Custom Car Revival 2019

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CCR 2019

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Time to block the date for the Custom Car Revival, the All Traditional Custom Car Show in Indianapolis in your agenda. This year the registration only event will be held on Saturday June 8, 2019

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Mark your calendar for the 100% all traditional Custom Car Show. The 2019 event will start on Thursday June 6th in the evening, more cars coming on Friday, and on Saturday June 8th, the actual show will be held from 9am to 4pm at Edwards Drive-in 2126 S. Sherman Drive Indianapolis, IN.

More info about the show can be found on the Custom Car Revival website, Facebook page, or contact Kevin Anderson KevinatCCR@gmail.com or phone: 317 4327733

Below are a few photos from the previous show.

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50s Indianapolis Custom Shows Part 2

50s INDIANAPOLIS CUSTOM SHOWS P2

Part two in our photo coverage of the early 1950s Custom Auto Shows held in Indianapolis.



This is part two of our series on the early 1950’s Custom Auto Shows held in Indianapolis. This show was very popular in the mid west, and with the help of some good publicity people from much father entered the show with their cars, or just to watch the cars at the even. These two articles shows a small collection of some of the custom cars on display at the 1951 and ‘52 show. Most of the photos used in this article are part of Geoff Hacker’s “The David Disney Collection.

Indianapolis had already a very strong bond with automotive scenes with the countries best known race track. Making a lot of car enthusiast people move to the area, and continue to give input to this scene. When the Hot Rods and Custom Cars were starting to develop on the West Coast Car loving Indianapolis soon followed. Custom Cars and Hot Rods have always had a tie with the Race Car Scene. So it was no coincidence that one of the bigger and best known shows outside of California would be in this part of the US.

The Custom Car scene was big in this part of the country, influenced by the Californian Custom Car Scene, brought over by cars bought in the west, and of course the early car magazines. This part of the US soon would develop their own style of cars, both in Hot Rods as well as in Custom Cars. This series of photos give us a great look of this.

Over the years the Custom Car scene has always been important in Indianapolis, at first there were these Custom Auto Shows that spread the word, and in the last couple of years there is the Custom Car Revival put down by Kevin Anderson and team. Still promoting and spreading the Custom Car spirit in the Mid West…

Special thanks to Geoff Hacker.


