Joe Hocker 1936 Ford

 

JOE HOCKER 1936 FORD

 

The Hocker brothers Joe and Tom from Oakland California were both into Custom Car. Tom had the famous Barris Restyled 1940 Ford, and Joe a DuVall windshield 1936 Ford Phaeton.



Of the two Hocker Brothers Joe (Joseph) and Tom we are most familiar with Tom’s 1940 Ford restyled by the famous Barris Kustom Shop around 1953, and later updated around 1957. While doing research for the restoration of the Tom Hocker 1940 Ford, John Canepa came in contact with the Hocker family. Sadly Tom and Joe are no longer with us, but John was able to get some great information and pictures from Joe’s Hocker‘s widow and son Joe Jr. Besides some great snapshots they also shared some valuable information that helps John with the restoration on the Tom Hocker ’40 Ford.

During the conversation with the Hockers, John also learned about brother Joe’s earlier custom, his 1936 Ford Phaeton. Joe Jr. shared a few of the family snapshots of his father’s ’36 Ford and when John shared those with me I recognized the car immediately as the Joseph Hocker Ford that was entered at the 1951 National Roadster Show in Oakland Ca. For some strange reason I never made the link between Joseph Hocker with his ’36 Ford and Tom Hocker with his 1940 Ford Coupe, and never realized these were two brothers who were both into Custom Cars.

Tom Hocker with his chopped ‚Äė40 Ford fresh from Barris Kustoms in ‚Äė52. When John Canepa was asking the Hocker family for more info and photos of the Tom Hocker ’40 Ford they found this one, and many more, and they also came across the ’36 Ford images of Tom’s brother Joe. The car we concentrate on in this article.
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Tom’s 1940 Ford was a very well known Barris Custom, first painted Fuchsia Orchid, and later in metallic medium blue with scallops and later dual headlights. The was featured in many magazines, and in color on the cover. Joseph’s ’36 Ford was on the road a few years earlier, basically just before the major car magazines were published. So far we only had heard about his Ford from the 1951 National Roadster Show. And seen a few photos of the car from this show. We also had some info how the car had survived and is still around today as a semi restored car with dual cowl and dual V-Windshield. When John Canepa shared the Hocker family photos and the info he had gathered it all fell in place.

We are still trying to find out more about the early days of the Hocker Brothers and their Custom Cars. Finding out more about Joe’s ’36 Ford, when it was restyled, and who did the work on the car. Hopefully we will be able to get more details at a later date, initiated by this article. And if we do, we will update the info in the article.

Joe Hocker 1936 Ford

George DuVall designed and created the now famous DuVall V-Windshield for the SoCalif. Plating 1935 Ford in 1936. Even though the windshield was original designed for the ’35-’36 Fords the windshield really became popular after it was modified to fit the narrower 1932 Ford body. Over the decades the DuVall windshield has been used more on Hot Rods than on Custom Cars for which it was originally intended for. But there are a few samples of early Custom Cars that used the streamlined DuVall V-windshield. Joe Hocker’s 36 Ford Phaeton is one of them.

Joe Hocker with his 1936 Ford Pheaton with DuVall windshield and matching padded top.
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Julian Doty is DuVall’s nephew and was selling the windshields in the 40’s & 50’s. Most likely Joe bought the DuVall windshield from him.
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We are not sure if Joe ever saw the SoCali Plating ’35 Ford in person, or perhaps in one of the early publications. So we do not know if this inspired him to get the DuVall windshield, and shape of the Padded top in a similar way, but since the similarities are striking we do think the SoCal Plating Shop truck was an influence on Tom’s Ford. Julian Doty, who was George DuVall’s nephew, was marketing the DuVall Windshields in the 1940’s and 1950’s. So most likely Joe bought one of them from Julian, or perhaps thru a dealer.


What we do know about the Hocker brothers is that they were very creative, and skilled to do a lot of work on their cars them selves. But when it came to work they felt not comfortable with, like the majority of the body work, paint and interior, they went to the best on the market. Joe’s 36 Ford was never featured in any magazine or book, at least not in its original form. Which could have helped us with crucial information. At this moment the Hocker family could not remember if anybody else but Joe and Tom worked on the Phaeton body. Making the windshield fit the cowl, and other body changes, perhaps the Hocker brother did the work at their home shop, perhaps it was outsourced. The uniquely shaped padded top, with French curve, might have been done by the C.A. Hall Auto Tops in Oakland Ca.

Joe and Gwen with the ‚Äė36 Ford.
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Gwen Hocker, Joe‚Äôs wife, remembered a few things about Joe’s ’36 Ford ans shared those memories with John Canepa. Joe got his driver‚Äôs license when he was just 13 years old. Joe and his brother Tom worked on their cars on a dirt floor behind their small house. One day, when taking a trip in the ‚Äė36 with the padded top left at home, they were caught in a rainstorm, and lightning struck the chrome dash while they were driving! In the early 1950’s Joe made a living from being was a handyman at an apartment complexes nearby where they lived.

