Eldon Gibson’s 1940 Oldsmobile

“The Boulevardier”

By David E. Zivot

This is a most intriguing and nicely turned out custom. I first noticed it on an old Dean Batchelor California streets 1941-42 poster in my collection, as well as an early, in fact the very first issue of Rods & Customs from May 1953. Both featured fantastic photographs by Dean, a member in good standing of the “Throttle Stompers” out of Burbank. This 1940 Oldsmobile “C” body 4-door Torpedo parked languidly at the curb really stood out as a fine example of pre-War craftsmanship.

The May 1953 issue of Rod & Custom magazine showed the two photos of Eldon Gibson’s 1940 Oldsmobile for the first time.

When invoking the term “pre-War”, I mean any and all tasteful restyles that were accomplished from let’s say 1935 to August 1945, when hostilities ceased. Not just those built or modified before February of 1942. I make this point as the nature and style of this modified Oldsmobile was not uncommon during the latter half of those ten years. Especially from 1940, when most major auto manufacturers were now providing some very smooth, well-proportioned, and shall I say streamlined examples.


Dodge and DeSoto convertibles for 1940, of course the ’40 Fords and Mercuries, ’41 Buick and Cadillac, ’41 Ford, ’42 Chevy, were popular, and suited for properly thought out restyling. Even some Zephyr and Continental models, also including some Packard and Nash, were also modified with good results. Restyling and modifying, although less common, and in some instances restricted during the War years, was still being pursued, particularly on the West Coast.

Eldon Gibson’s Boulevardier at the curb in Burbank, CA, would have been just as at home at the curb in Manhattan, NY

It is this specific ’40 Oldsmobile 90 series of Eldon Gibson’s that I find appealing. I don’t know for certain if Mr. Gibson purchased it new, or perhaps he was the second owner, that got it at a substantial discount, owing to the purported fire damage that may have affected the interior and roof area, prompting the subsequent cut top and other minor but esthetic modifications. It could also be highly probable that whatever fire damage occurred might have only affected the bargain price, leaving plenty of dough for Eldon to proceed with the remodel he always had in mind. He may have been an employee at Modern Motors in Glendale, where the Olds was sold new. Or perhaps a friend tipped him off as to the car’s availability and later arranged for the work to be done at the dealership body and paint dept. This is mostly conjecture, of course.

Subtle and sophisticated.

What remains is that this near new Oldsmobile “Custom Cruiser” (official GM nomenclature for this model) ended up in the hands of one or more very skilled body and fender men that had the expertise and eye for a symmetrical and properly proportioned cut down top. The car has what Rik Hoving rightly defines as “balance”. In addition the difficult to accomplish top, which has the A-pillar leaned back, rear sail panels also slightly leaned forward, and I’m betting mostly metal finished with the minimum use of lead. A nominal all around lowering is evident, partial shaving of the hood, center strip and mascot, leaving only the Olds coat-of-arms intact. There might be evidence of the drip rails having been shaved, although difficult to determine from the few and extremely poor photographs that are available for examination. The rear deck was shaved, as were the chrome wind splits from the top of the headlight nacelles, chrome or polished stainless rear fender gravel shields have replaced the molded rubber ones. These and the tear drop fender skirts (same as ’40 Buick) were actually available direct from the dealer, as were the deluxe front grille guard and single driver’s side Lorraine spot. Even the notorious “Hollywood Flipper” hubcaps were offered in some of the more progressive dealer accessory displays. When this car was done, there were no restrictions on white wall tires, yet Eldon wisely stayed with black walls. Lastly, the only other minor mod would be the removal of the OLDS lettering from the grille. One would presume that the diecast front license plate frame proclaimed: “Modern Motors Burbank”.

Close up of the front.


