Custom Car Maiden Voyage

MAIDEN VOYAGE

Rob Radcliffe of King Kustoms has been working on his period looking 1950 Ford Shoebox Custom for a number of years. The second week of March, 2015 the car was ready for its first drive.

 
In November 2014 we reported here on the CCC that Rob Radcliffe’s 1950 Ford Shoebox custom was almost finished. Rob had been working on his custom at his own shop King Kustoms in Temecula Ca. His goal was to create a Custom that looked like it could have been built¬†around 1953. With obvious invluences from the Barris Kustoms built Chuck DeWitt convertible shoebox, Don Robert’s, Bear Customs built ’49 Ford and a few other period customs.¬†Rob did most of the work on the car himself¬†and the¬†final body-and prep¬†work was done by Rob’s close friend Octavio Chavez.
 
CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-01March 06, 2015 the car is complete and now officially on the road, and ready for the trip the next day to the Temecula Rod Run.
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In early March 2015 I finally finished the car, my goal was to debut the car at the Temecula Rod Run, which was held in the second weekend of March, 2015. There I would meet with Octavio and together we would show the car for the very first time as a finished custom to our friend Buster Litton. Buster Litton had an amazing 1949 Ford custom built by the Barris Kustoms Shop and George Cerny in the early 1950’s. Buster had seen the car being built over the years, but this would be the first time he would see it all painted and put back together. Very exciting!
 
CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-02On our way to the Temecula Cruise Night on Friday!
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CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-04There is nothing like seeing beautiful California thru the window of a chopped custom, surrounded with wonderful tuck & roll, chrome carnish, and my girl Katie, who took the photo, next to me.
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CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-03Oh yeah.. I’m enjoying myself… a lot.
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We Left Friday afternoon, together with my brother and his ’65 Mustang we had restored. My girlfriend Katie was going on my maiden voyage with me, and would snap some photos along the way. This was the moment I had been working for for so long. Finally on the road with my first completely finished custom. A car that I designed and built as it could have been done around 1953. I had sit inside the car during its build, day-dreaming of driving it being surrouned with wonderful tuck & roll, painted, fully detailed dash and sparkling chrome, many time. And I had done a few short test runs. But this was the first real drive, and it was absolutely amazing. Driving my finished custom gave me a feeling of how it must have been for the guys back in the early 1950’s.
 

Katie also took this short video of us driving thru wine-country. See me¬†swerving a pothole…
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CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-05A view out the back… shows that the Hirohata Merc headliner inspired me a lot.¬†
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CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-06bAlmost ready for cruise night on Friday before the show. 
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CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-07Katie enjoying the night time cruise. There is just nothing like seeing the reflections on the chrome surrounds and on the white dash. 
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CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-08The underdash lights shows of the great looking Gaylord style diamond stiched pattern upholstery… another Hirohata Merc invluence.
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The Show on Saturday

The cruise night was really great, always nice to drive a full custom in the evening hours. we got to Old Town Temecula early and found our spot at the Temecula Stampede parking lot. I could not wait to find Octavio and Buster to show my completed Ford. It was awesome having Buster come down to the Temecula rod run. We met him through a friend of Octavio’s named Ron who drove the shuttle at a local Ford dealership. Octavio was working at the Ford dealership at the time, right after he got out of the Marines, and he went to get a drink on his lunch break one day… and that’s when he spotted a picture of the Buster Litton Ford on the wall of Ron’s cubicle. Octavio waited around until Ron came back, and quickly learned that he and Buster were old high school buddies and that Buster actually came to the Temecula rod run every year from La Habra. This was about five or six years ago, and we’ve been in touch with Ron and Buster ever since. They’ve both come by to see the progress on Octavio’s ’49 Ford and although Buster couldn’t fit it into his agenda this weekend, he wants to come down to the King Kustoms shop in a few weeks to see the updates.
 
CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-10bWe found our spot #428 on the parking lot¬†at the Temecula Stampede¬†in¬†Old Town Temecula. You can see my brother’s¬†’65 Mustang coupe parked next to us.
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CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-11We got there early, some cars already arrived, many more would come soon. It felt so good to see my finished Custom finaly out on the road and there for everybody to enjoy.
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CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-12Later the whole parking lot was filled, so now it was time to meet up with my friend Octavio, and find Buster Litton.
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CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-15Buster Litton with me in the car.
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Buster Litton said this about my car.

Wow, this brings back some memories! Your car is obviously chopped more than mine, but you sure didn’t add anything that is too flashy or out of place. Your Ford is very tastefully done.

 
 
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CCC-radcliffe-maiden-voyage-18On one of our drives during the weekend we saw three hot air baloons in the sky. Katie snapped this photo which also shows the nice chrome garnish moldings and chopped vent window.
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I’m extremely please with the way the car came out after all these years of hard work. I could not have done it without the help of my brother, Christopher Radcliffe, and my friend, Octavio Chavez. Special thanks to Zbest Paint in Lake Elsinore for the dark metallic plum (picked by Octavio), Ernie’s Auto Interiors in Colton, and Chris Whittington at Shoebox Central in Oklahoma for a lot of great parts and help over the years.
It is an incredible feeling to see this car come together… I still have a few bugs to work out- mainly shortening the steering column and bolting on my Mercury accessory steering wheel (waiting to get it back), as well as finishing off some of the candy knobs on the dash.
 
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CCC-Sponsor-KingKustomsTShirt-602Contact Rob Radcliffe at King Kustoms for more info on these T-Shirts Email Rob

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Ron Zimmerman 1954 Ford

ZIMMERMAN 1954 FORD

Ron Zimmerman’s 1954 Ford Skyliner restyled by Ray Orput from the Jim Roten Photo Collection.

 
In another CCC-Article we highlighted a 1948 Mercury convertible customs owned by Ron Zimmerman. That custom was original build by Dick Bertolucci for Johnny Lehman.¬†Ron replaced¬†this Custom Mercury for a near new and almost stock 1954 Ford Skyiner in 1955.¬†This 1954 Ford¬†was originally owned¬†by John “Jack” Vincent. Vincent soon sold the ’54 Ford¬†to purchase new the ’54 Oldsmobile 88 two-door¬†which he had customized by Riley Collins.

CCC-ron-zimmerman-54-ford-roten-00Jim Roten took a photo of Ron’s “new” 1954 Ford as e had traded it for the 1948 Mercury. Not long after this photo was taken Ron took the car to Ray Orput for the custom make-over.
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Soon after Ron acquired the 1954 Ford Skyliner he took it to Ray Orput who performed custom work out of his garage in Chico. Orput was a professional bodyman at the local Chrysler-Plymouth dealership. Ray Orput and Riley Collins were fierce but friendly competitor Custom Car builders in Chico, Ca. But Riley Collins was the most prolific of the two.