Joe and Tom behind the ‚Äė36 Ford. This side view shows the very steep angle of the DuVall windshield really well. It gave instant speed to the Ford.
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Joe installed a 1946 Semi-race Mercury engine with Edelbrock heads and manifold, Harmon Collins cam, Kong Ignition and ’46 Mercury transmission in the car. He modified the suspension to get the car a bit lower, but not as low as most other Customs from the same era. He updated the suspension with ’46 Ford hydraulic brakes. The stock bumpers were replaced with 1940 Oldsmobile bumpers front and rear. The stock hood sides were replaced with aftermarket smooth units, the hood ornament was replaced with a bull nose aftermarket piece for a smoother look. And the grille side pieces were chrome plated.

Joe shaved the door handles and with all the body work done, the car was painted with 25 coats of metallic maroon paint. Joe added 1939 Ford teardrop taillights to the smoothed rear fenders. In the 1951 Oakland Show Brochure it is listed that the car had Cadillac Hubcaps, but by the looks if it I think they are aftermarket look alike that are a bit less deep, allowing the stock Ford wheels to be used. The hubcaps look really great with the car with the wide white wall tires and no skirts in the back giving the car an European vibe.

The only rear view we have of the car is this out of focus snapshot. It shows the canvas covered spare tire, and the use of ’39 Ford teardrop taillights on smoothed rear fenders.
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Joe’s ’36 Ford on the right along with a few Friends cars.
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At this moment we do not know the full story on Joe’s Ford, what happened to the car from the time the snapshots in this article and those at the 1951 Oakland Roadster Show were taken, until the late 1960’s. Hopefully we will be able to update this article later with more info about this time. We do know, thanks to Ron Brooks, that in the late 1960’s, or perhaps early 1970’s Harry Morse owned the ’36 Ford, and he took it to Don Bridgeman (Don’s Body Shop) to convert his car to a dual-cowl body.

Wonderful front 3/4 view of Joe’s Ford with some of his friends cars next to it.
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The 1951 National Roadster Show

Until recently the only photos we had seen of Joe’s ’36 Ford were taken at the 1951 National Roadster Show, the second annual Roadster show in Oakland California. In the 1951 Show booklet the owner of the car was mentioned to be Joseph Hocker. The Roadster Show was a local show for Joe, but it meant that his car would become world wide known. Perhaps not right then, when it was shown, but it sure has been in the last few decades.

Overview photo of the 1951 Oakland Roadster Show shows Joe’s Ford with one hood side open to show of the mercury engine and the padded top in place.
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Close up of the photo above.
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This picture shows a hint of what is going on in the engine bay. It looks like Joe used plenty of chrome and polished parts to make the Mercury engine look at its best. The inset is the write up on Joe’s Ford in the 1951 National Roadster Show booklet.
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A double exposed snapshot showing the engine of Joe’s Ford.
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Custom Cars were well present at the 1951 Show.
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Side view photo taken at the show by Rudy Perez. It gives us a good look at the padded top.
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Joe’s Ford just visible on the right of this picture of the National Roadster Show award.
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The Dual Cowl 1936 Ford

In the late 1960‚Äôs or early 1970‚Äôs Harry Morse, of Castro Valley, California acquired the ‚Äė36 Ford Phaeton Custom for a good price from a guy named Pete Paulsen. When Morse bought the car the car still had the original DuVall windshield and the Mercury engine and most likely all the other custom touches. (Pete Paulsen recently confirmed that the car he sold to Harry Morse was indeed the Joe Hocker Ford.)

Morse replaced the Mercury engine with a bone stock unit and had the interior redone in leather. The DuVall windshield was not stock, but it inspired Harry to do something special and create a dual cowl ‚Äė36 Ford based on a General Motors design for a ‚Äô34 Cadillac he had always been impressed with. The second windshield was created using the original brass unit as a base, and modified it to fit the hand made second cowl, created by Don Bridgman. Don used a cowl of a ‚Äė35 Ford Roadster parts car to create the second cowl. The brass cast unit was polished and plated. Morse kept the smooth hood sides, and added body color grille sides, stock hood ornament as well as grille extension Fultron trim pieces on the front of the hood.

July 1979 issue of Custom & Rod Ideas had a very nice feature on the ’36 Ford after it was own by Harry Morse, of Castro Valley, California.
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Custom &Rod Ideas opening spread. This bottom photo shows that the car has an fender mounted gas filler as well as ’39 Ford taillights. Both are most likely left from the original Joe Hocker version.
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Second spread showed some color as well, including the beautiful leather interior.
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In the early 1990’s Harry Morse sells the Ford to Mike Aahl, also of of Castro Valley. Mike has made a few small changes to the car over the years, including adding new wheels and tires and adjusting the stance a little to get it a little lower, perhaps more to how Joe Hocker had it in the early 1950’s. Mike still enjoys the car and it pops up at local car shows from time to time.