Most commentary on this Oldsmobile have averred that the paint scheme was a stock dark blue/medium blue two-tone. I once had a discussion with Neil Emory, whose notable restyled Dodge ragtop was also featured in the earlier mentioned Batchelor poster, about the Oldsmobile. He remembered the car while attending Burbank High, and definitely recalled a two-tone dark and medium green paint job. There was another fellow residing in the Glendale-Burbank area that told me some fifteen years ago that the car still existed, and that he laid eyes upon it at that time. He relayed that the current owner told him that he “will keep it forever, and don’t inquire if it’s for sale”. Be that as it may, Eldon Gibson’s pre-War custom Olds will forever remain on my short list of favorites.

Beautiful stock 1940 Olds 90 series with dealer added skirts
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Link Paola Custom Car Pioneer

 

LINK PAOLA Custom Car Pioneer

 

Link Paola Custom Car Pioneer from Glendale California created some beautiful Custom Cars in his career. lets take a closer look.


Link Paola‘s name often pops up as one of the Pioneer Custom Car body man ,together with names as Jimmy Summers, Roy Hagy, Carson Top Shop, Harry Westergard and a few others his name is forever linked to the early style Custom Car. But there are very few photos and stories from Link Paola’s work. There are a few photos of mid/late 1940’s Cars that we have to thank Spence Murray and Dean Batchelor for, who were there to snap a few of the cars coming from Link’s hands. But as far as I know there never was done a proper article on him in the early magazines. Spence Murray is the with out doubt the best source when it comes to Link Paola’s history. Spence worked for Link, and had at least four cars restyled by him.  1941 Ford, 1941 Chevy, 1946 Chevy and 1949 Chevy.

Link Paola worked as a body and paint man at a large Ford dealership in Montrose, which is located a little north of Glendale, California. Linked loved fine automobiles and in the later part of the 1930’s he found out about Custom Restyling. He started to do custom work on the side at the Ford dealer ship. The work included chopping convertibles for Carson tops, removing of running boars and removing chrome trim for the smoother look.


Hot Rod magazine ad from January 1949.
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One of Link Paola’s best known and perhaps most important Customs is an super stylish done 1940 Ford Convertible. Since Link was working at the Ford Dealership, he could get his hands on a brand new 1940 Ford Convertible shortly before the cars were introduced to the public in late 1939. Normally this allowed the dealers to make showroom displays, announcement adds and all kinds of publicity needed to promote the car. But to Link this meant he could create his personal dream custom from a brand new car, before most everybody had even seen the model.

After the dealership owner had signed off the car to Link he started to work on it right away, well after shop hours so that nobody could see what he was doing. When the car work was finished, he painted it dark maroon, took it to the Carson Top Shop for a tan padded top and a week later the car was all done. Just in time to display it across the street from the Ford Dealer at the day the 1940 Fords were introduced.

This is how the Link Paola second shop at 3451 N. Verdugo Road in Glendale (Montrose) looks around 2018.
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You can imagine that Link’s very slick looking Custom drew a huge crowd, and everybody wanted to have one just like it. He took away a large crowd from the dealer who had worked hard for the 1940 Ford introduction display, but of course the stock bodied cars could not stand up to the beautiful custom Link had created. The Dealer owner was not amused at all and fired Link the same day. With having drawn all the attention to him it was the right moment from Link to open up his own body shop. In the late 1930’s he opened his own Custom Shop in Montrose which was was actually across the street from the Ford Dealer he used to work. In his first small shop he created three cars for Spence Murray, as well as most likely many more that we do not have any info about at this point.

Link Paola worked from his own one stall shop for a few years and shortly after the war he relocated to a larger shop located at 3451 N. Verdugo Road in Glendale (Montrose). He named the new shop Link’s Custom Shop, and according a Jan 1949 Hot Rod magazine ad the shop specialized in Auto Painting, Welding and Body Work. In the beginning Link concentratd as much as he could on doing custom work, custom body work and paint. But to be able to get the bills paid he started to do more and more regular body work, straightening fenders, matching paint etc.

Later he found out that he could buy totaled cars from insurance companies for very little money. He then would buy new replacement panels, or find them at the local junk yard and fix up these totaled cars and sell them. It was a way of making good money in an relatively short time. It paid a lot better than doing the Custom Work he did like better, but being able to pay the bills makes up for a lot.