The 1951 and 1952 show programs.
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Very nicely restyled 1936 Ford 5-window coupe with a narrow grille, painted running boards, De Soto bumpers, teardrop bubble skirts and single bar flipper hubcaps on black wall tires. Jerry McKenzie from Indianapolis was the owner. The super nice car had two photos in the Jan 1952 issue of Hop Up magazine.
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1941 Ford convertible with chopped windshield and padded top with panoramic rear window. It also features molded fenders, shaved body and filled side grilles with custom made narrow center grille and 1937 DeSoto bumpers.
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A closer look at the panoramic rear window padded top.
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A body shop owner from Springfield, Missouri, started with a 4-door ‘39 Mercury and turned it into a 2-door. He then carried on to section the body, chop the top and removed the center styled to make it a semi Hard-Top.  He also added a ‘35 Ford humpback trunk the back and molded in the cut down fenders. The Grill and headlights are late 1940’s Cadillac and bumpers are ’49 Plymouth. The car is still around today.
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The Collection also included an outdoor photo of the ex-4-door Mercury Possibly the photo was send along with an application to enter the show with the car.
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Sports Custom restyled by Robert L. Darling of Jeffersonville, Indiana. The car was turned into a two-seater coupe with cut down to the belt line -doors and uses body panels from Buick, Chrysler and DeSoto. Car is also still in existence today.
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R&C editor Spencer Murray drove his Link Paola-chopped ‘49 Chevy all the way from Glendale, California. He wrote a story about the 6000-mile trip in the September ‘52 issue of Hop Up Magazine.
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Openings page of the September 1952 issue of Hop Up magazine article on Spence Murray’s 600 Miles in a Custom trip to the Indianapolis show and back.
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The ClarKaiser shop created this stunning ‘48 Mercury coupe for Leo and Adele Volpe. The car was sectioned, chopped and had full fade away fenders, as its most obvious restyling. This photo was most likely taken for promotional purpose before, or after the show.
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The Volpe Mercury during the show.
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Obscure looking car created from a whole list of car parts and home fabricated panels. Has Mercedes star on the radiator. Typical home build car inspired by the Sports Cars of the time.
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Same car as above at the ’52 show. The airplane white wall tires are now replaced by black wall tires, and a soft top has been fitted.
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Thomas Douglas brought his sectioned and molded Shoebox Ford from Miami Florida. The car has a beautiful proportioned all modled-in body with speed boat style windshield. The car has a very interesting mix of Sports Custom and regular Custom restyling. The molded in trunk incorporated a recessed license plate including fancy chrome plated surround. The whole plate units was hinged from the side to give access to the hidden gas filler pipe mounted in the center behind the license plate.
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Larry Ernst brought his Barris Kustom Restyled 1951 Chevy from Dayton Ohio for the 1952 Show.
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Fully detailed ‘ 32 Ford with dressed up flathead engine with three carb. intake manifold displayed at the 1951 show.
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Heavily channeled  full fendered Model A Hot Rod with ’32 grille.
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Another channeled Rod at the show. Completely detailed inside and out. The Sombrero hubcaps on wide whites give it a bit of a Custom feel.
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J. A. Wright of Covington, Va brought his 4 inch sectioned ’49 Ford convertible to the show.
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This front 3/4 view photo of the Wright sectioned Ford shows the use of Mopar rear fenders, and Custom grille using Lincoln units. Unusual for this type of full custom are that the hood ornament, and door handles remained on the car. Typical for this part of the country is the addition of the Continental spare tire kit at the back.
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A bit fuzzy snapshot of a very elegantly done 1941 Ford convertible with chopped padded top, smoothed center grille and ’46 Ford bumpers. All Styling elements so typical for the early California style Custom.
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Based on a 139 Mercury chassis the front and rear fenders are also very recognizable as Merc units with Full Fade-Away’s added. Hood looks to come from a 40’s Buick. The grille was all home made in stainless steel by owner Ray Zuend.
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The description of this Wild Rod/Custom reads that it is basically a Mercury, but perhaps that is for the frame and engine. The body looks to be based on a 33-34 Plymouth or something similar, with widened body and later model front and rear fenders molded into the body.  The grille looks to be from a ’49 Cadillac.
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Unusual Convertible with simulated wrap around windshield, Smoothed body seems to have been constructed from many body panels from different makes. A lot of work went into this car with some very interesting details as the door handles “hidden” at the end of the side trim.
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Another Sports Custom looks like it has an early fiberglass hand made body with stylish boat-tail rear end.
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Francis B. Clemmens from Cortland Ohio, entered this “Red Hornet” 1940 Chevy Coupe that appears to be relatively mild. But on close inspection it looks like the body was channeled over the frame, with the front and rear fenders raised, and a new grille surround was created to house a modified 1948 Buick grille. Unusual is the sun-visor, not much seen on Custom Cars back then.
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Donald White’s 1949 Dodge mild Custom entered by Donald White.
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Clarence Schaaf of Erlton, New Jersey built this nice looking Sports Custom in his own Schaaf Body Shop. Based on a front wheel driven 1937 Cord chassis. The body was constructed from using body parts of other cars and a lot of hand fabrication. The main parts are 1950 Studebaker front fenders and 1950 Buick rear fenders. The grille appears to have been made of 1950 Buick teeth placed close together. The doors have a “Darrin dip” and are covered with a soft padded top edge done in red and black leather.
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Very unusual is this rare Citroën Traction Avant Convertible with custom headlights, hood sides and grille.
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Mildly restyled Custom Hudson Convertible owned by Harry Ghlee Jenkins, Jr of Waukegan, Illinois.
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Very mildly restyled ’49 Chevy Convertible with Cadillac like rear fenders, Custom grille teeth, spotlights, Sombrero Hubcaps and a mild re-chroming.
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Ramond Jones 1948 Cadillac Convertible with lift off steel top, and very unusual body modifications including molded in double front bumper that wraps around the body all the way to the door, and have the headlights integrated into it.
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The rear of Raymond Jones Cadillac has extended rear fenders and taillight pods, including 1950 Cadillac taillights. The addition of a continental kit, and extended, molded in splash pan.
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A closer look at the front of the Raymond Jones Cadillac shows how two bumpers, bot with the bottom cut off and then welded together with the bottom one flipped upside down. Even the bumpers guards are doubled up. Scalloped paint is unusual for the time.
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Famous body man Bob Metz from Shelbyville, Indiana created this 1950 Buick HT Custom from a train wreck for owner Montfort Olinger.
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Unusual for the Bob Metz Buick are the fender skirts on the front and the new Buick side trim separating the two colors. Also notice the silver half moon headlight shades. An aftermarket product that was used a lot on Mid-West and East Coast Customs in the 1950’s. Bob’s Buick is still around in drive able condition today.
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Both the 1951 and 1952 Indianapolis Custom Auto Show were featured in Hop Up magazine. Both both years only on two pages.
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50s Indianapolis Custom Shows