Ray Orput smoothed the hood, molded the grille surround to the body and rounded the corners with a nice large radius. Ray used a second top section of the grille surround and flipped it upside down to create the lower section of the new grille opening. He molded the headlight rings to the fenders, shaved the door handles and smoothed the trunk. The car came with a Continetal spare tire, which Ron Decided to keep, but Ray lowered it a little so it would not sit higher than the trunk. All body emblems and lower quarter panel trim were removed. The car was lowered all around, but a little more in the back for a nice speed boat look. The fender skirts where replaced with taller units to make the car look even lower in the back. Ray hand bend all the grille bars before having them chrome plated. The grille was the highlight of the car, and was the subject of many discussions at the car shows Ron attended with the car.

CCC-ron-zimmerman-54-ford-roten-01The only photo Jim Roten ever took of the car¬†outdoors taken shortly before the cars first showing at the Sacramento Autorama. The photo shows the great stance Ron’s Ford had.
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Ray Orput¬†painted the finished Ford with a wonderful deep candy apple red lacquer. The interior was done in a matching red and white pleated and rolled naugahyde by Luckenbill’s Upholstery.

Ron¬†entered the freshly finished ’54 Ford in the Sacramento Auto Show, Where George Barris moved the placement of Ron’s¬†car up front, making it the feature semi-custum of the show. George Barris took several pictures of the¬†grille in Ron’s Ford and¬†not too long after that he noticed the¬†similar grille¬†design used on the Sam Barris 1952 Ford Convertible.

CCC-ron-zimmerman-54-ford-roten-02Ron’s 1954 Ford at the Sacramento Autorama.
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CCC-ron-zimmerman-54-ford-roten-03The custom grille, large radius rounded hood corners, smoothed body and low stance really make Ron’s 1954 Ford a great looking mild custom.
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As it goes with many custom cars in the past at one point Ron moved on, sold the 1954 Ford and he has no idea what ever happened to it, if it has survived, or if it is long gone. If you have any idea what ever happened to this great looking mild custom 1954 Ford, please let us know.

CCC-sam-barris-52-ford-01Sam Barris’s personal 1952 Ford convertible with a similar grille as Ron’s 1954 Ford.
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39-40 FoMoCo Sedan Customs

FOMOCO SEDAN CUSTOMS

When you say¬†’39-’40 Ford or Mercury Custom, most people visualize a chopped Coupe, or Padded topped Convertible. But¬†what about a full Custom Sedan based on these cars?

 
One of my all time favorite Custom Cars is the Westergard Bertolucci built Buddy Ohanesian 1940 Mercury sedan convertible with metal removable top. I hold this car responsible, in a good way, for my passion for 1939-1940 Ford / Mercury sedan Custom Cars. And the Mercury is on top of this list, since I personally feel the more rounded body lines of the sedan lend to even better looking Customs. I cannot really say I like the sedans over the much more common subject of customizing, the coupe or convertibles of this type of car. But I do like them a lot, and I do see a lot of potential in them as Custom Cars.
 
CCC-39-40-fomoco-sedan-customs-ohanesianThe Harry Westergard – Dick Bertolucci built Boddy Ohanesian 1940 Mercury Seden convertible is why I like these FoMoCo sedan’s from 1939-1940 so much.¬†
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The Buddy Ohanesian Mercury was of course not a real sedan, it was a Sedan Convertible with a lift of metal top. But if you leave out that “technical” detail, then you can see the car as a sedan with all the wonderful plus points of a Sedan. The Sedan’s being it the two door or four door versions both have a lot¬†of space with a full rear seat with plenty of vision all around for the passenger. A large trunk for plenty of cargo for those long family trips. And of course the wonderful round torpedo shape at the rear, and almost cartoonish instant Custom look, perfect for any tail-dragging custom, since all the optical weight is already moved to the rear of the car.

My father had given his old 1939 Mercury brochure to me many years ago. In it are a series of really nice illustrations in a typical for that era done better than real life look. Those illustrations show a lightly chopped top, slightly lowered version of the real Mercury. When I look at the old brochure I really do not understand why¬†not more of these Sedan Mercury’s or Ford sedans were chopped and fully customized back in the 1940’s. Other brand cars of the same year have very nice sedans as well, but none of them really have the same wonderful flowing lines as the FoMoCo cars from 1939-1940.
 
CCC-39-40-fomoco-sedan-brochureThe wonderful illustrations Ford used back then already give these cars a slight custom look. Drawn slightly lower and longer than they really were.
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Over the years these 1939-40 Mercury and Ford Sedans took a special place in my heart. I really loved those wonderful round shapes and when we decided to move from down-town Amsterdam to an old farm in rural part of the Netherlands in 2008, I set out to design my dream custom, and decided to use a 1939 Mercury two door sedan as a base for it. Basically because I just loved the shape of these bodies so much and was really wondering how good they would look as full custom, since I had never seen one done the way I envisioned it. And perhaps also because I wanted to have something quite different than what you normally see when you say Chopped 1939-40 Mercury Custom.

At the time I did this car I even had a hard time locating a good photo of a 1940 or 1939 Mercury sedan to start my digital projects with. The photo I found was not ideal, but I used it anyway since I really wanted to see how the car would look like. After a lot of cutting, reshaping and adding the right details, I was very happy with the design for my own dream Custom. Designed as how it could have been built in the mid to late 1940’s. I showed them to my friends, who all really loved it. This inspired me to do one more version, an early 1950’s Hard Top version with full fade aways. ¬†Later I showed the designs on the HAMB, and more people than I expected responded very positive on it.¬†But at first nobody really got inspired enough, to actually start a project of a full Custom based on one of the designs I made.
 
CCC-39-40-fomoco-sedan-customs-rik-hoving01This was the first version of my Digital Restyled version of my Dream Custom. I really like the way it came out, and in fact looked even better than it had done in my head. Getting the top to look like this will take some work, but it is possible. Something that could have been built back in the 1940’s.
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CCC-39-40-fomoco-sedan-customs-rik-hoving02After I had shared my first Early Style Custom version of the sedan to a few friends, I decided to take the sedan a step further. I re-chopped the top, made it a hard top and extended the front fenders into full fade away units. Something that could have been built back in the early 1950’s.
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Now several years later, at least three projects that I know of have been inspired by this design and are either currently being built, or already finished. And what I have seen made me very happy. They all look really great. And this proofs that this body style lends itself exceptionally well to the full Custom treatment. Hopefully these projects will leed to many more sedan Customs. Not only because they look so good, but also because the coupe and convertible variants of these cars are getting harder and harder to find, and when found the prices are rather high.