Taken a few years ago, now owned by Mike Aahl of Castro Valley, who has owned it for 25 plus years now. Mike has made a few changes to the car, including a stance adjustment, new white wall tires and steel wheels with 48 Ford hubcaps and beauty rings.
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Ron Brooks took this picture at a GoodGuys show a couple years ago.
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The George DuVall designed SoCalif Plating Shop hauler 1935 Ford was created in 1936. It might have been the inspiration for Joe to created his ’36 Ford.
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A ’36 Ford similarly restyled as the Joe Hocker Ford is the Tommy The Greek ’36 Ford. Often these two cars are mixed up. Joe’s Ford has stock fenders with running boards, four doors and had Olds bumpers, while Tommy’s Ford has reshaped fenders, removed running boards, skirts and Pontiac bumpers.
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Special thanks to John Canepa and Ron Brooks




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C. A. Hall Tops

 

HALL TOPS

 

When you lived in Northern California, and wanted a custom upholstery job or padded top created for your car, then you most likely ended up having the work done at C.A. Hall Auto Tops in Oakland.

 

When it comes to Custom upholstery and padded tops in California there are only a few shop names that pop¬†up. The most popular shop¬†was the Carson Top Shop on Vermont Ave. Los Angles. Shop employee Glen Houser developed a non folding padded top for an 1930 Ford in 1935. It was the birth of the Carson top, however it was named that until much later. Another big upholstery shop name was¬†Gaylord who started a little later in the 1940’s in Lynwood, not to far from the Barris Custom Shop.¬†In the early 1940’s the padded tops became very popular among the Hot Rod and Custom Car crowd, and not only in Southern California. In North California, the city of Oakland to be precise, there was a guy named Calvin A. Hall who had a auto top and upholstery business since 1925. When the Hot Rodders and Custom guys found out about the special tops and tuck & roll interiors done in So California they wanted to have those done more locally as well.


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The Hall Top Shop came to the rescue an Calvin quickly figured out how to do the padded tops and create the interiors the guys wanted. And business was booming for the shop. The C.A. Hall Tops shop was responsible for most the the padded tops created in the Nor California era. The Nor Cal builders like Harry Westergard, Dick Bertolucci, Gene Winfield and early one also the Barris Brothers who sill lived in Sacramento in the early 1940’s all took their Customs to the Hall shop for a¬†padded top or¬†custom upholstery. Hall never advertised as much as the Carson Top Shop, Gaylord, Runyan and others did. We have only found a ¬†few Hall ads in some early 1950’s Hot rod show programs, but not in any of the magazines. This most likely is one of the main reasons the Hall shop name never became¬†as popular in the rest of the country / world as¬†Carson or Gaylord.

This¬†and the fact that Oakland was to far away for the So Cal based magazines to do an article on the Hall Shop is the reason that there is rather little known about the Hall Top Shop. As far as we have been able to find out, nobody has ever really interviewed Calvin A. Hall about his Top Shop, so all his information is most likely lost. Since the Hall name was not as important, it might have been left out in many magazine Hot Rod and Custom Car features as well. The shop did turn out really great work, and customers often came back for an update, or with a new car in need of a padded top or custom upholstery. For this article we have collected a number of cars with Hall Tops shop padded tops and interiors. Special thanks goes out to Ron Brooks, who owns a 1940 Chevy custom created in the late 1940’s with a real and very rare Hall top. Ron has been collecting info and material on the Hall Top Shop ever since he owns his Chevy. Ron has been so kind sharing a lot of his info and photos with the Custom Car Chronicle.

 

CCC-ca-hall-tops-40-chevy-brooks-03When Ron found¬†his 1940’s restyled 1940 Chevy it still had the original Hall top on it including a very rare C.A. Hall Auto Tops interior tag.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-40-chevy-brooks-02Fred Creller created the 1940 Chevy¬†in the late 1940’s and had the interior and padded top done by Hall. This photo is from 1950. (Ron Brooks collection)
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-40-chevy-brooks-01These photos showing the top a little better were taken in 1959. (Ron Brooks Collection)
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About the Hall Tops Shop.

Calvin A. Hall¬†was born on December 11, 1901 in Mink Creek, Idaho to Andrew G. and Martha Lavine (Olsen) Hall, his father was born in Denmark, his mother in Utah, USA. In the early 1900’s the family moved from Idoha to Oakland, California. Calvin graduated from high school in 1918 and after having had a few small jobs he started to learn the trade of creating auto tops at¬†Victory Auto Painting and Top Co., at 901 E. 14th st., Oakland, Calif.

In 1925 Calvin A. Hall started his own business C.A. Hall and was located at 72nd and E. 14th, Oakland. CA. creating car tops. The small shop moved in 1927 to 901 E. 14th St. Oakland, CA. (the same shop is currently in use by Earl Scheib Paint & Body shop).
During WWII the Hall shop relocated to 3208 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, CA. The shop would remain on this location till it closed somewhere in 1965. The building is still standing today. Calvin A. Hall was married and had three children, none of them took over the shop, so when Calvin retired for the upholstery business the shop was closed. Calvin A. Hall passed away on January 28, 1979 at the age of 77.