 

50s INDIANAPOLIS CUSTOM SHOWS

 

In 1951 and 1952 the Indiana State Fair was hosting the Custom Auto Show. A unique show with the best Hot Rods and Custom Cars the mid-west of the US had to offer. Part One.



The first Hot Rod and Custom Car Shows were organized in Southern California back around 1948. The Hot Rod and Custom Car scene had developed there over the years, and these first Car Shows specialized in Hot Rods and Custom Cars were a huge success. The word of the big success spread fast, just as the rest of the Hot Rod and Custom Car scene and by 1950 these Hot Rod and Custom Car shows started to pop up in different states as well.

One of these events was held in the Midwest in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Custom Auto Show, organized by Ralph Potter, Bert Disney and Max H. Adams Jr., would be considered­ the best show in the Midwest from 1950 until the
late 1950’s. The show sported Hot Rods, Custom Cars, Sports Customs, and Classic Cars of all sorts. Cars from many states, even as far as California, would make the trip to enter the competition­. Geoff Hacker has shared his amazing “The David Disney Collection.” with the Custom Car Chronicle. Included in this collection are a series of photos taken at the early Indianapolis Auto Shows from 1951, 1952 and a few from later shows.

The photos from these early shows show Custom Cars that have been imported from California, have been influenced very heavily on the California scene and cars that were unique in style for the Mid-West and East US. These early shows were held at the Golden Years of Custom Restyling, and the sky was the limit as some of the cars in the photo show. This article is the first of two on these early shows, and are based around photos from the Geoff Hacker Collection. Most of the photos were taken by W. Frank Jones Studio, Inc. A few more additional photos from other collections have been added to the article as well. Enjoy…

Many thanks to Geoff Hacker for sharing his collection.

Indiana State Fairgrounds, where the Custom Auto Show was held and the 1951 and 1952 show programs.
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Clyde Bangiola from New Jersey displayed his 1947 Ford padded topped convertible at the 1951 show. He had bought this original Barris Custom Convertible in damaged condition and had repaired all the body damage and painted the car in midnight blue.
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1941 Ford convertible owned by Hank Langsenkamp III has the typical California look that had made it to the Mid West with the help of magazines, and guys traveling to California and bringing back stories, and photos. The windshield was chopped with matching padded top, molded fenders, frenched headlights and an aftermarket filled-in center grille.
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A closer look at  the front of Hank Langsenkamp III great looking 1941 Ford.
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A bit of an overview photo showing some of the Hot Rods in the foreground and Jim Skonzakes’s 1949 Buick sitting in the background.
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Jim Skonzakes brought two of his custom cars to the 1951 event, both had been created in Los Angeles. Here is his 1949 Buick convertible that was created mostly at the Barris Kustom Shop. It started out as a convertible to which Jim added a heavily modified Cadillac top.
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The Jack Stewart Ford

