Overman Lincoln to be Restored

 

OVERMAN LINCOLN to be RESTORED

 

The Valley Custom Shop restyled Ina Mae Overman 1952 Lincoln surfaced around 2006. In April 2018 the Custom was shipped to Manns Restorations for a full Restoration.


In early April 2018 we received an email from Larry Gesiakowski, that the Ina Mae Overman, Valley Custom Shop restyled 1952 had found a new home, and was set out to be restored by Manns Restorations in St Louis. We know it must have been very hard for Larry to part with the Valley Custom Shop Lincoln, since he had looked forward to do a complete restoration on the car himself in his own WGM Auto shop in Chicago, Illinois. Larry had the plan to do the restoration ever since he bought the car back in 2008, but sometimes life just gets in the way, and plans have to be adjusted along the way. The car had been in very good hands with Larry, and it was stored indoors, and well taken care off. But Larry also knew that it really needed to be restored. So for some time the car had been offered for sale.

The new owner plans to do a full restoration to the final gold version created by the Valley Custom Shop. This is the most logic version to restore the car back to,since all the modifications done to the car as it sits now was done by the Valley Custom Shop crew, and it would be a shame to take off some of that work to turn it back to the earliest version. The new owner selected Manns Restorations to do the restoration work. Manns has recently done an absolutely beautiful job restoring the Sam Barris 1950 Buick for Kurt McCormick, and at the moment they are working on the Dick Fowler, Barris Custom Shop created 1938 Ford Coupe, and they also have the Barris Jim Seaton 1955 Chevy for an overhaul in the shop.

We will be following the restoration process at the Manns Restoration Shop on the Custom Car Chronicle Forum, and update with photos and news as often as we can. For more information and photos of the history of the Ina Mae Overman 1952 Lincoln, check out the Three Part Story we did on the car a few years ago.

Loading the Lincoln into the Manns Restorations trailer at Larry Gesiakowski’s shop.
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The three versions of the Overman Lincoln, the last version, painted gold, is how the car will be restored to again.
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Arrived safely at the Manns Restoration Shop in Saint Louis.
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Original photos of how the restored car will look again.









Follow the restoration process on the CCC-Forum









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Ray Vega 1938 Ford

 

RAY VEGA 1938 FORD

 

Especially because of the 1952 Hop Up Magazine cover, the Ray Vega 1938 Ford sedan Convertible is one of the best known Valley Custom Shop created Custom Cars.



The Ray Vega 1938 Ford was created in 1951-52 by the Neil Emory and Clayton Jensen at their Valley Custom Shop. The car was based on an older style car for the time, and over a period of time restyled into a wonderful Classic Custom. A full Custom that retained a lot of the sharp details and chrome details in a time that shaving and molding were the trend of the day. The perfect blend of ’38, ’40 and ’47 Ford parts show the creativity and sense of style the Valley Custom Shop became known for at its very best. A Classic Custom was born, and the beautiful full color photo on the May 1952 issue of Hop Up magazine made is one of the all time favorite and best known Valley Custom Shop created Customs. Fortunately the car has survived, and has been restored with some personal touches by Tony Handler who has owned the car since the early 1960’s.




Before the team at the Valley Custom Shop would create a masterpiece of this 1938 Ford 4-door convertible it was first restyled by Art Williams of Burbank, California. Art sold the unfinished project to another Burbank resident, Ray Vega before he moved out of Burbank. Ray had heard many good things about the Valley Custom Shop in Burbank, so he took it to this shop to see if they could finish the work on the ’38, and create his dream Custom for him.


The Ray Vega 1938 Ford on the cover of the May 1952 issue of Hop Up magazine… a work of art. Both the car and the cover design.
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Ray bought the ’38 Ford partially finished as a basically stock bodied custom in 1951. The majority of the work done to the car was performed at the Valley Custom Shop. The body of the ’38 Ford was channeled a full 5 inches over the ’38 Ford frame, allowing the body to sit nice and low, but still have all the body handling of an original car. The front fenders, hood and hood sides were removed and replaced with the front of an 1940 Ford Deluxe. Including part of the cowl. To make the ’40 Ford front fenders work with the older body, as well as with the 5 inch channel the fenders were raised 5 inches and the hood was sectioned the same amount.

