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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1941 Ford Mystery Convertible

 

1941 FORD MYSTERY CONVERTIBLE

 

1941 Ford Convertible with chopped padded top, solid grille insert used in Eastern Auto Supply advertising. A Mystery Published Custom Car.



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Over the years I have come across a lot of Unidentified Custom Car photos in the early Custom Car Publications. Mystery Customs that appeared in just a single publication, and sometimes even in multiple magazines or booklets, but always laking any info on the original builder or owners name. In this series of articles I will be showing some of these Mystery Published Custom Cars, and hopefully the extra publicity will lead to some more information on these cars.
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1941 Ford Convertible Custom.

The first time I saw a picture of this ’41 Ford Convertible with chopped padded top was in the Custom Cars annual from 1959. The Ford, a typical mid, late 1940’s Custom looked a bit out of place in the ’59 Annual. But it was part of an article about George Barris King of the Kustomizers, and used to illustrate the many years George Barris has been Custom Restyling cars. Some time after I had seen the front 3/4 photo of the car I bought a couple of early Motor Trend magazines. In one of them, the November 1949 issue, there was an half page ad from Eastern Auto Supply. In the ad there was a small photo of an ’41 Ford photographed from the front, with a solid grille panel used to illustrate the California Custom Accessories grille panels. I recognised the primer spots on the windshield frame and the background in the photo and knew it had to be the same car, taken at the same location as that of the ’59 Annual.

Over the years I have come across many more Eastern Auto Supply ads that use the same photos of the ’41, Also Barris Kustom used the same front view photo in their Hollywood Kustom Accessories catalogue. I also recognised the car  on the Barris Atlantic Blvd Shop wall when I did an CCC-Article on that some time ago. But sadly that has been all I have been able to find out about the car. I still have no name of an owner, any dates when it was built, and what happened to the car.


A front 3/4 view photo of the 1941 Ford convertible custom was used in the Trend Book 175 Custom Cars 1959 Annual. It was used as part of an story on George Barris. The caption mentioned pushbutton doors, but the car actually has door handles!
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The first time I have seen a photo of the Ford being used in the Eastern Auto Supply ad was in Feb 1948. This means that the car was most likely built around late 1947. When the photos were taken the windshield had just been chopped and the work had been covered in primer. The car had a straight pillar padded top. Other modifications were 1946 Ford bumpers, solid grille insert bolted in place (not molded), ’41 Ford/Merc fender skirts. Lowered suspension, shortened side trim on the hood. Chrome rock shield on the rear fenders, radio antenna, Appleton Spotlights, and single bar flipper hubcaps and beauty rings on wide white wall tires. Another indication this was an early custom is that there are no splash pans added to the car. A lot of the Custom accessories used on the car could have come from the Eastern Auto Supply Company, and possibly this car might have been a display case for Barris and Eastern in the late 1940’s early 1950’s. Interestingly the price of the solid grille panel for the ’41 Ford was $9.95 in 1948, the first time I have been able to find its listing, and it was still the same price in 1956, the last time I saw it listed.

Eastern Auto Supply Accessories catalogue from 1949.
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Eastern Auto Supply ad with the ’41 Ford from the November 1949 issue of Motor Trend magazine. The ad was place on the inside of the front cover.
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The ’41 Ford front image was used in early Hot Rod magazine ads as well. 1948 Hot Rod magazine ad on the top right, the large full page ad is from Hot Rod magazine in 1949. Perhaps this particular ’41 Ford was used as inspiration for the drawing 0f the ’41Ford on the cover of the ’49 Eastern catalog, which was later stylised and used as California Custom logo (Eastern Auto Supply was renamed California Custom in the mid 1950’s).
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The last sample of the ’41 Ford being used in the Eastern Auto Auto Accessories catalog I have been able to find was in the yellow paper printed 1956 catalog. The price in 1956 was still $9.95, the same price as the first listing in 1948.
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Barris Customs creation

One thing we know about this ’41 Ford Custom Convertible is that it was restyled by Barris at the old Compton Ave shop. The front 3/4 photo of the car was used in the 1959 Trend Books Custom Cars Annual in a story on King of Kustomizers George “Kustom” Barris. Sadly the photo caption in the article did not mention the owners name, or any other info that could lead to anymore info on this car. The same photo, as used in the CC ’59 article, was also used on the inspiration wall in the Barris Kustoms Atlantic Blvd shop in the early 1950’s. The way it was used looks like the photo was part of an display, perhaps used at some early Custom Car shows.