Jim Skonzakes also brought the Jack Stewart Ford which he had just bought in Los Angeles. Jim drove the car from California to his home in Dayton, Ohio. This photo was taken at the 1951 show and the car still had California license plates mounted.
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Later at the show, they moved the car more towards the wall.
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A little closer reveals that Jim had placed a Barris Business Cars in the passenger vent window.
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Jim Skonzakes brought the Jack Stewart ’41 Ford to the Indianapolis show again in 1952. No it had 1951 Ohio plates, and  taped onto the hood is a Barris business card to promote the body shop in the Mid-West, and to show that the car was created in California. Something very important for Jim, who was very much in love with California.
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A bit more overview in this snapshot shows that Jim Skonzakes also showed his drag bike “The Beast” at the ’52 Show. In the background we can also see the Barris Larry Ernst 1951 Chevy.
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Jim snapped this picture of the Jack Stewart Ford going home from the Indianapolis Show in 1952. The Barris Business Card is still taped to the hood.
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Its a bit hard to tell from the photos, but Jim Skonzakes once confirmed it was the Barris card with the Cadillac on it. that was taped to the front of the hood.
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Hot Rod magazine show feature photo.
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Taken at the 1951 Custom Car show, the Rudy Makela 1942 Cadillac designed and built by Indianapolis Power Hammer Works, Indianapolis, Indiana.
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The Rudy Makela, also name “WOW” Cadillac was at the show again in 1952, now updated with a new front. Possible engine cooling problems had the owner redesign the front of the car with a new large hood scoop/grille. Also the front now has the wheel opening cut out, possibly to fix a wheel turning problem caused by the fully skirted first version. More on the Makela “WOW” Cadillac HERE.
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Also show at the event in ’51 or ’52 is this in progress project that has a lot of similarities with the “WOW” Cadillac above. Possibly this project was also done at the Indianapolis Power Hammer Works. All hand-made body, with the use of a Buick grille and ’49-50 Mercury bumpers and a large V-Windshield. I do not recall ever seeing finished photos of this.
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James Bishop brought his heavily restyled yet un-chopped 1940 Mercury coupe to the show. The car is channeled with the running boards removed, molded fenders, filled belt-line, sectioned hood, early 50’s Lincoln headlights, custom grille and a new wide rear window installed (possibly a ’50 Mercury unit).
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In another photo of the show we can see the unique large rear window in James Bischop ’40 Mercury a bit better.
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Interesting mix of Custom and Hot Rod with DeSoto bumpers, aftermarket hubcaps looks to be Lincoln based.
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Richard Rush of Washington had Bud Unger restyle this very rare 1950 Italmeccanica IT160 Coupe prototype. The car was left mostly as it was, but Bud added ’49 Plymouth bumpers, single bar hubcaps on wide white wall tires. Bud also painted the car Chariot Red and light tan.
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1950 Oldsmobile “88” Convertible Sports Custom restyled by Wally Troy of Wally’s Garage in Springfield, Illinois. The project was based around a wrecked 1950 Oldsmobile Convertible. The front and rear were dramatically modified with pie-cut sectioned and further reshaped hood and trunk. hood and rear deck on the Olds were sectioned to lower the car and hand finished from sheet stock. 1951 Packard windshield was added on a much steeper angle and the top of the doors were pie-cut and reshaped for more swooping lines and blended in to ’50 Oldsmobile 98 rear fenders. The center of the trunk was reshaped styled after the very popular at the time 1951 Buick XP-300 concept car.
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W.B. Dorr brought his really wild Custom Convertible all the way from Texas. It looks like his car was based on a ’39 Ford convertible that looks to be channeled with the running boards removed. He then added a whole list of newer car parts, including heavily modified ’41 Ford front fenders, Possibly late 40’s Buick rear fenders, Buick like grille to create his ultimate custom. The doors were cut down in the rear, sort of like a “Darrin dip” and the rear of the body as sectioned the same amount.
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Very unusual Studebaker, I guess a bit typical for the mid-west, east coast styling at the time. A lot of add-ons, mix of styles, to create a more exclusive car.
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Sam Benanti, Kansas City brought his ‘49 Merc engine powered ‘32 Ford Hot Rod. Unusual large front tires give this Rod an almost toy like appearance.
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Unique Art-Deco styled short wheel based Roadster looks to be using ’47 Cadillac fenders, an rakes windshield and soft top. Anybody knows more about it?
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Sports Customs have always been very popular with Mid West and East Coast builders. This unidentified sample looks to be based on a late 1940’s GM car. It features welded doors with a deep “Darrin dip” and what appears to be a speed-boat V-windshield added. with a Buick hood, and ’48 Cadillac grille, and ’47 front bumper.
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Another Sports Custom looked to be based on 46-48 Mercury body panels. Possibly a four door sedan, shortened, with all body panels, including full fade-away fenders fully molded together and a heavy chopped windshield.
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Don & Bill Cunningham 1940 Mercury was a well known and well build unique ally restyled Custom in the Indianapolis area. The two brother did all of the work on the car themselves, including channeling the body, sectioning the hood, completely reshape the front fenders and grille area. The doors have been cut with the ever popular “Darrin style” dip and the padded top has unique boat style porthole windows added. The car was painted with a custom mixed Lavender Rose paint and finished in 1950. The headlights are placed deep inside the grille.
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The interior was done in all leather and the passenger seat could swivel 180 degrees so the passenger could look to the people in the wrap around rear seat that had a 7 inch TV and small bar installed. The padded top was opened up halfway at the show to be able to look inside to see the unique interior features.
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For the 1952 show the Cunningham brothers made a few updates on the car, including new headlights, placed outside the grille. and an satellite antenna like grille.
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Dean Causey from Indianapolis entered the show with his very nicely done chopped and channeled ‘39 Ford convertible. He created a really great looking removable steel top. The belt line was filled, fenders molded, running boards removed and the hood was sectioned. He added a custom grille, De Soto bumpers and aftermarket hubcaps.
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Another interesting car with some added Custom Touches as Sombrero hubcaps, and ’41 Oldsmobile bumpers.
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Very nicely mildly re-styled 1940 Mercury Convertible featured removed running boards, shaved body, 46 Ford bumpers and aftermarket “sombrero” hubcaps.Notice the black painted letters on the white wall tires. I have seen this done on a few cars. Not sure if it is a Mid Western thing.
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1947 Ford Mystery Barris Custom