Carson Top Shop Ray VegaMy personal favorite angle on the Ray Vega Ford is this rear quarter view. Everything flows so wonderfully together, and has been designed like it should have come from the factory this way. The heavier ’47 Ford bumpers suit the car very well, and despite they are mounted 5 inches higher compared to the lower body line, they still look perfectly in line with everything else.
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The hood was welded together (stock 1940 hoods are made of two separate half’s which are bolted together in the middle and the seam is hidden by a stainless strip.) to become a single unit. The center trim piece was removed and a nice subtle peak was added. The belt-line on the sides of the ’40 Ford hood did not match the cowl of the ’38 Ford, so it was completely hammered out, for a much smoother look. With the front fenders now raised up into the their new location, the lower rear section of the front fender had to be extended with 5 inches, to compensate for the fenders new height, compared to the running boards. They used a second set of front fenders to add this extra 5 inch and then they replaced the stock ’38 running boards with a set of ’40 Ford running boards to perfectly blend the ’38 and ’40 ford parts together.
The ’38 Ford rear fenders remained in the stock position. And were later outfitted with FoMoCo aftermarket teardrop fender skirts. The stock taillights were replaced with low mounted 1941 Studebaker units.

This Hop Up magazine photo shows how nice the chrome beading looks around the rear fenders, enhancing the shape of the fender, the fender skirt and the side trim. the ’41 Studebaker taillight were mounted low of the rear fenders, just above the ’47 Ford bumpers. The reshaped to fit ’49 Chevy license plate cover makes it all look like it belonged that way.
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Close up of the rear of the car with the FoMoCo teardrop skirts, just the right amount of white wall tire showing underneath it, the beautifully shaped Carson padded top. It also shows that the rear bumper is sitting higher than the lower edge of the rear fender.
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Beautiful look at the modified 1940 Ford hood. How it was sectioned to fit the higher position of the ’40 Ford front fenders, hoe it was made into one piece with the peak added to the center, which matches the windshield divider perfectly. Not the special tarp that was made to cover the rear portion of the interior.
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To make sure the lowered car could still be driven as a daily driver with only a little more effort than a regular car, the Valley Custom Shop crew decided to keep the bumper mounts in the stock position compared to the frame, which was 5 inches higher compared to the bottom of the body due to the channeling.  Doing this had 3 advantages; 1 it allowed the car to enter much steeper drive ways due to more space in front and behind the fenders. 2 It protected the body much better from other cars with regular height bumpers. 3 the car looked less low than it was, making sure the cops did not pick it out that easy to ticket it for being too low. The stock bumpers were replaced with more modern and bulbous 1947 Ford unit, including their bumper guards. At the rear a ’49 Chevy license plate surround was modified to fit the Ford bumper.

The ’38 Ford windshield was chopped 3 inches, and the side window frames were treated the same way. All exterior door handles as well as the one on the trunk were removed for the desired smooth look. On the inside the ’38 Ford dash was replaced with a ’40 Ford Dash, the steering column, which was chrome plated, and wheel from the ’40 were also used. The finished body work was primed and the team at Valley Custom Shop painted the car in a deep Ruby Maroon paint, including the dash

Ray Vega showing the car to a lady friend.
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So far this has been the only photo we have been able to find of the Ray Vega Ford exhibited at an indoor show. this photo taken by a Life magazine photographer was taken at the 5th Hot Rod Show, held in the Los Angeles National Guard Armory on April 24-27, 1952. Interesting to see is that the doors of the car were opened, to show off the beautiful leather interior.
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Ray Vega was also invited in one of the Valley Custom Shop created car gatherings. Notice that both cars in the front had similar aftermarket hubcaps… one of the Valley Custom Shop trademarks.
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Parked behind the sectioned Ron Dunn 1950 Ford Coupe.
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A closer look at the front shows the place 5 inch higher ’40 Ford front fender. The rear of the front fender was extended down 5 inches to fill the gap to the Running board. The running boards were replaced with 1940 Ford units to nicely integrate the ’38 and ’40 components. The cowl and hood sides were modified with the belt line removed for an more modern look.
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Then the car was taken to the Carson Top Shop for the white padded top, custom made to fit the 3 inch chopped windshield which gave the car a beautiful low, and elegant classic look. For when Ray wanted to drive the car with the top off, they fabricated a canvas tarp in matching material to cover and protect the rear seat. After the body had been channeled over the frame 5 inches the seat tops were now higher than the belt-line, so the base of the seat was cut down three inches to solve this problem. The door garnish moldings were chrome plated. Ray’s mother hand-tooled natural brown oak tanned Mexican leather sections to be used on the seat tops to give the car a very luxurious feel. The interior was then completely upholstered in the same natural brown leather in wide tuck & roll pattern at the L & L Upholstery shop in Glendale, Ca. A shop the Valley Custom Shop used frequently on their car. The end result was an really spectacular interior, and very different from anything else created at the time.