When I discussed the Sedan Customs possebileties with a friend some time ago, and asked him if he knew why so very few Sedans were fully customized compared to the coupes and convertibles. He mentioned that the resale fallue might have a lot to do with it. He told me he used to see a really nice 1940 Mercury sedan, maroon, all stock for sale for about 22K. The was was for sale for a long time, and he really want tempted to buy it. But the more he thought about it and why it was for sale at the same place he figured that if he would buy it, and re-built it to fit his own taste he would never get the money for it as would the same car as a coupe or convertible. He did see the potential of the car and it would have been perfect for the family, with lots of space. But the fact the car might not generate enough money later on to finance a new project made him decide not to go for it.

This was many years ago and I do think that the market has changed quite a bit since then. Especially with the sedans now getting a more popular subject for customizing, and some famous shop working on them, Sledge Customs for instance is one shop that is working on a 1940 Sedan for Vic Jiminez (who also works at the shop). All this combined with the fact that the coupes and convertibles are getting harder to find makes these sedans a more attractive project car than ever before.
 
CCC-39-40-fomoco-sedan-customs-05This 1940 Mercury ex-4-door Sedan does not really fit the theme, but I wanted to show it to you anyway. Since it demonstrates that those often overlooked 4-door sedans can be turned in something really nice. Left as a four door, or even redone as a two door sedan convertible with padded top. Brian Wright did the hard work on this one several years ago.
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CCC-39-40-fomoco-sedan-customs-07A really great sample of how good these sedans can¬†look like is John De Angelo’s 1939 Mercury ex-4 door sedan. Take a look at the flowing lines of that chopped roof and how the fenders complement the shape of the top.¬†
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The 1939-40 sedans might perhaps not be as easy as an convertible or a coupe to get just right.But even that makes a well done full Custom Sedan even more desirable, and the challange to work on one greater.
 
 

The good points of the 1939-40 FoMoCo Sedan bodies

  • Large car, with lots of interior space makes it a¬†perfect family car.
  • wonderful teardrop shaped body
  • body with all the weight in the back suits the tail-dragger look extremely well
  • more plentiful than the Coupe and Convertible bodies
  • Unique look, compared to the Custom Coupes and Convertibles we have seen since the early 1940’s.

 
 
CCC-39-40-fomoco-sedan-customs-vicVic Jimenez worked together with Kevan Sledge at Sledge Customs. This is Vic’s personal project, an Early Style chopped 1940 Mercury sedan.
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The Australian Custom Car enthusiast have even one more body style they can chose from.. The so called sloper. Not available for the Mercury bodies, but the 39 and 40 Fords were built as more streamlined sloper bodies. But even those, already amazing looking in stock form, sedans are rarely treated to the full Custom treatment. CCC’s own Tony Moore however is working on an ultimate chopped sloper Custom right now. Going with the full tail dragging chopped top with leaned forward B-Pillars treatment, detailed Packard grille and a many other period elements.
 
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CCC-39-40-fomoco-sedan-customs-tonyAustralian Sloper full Custom currently being built by Tony Moore. The roofline of these Australian made bodies are very different from the US manufactured bodies. Once chopped the bodies take on an even more streamlined look. Odd that we do not see more of these done as full Customs like Tony’s.
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If I look at Chris and Gina Baker’s¬†chopped Mercury, I see nothing but beuatifull lines. The favorable teardrop shape is so evident in the main body, perfectly balanced by the similar shaped front and rear fenders. The extreme round shape of the side windows give the car almost cartonish proportions, but in a very good way. The Ford model of the same year has a little less rounded side windows, or in fact the whole main body is slightly less round than the Mercury’s. But¬†the Fords Sedan’s can be turned into a wonderful styled full Early Styled Custom Car just as well as the mercury of the same years.
 
CCC-39-40-fomoco-sedan-customs-chris-02For the openings photo of this article we used a photo of Chris and Gina Baker’s 1940 Mercury 2 dr sedan. This car was¬†chopped as a Kingsman club project at the BC Classic and Custom Car show. Later some of the body work was fine tuned by FooDoo Larry.¬†
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CCC-39-40-fomoco-sedan-customs-chrisKeith Brown took this photo of Chris and Gina Baker’s 1940 Mercury Sedan, and I Photoshopped it a few inches lower in the back. When the photo was taken the Baker’s had not started on lowering the rear cross member, but this is about how it will sit when done.
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And then we also have the four door sedans and their potential as full Custom Cars. I personally think the could make excelent customs as well, but the are even more work to get just right. With all the pillars and window frame to line up, and create just the right balance in opening top and lower part of the body. And to be honnest I have to admit I have never seen one done with a perfect chop, still left as four door. But just by looking at these four doors I know it can be done, and it will look very good. Who will be the first one to do it?
 
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CCC-39-40-fomoco-sedan-customs-09Great sample of a recently built mild custom taildragger based on a 1940 mercury four door sedan. 
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CCC-39-40-fomoco-sedan-brochure-2From the 1939 Mercury brochure. Perfectly shaped teardrop body.
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Below are a few nice samples of the 1939-40 FoMoCo cars done as Custom Cars back in the day. But non of them are done in the style we have seen done on the same year Coupe’s and Convertibles. A nice tail dragging speed boat look with wide white wall or black wall tires for that very early look. Full hubcaps and fender skirts. I have seen some sedans with a very nice stance with skirts. But I have never been able to find any old photos of these cars with the combination of all the right elements for a full early styled Custom.
 
CCC-39-40-fomoco-sedan-customs-04Back in the 1940’s there were some 1939-40 FoMoCo based Customs, but they are rare, and most of them did not go the full route the Coupe’s and Convertibles went. This one was Dean Bachelor’s personal ride. A nice mild Custom 1939 Mercury Sedan.
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CCC-39-40-fomoco-sedan-customs-02This great photo from the Bart Bartoni Collection (courtesy of the Don Montgomery books) shows a 1939 Ford 2-door sedan in the mid 1940’s. Wonderful early style custom with a heavy chop. Fender skirts and a slight drop in the back would have given¬†this already perfect Street Custom the look I was looking for as my dream custom.
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CCC-39-40-fomoco-sedan-customs-03Another sample of a heavy chop is this 1940 Ford 2-door sedan. Again skirts would have changed the looks of this car completely.
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I understand that the 1939 – 40 Sedan bodies and even Four Door Sedan bodies are not for every body. But I hope that we will see more of them and that they will also grow on those who still prefer the Coupes and Convertibles. I think they look fanastic, and I hope I was able to show you that they sure are a perfect base for a full Custom.
Who else likes thes Sedan 39 40 Fords and Mercuries…and what are your thoughts about them. Let us know, and show us if you are working on one, or planning to do one.

 
 

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41 Ford Mid 40s Custom

41 FORD MID 40s CUSTOM

In the early and mid 1940’s a lot of of simple, yet elegant Customs were created all over the US.¬†Restyled cars for improved looks, not to to win points at cars shows.