 

1947 Ford MYSTERY BARRIS Custom

 

Nick Maneri from New Jersey was the owner of this 1947 Ford Custom for three years. The car was last seen in 1978. He would love to find out where it is today.



Nick Maneri from Norther New Jersey owned this 1947 Ford Custom from around 1966 till 1969. At the time custom cars like this were pretty much out of style in Northern New Jersey, or anywhere else for that matter. Most guys were in to the muscle cars, but Nick liked the custom and bought it. At the time he bought it it came with the information that it was originally from California and that the Barris Shop had something to do with it. It was not known how and when the car had gotten to New Jersey. Nick has been looking for the car’s whereabouts for years, and still hopes that the car is still around today. Perhaps hidden in a garage, or redone as Hot Rod/Street Rod.

When Nick’s son Nick (Jr) contacted me many years ago and send some photos of his fathers car with the question if I had seen it before… There was a  pictured in one of the Don Montgomery books. And even better it came with a little bit more information. The car was owned by Clyde Bengiola from New Jersey, and he had bought it as a damaged car, and that it was painted blue. In the book he mentioned that the car was originally built by Barris and had been shown in New York in 1951. No previous owners name was given. But there now was a little bit more information. When Clyde owned the car the car was still wearing fender skirts. Nick bought the car from Clyde in 1966.

This is, so far, the earliest photo we have of the car. Taken at the 1951 Indianapolis Custom Auto Show. The car still has California plates on it (1950 tag). A stunning looking custom that looks like it was done around 1948-49 at the Barris Shop. We hope to be able to find more photos of this car when it was still in California, and hope to be able to find info on the original owner who had the Barris Brothers restyle the car.
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Close up of the front shows the stock headlights, reshaped front body work to accept the ’48 Cadillac grille. Smooth aftermarket hubcaps on wide white wall tires. Shortened hood side trim, chopped windshield and small spotlights.
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Later we came across a color photo of the car on the cover of an 1953 Motorsport magazine, which proofed that the car had been blue before, as stated by Clyde. When I had the photos Nick had supplied on my website Custom Car enthusiast Barry Mazza recognized the photos from a car he saw several times on some of his road trips. The first time he saw it the car was owned by Clyde Bengiola and he saw it at the Sip and Sup on rt 10. Clyde owned a  shop on 202. Some time later he saw it again when it was sitting at gas station in Riverdale, and once again on a used car lot in Wanaque, where he took one photo of the car. This must have been in the mid 1970’s. And the last time he saw it at a Gas station in Hacketstown while on his way to Pennsylvania, this was in 1978 and the car still looked good. So there is good hope the car is still around.