Finishing touches on the car were added, including wide white wall tires with after market ribbed hubcaps fitted to 16″ wheels. Those hubcaps are a Valley Custom trademark, and they were used on many of the cars coming out of this shop. In contrast to a lot of the full custom cars created at the time, Ray’s ’38 Ford did not have fully molded fenders, instead they used chrome beading to finish the fender to body gap. Another touch that made Ray’s Ford look very elegant, and Classic.

The stunning photo from the Hop Up Cover showing the hand tooled leather interior and how its color wonderfully contrasted with the Ruby Maroon paint.
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From the Hop Up magazine article comes this photo showing the beautifully created interior with the hand tooled seat tops created by Ray’s mother. It also shows the chrome plated garnish moldings, and chrome plated ’40 Ford steering column.
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Close up of the hand tooled natural brown oak tanned Mexican leather.
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L & L stitched the hand tooled leather together with the rest to create the beautiful and classic interior in Ray’s Ford.
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Ray owned the car for some time after it was finished and entered it in a few show, where it did very well. The highlight for Ray, as well as for the Valley Custom Shop concerning this ’38 Ford was it was on the cover of the May 1952 issue of Hop Up magazine in full color, and inside with a 3 page feature in beautiful sepia. Personally I feel that this May 1952 cover of Hop Up Magazine is one of the most stunning Custom Car cover ever done. I really wish that the original color slide taken by Jerry Chesebrough would surface again, and be used in a modern publication or online so that we can see the cars real color.

Ray’s Ford was pretty low, as this side view shows, but the fact that the bumpers were still in the stock position on the frame, and not dropped 5 inches to match the channeling made the car appear much higher from the front and rear. Take a good look at the beautiful shape of the Carson Top.
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This front 3/4 view shows the effect of the bumper left in stock position on the frame, but 5 inches higher compared to the body (due to the channeling). It makes the car look sectioned from this angle. The ’47 Ford bumpers look so good with the car. And the peak on the hood adds just enough sharpness to the smoothed hood.
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New owners

After some time Ray sold the car but it was kept like it was by the new owner. At some point after 1957 some sailors were driving the car in Palmdale, California and wrecked it pretty bad on the front left. It was so badly damages that the car ended up in a wrecking yard in Pearblossom (Hwy 138) near Elmo. Tony Handler found the Ray Vega ’38 Ford in the same wrecking yard in the mid 60’s. The car was mostly there, even some of the tooled leather interior was still there. The rear fenders had been modified to accept large and wider rear tires, indicating the car was used at the drags at one point.

Pat Ganahl took this photo of the Vaga Ford when Tony Handler owned it in the early 1970’s. A lot of work had already been done on the car, but it would taken to around 2014 before the car was completed.
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In 1970 the car still had the cut out rear fenders, and was even running the tall slick rear tires. The bumpers are missing, and the license plate was mounted on the trunk.
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The damage that was done to the front left side of the car in the later part of the 1950’s was completely fixed by the time John Williamson took this photo in 1970.
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Restored

Tony Handler worked on the car at his shop over the years, planning to do a full restoration. And make some personal updates at the same time. From the beginning he planned on doing the car in all black. In the late 1970’s Tony had the car back on the road, in primer, still with the cut out rear fenders, no rear bumper and a set of nerf bar bumpers on the front, wire wheel and black wall tires. It would take Tony several more decades to get the car all completed, and in 2014 he took it to the Grand National Roadster Show when it was nearly completed. The Padded top was still missing, but the next year he would return, and now the car was all completed.

Tony had updated the car with a few personal touches, or perhaps we should say backdated. The tan hand tooled interior was to far gone to be restored, so he had to replace it. At one point he decided that the car would become all black, so the interior was also redone in black. And so was the padded top, once white, now completely redone in black giving the car a completely different look. Tony also added a set in license plate in the trunk, replaced the ’40 Ford headlights with thinner ’39 Ford bezels. And  replaced the ’47 Ford bumpers with thinner ’40 Lincoln units. The completely restored body was painted a super deep high gloss black.