The Barris Hollywood Kustoms Accessories catalog from around 1953-54 carries a lot of products from the Eastern Auto Supply company, including the ’41 Ford Kustom Grille Solid Grille Panel, and it could be ordered in primer (how it was used on the ’41 Ford in the sample picture) or chrome plated. The Barris Shop charged $3.- more for the item than Eastern did!
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Inside the Atlantic Blvd Barris Kustoms Shop a photo of the ’41 was pinned on the wall. It is the same photo that was later used in the Custom Cars annual from 1959. And the same photo as we show below.
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The photo of the Barris Customs created ’41 Ford with chopped padded top, and a series of Eastern aftermarket accessories. The photo was taken at an unknown location that has been used several times for Barris Customs photo shoots. Since the front end photo taken of this ’41 Ford was used in an Hot Rod Magazine in early 1948, these photo of the ’41 Ford most likely were taken in late 1947.
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Close up shows the freshly chopped and still in primer windshield frame of the car. It also looks if the Eastern center grille insert is a different color, possibly the primer it came in from the store, and that the insert has been bolted in place, not molded in, like a lot of them done by the bigger Custom Shops were done.
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Since there are primer spots on the windshield from where the A-Pillars were cut and reshaped it might be possible that the Ford is still in its original factory color… a light color, but which one? Or possibly the car had already been repainted a custom color when the side trim was shortened? Hopefully one day we will know.
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Hopefully one of our readers knows more about this Barris Customs created ’41 Ford Convertible. Who was the owner? what happened to the car. If you have more info, or additional photos of this Custom, please email Rik Hoving here at the Custom Car Chronicle. Any information would be very welcome so that we can solve another Mystery Custom.

Thank you




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1951 Eastern Auto

 

1951 EASTERN AUTO

 

Eastern Auto Supply has been in business sine 1919. In the third issue of Hop Up, October 1951, the company was subject of the Meet the advertisers article.



1951, Custom Restyling was booming like never before and could be considered to be in the middle of its Golden Years. In August of 1951 the very first issue of Hop Up magazine appeared on the news-stands. Hop Up magazine was an all new magazine created for the Hot Rod and Custom Car enthusiasts. It was published by the Enthusiasts Publications Inc. in Glendale Ca. To help gather more advertisers for the magazine they came up with the idea of creating an article telling a bit more about the advertisers, under the title MEET THE ADVERTISERS. This way the advertisers got some very welcome extra exposure, which made them very happy and they would most likely keep supporting and advertising in the magazine longer.

The October, 1951 issue of Hop Up magazine had a special Meet the Advertisers on the Eastern Auto Supply Co. This company has played a huge role in the lives of many young Hot Rod and Custom Car enthusiast in the US. They made it easier for people to order special parts needed to build your own hot rod or custom car by mail order, or if you were in the Los Angeles area, you could visit their well stocked shop. Especially this last must have been a really special event for many. From the photos that have been used in the Hop Up article we can see that the store was loaded with an incredible amount of Hot Rod and Custom Car goodies. Eastern Auto place their first ad in Hop Up magazine in the October 1951 issue. They would continue to advertise in the magazine for a long time.

CCC-eastern-auto-supply-1951-04The first Eastern Auto Supply ad in the October 1951 Hop Up issue. The ad mentioned the new for 1951 Custom Catalog which you could order for 25 cent.
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The Hop Up Meet the Advertisers Article

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Eastern Auto can truthfully claim to be the oldest accessory and custom firm in the business, having been started in 1919, by Joseph Kraus, to feature speed and custom accessories for the model “T” Ford.
Alex, his son, grew up with the business, working there after school and on Sundays. Since graduating from UCLA in 1939, Alex has devoted full time to the store. Eastern Auto pioneered many items no taken for granted in the custom accessories line, such as “bull noses” for Fords, Plymouths etc. (the first being the 1936 Ford) While long schackles and lowering kits had been used for some time on Californian cars, Eastern Auto was the first to apply mass production technique to these items and make their popularity nation-wide, as well as lowering the cost. Also among Eastern Auto’s first are solid hood sides and grille panels, which, in the middle and late ’30s accounted for a good volume of their business.


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Thru the years, this firm has established an enviable reputation for fast service, excellent workmanship and fair dealing. Their guarantee of satisfaction is no idle claim. In addition to their retail store, Eastern maintains a large manufacturing division. There a research department constantly adds to their ever expanding line of custom accessories. Included are such itmes as chrome air-cleaners, chrome wire looms, and chrome dash-boards. In fact, Easthern Auto claims to have one of the most complete line in the business. While government restrictions may temporarily curtail introduction of some new items, Alex assures us that with the lifting of restrictions, they will offer more, better, and newer “automotive goodies” than ever before.


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The 1951 Eastern Auto Catalog

For 25 cents you could get the all new for 1951 Eastern Auto Supply Catalog. The catalog had 40 pages of the latest Custom Car and Hot Rod accessories and speed parts. The company delivered their product by mail in the whole USA. And made many young Car enthusiast very happy.


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