 

CCC-ca-hall-tops-38-lincoln-01This photo of this amazing 1938 Lincoln Custom with Hall padded top was found on the walls of the former Hall shop on San Pablo Ave. (Ron Brooks Collection)
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-38-lincoln-02Close up on the really well shaped and proportioned Hall padded top.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-38-lincoln-03We are not sure if Hall also updated the interior in the 1938 Lincoln, but more than likely he did the cover on the rear.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-36-ford-max-ferrisThe weather in Nor Cal is not ¬†always as sunny and warm as in So Cal, so often Hall was instructed to create the chopped padded tops for roadsters, with side separate window curtains¬†to make sure the driver and passengers would stay as warm as possible. This top and window flaps/curtains was created for Max Ferris’s Harry Westergard restyled 1936 Ford roadster.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-g-barris-36-01George Barris created this 1936 Ford convertible as his own personal driver when he was working at the Browns Body shop and Harry Westergard in Sacramento. The padded top on the car was done by Hall in Oakland in a dark material.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-g-barris-36-02Close up of the Hall padded top which has seen better days. After the car was finished and painted George Barris took his 36 Ford¬†to Hall’s shop who re-covered it with white material.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-38-chevy-01Harry Westergard restyled Pittsburg Ca resident Sal Cacciola’s 1938 Chevy convertible in his typical nose up narrow grille style. Sal took the car to Hall for the padded top. Inset is one of the very few ads Hall’s Top Shop ever ran.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-40-mercuryThis is another photo that was found in the old Hall shop building. It is an unidentified 1940 Mercury with unique exhaust tips true the rear fenders. Hall was responsible for the padded top.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-41-Buick-paul-01Pierre Paul was a Custom Car builder from Oakland Ca, and he had the interior and padded top of his own personal 1941 Buick created by Hall.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-al-serpa-46-ford-02Gene winfield had his shop in Modesto California, and also used the Hall Top Shop quite a bit for his customer cars. This 1946 Ford was restyled by Gene in 1949 for owner Al Serpa. The traditional styled padded top was done by Hall. This photo was taken in 1950.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-benny-furtado-48-ford-01Gene Winfield also restyled this 1948 Ford for owner Benny Furtado during the same period as he did Al Serpa’s 1946 Ford. However Hall created a different style padded top for Benny’s Ford with open rear¬†quarter windows. Creating a much more open and light feel inside the car.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-herb-cattani-42buick-02Herb Cattani’s Custom 1942 Buick also received an Hall padded top with open rear quarter windows, creating a wonderful shape.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-herb-cattani-42buick-01A rare look at one of the Hall interiors in¬†Herb Cattani’s 1942 Buick shows a lot of soft leather tuck and rolls creating a very luxurious feel.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-47-caddy-sestito-01Dick Bertolucci from Sacramento restyled this 1947 Cadillac convertible for Tony Sestito. When it was time for the padded top and new interior the car was driven to Oakland for the full Hall treatment in 1953-54.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-47-caddy-sestito-02The latest trend then was to add full width wrap around plexiglass rear windows to the padded top. So that is what Hall created for Tony’s 1947 Cadillac. Close up of the wrap around rear window courtesy of Rod & Custom magazine.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-35-ford-02Hall created the padded top on Sil Moyano’s 1935 Ford Phaeton. This photo comes from a feature on the car in a 1973 Street Rodder magazine, and we have no idea when the padded top was created, but more than likely this one dated back into the 1940’s.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-35-ford-01The interior was done with relatively narrow tuck & roll in black, and the white top was also upholstered in black on the inside.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-invoiceHall’s Auto Tops invoice from the 1950’s with another rare ad from an July 1951 issue of Motor sports World.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-ad-01This ad was used in one the Oakland Roadster Show programs and shows an panoramic rear window padded top Hall created for a stock bodied Buick.
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Warren Gonzales 1950 Ford Convertible

Possibly the best publicity the Hall Auto Tops shop had for their interior and top work was with Warren Gonzales’s 1950 Ford Convertible. The shop worked on two versions of the car. The first time in 1953-54 they did a complete interior, and traditional styled padded top. The second time a year later they added more to the interior, to keep up with the demand for winning show points, and they redid the padded top in the latest trend with cantilever (over-hanging) rear portion. The July 1956 issue of Car Craft magazine had two color photos of the car on the cover, and four pages for the feature inside. The feature showed many photos of both the top and the wild interior.