It appears to me that Tony had backdated the car, because that is what I feel with the version Tony has created with this car. Almost like an earlier version of the car created in the early 1940’s, with the thinner Lincoln bumpers, and the set in license plate. It almost looks like the car, the way it looks now, is a pre Ray Vega version… a version that never excited.

I was extremely excited when Jeff Neppl send me some photos from the 2014 GNRS set up day showing the almost finished Ray Vega  1938 Ford at the show. I had heard the car would be at the show, painted black, and it looked superb. Although I still had hoped a little bit that the car would have been restored back to how we all know it best, from the 1952 Hop Up Magazine cover. Still it is amazing the car survived and has been restored and reworked, perhaps to an earlier version of the Ray Vega Ford.
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New for this version of the car are the set in license plate in the trunk, the modified 1940 Lincoln bumpers, the flush fender skirts, ’39 Ford headlight bezels, all black paint and new interior.
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The 1940 Ford steering wheel was replaced with an ’39 Ford Banjo steering wheel with matching black painted column. The new all black interior does have a nice vintage feel.
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Later the padded top was finished and added to the car. The padded top was, just as the rest of the car done all in black.
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The next year GNRS the all black padded top was finished and the car was now completed.
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Tony added flush skirts to the new version of the ray Vega Ford.
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New black interior and black headliner in the padded top.
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Original show card for the Ray Vega ’38 Ford.
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The John Williamson Stories

John Williamson has been a huge fan of the Ray Vega 1938 Ford since 1954 when he was around 12 years old. He has been trying to acquire the original car for many years, and when this failed he decided to build a semi clone of it, which is currently underway. Lets take a look at a few stories John shared with us about the Ray Vega Ford.

“When I was 12 or 13 two guys brought the car to my Verdugo Hills High School in Tujunga California. It was in perfect shape like the color shot on the May 1952 Hop Up cover. The guys were older Seniors sitting real low and both had Rayban sun glasses on; Mike Burgman and Mike Fitsgerold, for me it was the COOLEST THING I ever saw! Those guys that car at that time when cars were the most important thing to kids it was around 1954. Mike Burgman and some others would cruise the school parking lot in it, which is where I got hooked on it. The School was Verdugo Hills High School (VHHS) in Tujunga Ca. It was pretty notorious, some kids in the OWLS Car Club once stole the Hirohata Merc from the Oasadena car lot and took it to school. They got caught and the car was returned to the car lot owner where the current owner bought it. The guy who took it was Merrell Morland an OWL.”

“After that the car sat in Mike Bergmans front lawn for a long time maybe a couple of months and it was near the school on the street I had to walk to get to school so I’d stop and hang on the fence and look at it almost every morning dreaming of how cool it’d be to own it drive it and get in the back seat with my girl and make out. I didn’t even have a girl yet I was so young, it was just something to dream about. About 1956 or 57 I was with a friend Tom Hutton and we went out to his Dads house in Reseda to visit and the car was sitting there under a tree out in the weather being stored. Toms dad was a policeman in Hollywood and we were going to see him to ask him to help us get out of a scrape we were in so I wasn’t so focused on the car but I knew that was it.”

“20 Years later I went to the first or second Throttlers Picnic at Val Halla Park in Burbank and there was the car running and driving but looking bad. I tried to buy it but Tony was not interested in selling it, he told me that he bought it for $7 from a junk yard in Palmdale California. Later I was talking to someone who was a friend of Tony’s and that guy gave me Tony’s phone no. and I’d call and try to buy it every couple of years.”

“Years later in the 80’s I worked with Clay Jensen one of the two Valley Custom Shop guys who built the car originally and he was so nice to share all his pictures with me in a 3 ring binder he had. The Hop Up black and white photos were in there along with all the others of cars he and Neil Emory built.”

The first time in many years John saw the Ray Vega Ford again was in 1970 at the Throttlers Picnic at Val Halla Park in Burbank. The car looked pretty rough, but most of it was still there.
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“I got into 36 and 37 Cords and bought a truck load of Cord stuff from two old retired ladies in Pasadena. Several engines, transmissions, front drives, fenders and a hood for $400. It took me 2 or 3 trips in my 50 Chevy Pickup to bring all the stuff home. I had bought a burned Cord and a second Cord with no running gear and was working to put those cars together when I found a nice Cord for a steal price and bought it so I had a good Cord Custom Beverly that I was driving and I decided to advertise my extra Cord stuff in the Recycler news paper. Tony called me to ask about the Cord stuff because he was fixing one up for his girlfriend Margot. When they got to my house I recognized him and tried to trade him all my Cords for the tub and again he said no, he was going to keep it. That was very dumb of me but I was just nuts for the tub.”

