?¬†
  • Or would you like to see the difference of a 2, 3 or 4 inch chop and see the impact it will have on the rest of the car?
  • Maybe you want to see any other modification done to your custom car, without having to actually perform that modification and find out a different modification would have worked better with the rest of your car?

Do you suddenly see all the possibilities? Perhaps now is a good time to contact Rik Hoving and ask him about the possibilities of his digital Restyling options. Request are free of any obligations.

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George Barris 1942 Cadillac

 

GEORGE BARRIS 1942 CADILLAC

 

This Cadillac Convertible Custom with well proportioned Padded Top was a mystery Barris Custom Car for many years. We now know it was one of George Barris his personal rides in the late 1940’s early 1950’s.



CCC-george-barris-42-cadillac-02[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he first time I came across this Cadillac Convertible, was when I saw a picture of an old Barris Kustom Business Card. It was many years ago and at the time I thought it was an 1947 Cadillac. In the years folowed I tried to find out more about this car used on the Business Card, but I was unable to find much more on the car. It was not until I did an article on a photo of the Nick Matranga at the 1951 Oakland Roadster Show, that I was able to shed some light on this “mystery Custom Cadillac. On this Matranga photo there was a wall with a photo display behind the car, photos of Barris Kustom creations. When Pat Ganahl send me a high res version of this photo I was able to identify most of these cars. One of the photos showed a 1946-47 Cadillac Convertible with Padded Top. I was rather sure it must have been the same car as on the Business Card. I browsed my files on Barris Customs and found two photos of Custom Cars that showed a 1947 Cadillac convertible with chopped padded top in the back ground… possibly the same car. But I still had no information on the car.


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This very fuzzy enlarged section shows the photo of the Cadillac that was used on the display behind Nick Matranga’s 1940 Mercury at the 1951 Oakland Roadster show. The complete photo with the Barris Kustoms photos displayed on the wall can be seen below. The Cadillac photo is the second one from the left. Most likely this photo of the Cadillac was taken by Marcia Campbell, who took many photos of the early Barris Customs.
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In 2009 Palle Johansen and me went on a research trip for the Jack Stewart Ford. Jack had invited us to see his friend Junior Conway at his famous paint shop. On this visit Junior showed me some old photos he had in his collection, and one of the photos showed this chopped 1947 Cadillac with Padded Top. This was the first real good photo I found of this car. When I came back home I went back to doing research for the article on the Matranga photo. I contacted my friend David Zivot in Las Vegas. David is a early Custom Car and Hot Rod enthusiast, who has great knowledge about the early days of Customizing. Together with his girl friend Michelle they have interviewed and researched many of the old timers. I asked David if he knew anything about this chopped 1947 Cadillac Custom. David was not sure, he thought he had seen or heard about it, but would ask some of his friends including Jesse Lopez and Bart Bartoni.


CCC-george-barris-42-cadillac-00The Junior Conway photo was the first photo I saw showing the Cadillac really well. The car is parked in front of the Barris Compton Ave. shop and is partly in primer in this photo.
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CCC-george-barris-42-cadillac-businessAt least 4 different Barris Kustom Automobile business cards used the 1942 Cadillac side view image. The first one on the top left is from the Bell shop.
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CCC-george-barris-42-cadillac-11The Barris Kustom Automobiles Shop invoice paper also used the Cadillac in the logo. This invoice was used for many years, and I have seen samples of it being used up to 1955, but perhaps it was even used after that. (thanks to Per Webb for scanning the invoice from his personal collection)
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In the meantime I had found a few more Barris Business Cards that showed the same Cadillac side view photo. I also found out that the Barris Kustom Shop invoice paper used the same car. So this car must have been important for the Barris Shop, could it have been owned by one of the employees or friends of Sam or George. But how could it be that this great looking¬†Custom¬†was never featured or even mentioned in the magazines back in the 1940’s early 1950’s, not in the series of Barris books?