In 1951 Link closes his shop and buys a local Oldsmobile dealer together with his brother Pete Paola. The dealer located at Foothill Boulevard and Glenwood Ave. and is named Paola Oldsmobile. It will stay in business until the mid 1960’s. Link will not work on Custom Cars again after 1951.

Link Paola and his brother Pete bought the Williamson Oldsmobile dealership at Foothill Boulevard and Glenwood Ave in 1951. This photo was taken in late 1956, and stayed open until the mid 1960’s.
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The Link Paola Restyled Cars




Link Paola 1940 Ford

Link’s own 1940 Ford convertible was what attracted many customers to his shop. He had filled the hood, making a mild peak down the center. The deck was filled also, the front fenders were welded to, and molded into, the panels under the body (which were used to hide the frame with running boards removed). Chopped Carson top, Buick fender skirts, 1937 DeSoto bumpers and finished in maroon.

History of the Early Custom CarLink’s 1940 Ford which he restyled in late 1939 looks absolutely stunning with it chopped tan padded Carson Top, removed running boards, ’37 DeStoto bumpers and super nice smoothed and peaked hood. These photos were taken in 1941.
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This picture is the same as above, but shows a bit more of the background. I love old photos.
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Bill Faris 1938 Ford

Bill Faris of Burbank, California was a Throttle Stompers member and owned this ’38 Ford Convertible. At first, only the hood ornament was removed, then the deck smoothed, and license plate sunk in. Buick fender skirts were added, and finally the windshield and side windows were chopped for a Carson Top. At the time, around 1942, they did the car both Bill and Link were in the Air Fore and the only tools they had to use where ball-peen hammer, a piece of pipe, and a few odd pliers. Link ended up painting the car in a beautiful George Washington Blue. Later, and we have not been able to find a photo of this,  Bill and Link Paola shortened the gas filler and added a later model fender gas filler door to the rear fender.

Early version shows minor updates as single bar flipper hubcaps.
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This photo of the finished Ford was taken by Dean Batchelor in front on the Valley Custom Shop owner Neil Emory’s house in 1942.
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Bill Faris with his beautiful heavy chopped 1938 Ford in 1942.
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Dean Batchelor 1941 Pontiac

Link Paolo restyled Dean’s Pontiac with removed side trim. The trunk and hood had the wide center trim were removed, and the large center piece of the trim on the hood was replaced with a hand shaped metal piece that was welded in places and leaded smooth. Link finished the work by painting the car light blue in 1941.

Dean Batchelor’s 1941 Pontiac before he took it to Link Paola’s Montrose shop.
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The Pontiac after Link had finished it in light blue in 1941. Subtle and elegant.
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1941 Chevy convertible

Spence Murray took a few photos of an 1941 Chevy Convertible mild custom that Link worked on. The owner is unknown, but the work on the car included a reshaped front end to accept a 1942 Studebaker Champion grille which makes the Chevy look a bit wider in the front. The hood was smoothed and peaked. And most likely Link also painted the car, but we have no info on the color, nor the owners name.

1941 Chevy, dechromed, molded and fitted with a 1942 Studebaker grille and single bar flipper hubcaps.
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By the time Spence took the photos of the Chevy the grille had suffered a bit of damage, and a few of the Studebaker grille bars are bend out of shape.
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Spence Murray Customs

Spence met Link Paola in late 1941 when he worked out of his one stall shop across from the Ford dealer. He drove his incredible good looking 1940 Ford Convertible with padded Carson top and used it as rolling advertisements for his skills parking it in front of his shop.



Spence Murray 1941 Chevy

Spence Murray took his 1941 Chevy to Link Paola for a few updates when money allowed. Link smoothed the hood and trunk and lowered the suspension and added skirts. Then Spence took it to the Carson Top Shop for a stock height padded top. Spence could or would not afford the extra $50 for chopping the windshield at the time. The car changed a bit over time and in the end Link had added a low mounted custom grille into a smoothed front end. And the side trim was removed from the rear quarters and party from the doors.