“About 2010 I went to see Ray Vega at one of his restaurants we made an appointment to see him and my friend Tony Velloza and I went and took Ray a copy of Pat Ganhal’s The American Custom Car book, so he could see how important his car was. Ray was a very big guy in Nevada politics and was real nice to visit that day. He told us that his ’38 tub was the only Custom car or Hot rod he ever owned and that his Mom who had a restaurant a on Olvera St in L.A. had hand carved the seat backs and bottoms in a traditional pattern that was used on Mexican purses. They are still being sold there as traditional Mexican purses today.”

“I got an estimate from a lady who does that leather carving now and she told me to do 2 seat tops it would be $1500, that was about 10 years ago. The next time I saw the car Tony had finished it. I had been telling Tony that I was working on a new tub that would be like his Original Ray Vega car but he had more resources and by now he has finished Ray’s car…. I’m still working on mine and am happy to be able to drive it after about 5 years of working to build it from parts and pieces. I have the Ruby Maroon Paint to paint it with.”

John Williamson’s 1939 Ford based project that will be a tribute to the Ray Vega 1938 Ford.
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Special thanks to John Williamson and Gary Emory.


(This article is made possible by)

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Neferteri Part Eight

 

NEFERTERI Part Eight

 

Herein, our Forrest Gump embarks on a quixotic crusade in search of elements from the Golden Age of the Classics.



Larry Pointer found himself a survivor of Y2K, retired, a widower, and a more or less empty nester.  He needed a project.  In this series, he shares his passion for all things “Streamline Moderne”, and how it all turned into a 13-year labor of love, to create “Neferteri“, his custom Diamond T truck.

By Larry Pointer with Rik Hoving


Neferteri, Part Eight

Forlorn is about the best could be said of my 1936 Diamond T grille shell. No Art Deco waterfall grille in shiny stamped sheet metal graced its open maw. But that’s not a bad thing. Frankly, I wasn’t a fan of that historic hiccup, before the Cadillac of trucks morphed its face for the Forties into a 1938 Buick on steroids. The 1936-37 grillework definitely was Art Deco, but more like the face of a drive-in speaker than any rolling sculpture.

From left to right; 1937 Diamond T, 1938 Buick grille, 1948 Diamond T grille 
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Drive-in Speakers, common items for those who crew up with the drive-in theater’s. (many younger viewers never have seen a drive-in movie.  Sad)
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Instead, I had borrowed Gordon Buerhrig’s 1935 facelift for the struggling Auburn flagship to grace my own Art Deco dream. What better streamline concept truck than a marriage between Auburn and Diamond T? For help in scale and proportion, I threw myself on the tender mercies of the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum. There, archivist Jon Bill came to my aid. With stretched dimensions in hand, I was off and running. I had the WHAT of what I needed; the HOW still continued to elude me.

Original 1936 Diamond T grille shell I started with.
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1935-36 Auburn grille…
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Example of grille surround created from large diameter tubing by Barris Kustoms on the left and using some smaller diameter tubing by the Valley Custom Shop used on Jack Stewart’s Oldsmobile “Polynesian”.
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If George and Sam Barris and the Valley Custom boys could create their grille surrounds in exhaust tubing, it was the way forward for me. First though, I needed an inexpensive mock-up. Quite by accident I discovered the cardboard tubing inside Christmas wrapping rolls was exactly the same diameter! And a lot cheaper to whack into the required lengths, angles, and curves I envisioned. Once it was laid out and adjusted to the Diamond T height and width, I was ready for Darryn Waldo to pass over the real steel for cutting and ticky-tacking.

Christmas wrap tube on the left turned out ideal to mock up my new grille surround before I bought the actual metal tubing and had it bend in shape. On the right you can see the roughed in exhaust tubing clamped to front of my Diamond T shell.
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The handsome expanded stainless screen of bygone days was no more. Scott Clark showed me an alternative, though. And it stood literally in my face on a daily basis as I went in and out of his shop. The behemoth Peterbilt tractor-trailer rigs sported a frontal grillework that was almost a dead ringer for that sported by the Auburn boat-tail speedster. After a few visits to repair shops and salvage yards, I was able to score one that hadn’t played block and tackle against a four-legged foe, or worse.