The things I had found out so far:

  • The car was used on at least 4 different Barris Shop Business Cards. One for the old Bell shop, and three for the Atlantic Blvd shop.
  • The car was used on the Barris Shop invoice paper up to at least 1955.
  • One of the photos (with the¬†Harold Larsen 1941 Ford convertible) shows the car in front of the Compton Ave shop.
  • A photo of the car was used to promote the Barris Shop at the 1951 Oakland Roadster Show.
  • The Barris Kustom Shop had a joint ad with Gaylords Kustom Padded tops in the November 1949 issue of Motor Trend using a picture of this Cadillac.

 

Then David Zivot came back with some great information about the car and its history. Information we had crossed our mind many time, but now we knew for sure from the people who where there when this car was driving the streets of LA.


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Hello Rik

As to the mystery of the ‚Äô46 Cadillac custom that nobody seems to put an owner to, I can offer the following. After conversations with both Bart Bartoni and Jesse Lopez, their concurring opinion is that the car was built and owned by George Barris. Jesse Lopez asked George about the car directly showing him a photograph at the same time. George said it was “his ’42 Cadillac”. Jesse thinks that it was the car George had after his ‚Äô41 Buick.¬†While there are very few pictures showing the side of the car that are not blurry or in shadow, I now believe it is a ’42, because of the visible flair at the bottom of the door that can barely be seen in the photographs we know. 1946 & ’47 did not have that feature. The grill, as I have mentioned before, is definitely not a ’46, but a modified ’47, in my opinion. This coupled with the fact that the ’42 Cadillac would be a much cheaper buy for George in the late 40’s, a ’46 or ‘7 would have a higher blue book (resale) value. This is not the definitive answer, however barring any further evidence I think it’s safe conjecture.

Your Friend,
~David

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CCC-george-barris-42-cadillac-05George his Cadillac was used in the joint Barris Kustom Automobiles and Gaylords Kustom Padded Tops ad in the November 1949 issue of Motor Trend. This photo shows very well how elegant the car was.
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Around the same time I was working on a three part article for¬†Kustoms Illustrated about the history of Bill Gaylord. Luke Karosi and Jeff Neppl interviewed Bill about his upholstery and Customizing years back in the 1940’s and 1950’s. During this interview Bill mentioned that Bill’s personal 1949 Mercury convertible with padded top had custom work, including the chopped windshield, done by George Barris. And that this work was done in exchange of a padded top he had created for George his personal 1942 Cadillac. And to make this even better, Bill had a photo in his collection showing George his Cadillac in front of the Gaylord’s Shop. It was an amazing rear 3/4 shot of the car showing the work done on the rear fenders and how the taillights were incorporated in the bumper guards. Bill also identified the car as an 1942 Cadillac to which George had added 1947 fenders,¬†grille and bumpers.

 



CCC-george-barris-42-cadillac-01The photo from Bill Gaylord’s collection of George Barris his Cadillac. I cropped the photo above, so that we can take a better look at the car. Molded rear fenders with the taillights removed. The ends of the bumper guard bullets were cut off and hand shaped taillight lenses installed to make some very elegant bumper guard taillights.
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CCC-george-barris-42-cadillac-09The complete photo from Bill Gaylord shows the Caddy parked in from of Bill’s hop, with some cars inside, and a few outside, possibly all waiting for Bill’s magical touch. We can also see the Ben Mario Buick with Cadillac rear fenders parked on the street.
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The mystery unraveled… After many years of searching we finally knew for sure this was George Barris his personal 1942 Cadillac Convertible. The only thing we still have to figure out is why was the car never featured, not mentioned in the Barris Books as George his personal car. We have tried to find out more about this, but so far without much efforts.

The car was a rather simple custom car with just the right amount of Custom touches to make it extremely elegant. The just right chopped windshield and perfectly shaped Gaylord Padded Top make this car stunning. George also removed most of the trim on the body, except for the horizontal fender side trim, which helped make the car look even longer. The smooth trunk looks amazing with the shape of the padded top and the sharp edged tear drop shaped molded in rear fenders. The late Jack Stewart mentioned in one of our conversations that he thought George his Cadillac was a deep maroon, but he was not 100% sure. Later Jesse Lopez confirmed to David Zivot that the Cadillac was indeed maroon. Jesse then also mentioned that the Cadillac was bought and customized shortly after George had sold his trend setting 1941 Buick Convertible.