Decked trunk by Link Paola.
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Side view shows basically all stock ’41 Chevy with the stock height padded top and three bar propeller aftermarket hubcaps.
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The final version of the ’41 Chevy had a beautiful speed-boat stance, black wall tires (there were no white walls at the time) smoothed front with custom grille. Not to long after this photo was taken Spence traded it to get a ’46 Chevy Fastback.




Spence Murray 1946 Chevy

The 1946 Chevrolet Fastback Spence got shortly after he had returned from the U.S. Navy. He again took it to his friend Link Paola for a Custom update which included a set of full fade away fenders he bought Jimmy Summers for $69.50. Link also added a few other mild touches to the car, and in 1949 Spence sold the ’46 to be able to buy a brand new 1949 Chevy fastback. Sadly there are no photos of the ’46 Chevy and early stages of the ’49 since the photos were destroyed due to flood damage.



Spence Murray 1949 Chevy

For the ’49 Chevy Spence wanted something a little more dramatic, a full Custom with chopped top.It was 1949 and Spence started working at Link’s body shop, doing body sanding, fixing small dents, and driving the shop and tow truck of Links Shop. By then Link was doing more and more regular body work, which was a lot less time consuming than Custom Restyling. He also went on to buy cars that had been totaled in crashed from insurance companies, fix them up with spare parts and junk yard parts and sell them again.

At the time Spence brought in his ’49 Chevy fastback to have Link work on it, Link was just working on a crashed ’49 Chevy Sedan with damaged body, but intact frame and front end. Link proposed to Spence to use his fastback body to fix the damaged car and sell it to an already lined up customer, and then find a new body he could chop for Spence in his spare time as a trade at a later moment. Spence agreed as long as he could use the shop truck as transportation until the ’49 was done.

The original version of the car with just the top chopped and non of the other modifications done in yellow, which was the original color of the Chevy, and purple on the top. Both Spence and Link did not think the darker color on the top really benefited the chopped look, so they soon started doing the rest of the body work and would end up painting the body in one color only.
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Some time later Link found a suitable Sedan body and started to work on it in his spare time. And in September 1950 he started to chop the top 3 inches with some beautiful lines, shaved the drip rails, and rounded the door corners. Link performed all the work together with a few other shop workers after hours and in the weekends to keep his promise to Spence. The car was first painted yellow, which was the Chevy’s color and a custom mixed purple top. Shortly after that the car was back in the shop for round two.


Nice low angle photo shows off the unique outside rear fender wrap around tailpipe. One of the key elements on the car that got noticed everywhere the car went. Spence used a set of aftermarket Cadillac Sombrero look-alike hubcaps.
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Spence Murray’s ’49 Chevy at the 1952 Oakland Roadster Show.
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This time the car was lowered, nosed, decked, shaved, frenched headlights, and shaved taillights. New taillights were added to the bumper, and at the front a ’49 Mercury grille shell was molded in place and an 1951 Plymouth grille was mounted inside it. The June 1952 issue of Hop Up magazine, which was actually written by Spence, states that the body was channeled over the frame as well. Plus an additional lowering job with two inch lowering blocks in the rear brought the car down to perfect height. After all the work was done Link painted the car in a metallic mustard enamel, and we added some very distinctive wrap around exhaust pipes.

Notice the smoothed rear fenders and the small taillights mounted just inside the silence plate guard on the rear bumper. The exhaust pipe follows the side trim and adds to the optical length of the car.
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The Chevy at the Indianapolis Custom Car Show.
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Spence entered the Chevy in the 3rd Annual Oakland Roadster Show in February 1952 where it took Second Place. Dean Batchelor was at the show and was very impressed with the car,  and that is how it ended up in the June 1952 issue of Hop Up Magazine. Later Spence took the car on a “Cross Country” trip all the way to Indianapolis for the Custom Auto Show as well as to attned the Indy-500 race.Photographer Ralph Poole joined Spence to take picture along the way for an upcoming Hop Up magazine article. “6000 Miles in a Custom” (Hop Up , September 1952), which was written by Spence and launched his career as automotive writer.