Peterbilt truck with the stainless screen I used in building my “Auburn” grille. The Kenworth truck on the right shows the style of bars and “teeth” I carved down for my grille.
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The center bar and teeth I was able to clone from yet another 18-wheeler. This time the vertical aluminum grille bars of a Kenworth. It didn’t take long for me to gain a deep appreciation for the values of an open faced file, in the task of whittling down the pieces for the three cross bars of the Auburn’s trademark dental work.

Buzz Franke studying the bare shell and how to incorporate the new panels and exhaust tubing surround. On the right photo we can see Buzz Franke forming a template for bottom of the shell.
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The finished tubing grille surround now tacked to the 37 Diamond T shell.
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Yet, that all turned out to be the easy part. The Auburn’s vertical face was straight, and raked back to a jaunty angle. Jaunty hardly described the bulbous bustle nose of the Diamond T shell. Buzz Franke stepped in to direct the match-up of this odd couple. His studied eye in fabrication was a clinic in customizing, a privilege I never will forget, rest his soul. Finally, to achieve the crowning touch, Ron Tesinsky drug out his English wheel to create the cap of the structure. It came out much like a big brother to the iconic 32 Ford grille shell, as well as that of Buehrig’s classic Auburn.

Close up of the lower grille section, piecing together the shell with the tubing. On the right Buzz with partner Jerry Lafountain checking alignments.
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Lower piecework, adapting tubing to original grille shell on the left and on the right the Grille is now ready for fabrication of top of shell.
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Shaped rod clamped in place to determine form of top of shell, followed by Paper templates in place for shaping top of grille shell.
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Ron Tesinsky with completed grille shell, bare metal. Ron shaped all the sheet metal on the grille surround with English wheel. On the right, grille back home on stand.
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I was so proud of what we had done, I built a stand for our bare metal “sculpture”, and stood it in my bedroom.

Until…., well… Two years later Dotti and I were married. It was no contest. Neferteri moved out to the shop. A girl thing, I think.





Fast forward to 2013. That bucket list we all carry. Wishful thinking. Without Dotti, much of my bucket list only would have remained a “woulda, coulda, shoulda” wish list. Dotti was on family history quest, and we planned out a trip, retracing back her family’s migration West to Montana. Well, along the route through Indiana…umm, almost on the way…was Auburn, and the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum. After a short detour, I found myself standing in front of that very Mecca of Classic Car celebrants. Soon, I was shaking hands with Museum archivist Jon Bill, the very man who, a decade before, had helped me scope out the dimensions I needed in creating Neferteri’s “Auburn” grille. That day stands out as one of those “most memorable” moments of Life’s special treasures. And to have Jon request images of Neferteri for the Museum archive was…beyond words!

Me in front of ACD Museum, 2013. and on the right Me, on the left, with Jon Bill, on the right, archivist at ACD Museum who ten years before, in 2003, had helped me come up with conversions to adapt the 1935-36 Auburn grille dimensions to the larger Diamond T grille shell.
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As I looked back over the progression of the project, visions of perk charts danced in my head. Jack Whittington had started the wiring, and in tidy Air Force style, he ran wires through lengths of brake line tubing to hide them. The idea to hide the fuse box inside a kitchen toaster masquerading as an Art Deco heater under the dash was, well, my idea. John Stroble took on the brakes. And Darryn Waldo came to the rescue in configuring the air conditioning components to avoid defacing my firewall mural space.

Air conditioning? You ask. Didn’t the Diamond T have individual roll out windshields? And cowl vents down on the sides, in front of the doors? Yes… but. Dotti surprised me with the gift of a complete Aftermarket system. In another compromise, the new hidden hinges Darryn had scored meant the cowl vents had to go.

The solution that we worked out was to run hoses under the firewall and floor to a mounting position behind the seats, on the extended floor board. Venting then later could face forward, beneath a raised platform behind the seats and through a console between the seats, as well as up and over the door frames to that above-windshield glove box panel, via pvc piping.

AC unit on bare floor of Neferteri.
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But that would be later. Actually, years later. Thirteen years and counting; I still don’t have the system charged, nor the defroster vents louvered in above the windshield. My bad. But is a custom ever done? Really DONE done? Those roll out windshields are working really swell, though.