The Cadillac at the Barris Bell Shop.
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Jesse remembered that he and George took the Cadillac out cruising on many nice LA nights. And that the girls really loved the Cadillac. Or as Jesse put it, the “skirts” loved it and they inevitably got the skirts. Jesse mentioned that Bill Gaylord did an extremely nice job on the padded top, and he also did the interior for the Cadillac, but George was not to happy with the last one and eventually had Carson redo the interior.

We would love to see more photos of George his Cadillac. We know that there is at least one more photo of this car, the one on display at the 1951 Oakland Roadster show, a photo possibly taken by Marcia Campbell. And more than likely there are more taken at this same photo session. But where are these photos now?

 


CCC-george-barris-42-cadillac-07This photo from the Bart Bartoni Collection shows a Cadillac chopped convertible behind the Harold Larsen’s 1941 Ford parked in front of the Compton Ave shop. Most likely George his Caddy.
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CCC-george-barris-42-cadillac-08This photo used in an R&C magazine article on the Carson Top Shop by Greg Sharp shows the Cadillac in the back round as well. The photo was taken in 1951.
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The George Barris 1942 Cadillac must have been a great sight on the streets of LA in the late 1940’s early 1950’s. The Cadillac was modified to look like a 1947 model and looked very new when it first hit the roads all customized in 1949. These Cadillacs are already very long from the factory, and with the lowered stance, the chopped windshield and the mile long padded top this car must have looked amazing. It makes me wonder why we have seen so few from this car, especially in the Barris books, but also in the early magazines like Trend books and the first Custom Car Annuals. It also makes me wonder why we have seen so few of this year Cadillac done as full Custom. My good friend Palle Johansen was very inspired by this Cadillac and found himself a 1947 Cadillac Convertible to built his own version of late 1940’s styled Custom, based on George Barris his personal ride. You can see more on Palle’s Cadillac in the four part Road-trip to Sweden in the summer of 2014 CCC-Article. And see for your self how beautiful these cars are done as Custom.


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Hopefully this article about George his Cadillac will generate some more info, or even better, some new never before seen photos. If you have or know about more photos of George Barris his personal 1942 Cadillac Custom, please let us know. If we find out more, we will share the updates with you, here on the Custom Car Chronicle.


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Digital Restyling 1939 Cadillac 60

RESTYLING 1939 CADILLAC

Quentin Hall owns a 1939 Cadillac four door series 60, his dream is to create a Coachcraft styled custom coupe from it. with Digital Restyling we can show the possibilities, before he starts to cut up his car.

 

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ome time ago Quentin Hall, a fabricator by trade, from¬†Brisbane, Australia, posted his latest project on the CCC-Forum. It was a 1939 Cadillac four door series¬†60. A rather squire car to start with, but Quentin saw its potential, and was aiming for a Custom / Coachcraft styled coupe, or convertible. He had created an old fashion cut/tape and ink restyled version which he posted on the Forum. The moment I saw this illustration¬†I was inspired. I really liked the look Quentin¬†had captured, my head was already spinning with ideas, and I was looking forward to see Quentin’s project evolve.

A couple of month after showing his project on the CCC, Quentin approached me about doing some Digital Restyling ideas for his project. I have always loved these late 30’s early 1940’s Cadillac, and Quentin’s ideas of creating a upperclass coachbuilt/coachcraft inspired custom really got me going.¬†We agreed that for Quentin’s plans it would be best to create a dead on side view of the project. So I searched for a suitable photo, which was easier said that done for this car. Eventually I found a nice photo that would work for the Digital Restyling 1939 Cadillac project.
 
CCC-39-cadillac-quentin-hall-11-wThe old fashion cut and taped version Quentin had created to get a good feel for his project. 
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CCC-39-cadillac-quentin-hall-01-wThis is the original image I found online. A nice side view, not too large, but it worked for the design studies I planned to create for Quentin.
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As with most of my digital projects, I start with cleaning up the image so that the work later on will be a bit easier. The original image was cropped to close to the bumpers, so I added material on both sides to be able to show the bumpers. I also removed the red car in the background since it was only distracting from the Cadillac. Then I started with the base restyling. Elements that would be the same for the several versions I had in mind. The car was lowered, and a Cadillac sombrero hubcap was added. Quentin already had cut up a set of 1946 Cadillac bumpers to use on his car, so I did the same. I cut of the bottom section to make a nice elegant shaped bumper. The hood sides were smoothed and skirts were created for the rear fenders. Then it was time to start playing with the several versions.
 