 
[dropcap]In[/dropcap] the late 1930’s and early to mid 1940’s the Custom Cars as we know them today were developed. Young kids who did not have a huge amount of money to spend, but still would love to drive a special car started to modify their regulars Fords, Chevy’s and other brand cars. There were no magazines back then to tell you what you needed to do to chop a top, lower the suspension, nor were there car shows to look what others had done to their beautiful cars. It was the time the styles were developed by trial and error, but most of all by just looking at the car and figuring out what you did not like about it, and fix it to make it look better.

Even during WWII a lot of customizing went on, parts were getting hard to find, hence a lot of the cars build in these early 1940’s have black wall tires, or only white wall tires on the front. Simply because the white walls were not available, and if they were there, they would cost a small fortune. The Custom Cars back then were street driven cars. Most of the times the owners’ only form of transportation. Therefor the cars were besides¬†beautiful restyled, also practical. The roads were not like they are today, so the cars were lowered, but not as much as they would be later, or like they are today.
 
ccc-41-ford-chopped-convertible-00-wThe snapshot is actually rather small as can be seen here mounted with the period black photo borders.
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This article shows a very nicely done 1941 Ford convertible photographed in 1945. The main body is mostly stock, but the windshield was chopped and a padded top was added. By the looks of it most likely by the Carson Top Shop. The Carson Top Shop usually created their padded tops in a jig, not on the car it self, and this jig created a slightly less streamlined look like we know for instance from Gaylord. The straight B-Pillar is another sign that this might be one built on the 1941 Ford Convertible jig by Carson. Most likely even the windshield was chopped by or handled by the Top shop. Usually the upholstery shop took care of the chopping of the windshield as well. The car is mildly lowered, has black wall tires and a set of chrome single bar flipper hubcaps with beauty rings. The license plate was recessed, rather deeply into the smoothed trunk. Another very typical modification for those days. The finishing touch was a set of 1937 DeSoto bumpers, they even used the more rounded rear bumper on the back of this 1941 Ford. Most of the times two more flatter front units are used. The spotlight was pointing forward, another typical detail for those days. Later the front where, where the glass is,¬†would always be turned down to the hood, but not in the early/mid 1940’s.

The photo shows the car parked in the street, just like any other ordinary car in the street, not parked in a climate controlled garage or covered with custom made car covers. The photo comes from my own personal collection.

ccc-41-ford-chopped-convertible-01-wEnlarged we can see that the car  looks to have painted headlight rings, and that it might even have an slight forward rake, which is unusual for a custom of those days. But with the lack of fender skirts it gives the car a more sports feel.
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ccc-41-ford-chopped-convertible-02-wThis photo shows the set in license plate in the trunk. It appears that the plate was mounted on a slight forward angle, possibly to be able to have some lights set up inside the trunk for night time plate vision. These cars were driven as a normal car. The round DeSoto rear bumper is evident in this photo.
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The photo below shows how some of the more popular padded tops, like the one for the 1941 Ford, were created on a jig at the Carson Top Shop. Using a jig speeded up production time considerable. All bows and other material needed for the padded top, were made from pre-made templates, that could be used over and over again. The disadvantage was that the top was a more generic top, and not always flowed as nice as when the top was created on the car itself.
 
ccc-41-ford-chopped-convertible-03-wAnd Carson Top Shop employee could do his job standing inside the top. Something that could not have been done if the top was on the car. 
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Al Twitchell 52 Wagon

 

AL TWITCHELL 52 WAGON

 

This mild Custom Wagon that makes it on the cover of a ’54 Rod & Custom helped me refine my taste in custom cars.



[dropcap]A[/dropcap]round 1985,¬†I was still very much developing my taste in Custom Cars, I came across 10 small size Custom Car magazines at a car show I visited. This was the very first time I hold one of these small size early/mid 1950’s Rod & Custom magazine in my hand. Not many of these ever made it out to the Netherlands, so I had never really thought I would be able to find them here. But there they were, in a box underneath a table at the swap market section of this car show. There were a couple of Rod & Custom magazines, one Custom Cars magazine, an issue of Honk and a Car Speed & Style magazine.¬†Magazines ranging from 1954 till 1959. When I took them out and placed them on the table to take a closer look I noticed the sellers started to smile. After looking at them really quick with my hands still shacking, excited about my amazing find, I asked the seller how much for all ten. I expected an price way beyond my budget, (I was still in school back then and had very little money to spend) but the seller told me he was very happy somebody finally showed interest in these magazines. He had carried them to swap meets fro several years, and nobody ever looked at them. He made me a price for all 10 magazines I could not refuse. The seller was happy since he did not have to take them back home again and I was on top of the mountain with my first ever small size custom car magazines.

One of the Rod & Custom magazines from this set was the October 1954 issue, the one with the baby blue 1952 Ford Wagon on the cover. For several¬†years after this I was not able to find any other old custom car magazines in the Netherlands so these 10 were all I had and I read them over and over again, and its content formed my taste in customs in a big way. So this Baby blue ’52 Ford Ranch Wagon built and owned by Al Twitchell played a role in the Custom Cars I like today.


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Back in the 1980’s, my taste in Custom Cars was still developing, and I liked the much wilder Custom Cars much better, in fact for many years I could not understand why this almost stock looking ’52 Ford Wagon was chosen to be the Cover Car for this October issue and have a full four page feature inside. Don’t get me wrong, I did like it, but I thought every issue back then deserved a full wild Custom on the cover… I have learned a lot since then.

My guess is that one of the reasons for R&C magazine to put Al’s conservative Custom on the cover was to show that you did not need not have a full Custom, with a load of body work to make it into the magazines. And that car owners could do some of the milder body work and aftermarket parts adaption themselves, at home. This would be something good for the Magazine advertisers who advertise products for the customizers at home, so everybody was happy.

CCC-al-twitchell-52-wagon-11-wAl’s ’52 Custom Wagon parked next to a stock one.
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A couple of years ago¬†“mrspeedyt” shared some of his fathers old photos on the HAMB. To my surprise ¬†a couple of those showed a¬†series of snapshots of Al’s 52 Ford Wagon. I recognized the car immediately as the R&C cover car, when I saw the photos. Turns out¬†“mrspeedyt” was Al¬†Twitchell’s son. WOW.¬†I message him that his father’s ’52 Ford had been a huge influence in the style of Custom Cars I like today.Sadly his father had passed away in November 2010, so I was never able to tell him this in person.

Al Twitchell¬†was born and raised in hollywood. His¬†family moved to from maine to California¬†around 1920. Al’s¬†interest and employment was the ‘body shop’ until 1955. Besides doing some custom work for clients and his own cars he did primarily repair and paint work on cars. Al built several Custom Cars for¬†himself, this 1952 Ford was the last one he built.¬†After this Ford and being on the cover of R&C he kinda lost interest in building customs. But he would allways enjoy looking and talking about Custom Cars.