Jack Whittington, who wired Neferteri on the left, and John Waldo and father Darryn Waldo crimping AC hoses on the right.
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How to build an extended cab? I still had the poster board pattern I had used to saw out my 10 gauge floor. Scott Clark had salvaged some heavy duty bakery racks, and I glommed onto one. I surgically removed its base on wheels, to then began assembling parts and pieces of the four C. A. Tilt truck cabs I had purloined. To align the parts and hold everything in position, I built a cage of braces in bracketed ½” tubing. It looked like a Rube Goldberg cartoon, but it did the job.

Top left shows the Bakery rack frame I used parts from for cab gurney The other two photos show the stock cab on bakery rack gurney.
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Buzz guided me on extending the cab length. One set of quarter panels were sliced vertically behind the stamped door frame. Another set was cut parallel to these, but 4” back. For backing, we tacked a narrow strip behind the cutline to hold the pieces in line, then I slowly welded up the long seam.

Buzz Franke studying cab extension. Extended and reinforced to hold its shape cab on gurney.
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Quarter windows. With tried-and-true poster board, I cut out several variations of shapes for the quarter windows I wanted. Standing back, I studied each, with a door clamped into position for proportioning. Then, to create window openings consistent with those of the doors, I actually used doors as donors. Each quarter window surround is made up from the rear portion of a pair of door window frame elements, left and right, set facing each other and welded in the middle.

Quarter window template.
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The center back panels of the cabs I had gathered all were worse for wear. I sliced out the best beltline, then added new sheet metal panels above and below, attached to a 1/2” square tubing frame on the inside. At this juncture, everything was pretty much held together with C-clamps. Perhaps the best advice I received along the way was, “You can never have enough C-clamps.”

Diamond T’s had a small, square rear window. In my humble opinion, they looked more like they belonged on an orchard tractor than the Cadillac of trucks. In stark contrast, all of the classic cars of the era sported long and narrow rear windows. They just spoke “elegance” to me. So, I cut up what rear window frame stampings I had, and built my own long, narrow, elegant rear view. Then I centered and welded them into that new flat sheet metal I’d grafted into the rear of the cab.

From left to right on the top; Original Diamond T back panel,  1/2″ tubing inner framework for new cab back panel, back panel with template for new rear window. The picture on the bottom shows the back panel installed with new much wider rear window opening.
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Welding. The roof was next. I sorted through the roof panels and selected a pair least ravaged by the collateral damage that came with time in service. You know, hay bales, logs, amateur hip-hop dancers. One panel was sliced off, just above the new quarter windows in my cab. The second panel was laid up from the rear alignment. I picked a line of consistent loft in the sandwiched panels and cut a horizontal slice down through them together, from one side of the top to the other, to create an extended top. As with the vertical quarter panel extensions, I cut out a narrow strip from the leftovers, for support beneath the seam. Thanks to the genius who invented Cleco pins! Welding the seam across that roof expanse was made much easier.

By now, the cab gurney had given way to actual construction onto the floor base plate now securely bolted to the chassis. Running boards were next. That lattice framework beneath the floor included outriggers that, as well as for catching shins daily, now served for attaching the running boards. Again, each running board was extended lengthwise, thanks to the sacrifice of a second set of boards for the added length.

The extended cab is now back on the frame with the fender installed we could extend the running boards to fit the longer cab. (This photo was taken prior to 3/8″ rod drip rail replacement)
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Thanks to Charles Tilt’s cab of assembled parts, I was able to adjust individual panels at will. To finally attach the extended roof, I trimmed and clamped it down for final welding. At this point, a little “chopping” was in order. The stock Diamond T cab rose up rearward into an annoying peak at the rear. From a side view, this uphill slope really disrupted any “streamline” flow in styling, front to back. It had to go away. I pulled the roof down in back, and trimmed it off at the dripline. Tilt also had made the drip channel a separate piece, tacked into a wooden header strip inside. Following this alignment, the Diamond T stampings were now fully replaced with a molding I bent to form with 3/8” rod.

Roof extended, rear 3/4 view with the new drip rail in place. On the bottom an aerial view, extended cab, with seams filled.
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More welding. Lots and lots more welding ahead. I was becoming a frequent flyer to the local welding gas supplier.