CCC-39-cadillac-quentin-hall-02-w(photo A)The first very quick sketch of a coupe with xtended front door, filled rear door, chopped top converted to a 5-window coupe and a longer trunk.
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To get a good feel for the project and to see what would be possible, I started by doing a very quick sketch of a streamlined coupe. I filled in the rear door lines, extended the front door and chopped top which I converted to a 5-window coupe with radically reshaped rear portion of the roof and emailed this sketch to Quentin. He already loved this first really quick sketch. His reply to my email.
I’ve gotta say that already that first proposal is incredible. So so elegant. WOW. That is the car they never made but should have. That b pillar is the styling feature that ties it to the original 60 special design. I love it. You know this is exactly why I wanted you to do this.”

So now we already have a rather radical restyled Cadillac, now its time to take a step back and create a few different versions. I did a more fine tuned version of the original quick sketch, but there is no reason to show it here. Next I wanted to see how this 5-window coupe would look with a little less radical reshaped top. Something that could be created more easily from the original 4-door top. In the meantime I have also lowered the headlights an inch or two.
 
CCC-39-cadillac-quentin-hall-03-w(photo B) The next version is also a 5-window coupe, but more conservative, more styled along the lines of the series 60. The rear quarter windows use the chopped but otherwise unchanged stainless trim pieces from the original rear door windows.
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CCC-39-cadillac-quentin-hall-04-w(photo C) A sliglty more radical version shows a reshaped rear portion of the top and rear side windows. I also angled the back of the door window forward at the top creating an interesting V-shape on the B-Pillar. For the different versions I switched hubcaps, just for fun. This version, having a more classic feel to it has the original 1939 Cadillac hubcaps, with additional beauty rings.
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CCC-39-cadillac-quentin-hall-05-w(photo D) Then it was time to create the ultimate car I had in my mind ever since Quentin has shared his photocopied design sketch on the CCC-Forum. The three window coupe. 
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To get the balance right for this version I had to stretch the doors some more and shortened the top, thus lengthening the trunk. I also raised the windshield up into the top a little to get a better balance there as well. Quentin is in Australia, and I’m in the Netherlands, so there is quite a bit of time difference. Before I had started this three window coupe version I had emailed with Quentin about it and that it was getting late for him and he would check it out in the morning. some time after¬†I had emailed him this versions I get the following response back from him…
 
“It’s the middle of night. Cant sleep….I had to see the new additions and watched them, each design evolve and grow. Loved the newer versions of the 5-window coupes. Little bit more flow and lost that squareness, but not too much, just right. …..looked at the next two 3 windows…..
Then the last one you did. I fell…..fell madly in love. Madly truly deeply. The simplicity, the three forms. Engine. Cockpit, tail. The balance of the window curve front and rear. The long deck.
I think it is that raw instinct that tells me. There is that selfish indulgence of it being (possibly) a two seater. Maybe no back seat at all. Also it is because it best lends itself to being a lift off top . No tricky rear side windows to deal with.
Most of all if you were walking along and saw that parked on the street you would be speechless……
I’m speechless……”
 
That made me feel very good, a happy customer, and even better I loved it myself as well. But I was not done yet. I had a few more things I wanted to see and needed to try.
Earlier, I had also done a very rough sketch of a Padded topped version based on the 5-window coupe dimantions. It was too crude to show here, but it did show this version had some potential as well. So with the balance of the three window coupe I created a padded topped version.
 