CCC-al-twitchell-52-wagon-10-wThe Dark blue section around the windows makes it looks like the top of the Wagon was slightly chopped.
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Al’s Ranch Wagon

The car was a mild custom with some really nice touched done by Al at his own body shop. Al already had a family with three kids, so the Wagon was chosen for its practicality. The car had all the right Custom touches that were designed in a way to improve the lines of the car, not just to customized it. The front of the car was modified with and reshaped hood which included a ’54 Ford lip, and a hammered out hood scoop. The grille surround has ’54¬†chrome trim added and the grille was built from ’54 Pontiac center piece, ’53 Ford parking lights and ’54 Ford grille wrap around end pieces. Instead of shaving the complete hood clean of all the emblems, al added the letters WAGON on the hood. The side was modified with ’54 Ford side trim, 1953 Mercury chrome strips on the rear quarters.¬†The rear of the wagon was modified with¬†54 Olds taillights¬†and the¬†tailgate¬†was modified by removing the license plate brackets and using vertical strips of a ’54 Pontiac wagon. The car was moderately lowered and a set of¬†’54 Chrysler hubcaps was mounted on wide white wall tires.¬†Al painted his wagon in a light blue with dark blue on the window posts.The photo makes the car look even better with the really great stuff going on in the back ground.


CCC-al-twitchell-52-wagon-09-wThe wagon was used as daily transportation for the Twitchell family, also during many road trips and family vacations as this snapshot show.
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CCC-al-twitchell-52-wagon-08-wA good look at the hammered out hood scoop, the molded in headlights and the hood lip. 
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CCC-al-twitchell-52-wagon-07-wComparing Custom and Stock, with molded in taillight pods and ’54 Olds taillights and same year olds wagon tailgate trim. The difference the dark blue section makes is also very good visible in these photo. Notice the cut out in the rear bumper to mount the license plate in.


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CCC-al-twitchell-52-wagon-04-wSide trim is from a 1954 Ford, the three side “scoop” chrome trims look absolutely in place on Al’s Wagon.
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The end result result is an very attractive mild practical custom, that looked good enough to make it on a magazine cover. The car showed me that even subtile modification can make a difference, and that you do not need to go wild all the time to create a stunning Custom.



The R&C article

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CCC-al-twitchell-52-wagon-12-wBesides talking about Al’s ’52 Ford, the R&C article talks about the Station Wagen in general to when the first station wagon was created in 1911.
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Ed Jensons 36 Fords

 

ED JENSONS 36 FORDS

 

From the Ed Jenson’s wonderful 1940’s Sacramento area photo collection, come¬†these¬†photos of two¬†mildly customized 1936 Ford Coupes.



[dropcap]Ed[/dropcap] Jenson’s Collection contained mostly early/mid 1940’s Custom Car and Hot Rod photos from the Sacramento area. Ed was there to witness the “birth”¬†of¬†Customizing with local hero’s as Harry Westergard and George Barris and many others. Be sure to check out the other articles we have done on Ed’s amazing Collection. It shows us how it all started and that the Nor-Call scene was¬†very big in the early 1940’s.

In this article we like to show you two mildly customized 1936 Ford Coupes. Ed has passed away some time ago, and we have never been able to ask him any questions about these photos. So there are no names to go with the cars, and no stories about what happened with the cars later on, or who build them. These photos show the typical every day Custom Car, dressed up with aftermarket parts bought at the local speed shop, and some mild body modifications and possibly a new deep lacquer paint job to make it stand out from the crowd.

Special thanks to Ed Jenson and Tim Cunha for sharing this amazing collection.

[box_light]The photos in this article come from the Ed Jenson Collection. They were shared by Tim Cunha and scanned by Curtis Leipold. More amazing photos from Ed Jenson 1940’s photo collection can be seen in the¬†Ed Jenson Custom Car Chronicle section.[/box_light]


CCC-ed-jenson-36-ford-01-WThere is only one photo of this 1936 Ford Coupe in Ed’s Collection. This one is customized with mostly dress up parts, but it also has a nice looking set-in license plate with 1939 Ford tear drop taillights mounted next to it. To update the car a bit more a set of 1940 Ford had been mounted as well as a set of tear drop fender skirts. Black wall tires on the back, this photo was taken during WWII so white wall tires where near impossible to find. and ripple disk hubcaps and beauty rings on wide white wall tires on the front.
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CCC-ed-jenson-36-ford-06-WThe rest of the photos, or at least as far as we have been able to find out, are from another rather similar mildly customized ’36 Ford Coupe. Most likely this photo shows the owner with the car. He appears in more photos with the car. This is the only photo of this car with fender skirts mounted. Perhaps the hood and solid hood sides have been removed due to overheating of the hopped up flathead during the warm summer month. It appears the car was not lowered. The houses in the background are very nice as well.
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CCC-ed-jenson-36-ford-03-WSame guy with the Coupe. This time with the hood and hood sides on the car. Now the fender skirts have been removed, but that might also have been done after it hit something. Noticed the damaged rear fender.
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CCC-ed-jenson-36-ford-08-WThe car was taken to a local Body & Fenders Works for repair work on the rear fender. It looks like the owner is on cover alls on the left. Perhaps he worked at this body shop?
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CCC-ed-jenson-36-ford-07-WSame location, same car, different people.
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CCC-ed-jenson-36-ford-04-WThis photo gives us a nice look at the hopped up engine with the hood and solid hood sides in the up position. Noticed that the ripple disk hubcaps are dented as well.
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CCC-ed-jenson-36-ford-05-WAn enlarged section of the above photo shows more details. 
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CCC-ed-jenson-36-ford-02-WThis most likely is taken after the repair work on the rear fender, and possibly other parts as well. The ripple disk hubcaps have now been replaced with ripple disk single bar units. and the fender skirts have not been put back on. What a perfect every day Custom, the Ed Jensons 36 Fords.
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CCC-Sponsor-KingKustomsTShirt-602Contact Rob Radcliffe at King Kustoms for more info on these T-Shirts Email Rob

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41 Ford Hall Topped Convertible

HALL TOPPED CONVERTIBLE

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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Timeline of the Hall Topped 1941 Ford

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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Restyling the 1940 Ford Coupe

RESTYLING THE 1940 FORD COUPE

Turning a “tall top” 1940 Ford coupe into a streamlined tail dragging Custom Car.

The 1940 Ford coupe has never been used a lot for customizing a lot. There are a few nice once done in the 1940’s and 1950’s, and even in more recent years. But the very high, forward angled top and the short doors of the 1940 Ford coupe made it rather hard to customize with the right flowing lines. I was working on a clients digital customizing project 1940 Ford and found this nice side view photo. It is always hard to find good side views and even though this one found on the internet was rather small, it was good enough to work with. When the clients project was finished I decided to use the same image for an idea I have in my head for a long time.