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CCC-ca-hall-tops-gonzales-ford-03Warren’s 1950 Ford convertible was first done in a more conservative way with a “regular” style padded top created by Hall Auto Tops. The photo on the left is from the 1954 Oakland Roadster Show, and the one on the right from the 1955 show. By then the car had been completely redone with a wild interior and complete new cantilever padded top.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-gonzales-interior-02The color photo of the Hall Auto Tops created interior in Warren’s Shoebox must have had a lot of impact. The interior was done in three tone leatherette, dark green, white and soft green. The same soft green was also used on the second version top.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-gonzales-interiorC.A. Hall created the interior for Warren’s Shoebox with the latest in luxury in mind. The create a custom made semi-circle rear seat, which is divided by a large Hi-Fi radio speaker. On both sides of the bench a refreshment bar has been incorporated. A console has been created on the floor to house a small upholstered TV set. The seats back are reshaped both front and rear and are upholstered in a bolt design with rolls and pleats. The dashboard has been made “crash proof’ by adding padding and upholstery on the whole unit. The center was cut out to make space for a 45 rpm record player. A radio and Hi-Fi speaker have been installed in a custom build center console underneath the dash extending the front bench. The carpets are dark blue green and outlined with white trim.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-collageA few more samples of car with C.A. Hall Auto Tops  padded tops and or interiors.
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CCC-ca-hall-tops-building-2016This is how the former C.A. Hall Tops Shop building at 3208 San Pablo Avenue in Oakland, California looks today in 2016. (Google maps image)
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As mentioned in this article the amount of information on the Hall Top’s is limited. We have tried to gather as much information as possible and added as many photos that would mattered the most for this article. As always we would love to hear from you if you have any additional information about the Hall Auto Tops shop, or any cars that had the interior or tops created by this shop. If you have more info, please let us know, email Rik. We would love to add more info to this article and share it with Custom Car enthusiast from all over the globe. Thank you.

 

Resources

  • Ron Brooks
  • Coachbuilt.com,¬†Mark Theobald
  • Barris Kustoms Technique books.







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George Barris 36 Ford Coupe

 

GEORGE BARRIS 36 FORD COUPE

 

George Barris created his first full Custom, a 1936 Ford Coupe, while he still lived in Northern California and worked part time at Harry Westergard.

 
 
In the very early 1940’s George Barris, still in school, spend all his spare time he had at local body and fender shops. Looking at the craftsman repairing cars. George became well known¬†at¬†these places, and¬†after a while the guys at the shop started to¬†answer¬†all his questions and even showed him how to do the work. Eventually even letting him do some of the work. This is what really got George started. One of the shops he visited and the one he liked the best, was the small shop of Sacramento pioneer Custom Car builder Harry Westergard. George learned a great deal from Harry, and Harry allowed George to do a lot of work for him, and also let him work on his own car using the few tools he had in his shop.
 

CCC-george-barris-36-ford-coupe-02This is the only published photo we have been able to find of the George Barris 1936 Ford Coupe.
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The first real full custom George Barris created for himself was a 1936 Ford Coupe in 1941. It shows a typical Nor Cal style we often associate with as the Harry Westergard Style. Long, sleek, high small nose and a speed boat stance. We do not know much about this car, sadly only one photo of the car was ever published. The May 1953 issue of Hop Up magazine showed a very small photo of this very first George Barris full custom in the Barris Story article. We assume that at this time George did not take many photos, and possibly he only took this one snapshot of the car, when it was just finished. By the time the magazine article was done, in early 1953, the car was long sold and George most likely had no idea what ever happened to it.

The Ford sported a beautiful proportioned chopped top. George had removed the running boards, and hand shaped frame covers were added below the body to fill the gap where the running boards used to be. The back portion of the front fenders were extended where the holes for the running boards used to be and the lower portion completely reshaped. The front section of the rear fender was also filled in and covered with a stainless rock shield. The stock grille was removed and a new panel was either hand shaped from sheet metal, or possibly an early aftermarket part was used for this. The result was a narrow grille which made the front of the car look very tall. Stock bumpers were replaced with 1941 Ford units, and according the text in the Hop Up magazine modified the taillights and set in the license plate. The car was lowered with a nice speed-boat stance and the wheels were dressed up with single bar flipper hubcaps. A set of Spotlights was mounted on the A-Pillars and a large antenna –¬†big trend in those days – mounted on the cowl.

 

CCC-george-barris-36-ford-coupe-03The May 1953 Hop Up magazine The Barris Story is, as far as we know, the only time a photo and write up of George his 1936 Ford was published.
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[box_light]The text in the Hop Up magazine is not always accurate, and also on describing George his ’36 Ford they mention that the exterior handles were removed, while the photo shows clearly the door handles are still in place. Something quite common for the years the car was built, but when the article was written , 1953, it was more common to shave the complete cars.[/box_light]

 
George used his Coupe for daily transportation for some time, but he had always liked the more expensive convertibles better than coupes. He figured that when he would sell his finished coupe custom, he would have enough money to get a convertible as next project. And that is exactly what he did. The 36 Coupe changed hands and George bought a 1936 Ford convertible which he immediately started to restyle while he was still working part-time at Harry Westergard.
 

CCC-george-barris-36-ford-coupe-01Ron Brooks shared this photo taken in the mid 1940’s. the Coupe has been updated with a set of white wall tires an the ’41 Ford bumpers had been replaced with more elegant 1937 DeSoto units.
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A few years ago, Nor Cal Custom Car enthusiast¬†Ron Brooks¬†shared a few old photos from his collection and on one of the photos there was this same 1936 Ford Coupe again. This time it was updated with a set of wide white wall tire, and the bumpers had changed to 1937 DeSoto units. Sadly Ron had no info on the cars in the photo, only that the photo was taken in Northern California in the 1940’s. We are not sure if George Barris still owned the car at this time, or that it belonged to a new owner, who had bought it from George around 1942-43.