CCC-39-cadillac-quentin-hall-06-w(photo E) Padded topped version was nice, but the original Padded top look with the large rolls at the bottom edges did not really work too well for me. A more smoothed perhaps canvas covered metal top would suite this car much better.
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The Ultimate Version

The last version I had in mind was a convertible version, with chrome plated v-windshield and removable top. In the beginning Quentin had opted his desire to possibly have several different tops for his car. So that he change the looks of his car from time to time. With this in mind I designed this version of the car in such a way that it looked good with both a painted metal top, as well as with a canvas covered, near padded top looking top. Bot tops were shaped rather similar, but the texture will create a completely different look. For this version I also added the three bar Cadillac stainless trim on the rocker panel, and 1938 Cadillac hubcaps with beauty rings.
 
CCC-39-cadillac-quentin-hall-13-w(photo F) The chrome plated v-windshield gave the car even more the so desired Coachbuilt/coachcraft styled custom look.
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CCC-39-cadillac-quentin-hall-08-w(photo G) The padded top version for the convertible with chrome windshield was made much cleaner than the typical Carson/Gaylord/Hall top.
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CCC-39-cadillac-quentin-hall-12-w(photo H) This was the last version I did, with the top removed and the rear portion of the interior covered with a body colored  tonneau cover
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Below is Quentin’s 1939 Cadillac series¬†60 he based this¬†project one. As you can see he has already started with the cut down 1946 Cadillac bumpers.¬†Check out the¬†CCC-Forum Post¬†from Quentin to see the progress on his 1939 Cadillac 60. We are looking forward to see Quentin turn his four door series 60’s in his dream coupe/convertible from this¬†Digital Restyling 1939 Cadillac project. Quentin already created some skirts from scratch for this project. How he did that, and how they look can be seen on this CCC-Forum Post.
 
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[box_light]

Are you day dreaming about your own perfect dream custom?

  • Do you wonder what your precious car would (or could!) look like, even before you start cutting on it?
  • Would you like to see different paint variations and styled on your custom car before you even start to mask the car, or order that expensive new paint?¬†
  • Or would you like to see the difference of a 2, 3 or 4 inch chop and see the impact it will have on the rest of the car?
  • Maybe you want to see any other modification done to your custom car, without having to actually perform that modification and find out a different modification would have worked better with the rest of your car?

Do you suddenly see all the possibilities? Perhaps now is a good time to contact Rik Hoving and ask him about the possibilities of his digital Restyling options. Request are free of any obligations.

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Larry Watson’s ’59 Cadillac

LARRY’S ’59 LAND YACHT

One of Larry Watson’s personal cars was this trend setting 1959 Cadillac Series 62 Special. Candy Burgundy with outlines and scallops in Pearl white and a silver with chrome taped top.

 

Larry Watson started customizing his his 1959 Cadillac series 62 Special just a few days after he he bought it brand new. Larry took the Cadillac to the Bear Alignment shop, which was located close to Larry’s shop, to have it lowered about six inches. After that, he took it to his friend Bill DeCarr, and asked him to removed the emblems, shave the handles and round the door corners. Bill also installed the solenoid’s to open the doors and truck after the handles were shaved.

Its hard to see in the photos of the car with primer spots, but at that time, Larry had already painted the top in silver. This silver he had mixed himself using very fine metallic powder. Once the silver had dried Larry applied 1/4 inch chrome tape at 1/4 of an inch from each other from front to back. This was followed by many coats of clear to get the top smooth. After this photo was taken Larry and his helpers would prep the body and Larry would paint the car first in his brightest white pearl. One the pearl white had set Larry started taping the body lines and added small scallops, the main body was then painted in Candy burgundy.

This created what I think is one of his best ever subtle scallop, outlines paint jobs Larry ever created. The thin outline panel paint made the car look even longer and lower than it already was. Can you imagine how much impact this car must have had when Larry drove it on the streets or showed it at in and outdoor event. In 1960, Larry traded his 1959 Cadillac for a 1957 Cadillac Brougham at a Cadillac dealer. Benny Abacherli bought the car in early 1960 from a car lot in Long Beach. Its current whereabouts are unknown.
 