A 1940 Ford coupe with long (possibly sedan) door and a much longer roof line. Almost like a 1941-48 Ford long door coupe body combined with the 1940 Ford body. Perhaps it could be possible to use a 1941-48 Ford top, but in my case I wanted to use the 1940 Ford body and just reshape it to create better line.

 

 

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What was done on this Digital Restyling 1940 Ford project.

  1. Get the car lowered, skirts added and new hubcaps and better looking tires.
  2. Stretching the doors, till the side window opening length had the desired look.
  3. Angle the rather upright 1940 Ford A-pillar back to give the car some better lines.
  4. Roughly cut the top in sections and reposition them to create a longer smoother roof.
  5. The rear was lowered a lot more than the front of the roof.
  6. Shorten the section of body from the trunk to where the top starts.
  7. Slightly pie-cut sectioned the body from the belt-line to to bottom of the side windows.
  8. Reshape the side and rear quarter windows till the shape looked good and matched the shape of the top.
  9. Adding details like shortened side trim, teardrop fender skirts, ’46 Ford bumpers.

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CCC-1940-Ford-Coupe-RH-00-WStarting photo of a hot rodded 1940 Ford coupe with a way to busy background. (notice the one piece front end with separation lines on the front fender).
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CCC-1940-Ford-Coupe-RH-02-WThe first version I did was an early 1950’s feel with Sombrero hubcaps and complete smoothed body.
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CCC-1940-Ford-Coupe-RH-01-WI also wanted to see how the car would look when done in the mid 1940’s. Single bar hubcaps, Appleton spotlight and doorhandles.
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CCC-1940-Ford-Coupe-RH-05-W(added on June, 2015) After an online discussion about the design I made a few more refinements to the design. Reshaped rear quarter window, echoing more of the original 1940 Ford rear quarter window shape. And I moved the rear quarter window back an inch, perhaps a little less. So that the very narrow B-pillar behind the door opening of the original 1940 Ford is now about the same with as the door pillar on the A-pillar. This gets the whole look of the B-pillar a bit better in balance. To be able to do this I had to move back the whole roof a bit as well, otherwise the C-pillar would get to thin.
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CCC-1940-Ford-Coupe-RH-03-WThis combination of base photo and early design stage shows how much had to be altered to the body to make it look like as in the finished design. When everything was done the busy background was removed to show the lines of the car better.
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My good friend Wolf always wanted to see how a well proportioned 1940 Ford three window coupe would look like. For this 3- window coupe the roof shape was modified with a bit more bulge at the back. and the back portion of the roof was moved forward a little over the earlier 5-window version. The doors were also lengthened to get the side windows more in proportion with the new top shape.

 

CCC-1940-Ford-Coupe-RH-04-W1940 Ford 3-window version.
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[box_light]Want to see more? Take a look at some other Digital Restyling projects by Rik Hoving Kustoms on the Custom Car Chronicle site.[/box_light]

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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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Marcia Campbell 1942 Ford

CAMPBELL 1942 FORD ‚ÄúBABY BLUEY‚ÄĚ

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Perfectly styled 1942 Ford by the Barris Kustom shop, owned by Custom Car photographer Marcia Campbell.

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Marcia Campbell’s version of this 1942 Barris Ford was never featured or mentioned in any magazine until the article on Marcia Campbell in the Rodder’s Journal Issue 51. Until then, this Ford was known, to most people, as the Anne De Valle 1942 Ford, the girl who owned this car in the mid 1950’s. The Anne De Valle Ford had been updated over Marcia’s original version, with light paint, pin striping and different hubcaps which changed the look of this originally early 1950 built custom.

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Listed as a Barris reworked car. This is how the 1942 was first shown in the magazines in the mid 1950’s. And this is how most people remembered this car until the Marcia Campbell photos, which can be seen below, surfaced.

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Marcia Campbell standing proud ‚Äď in what we now call the Sam Barris pose ‚Äď next to her Barris Custom 1942 Ford Coupe. The photo was taken by Suzanne Irvin in 1950 at a Lincoln-Mercury assembly plant at Eastern and Slauson avenues.

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Marcia Campbell 1942 Ford

In 1950, Marcia traded her first custom ‚Äď a powder blue 1949 Chevy (the full feature on Marcia’s Chevy can be seen here), for this 1942 Ford. Marcia, however, was not the first owner of this car. It was Carl Abajian who bought it in stock form from his brother Danny. Carl then had the car customized at Barris. Two photos of the car, unfinished in light color primer, appear in the 1949 edition of the Dan Post Blue Book of Custom Restyling. It might have been Marcia who took those two photos. She worked a lot with Dan Post, and always hung out at the Barris shop so it is likely she took the photos. When Marcia received the car it was still in progress and she had Barris finish it according to her design requests.

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This is one of the two photos of the 1942 Ford that appeared in the 1949 version of the Dan Post Blue Book of Custom Restyling. It looks like most of the work has been done on the car and it has been painted with a fresh coat of white primer. The glass indicates it’s been driven, and perhaps at the time of this photo the car was already owned by Marcia.

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The car has a heavy, but well proportioned chopped top with 5 inches in the front and 7 taken out of the back. Straight B-Pillars with rounded door-top corners followed the shape of the side windows and were now almost identical to the radius of the door top at the front. The rear section of the top flows smoothly into the tulip area and into the trunk. Most likely Sam Barris used pre-shaped metal shapes from California Metal Shaping to create this area. As with most of the early radical customs, the drip rails were removed for an ultimate smooth look. The running boards were also removed and the doors lengthened at the bottom, as were the rear quarter panels, to cover the space where the boards used to be. All four fenders were welded to the body and molded in with a nice radius for a one piece smooth-looking body.

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This wonderful color slide was taken by Marcia in front of her home in Walnut Park, California in 1950.The house is still standing in 2014, but does not quite have the same classy look.

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Barris used a 1949 Oldsmobile grille and front-bumper set up. The front sheet metal was modified to fit the new grille, and a new gravel pan was created to make the Olds bumper fit. The stock headlights were frenched and the side trim on the hood shortened to make the eye believe the back of the car is lower, and longer. At the rear the taillights were removed from the fenders. A 1947 Buick Special rear bumper was used at the back, and a set of 1946 Chevy taillights were mounted on the top portion of the new bumper. The car was lowered substantially with the front a little less than the rear for that perfect speed boat stance. A set of long, factory 1941 Ford/Mercury accessory fender skirts were added to the rear fenders and Cadillac Sombrero hubcaps were mounted on the wheels, surrounded with wide white wall tires.