In this article we have collected as much information on Link Paola as we could find, which is quite a bit, but I guess still only the tip of the iceberg. Link has bean in business as Custom Body Shop for at least a decade, and must have produced a lot more cars during that period than those listed in this article. Hopefully somebody will know more about Link, and the cars he restyled from the late 1930’s till the early 1950’s. Hopefully one day we will be able to share more info, and more photos of the cars he created, and perhaps of the shop’s from where he worked. If you have any more information on Link Paola, please Email Rik so we can add it to this article for everybody to enjoy.

Thank you





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Santa Monica 36 Ford 5 Window

36 FORD 5 WINDOW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About the Ford

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Neil Emory 1937 Dodge

 

Neil Emory 1937 Dodge

 

In the late 1930s early 1940s a young Neil Emory created a stunning Custom out of a 1937 Dodge Convertible Coupe. It was his very first Custom, many more great Customs would follow…



As a young teenager Neil Emory created all kinds of jobs to make some extra money. One of these jobs was detailing cars at the Warner Brothers studio. Neil got permission to get in the special VIP parking places and ask the owners of these fine automobiles if he could clean detail and gas up their cars. The business went really well for Neil, so well he had to ask a friend to help him out.

CCC-stock-1937-dodge-01A stock 1937 Dodge Convertible Coupe similar to what Neil Emory started with in 1939. Its not an ugly car to start with, but with Neil’s eye for style an balance he was able to create a stunning Custom out of it.
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CCC-neil-emory-37-dodge-03Lowered headlights, smoothed hood and hood sides, ripple disk hubcaps on wide white wall tires, teardrop fender skirts and a beautifully shaped Padded Top.
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Neil Emory’s first Custom

One of the cars he was detailing was a 1937 Dodge Convertible Coupe. The car belonged to a Director at Warner Brothers, Lloyd Bacon’s daughter. The car was a gift for here 21th birthday. Around 6 moth later the daughter got married and Neil was able to buy the car for $600. Neil was just 15 years old when she got married this was 1938, perhaps early 1939 the exact dates are unsure. It was Neil’s first car.


CCC-neil-emory-37-dodge-01I really love this rear 3/4 photo of Neil’s Dodge. It shows the wonderful shapes of the car and gives us a great feel of how it must have been driving such a great looking car on the Californian streets in the early 1940’s.
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Not long after that Neil Emory started another business, lowering cars. He started to produce shackles of different lengths and he would make appointments with customers to be at a service station where Neil would take his tools with his 1937 Dodge and lower the customers car on the spot. Of course he had lowered his own Dodge with his own shackles as well, which was good for rolling advertisement. He also installed some aftermarket ripple disk hubcaps with beauty-rings on a set of wide white wall tires. Around this time Neil Emory and a couple of buddies also ran a gas station where he started to tinkered with cars for his friends and teachers.

Neil was able to do more work on his Dodge in shop class during high school, here he was able to use the much better school tools than what he had himself. Here he shaved the trunk and added the double set-in license plates behind glass. The right one for a Throttle Stompers club plaque and the one on the left for the license plate.

CCC-neil-emory-37-dodge-02Close up of the smoothed rear of the car with the double set-in glass covered license plates, the 1938 Ford teardrop taillights and the Buick teardrop shaped fender skirt that could be mounted becuase Neil had removed the bead around the Dodge rear fender wheel opening.
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Neil removed the lip around the rear fender wheel opening so that he could mount the Buick skirts. He also removed the stock taillights and replaced them with teardrop shaped 1938 Ford units.  The bumpers both front and rear are stock with an accessory center bumper guard added. The headlight stances were removed from the grille sides, and new once created to fit on the fenders. This allowed Neil to drop the headlights nice and low, which made the car look lower, and he grille taller. He created smooth hood sides and removed the hood ornament and trim for a much smoother look.