[box_light]This article shows a selection of photos from Watson’s ’59 Cadillac. The photos come from the Larry Watson Personal Photo Collection. More on Larry’s personal collection can be found in the Larry Watson section on the CCC-Site. Or on the Custom Car Photo Archive.[/box_light]

 

CCC-Watson-59-Cadillac-09-WLarry’s Caddy getting ready for the pearl white paint. Fresh out of Bill Ortega’s shop. You can also see the bellflower pipes which were created from chrome plated 1936 Ford drive shafts… a common practice back then.
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CCC-Watson-59-Cadillac-08-WThe black primer spots show where Bill deCarr removed emblems, handles and rounded corners.
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CCC-Watson-59-Cadillac-07-WLarry’s Cadillac pushed out of the paint booth after Larry had painted it a bright pearl white. The location is Larry’s famous Rosecrans Blvd shop in Bellflower.
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CCC-Watson-59-Cadillac-10-WOnce the car was finished Larry took it to his friend Bill DeCarr to show him the end result.
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CCC-Watson-59-Cadillac-06-WThis is a really great photo taken in 1960, we can see Larry’s Caddy parked in front of the Shop from where Bill DeCarr¬†worked. The shop is the former Ed Schelhaas Auto Service shop but was now owned by Bill DeCarr. Larry started renting the paint booth behind it after he left his Rosecrans Blvd shop. In this garage the two friends create Custom Car magic for the next year or so.
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CCC-Watson-59-Cadillac-01-WOne of the most attractive photo angles of Larry Watson’s 1959 Cadillac. This photo was taken from ground level facing upwards to capture the perfect shape of the rear fenders wings and taillights and give the perfect look at Larry’s scalloped and outlined body which accentuate all the great lines of this Cadillac.
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CCC-Watson-59-Cadillac-03-WLarry Watson’s personal transport in late 1959 parked in front oh his shop at Rosecrans Blvd. probably just another work day for Larry. The Peanut House was a bar located next door to Larry. Larry’s 1959 Cadillac is just so right. Perfect color, perfect width outline, perfect stance‚Ķ¬†Larry mentioned this shop – which he had from 1959 till early 1960 – was his most busy shop. He had at least 6 guys working for him to keep up with the demand of Custom Paint work. No wonder with a car like Larry’s 1959 Cadillac parked in front of the shop.
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CCC-Watson-59-Cadillac-05-WLarry had a several of his cars photographed at night at this Long Beach Shopping center parking lot. The photos session on his ’59 Caddy was with well known photographer James Potter. Wonderful lighting effects from the longer exposure time. Some photos were taken with a model, others just the car. Above are two snapshot taken that night. They did not come out as perfect as the one James Potter made but still very interesting to look at.
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CCC-Watson-59-Cadillac-11-WThis photo shows the color coded Dodge Lancer hubcaps which fit the car perfectly. Larry had parked his 1959 Cadillac in front of the former Ed Schelhaas Auto Service shop, now owned by Bill DeCarr. This snapshot by the photographer who was actually standing inside the shop.
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CCC-Watson-59-Cadillac-end-WResources and more info

  • Watson’s Custom Car Confessions, by Thom Taylor and Larry Watson
  • Kustomland, The Custom Car Photography of James Potter by Thom Taylor
  • Grease Machines, by the editors of Consumer Guide

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Hot Rod Show Give Away Custom

 

GIVE AWAY CADDY

 

For the 5th Hot Rod Show, held in the Los Angeles National Guard Armory April 24-27, 1952 the show organizers decided their Annual Door Price Give Away Car, would be a wonderful custom car.



In previous years the show promoters had given away a 32 Ford Roadster, and some Sports Cars. For 1952 the Give Away Door Price was going to be a classy and unique custom car. Several manufactures were contacted to be part of the construction of this Custom. The Barris Shop was chosen to conduct the project, create the overall design, do the body work, and all other custom work needed. The Carson Top Shop was asked to do the car’s interior, and a removable padded top with wrap around rear windows. Eddie Edmunds was asked to hop up the¬†engine and find the sponsors for all the needed hop up parts.