Although this 1936 Ford Coupe never really got much¬†publicity, we think it really is an Custom Car Icon… it is after all George Barris his first full Custom Car he created. It is the car that started his career. It would take a few more years, till 1948 to be exact, before George Barris would get the full recognition for the custom restyling he¬†was doing with his 1941 Buick Convertible. The publicity he got with that Buick made him well known in the whole country, and the business bloomed. But the 1936 Ford coupe in this article is what started it all, and the way it came out assured George would all be all-right!
 
 
 
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John Quintal 1956 Album

 

QUINTELL 56 ALBUM

 

Nor Cal Custom Enthusiast Ron Brooks has an amazing collection of Custom Car Historic material, and the great thing is, he loves to share it. This time Ron shares Swanx member John Quintals photo album pages from 1956 with us.

 

CCC-swanx-bannerThe original Swanx banner hand stiched in 1953. (From the Swanx Vallejo facebook page)
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Ron Brooks has shared some great material from Oakland Swanx Car Club member John Quintal 1956 Photo album with us. The scans were made of copied pages of this album, hence the bit blurry effect on some of the material. John created this album from the roads trips he, andhis fellow Swanx members made showing their cars in California. The photos shown here are all from 1956, and most of them come from the trip John and the guys made to Los Angeles when they visited the 1956 MotoRama show with their cars.

 

CCC-john-quintell-album-15The Oakland Swinx members…
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John Quintal owned a mildly customized in a nice 1940’s style¬†35 ford Roadster. There are no photos of John’s album at the LA Motorama show, so most likely he did not bring his own car to this event. The photo showing John’s Ford was taken at the 1959 Oakland Roadster Show, closer to home. Ron Brooks has heard many stories from the early/mid 1950’s Nor Cal car club members, and how they went on the road trip to the famous Los Angeles shows. Those trips where a real big deal back then. Hence the many snapshots taken, and the creation of the album. Lets take a closer look at some of the photos from John Quintal 1956 Album.

CCC-john-quintell-album-14Beautiful mild custom 1935 Ford owned by John Quintal at the 1956 Oakland show. The car has a chopped windshield, shaved handles, 1940 Olds bumpers and smooth hubcaps on white wall tires.
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CCC-john-quintell-album-18One of the pages of the album showing the guys in Hollywood, a car show vendor, and what appears to be a motel lobby.
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CCC-john-quintell-album-17Getting some new decals at on of the show vendors.
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CCC-john-quintell-album-02John’s album contained two photos of this really uniquely styled 1951 Studebaker at the LA MotoRama show.¬†Sadly there is no info given on who owned the car or who created it, and so far we also have not been able to find out anything about it. First time we have ever seen this car.
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CCC-john-quintell-album-06The almost track nose shaped grille opening fits really well with the shape of the front fenders. The hooded headlights and bumperettes all help to create a very unique Custom.
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CCC-john-quintell-album-07The Album also contained two photos of the 1946 Mercury Coupe the Valley Custom Shop guys created for Bob Hoshiko.
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CCC-john-quintell-album-03The pink, white and dark gray 1941 Ford the Barris Kustom Shop created for Frank Monteleon is part of the Barris Kustoms Display wall in 1956.
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CCC-john-quintell-album-04Swanx member Ted Leventhal¬†posing with his¬†1950 Chevrolet convertible that was restyled by Emory Robinson’s Custom Shop. Mel Pinoli’s Body & Paint Shop added the green Candy Apple paint in 1955. Which is also known as the very first car painted in a transparent color which would later be known as as Candy Apple.
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CCC-john-quintell-album-05The gang “Swanx”. It looks like a few of the girl-friends or wife’s also joined the guys to Los Angeles.
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CCC-john-quintell-album-08Barris Kustoms restyled Cadillac Lemans show car. The listed value of $52,000 must have made a huge impact on John.. and most likely many people in 1956. Thats the Barris Wild Kat Pick up in the background.
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CCC-john-quintell-album-10John also included this snapshot of George Barris driving a Barris Kustoms painted midget on the same page which showed the Cadillac Lemans., although the markings indicate the photo was taken at a different show in Monterey, sadly we cannot read the year in the top right corner.
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CCC-john-quintell-album-11John’s album also included a number of photos from Hot Rod’s he liked included this ’22 T from Norm Grabowki. The “Lightning Bug” version. (marked as a 27, thanks Marcus Edell for the info)
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CCC-john-quintell-album-12The Sport Car and Fiberglass section of the show.
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CCC-john-quintell-album-13The guys getting some rest in the Worlds Most Comfortable chairs.
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CCC-john-quintell-album-19The album also included this full color post car from the TAPKITS company, showing Johnny Johnson’s 1951 Kaiser custom. Possibly a souvenir taken from the show.
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CCC-john-quintell-album-16The guys at the 1956 MotoRama show in front of the famous NHRA Trailer.
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Manny thanks to John Quital for creating this great Album and Ron Brooks for scanning and sharing it with us.
 