Neil had Burbank Auto Body chop the windshield and then drove the car to the Carson Top Shop to have a perfectly shaped Padded Top created for the Dodge. The shape of the top is really fantastic and folows the shape of the rear of the body really well. The side window opening that the Carson Top Shop created is also very nice with a wonderful flow on the rear top corners, but more flowing than most of the tops we have seen from the Carson Shop. Neil also created a set of roll down side windows in a frame, to fit the new padded top for the car. He ended up painting the car a solid supper glossy black lacquer. Neil married in 1942, and before their son Gary Emory was born he sold the Dodge and replaced it with an 1936 Ford 3-window coupe in late 1942. They never saw the Dodge again after that, and nobody seams to remember what ever happened to the car.

CCC-neil-emory-37-dodge-04Side view shows the really nice profile of the Carson Top, and especially the window shape. This side view photo shows the side window with frame in the rolled down position.
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CCC-neil-emory-37-dodge-05This photo really shows the beauty of this car very well. It also shows the side windows with the frames in the rolled up position. The stance and the fact the door handles are still in place are all styling elements from the early 1940’s.
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Dean Batchelor

It was Neil Emory’s first Custom Car that he created. Later in 1948 Neil and Clayton Jensen would open the Valley Custom Shop in Burbank and would write history with their finely designed and crafted Custom Cars. Neil’s 1937 Dodge already showed his great sense for style and balance very early on. Fortunately some nice photos have survived of the car. Neil’s good friend Dean Batchelor always had his camera handy and shot every car he liked, and also took several photos of Neil’s Dodge in the early 1940’s. As far as we know only four photos remain of Neil’s Dodge and all these photos were taken by Dean Batchelor.

CCC-neil-emory-37-dodge-RC-01In the very first issue of Rod and Customs magazine, May 1953 Dean Batchelor did a three page article on Pre-War Customs, he used two of the photos he had taken of his friends Neil Emory’s 1937 Dodge.
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Dean used four of the photos he took of Neil’s Dodge in several publications, starting with the premier issue of Rod and Custom magazine, May 1953. This very first issue was named Rod and Customs, the second issue the title was renamed Rod and Custom. Dean would create several articles on Pre-War Customs and liked to use Neil’s Dodge as a good sample of the early style Customs. Most likely another good reason to use this car as a sample was to show that not every early custom was based on a FoMoCo or GM based car. Only four of Dean’s photos show the dodge, but Gary Emory hopes to one day find some more photos of his fathers first custom. Ron Kellogg now owns the Dean Batchelor enormous photo collection… time will tell if more photos of this historic custom will surface… we sure hope so.


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Valley Custom Shop Gathering

VALLEY CUSTOM SHOP CUSTOMS GATHERING

Seeing one Valley Custom Shop creation is already a real pleasure, can you imagine how it must have been to see all these great Valley Custom Shop creations at one location.

 
[dropcap]We[/dropcap] do not know if this gathering of Valley Custom Car creations was an annual thing, or perhaps set up by the photographer Dean Batchelor, or was it a just a spur of the moment event. In any event this amazing photo taken by Dean is one of those Historical Custom Car Icon photos. From early 1950’s magazine features we can tell that Dean took many more photos of the cars at this gathering. Most likely all at this particular day (probably in early 1953). However as far as we know this Valley Custom Shop gathering photo is the only one that was ever published in the magazines back in the day, and now. The cars are gathered at a parking lot at the Starlight Bowl in Burbank. Lets take a closer look at the cars in this amazing photo. (We have separated each car from the gathering photo and added a second photo showing the car a little better.)
 