The October 1951 issue of Motorsport magazine had the ’47 Ford on the cover, in color showing the dark blue paint. These photos are most likely taken before the then owner was involved in an accident with the car. Bob Laurie was listed as the owner of the car.
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Photo shared on facebook by kustomrama was labeled as ’47 Mercury, but most likely this is the same car, a ’47 Ford and Richard Korkes had repaired the damage car for new owner Clyde Bengiola. (Note the same license plate as the photo below)
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Don Montgomery included this photo of the ’47 in his Authentic Hot Rod book. Clyde Bengiola supplied the photo and the information on the ’47 Ford he owned for some time. Clyde, from New Jersey had bought the car in damaged condition. It was a chopped padded top custom with skirts, a Cadillac grille and spotlights. It was midnight blue and had a 3/4 race flathead engine. The photo above shows the car after it was repared. Clyde also mentioned that the car was built by the Barris Bros. and was displayed in 1951 New York show. We can see that the car in the photo was repaired with Cadillac headlights. We cannot see if there was any rear quarter trim. Possibly the repair work was done by Richard Korkes.
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While I always keep an eye out for Lost Customs everywhere I do more research it took me many years before something new came up on the Mystery Barris ’47 Ford. My good friend Geoff Hacker had bought a wonderful photo collection with photos from the early 1950’s Indianapolis Auto Shows. And included were some really nice Custom Car photos. One of the photos, taken by the Frank Jones Studio in Indianapolis at the 1951 Indianapolis Custom Auto Show showed an early version of Nick Maneri’s 1947 Ford convertible with chopped padded top. The car still had its 1950 California license plates on the car. Sadly the photos did not come with any written information, so we still have no name of the then owner, nor any additional information of where the car came from in California. The great thing about this Indianapolis Custom Auto Show photo is that it proofs that the car originally came from California. A step closer to solve this mystery.

When Nick owned the car in 1966 the car had been in an accident damaging the rear. This is the reason why there is no rear quarter trim on the car. The ’54 Cadillac headlights were nicely molded into the front fenders. Not sure who did this work. Perhaps Korkes.
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By then the car is dressed up with a set of 1957 Plymouth cone hubcaps. And the stainless rock shield on the rear fender has been replaced with an black rubber unit.
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About the 1947 Ford

The car has a chopped windshield and chopped padded Carson Top. Nick still has the original Hauser’s Carson Top tag, which he took out of the car before he sold it. The front end was customized with an 1948 Cadillac grille. All fender were molded to the body with a rather small radius. The taillight pods were shaved and the stock taillights were moved down and frenched into panel under the deck lid, just above the rear bumper, and closer together. On the original version as how it came to the east coast the headlights were left stock, later a set of ’54 Cadillac headlights was molded into the front fenders. Originally the car had a race flathead, but by the time Nick owned the car he replaced it with an modified dual quad 283 Chevy engine. It still had the Ford transmission and Columbia overdrive rear end. The car was painted Metallic blue when Nick sold it in 1969, and the car only had 40,000 miles on the odometer.


Closer look at the rear shows the stock taillights in the panel below the trunk, and the smoothed trunk, the trunk corners were not rounded.
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A bit fussy photo, from Nick’s snapshot album.
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Time-frame on the 1947 Ford.

  • 1948 – 1950 Restyled at Barris for an unknown owner.
  • 1950 – 1953 Driven from California to New Jersey by unknown owner.  (Perhaps Bob Laurie who owned the car in 1953 bought it in Ca, and drove it to NJ) Around this time possibly some damage to the car was repaired by Richard Korkes
  • 1953 – 1966 Owned by Clyde Bengiola
  • 1966 – 1969 Owned by Nick Maneri
  • 1969 – 1978 owned by unknown owner(s)
  • 1978 – Last seen by Barry Mazza in Hacketstown NJ.

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Barry Mazza took a photo of the car while it was sitting on a used car lot in Wanaque, NJ in the mid 1970’s.
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The last time Nick saw his old Ford was in 1969 when it was sitting on a used car lot in Kinnelon NJ. Nick has been looking for the car for many years now, so far no luck. But the fast that Barry Mazza still saw it in 1978 and that the car was still looking good. This gives Nick hope that the car has been saved, and is still around today.  Perhaps further customized, or perhaps hot or street rodded. Hopefully somebody will recognize the car from these photos, and if you do, please email Rik here at the Custom Car Chronicle and email, and we will pass it on to Nick.




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