 
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Pre War 38 Lincoln Custom

 

EXQUISITE 1938 LINCOLN

 

This exquisite padded topped 38 Lincoln Custom was restyled when the car was very new, perhaps even straight from the dealer. It has this wonderful early Custom Car look, a look fortunately getting back in style these days.

 
Some time ago I was in the progress of gathering material on an article about the removal of the running boards on early Custom Cars. I was researching the subject with some of the the photos I have in my files. I was planning to include a photo of this very nice 1938 Lincoln convertible, but since this car is such an amazing beautiful restyled car I decided to not include it in that article, but do a full CCC-Feature on the car. Not that I do know a whole lot about the car, but just because it is absolutely stunning and hopefully an full article might be noticed by more people, and hopefully one day we will be able to know more about this car. Let me share what I do know about this exquisite 1938 Lincoln.
 
 
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Several years ago, Ron Brooks from Castro Valley, North California, send me a couple of photos of some¬†very early Custom Cars. Ron had received some of them them in the 1990’s from an retired fireman who knew Ron was into Customs, and particular into Custom Cars with an C.A. Hall Top Shop padded top. You see, Ron owns an old Custom, a 1940 Chevy convertible with an original Hall top. The retired fireman came across these photos when he was in the old Hall shop, where he found this stack of old photos, which happend to be all Hall topped Custom Cars from the very early 1940’s. Ron has tried, but never was able to find out anything else about this Lincoln.
 

CCC-38-lincoln-early-custom-08aSome of the photos Ron Brooks shared with me several years ago. Very nice early to late 1940’s Custom Cars in a clean early style I very much admire.
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CCC-38-lincoln-early-custom-01The first photo I saw was this amazing side view. What appears to be a photo taken by a professional photographer. Perhaps hired by the car owner, or possibly by the Hall Top shop to be able to use for promotional matters. The side view is stunning, with the chopped windshield, the removal of the running boards, the perfect stance and the wonderfully shaped rock shield on the rear fenders.
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CCC-38-lincoln-early-custom-05When I mentioned to Ron that I liked the ’38 Lincoln so much, he send me another one he had. This one taken from an higher point of view and with the top removed. Ron mentioned¬†that¬†the eucalyptus trees in the background have a¬†distinctive¬†Oakland/East Bay hills look!
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About the Lincoln

As mentioned in the into there is not really all that much we do know about this¬†beautiful¬†car.¬†We have no¬†name of the owner, no builders name other than that the car most likely had a padded top created by the Hall Top Shop in Oakland California. We also¬†do not know what ever happened to it. At first all we had¬†where two¬†amazing photos shared by Ron. But then in 2012,¬†Dave Welles of Seabright Hot Rods shared some amazing 1940’s footage taken at¬†Harper Dry Lake taken by his uncle Tommy Lorbeer with his brand new 8mm camera. The short movie¬†itself is already amazing, but when I watched it I got goose bumps when I saw this wonderful 1938 Lincoln with padded top cruise by over the dry lake. I recognized the car immediately… That is the same one as Ron send me, the one with the Hall top on it.¬†I took a few screen shots¬†to compare the two, and it sure was the same car. So now we knew that the Lincoln was a very early Custom, and that it was built between 1938 and 1940. The car appears only for a second or two in the movie footage… but it is amazing to see it driving. And even better is that we can see it a little from the front as well. Although very blurry we can see that it has a modified grille.

 
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CCC-38-lincoln-movie-still-01Movie still from the Tommy Lorbeer movie shows a modified grille in the Lincoln. Its hard to tell from this material if the grille was home made (quite common in those days) or if an exciting grille was used.
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The car has been restyled with on main goal in mind, improving its looks over the factory stock look. Not just to modify it to stand out from the rest of the cars. We have seen similar restyling done by shops as Jimmy Summers, Bistange brothers, Olive Hill carage, but also by shops specialized in coach building more exclusive cars. So my guess is that this Lincoln was brought to one of the Nor Cal coach building shops for an exclusive restyling.
 

CCC-38-lincoln-early-custom-02I added these cropped sections of the photo to be able to take a closer look at the details. Possibly the car was dressed up with a set of Vogue wide white wall tires.
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CCC-38-lincoln-early-custom-03The rear fender rock shield is very nicely shaped, and the shape of the padded top is perhaps a bit more upright than we are used to from the later part of the 1940’s, but it fits this Lincoln absolutely perfect.
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CCC-38-lincoln-early-custom-06This photo shows the horizontal grille bars in the custom grille.
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The modifications we can see in the photos are all extremely well done, and in style with the rest of the cars line. Chopped windshield, very nicely shaped padded top, removal of the running boards, with an molded in panel to cover the exposed frame after the running boards where removed. Removed side tim, removed hood side trim. nicely shaped stainless or chrome plated rock shield on the rear fender, front fender reshaped at the back. Modified grille, one of Ron’s photos shows that the grille has horizontal bars, perhaps a 1940 Willys grille was used, but it could also be possible that a new smaller grille was hand shaped and chrome plated.The car was lowered all around and set on nice shaped wide white wall tires with single bar flipper hubcaps and beauty rings. The bumper at the front looks to be stock, but the shadow on the side view photo indicates that the rear bumper might have been replaced with an 1940 Lincoln unit which has the opened-up center section.