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Ron Dunn 1950 Ford

The car the closest to the camers of Dean Batchelor is Ron Dunn’s 1950 Ford. This one is perhaps the most famous Valley Custom Car creations ever. Well balanced sectioned body with radiused wheel openings. Custom grille and custom made taillights in a modified rear fender opening. The Valley Custom Shop was known for its non traditional way of customzing. A style that sometimes looked more like factory custom creations. The Ron Dunn Ford is currently being restored into a later version by Steve’s Auto Restorations.

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Ray Vega 1938 Ford

Ray Vega took his 1938 Ford sedan convertible to the Valley Custom Shop or the full Custom treatment. Here they added a modified 1940 Ford front end to the car. The fenders were raised and the hood sectioned to get in balance with the rest of the body. The windshield was chopped and a padded top created. 1946 Ford bumpers and 1941 Studebaker taillights are the perfect choice for this car. Ray’s Ford is another car tat is still around today. The current owner has the car restored, and made a few personal updates to it. Hopefully it will be shown to the public soon.

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Ralph Jilek 1940 Ford

One of the finest customs to ever come out of the Valley Custom Shop is the sectioned and chopped 1940 Ford Convertible they created for Ralph Jilek. The proportions on this car are extremely pleasing. The gathering photo shows that Ralph had a mishap with his car. The rear fenders is dented and both front and rear wheels have the hubcaps missing. It also looks like the front fender was damaged a little in the accident. Ralph’s Convertible is another Valley Custom Shop car that has survived and was restored till perfection a couple of years ago.

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Glad Ellis 1949 Mercury

Glad Ellis took his 1949 Mercury convertible and a Cadillac de Ville roof to the Valley Custom Shop in the very early 1950’s. The body was altered at the rear to accept the Cadillac top. The rear window glass was replaced with hand curved plastic. The handles and emblems were shaved of the car and the top portion of the grille surround chrome plated. Sadly not to long after it was finished it was stolen and heavily damaged.

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 Neil Emory 1940 Buick

Neil Emory’s personal driver was this four door 1940 Buick with mild custom touches including a new grille. The four door was a practical Custom for Neil and his young family.

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Ed Jacques 1942 Ford

The Valley Custom Shop used conventional and typical Valley Custom styling elements to create Ed’s stunning and super low 1941 Ford coupe. Read the full CCC-Feature on Ed’s 1942 Ford for more info on this great looking custom.

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Ollie Seeley 1951 Plymouth

Another understated Custom from the Valley Custom Shop team is Ollie Seeley’s 1951 Plymouth Convertible. Subtile and non traditional custom touches in a typical Valley Custom Shop style set this one apart from the rest.

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Dick Flint 1929 Ford

Dick Flint’s 1929 Model A Roadster was an very well designed Hot Rod that was featured in many magazines m as well as on several magazine covers back in the day Including the famous Hot Rod magazine chasing girl photo. Dick’s Roadster is still around today, and was completely restored several years ago.

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Unknown MG
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Possible O.H. Hooker’s 1941 Pontiac

The two cars in the back, next to Neil’s 1940 Buick and Ollie’s 1951 Plymouth are hard to identify. The one closest to the cameral looks like 49-51 Ford four door with sunvisor. We have not been able to locate any such car as being a Valley Custom Car. So perhaps it was just a “stock” car from one of the employes. The teardrop shaped roof behind that car could possibly be the 1941 Pontiac the shop created for O.H. Hooker. An early custom they did in the late 1940’s. On this four door customs the shop removed all excess chrome. The fenders where reshaped to make the body look narrower and the nose was extended 3 inches down to meet the 1946 Cadillac grille that was installed. But perhaps since O.H. Pontiac is not included in the second photo taken at this gathering, this might again be a factory stock car from one of the employees or family members.

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The other known photo taken at this Valley Custom Shop Customs Gathering.

CCC-valley-custom-gathering-twoThis is the only other photo we have ever seen of this Valley Custom Shop Customs gathering. As far as we can tell taken at the same day as the lead photo, most likely by Dean Batchelor as well. An amazing line up. Hopefully there have been more photos taken that day, and more will surface sooner or later.
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