Suzanne Irvin, Marcia’s partner, described the color of the car as an extremely dark blue with a hint of fine metallic. The interior was done in a simple white and tan tuck and roll. The dash was painted body color and it looks like the shifter was moved over to the left side, but nobody knows for sure. The steering wheel is the ever popular Mercury Monterey Accessory steering wheel. Marcia named her 1942 Ford ‚ÄúBaby Bluey.‚ÄĚ

Marcia most likely sold the car around 1952 but so far we have not been able to find out if she sold it to Anne De Valle then, or to somebody else who later sold it to Anne. What we do know is the car was owned by Anne De Valle in 1955-56.

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This photo was taken at the same day and same location as the photo shown above. Except Marica was now behind the camera instead of in front of it. This photo show the wonderful designed front of the car with the Oldsmobile bumper and grille nicely integrated with the 1942 Ford sheet metal. The stance and flow of the car is absolutely perfect.

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This fantastic photo of the ’42 Ford with at least four girls inside the car with Marcia behind the wheel shows the best stance of this car ever. This photo must have been a snapshot that Marcia kept in her purse, or wallet. It shows marks of being carried around for a long time; the scratches and torn edges, show she really liked this car a lot.

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The interior was done in off-white and tan rolls and pleats, and diamond pattern panels on the floor. Mercury Monterey Steering wheel and Appleton Spotlights where standard equipment for any late ‚Äô40’s early ’50’s custom car.

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Hinton’s Speed & Style found this photo on Marcia’s 1942 Ford in San Fransisco. There is no info about the photo, or if it was actually taken in San Fransisco, or elsewhere. In the back ground we can see George Barris’s personal 1942 Cadillac padded topped convertible, and Marcia had 2 Barris Business Cards taped in the passenger side window. The license plate is the same with 1950 tag as the car had on the Lincoln dealer photos.

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The Anne De Valle version

When Anne took the 1942 Ford to the Barris shop in the mid 1950’s the style of her car was far from up-to-date. Not too much was changed over the original version of the car, but enough to make it look completely different, and fit in better with the then current styles.

The hood was punched with louvres, the long 1941 Ford/Merc fender skirts where discarded and replaced with shorter 1946-48 lipped aftermarket units. The exhaust was changed from exiting below the rear bumper, to a shorter version exiting just in front of the rear wheels. Barris repainted the car in a Sierra Gold. The Cadillac hubcaps were replaced with Oldsmobile hubcaps with customized four bar centers. Dean Jeffries was hired to do the typical mid 1950’s heavy white, none flattering pin striping. The car was ready again for some car shows in the mid 1950’s.

Photos of his version of the car were used in several magazines and later in a few books as well. Since the first Marcia Campbell version was never featured in any magazine, nor book (except for two very small black and white photos of the unidentified car in white primer in the Dan Post book) the car was consequently always known as the Anne DeValle 1942 Ford.
The strange thing is that even in the Barris books nothing was mentioned about the Marcia Campbell connection when photos of Anne’s version of the car were shown in the Barris Techniques Volume one book.
Even though the changes from Marcia’s first version are minimal after the remake, Marcia’s dark blue version appears to be much more in balance.

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This is how most of us know the Barris built 1942 Ford custom ‚Äď as the Anne De Valle 1942 Ford. All the photos of this version of the car have 1956 license plates on it.

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The interior in the car remained mostly the same after Anne had Barris redo the car. Major change was the Siera-gold, new body color) painted dash. This photo shows the door extension panels Barris created to cover the section where the running boards used to be.

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’53-55 Oldsmobile 88 Series Hub Cap with 4 Flipper Bars and custom emblem added, give the car an more modern look.

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This photo gives us  good view of the Dean Jeffries striping on the hood and front fenders.

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Molded splash-pan works really well with the beautifully shaped Buick rear bumpers. Notice the curb feelers.

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Closer look at the wonderfully chopped top, molded in fenders and the new updated exhaust that exit just in front of the rear tires. Make me wonder how much this affected the white wall tires condition.

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Close up of the 1949 Oldsmobile grille and front bumper set up on the car. This great set up fortunately remained the same when the car was at the Barris shop for the Anne DeValle updates.

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Anne’s Ford at an outdoor car show in 1956-57.

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The later versions

In 1957-58 Don Pinkley bought the car in California from a car lot. He worked at a body shop back then, and there he painted the car midnight blue with gold surrounding on the grille and small scallops around the headlights. The car only had a front bench ‚Äď the rear bench was removed and the space filled with a custom cocktail lounge, all upholstered in Mexico. In the fall of 1958 he drove in the Ford to Wooster, Ohio. At that moment the car had a souped-up Chevy engine, which he burnt up in the desert. He traded the bad running engine for a souped-up flathead, burnt that up, did another trade, this time for a stock flathead. And that engine got him home to Ohio. There he replaced it with 1950 Olds engine to match the grille. Don named the car ‚ÄúPinkley‚Äôs Creeper‚ÄĚ.

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Two dark snapshots are all that was found from the time Don Pinkley owned the car. Don drove the car to Mexico where he had a complete new interior made, without the rear seat.

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Eric Rickman snapped a few photos of the car in 1958 when it was owned by Don Pinkley. This and the photo below were shared on the Petersen Archive photo site, but sadly had no additional info.

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Detail photo showing the teeth on the skirts, and the new lakes pipes added after the DuValle version.

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Zoomed in a little for a better look.

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Chris Herman shared some information about the Marcia Campbell 1942 Ford with us about the time after Don Pinkley had sold the car. Chris his father bought the car in the early 1970’s, we are not sure if he bought it from Don Pinkley, or if the car had already changed hands. Chris has only one, badly faded, snapshot of the Ford, where the car can be seen in rather rough condition. Basically just the bare body and frame sitting on black wall tires and steel wheels. It was always his intention to restore the car, but in the end not all that much work was actually done on the car. In the early 1980’s Chris and his father went to a car show in Wooster, Ohio. At this show they met with Iggy Barra. Iggy was working on a clone of the Anne De Valle Ford at the time, and while they were talking at the show the real car must have come up in the conversation. A deal was made and Iggy bought the ‚ÄúPinkley‚Äôs Creeper‚ÄĚ 1942 Ford and brought it home to sit besides his recreation, which must have been a totally unique sight, especially in the early 1980’s. Chris also mentioned that his father always called the car the “Pinkley‚Äôs Creeper”. And that he was very well aware of the Barris heritage the car had.

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This photo was taken around 1973, the car is in rough shape, most likely from sitting outside for some time before Chris his father bought it.

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Iggy Bara
When Iggy went to the place to pick up the original Barris Custom from mr. Herman he was absolutely sure this was the original Anne DeValle’s 1942 Ford. He was very excited and realized how all this was a real coincidence, since Iggy had been working on recreating the Anne DeValle Ford in the previous years. Iggy bought the remains of the original Barris car, and took them home. The car has had a rough live, but all considered it was not in a very bad state. Original plans where to restore it as an early version of the Anne De Valle Ford. Siera Gold without the striping. But after that the new photos of the Marcia Campbell version have surfaced, Iggy has decided he will go for this much cleaner and classic 1950 look.