I have been able to find one other photo of a 1938 Lincoln that has similar modifications done to it. I do not think its the same car, but the resemblance of the two is striking. I found the photo online a few years ago, and compared it with the photos Ron shared right then. But this car has the stock grille, and an different shaped padded top and the stock trim still in place, and not stainless rock shield on the rear fenders (perhaps a rubber one, hard to tell). Perhaps the car in this photo could be an early version of the Lincoln taken in 1938-39. But more than likely there where two, and perhaps more of these that had similar styling.
 
CCC-38-lincoln-early-custom-07Most likely a different 1938 Lincoln Custom with pretty similar changes than the Lincoln in the Ron Brooks photos. The black wall’s indicate that the photo was taken during or shortly after WWII.
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Hopefully this CCC-Article will lead to some more information about the origins of this well designed masterpiece. A beautifull car like this must have been noticed back then, and some people must know more about it. Even the camera man of that 1940 dry lake movie noticed its beauty. If you know more, please email Rik, so that we can add the info to this article. Many thanks go out to Ron Brooks for saving and sharing these amazing images.
 
 
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Sal Cacciola Westergard Chevy

 

SAL CACCIOLA WESTERGARD CHEVY

 

This great looking 1938 Chevy Custom Convertible was built by Harry Westergard in the late 1940’s for Sal Cacciola from Pittsburg CA.



In 2009 James Bauwer send me some photos of an interesting grave stone he came across one day. The photos he emailed me showed a very nicely customized 1938 Chevy apperently once owned by John Sal Cacciola who passed away in June 1950. It was the first time I heard about this car or the owner, I had no idea about its famous origins.

Three years later Ron Brooks send me a couple of 1940’s custom car photos and included were two photos of a 1938 Chevy convertible. I recognized it immediately and knew it had to be the same car as on the grace stone. Now I was intrigued. The only thing Ron knew about the car was that the photos came from the Pittsburg, CA. area.
With this new material of this car and knowing were Sal had lived, I had a feeling the car could have been built by legendary customizer Harry Westergard. But at this time this remained only an hunch.



CCC-sal-cacciola-38-chevy-04Frank DeRosa shared these three small snapshot he had of Sal’s 1938 Chevy with the CCC.
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I contacted Gina DeRosa (daughter of famous Custom Car builder Frank DeRosa) since I knew they came from that part of California. I asked if she could see if here father, Frank, could identify the car. A day later Gina confirmed my initial thoughts that this was indeed a Harry Westergard original. Frank DeRosa immediately recognized it as his old friends Sal Cacciola‘s 1938 Chevy.

CCC-Sal_Cacciola_1938 Chevy01This was the first photo Ron Brooks shared and that got the whole identification process going. What an amazing photo.
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Frank De Rosa mentioned: In 1946 Sal took his 1938 Chevy Convertibleto Harry Westergard to have him built a unique custom in his well knows teardrop style. Harry modified the hood to accept a Packard grille, he made solid and smooth hood sides. A particular nice touch was when Westergard molded a set of 1940 Chevy headlights into the fenders which now visually extends the cowl/door character line all the way up to the grille.
Westergard chopped the windshield and had Hall Tops of Oakland CA. create the padded top. Westergard installed the spotlights, the foglights and a set of 1941 Oldmobile bumpers which he apparently liked very much since he used them on several of his customs. The spare tire cover was repositioned, placed a bit lower and at a slightly steeper angle to flow better with the rear of the car.


CCC-Sal_Cacciola_1938 Chevy02Profile photo shows the beautiful lines of the Chevy. The Chevy headlight line beautifully matches the Chevy character line on the cowl. Creating an optical fade away feel.
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CCC-Sal_Cacciola_1938 Chevy03 The Tombstone photo James Bauwer send me in 2009 that shows Sal’s really great looking Chevy. At that point I thought it was a 1937 model. It was clear to me that not to long after that photo of Sal with his Custom Convertible he must have passed away.
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CCC-sal-cacciola-38-chevy-05Sal’s Chevy as part of a collage in Frank De Rosa’s workshop.¬†
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Friends and competitors
The sad story is that the owner of the car died in another custom car – a 1946 Cadillac – on June 25th 1950, while driving the Santa Cruz mountains. Frank DeRosa knew Sal very well, they where friends (and competed in creating the best looking custom in the area). Frank was at Sal’s funeral in 1950.

We have no idea what happened to Franks wonderful Chevy since then. Sal’s family is looking to find the car, or more information about its current whereabouts. We have been in contact with the family, and sadly there is not much more known about the Chevy than what has been written in this article. Still we hope that one day they will be able to find some more photos of the car in the family photo albums. Or even better find out what ever happened to this wonderful Harry Westergard restyled 1938 Chevy.



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