CCC_01_GiveAwayCaddy1(Above) A rare photo of the freshly primed Cadillac was discovered in 2010 in the Barris Archives by Mad Fabricators’, Piero De Luca. The slightly worn photo shows that the car was completely assembled and driven while in primer. A common practice to find any problems before the car was going to be painted, and completely finished.
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The show promoters delivered the 1949 Cadillac (barely a few years old by then) at the Barris Shop, early 1952. George Barris designed this custom to be an elegant, classy custom Cadillac. He knew the car was going to get a lot of publicity, so he did his utmost to make sure, this car was going to stand out as much as possible. One of the reasons the shops were willing to create a Give Away car was the free publicity. And Barris knew that the higher he aimed, the more Barris Customs became THE sought after kind of car, after the show.

CCC_CaddyNewspaperArticle2This announcement for the Give Away Caddy at the Hot Rod Show was made in the newspapers in Los Angeles. The car was still in primer when the photo for the announcement was made.
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The guys at the Barris shop started the project with the windshield, which was chopped 2,5 inches. George’s design asked for a new front end. And a new grille opening was created, using a second 1949 Caddy grille surround turned upside down, and welded to the original piece. This new one piece unit was smoothed, and send out to be chrome plated. The floating grille bar had ends made of 37 Chevy headlight buckets, and three grille teeth where used from a 1951 Ford Pick Up Truck set on a home made bar. The whole assembly was chrome plated, and installed slightly recessed in the new opening. A new front roll pan was created, and molded on to the front of the body. A 1951 Cadillac front bumper was used, to create the new split bumpers with integrated dagmars. The center section of the bumper became the custom created roll pan, and painted body color. 1951 Ford grille rings, and the custom made inserts where used for the air intakes below the frenched Caddy headlights. The hood had the emblem, and stainless removed, and was peaked in the process.

The door, and trunk handles where removed, and electrical openers installed. A custom made rear fender air intake – to cool the rear brakes – was created using the rock shield of a 1949 Cadillac Fleetwood. The car was lowered, but not as much as many other Barris creations. Just enough to make the long Cadillac body look even longer. Swanson sponsored the project by supplying the needed components for the lowering job.


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When all the body work was done, the car was primed and assembled. Then it was time to deliver the Caddy to the Carson Top Shop, for a full custom interior in red and black leather. Carson also made a unique removable Hard Top with wrap around (Panoramic) rear window for the Cadillac. The top was not covered with white canvas, as most of the Carson tops were, but for this car they choose black leather as the cover material. When the Carson Top shop was ready with the upholstery part, the car was driven around for some time to find any flaws. Then everything was pulled apart again and Barris prepared it for a very classy pale gold paint job with extra gold powder. He named the color ‚ÄúGolden Fog‚Ä̬†Unfortunately we have never been able to locate a color photo of this car, to show you how gorgeous it must have looked.

CCC_GiveAwayCaddy_Barris01Some very interesting material that was also found in 2010 are some pages of a Barris scrapbook showing this Custom Cadillac. George kept scrapbooks from all the Barris Cars that made the magazines, show programs, posters etc.
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CCC_Caddy-Life_Magazine-03This unique photo of the car at the LA Hot Rod show in 1952 was made by photographer Loomis Dean for Life Magazine. It shows the custom grille and surround. And also the smooth Cadillac bumper ends.
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CCC_Caddy-Life_Magazine-01Another Life Magazine photo shows how long this custom is. The long hood and lowered top give the car excellent proportions. The Barris team have created a very elegant timeless custom for the show. The crowd stands beside the car, dreaming how wonderful it would be to win the door price, and drive away in it.
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CCC_BarrisGiveAwayHopUpArticleThe car was featured in a three page article, in the December 1952 issue of Hop Up magazine. In this article there was no mention of of the new, lucky owner of the car. It seamed the new owner was not into showing the car at other shows, nor were he – and the car – part of any publicity after the show.
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This Give away Cadillac received quite a bit of publicity before the 1952 Show. But after the show it disappeared. What happened to this car? The only thing we where able to find out about the winner is a small article in the Motor Sports World News paper (below), when the winner Lawrence Kilty was congratulated with his price.

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Is this very nice custom still around? Does it still sit in a garage somewhere? What’s the story, what happened after the show? If you know more, please let us know.



Sources and more info:

  • Hop Up magazine, December 1952
  • Life Magazine Photo Archive





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