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These two photos show the car as Iggy found it. The molded-in front fenders had been removed for unknown reason. Fortunately the front fenders and the front sheet metal including the grille and all other parts were in the barn behind the car.

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The light primer gray Ford is the real Barris car and the dark primer car is the clone Iggy had started years ago.

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Reference and more info

  • Dan Post, Blue book of Custom Restyling
  • Restyle your car, Trend Book No. 143 1957
  • Rodder’s Journal, Number 51, Marcia Campbell article
  • Barris Kustom Techniques of the 50’s, Volume 1

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Marcia Campbell was a well known, published, automotive photographer who took many, now very famous, custom car photos in the early 1950’s. To find out more about here work and here cars check out the Marcia Campbell Section on the Custom Car Chronicle.

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Special thanks to Michelle M. Yiatras & David E. Zivot

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Coachcraft Ford forgotten years

 

BEING 17 YEARS AND DRIVE LIKE THE KING OF THE ROAD

 

In 1940 Clarence Solomon commissioned Coachcraft Ltd. to build him a one off custom roadster based on a 1940 Ford. The result was a very well proportioned, and styled custom. In the mid to late 1950’s young J.W. Tidmore from Texas was the caretaker. Lets hear his story.


CCC-Solomon-Wong-40Ford-01-70This photo was taken when the car was finished at Coachcraft.
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CCC-Solomon-Wong-40Ford-00-WA young and proud J.W. at the wheel of the 1940 Ford, not to long after the had bought the car.
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Original built by Coachcraft for Clarence Salomon in 1940, later on the car was better known as the James Wong Howe Ford. Wong, a well known cinematographer, loved the car, and drove it a lot. It is reported that the car had 100.000 miles on it when he sold the car in 1952 to David Crane from Texas. From then on the car sort of disappeared from the grid, until Street Rodder magazine did a  featured on a street rodded version of the car. The magazine listed the cars owner as Tex Myer.

We have been able to find some more history on the Convertible, from the 1955 Р1958  time frame which has not been covered as far as we know. During these years the car was owned by J.W. Tidmore Jr., who repainted the car in white, installed a new engine in it. Just like James Wong Howe, J.W. Tidmore Jr. drove the car whenever he could. Lets take a look at what mr. J.W. Tidmore shared with CCC about the three years owned the Coachcraft 1940 Ford.

J.W. purchased the car in Haltom City, Texas, about 3/4 of a mile from where he lived. The car was found on a small Used Car lot. The car lot people told J.W. ¬†a man came in from California, and traded it in to them. The Ford was a dark green but J.W. is having trouble remembering if the interior, and top were green or brown. It was done in alligator leather, and the top matched the interior. It was that way when he purchased it.¬†He never changed the interior or the top during the years he owned the car. J.W. was about 17 years old when he purchased the car, and of course, at that age you do things that you think enhances your ride. He didn‚Äôt like the green and wanted the car white, so that’s what he did.

CCC-Solomon-Wong-40Ford-ScriptJ.W. still owns the original Coachcraft script that was mounted on the rocker panel just behind the front fender on the passenger side. He removed it when he decided to repaint the car white.
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CCC-Solomon-Wong-40Ford-02-WThe rolled up side windows looks amazing with the V-Windshield. The shape of the window frame fits perfectly with the shape of the fenders.
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When he bought the car, it was equipped with a flat head Cadillac engine. Probably from a 1948 model with a Cadillac standard shift transmission. J.W. wanted it to look ‚Äúbad‚ÄĚ. So he installed a Dodge red ram, and made it to work with a 1939 Ford transmission.

The car was involved in an accident with a drunk driver in 1955 or 1956 which damaged the left front fender, portions of the grill and that was the demise of the Lincoln bumper that was on it. When he was trying to repair the vehicle, he found out that the front fenders were considerably longer than the stock fenders,. He had to have a piece of the fender made by Coachcraft. He welded that to a stock 1940 fender to replace the damaged beyond repair fender. J.W. remembers that the grill was a handmade solid steel bar grille, and quite heavy. It survived most of the wreck, and he was able to straighten it back to it’s original shape.When he bought the car, the solid side grilles from the original version, were already replaced by stock units. Most likely to cool the Cadillac engine better. When J.W. was rebuilding the car from the wreck, he wanted to put smooth side grille in the car, but ended up using stock units. Since he could not duplicate Coachcraft’s fantastic body work.

Being a 17 year old boy, J.W. had very little money to spend. He found the front bumper off a 1940 model Ford on a wrecking yard. Which is why it looks so used in the photos. He could not find an affordable “used” Lincoln bumper like the one that was on it originally.

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CCC-Solomon-Wong-40Ford-03-Wthe 1940 Packard taillights looks really great on the car.
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CCC-Solomon-Wong-40Ford-05-WJ.W. on the right, and a friend removing the padded top.
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CCC-Solomon-Wong-40Ford-06-WThe top removed and the side windows rolled up for an unique look.
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J.W. being 17 years, was in desperate need to make a few changes on the car to make it his own. He installed the moon hubcaps and, if you look closely at the interior photos, you can see that the gauges he installed were from a Hudson. J.W. always liked the look of the Banjo steering wheels. So he replaced the stock 1940 Ford unit with a 1939 Ford Banjo steering wheel.¬†J.W. mentioned that owning and driving a car like this was absolutely fantastic. He drove it to high school, and continued to do another year or so after he had graduated. Everywhere he went, he was “king of the road”.¬†He owned the car from 1955 through 1958 when a man traded him a brand new Ford for it.

If you look closely at one of the interior photos below, you can see a 1949 Cadillac parked next to the service station where these photos were taken. J.W. purchased this Cadillac in Haltom City, Texas. The documents in the glove box show that the original owner was baseball legend Joseph P. DeMaggio. He was told the car was given to Joe DeMaggio, when he retired from baseball at Yankee stadium, about the same time he married Marilyn Monroe. It was a beautiful, immaculate Cadillac and J.W. drove it for several years.

We would very much like to get in touch with the current owner of the car. J.W. still has the original Coachcraft tag and would like to see if the current owner would be interested in reuniting it with the car. If you have any info that can bring us in touch with the current owner, please let us know.

CCC-Solomon-Wong-40Ford-10-WJ.W. standing proud next to his Coachcraft Ford in 1958.
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CCC-Solomon-Wong-40Ford-08-WThe upholstery is still original, but the Banjo Steering and new gauges were installed by J.W.
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CCC-Solomon-Wong-40Ford-09-WCloser look at the Crocodile upholstery material. In the background we can see DeMaggio’s Cadillac.
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CCC-Solomon-Wong-40Ford-12-WThe Dodge engine was a tight fit.
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Go to the Tex Myers STORY on this Coachcraft Custom.

 


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