Up front, the original Diamond T roof panel had been bolted to the top of the cowl, through the A posts and below the windshields. A length of welting was sandwiched between the metal panels to eliminate squeaks. Here was my opportunity to suck the roof down a bit more, and wipe out the ugly gasket distraction interfering with that coveted “B-17” flow of the windshield lines I so admired. While I was at it, I formed a Duvall Vee piece for emphasis, bottom center between the windshields. I continued the Vee theme in striking a sharp line down each A pillar to taper into the belt molding at the cowl. Duesenbergs, Packards, Marmons, and best of all: the Stutz Monte Carlo. The classic cars of the period all had that wind slicing aircraft/speedboat look I wanted Neferteri to share.

1930 Stutz Monte Carlo.  This is the A pillar bottom shape I wanted, as it flows downward and forward into the beltline extending out into the hood panel.
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Close up, original cab A pillar.
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Close up, Duvall-like center pillar piece.
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My reshaped A pillar (A little ahead in sequence, I only had a good image of it already in paint!)
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Stylin’! That 2003 drawing was beginning to emerge in 3D. I was on a roll! And I was only six years into the build. The words of my uncle Willis whispered in my ear, “You don’t holler Whoa in the middle of a horse race.”








Next, we will clean up those front fenders, attach the doors, and streamline the scene behind the cab…. Stay tuned.













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Joe Brenner 41 Merc

 

JOE BRENNER 41 MERC

 

The Valley Custom Shop restyles the perfect mild custom 1941 Mercury 4-door Sedan for Joe Brenner.



This article was originally created in November, 2015, and more material was added in May, 2017 after we got in contact with Joe Brenner who supplied the Custom Car Chronicle with some very interesting never before seen photos and information about the history of the car.

The Valley Custom Shop restyled 1941 Mercury four door sedan for Joe Brenner has been one of my all time favorite mildly Customized four door sedans. This mildly restyled Mercury appeared in the February 1958 issue of Rod & Custom magazine, which happend to be among the first 10 copies of old R&C magazines I ever found. Those 10 magazines was all I had as far as old magazines and books for several years back in the late 1980’s. So every car inside those magazines is really special to me. But this 1941 Mercury would have most likely been very special to me no matter what. I just really like the wonderful simple lines of the stock 1941 Mercury, any body style, and especially after the Valley Custom Shop was finished with enhancing the beauty of it.


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Everything about Joe’s Mercury is subtile, yet very stylish. Enhancing the already beautiful lines of the 1941 Mercury the Valley Custom Shop started with.
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For a long time this R&C article was the only thing I had ever found out about the car, as well as Joe Brenner. I had never seen any other photos of the car, not at any car shows, or in any private collections. While browsing the Getty Images The Enthusiast Network stock photo site I came across a series of photos of Joe’s Mercury I had never seen before. They clearly come from the R&C photo-shoot, taken at the same location, but they were never used in the final article. I have added them to this article. And some time after I added the photos Joe Brenner contacted us, and share some more info about the Mercury and the history on it.

CCC-valley-custom-joe_brenner-00-rcThe February 1958 issue of Rod & Custom had a two page article on Joe’s Mercury. Apparently the car with a very 1940’s look and feel was still considered magazine material in 1958 when Customizing had become way more wild than we can see on Joe’s car.
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1941 Mercury 4 door sedan

by Joe Brenner

I was always an extremely visual person. No matter if it was a car, a woman, or a banana, I always chose the best-looking one, the one most pleasing to my eyes, and then hoped all of their other traits and qualities equaled their appearance.

One day, a highschool chum and I were walking along a Burbank street looking at the passing cars. He asked which kind of car I liked. I confessed that none of them really turned me on. Just then a ’41 Merc sedan drove by. I was immediately struck by the look of its long pointy hood rising majestically between two symmetrical grills. (If I am not mistaken, ’41 Merc hoods are nine inches longer than ’41 Ford hoods). I loved the rounded look of the car’s back. And to my mind, those bumpers were the best looking bumpers ever made. Not too fat. Not too thin. They had a simplicity to them that was pure genius. As I was later to learn they were the last Ford car to have spring steel bumpers. And all of a Merc’s trim was made of stainless steel. I resolved then and there to get one.

I found a fairly bedraggled Merc in Santa Monica. It needed lots of work, anyhow I purchased it. Nothing special about it. Rag barrel interior. My parents approved as now, every day, I could take my siblings to school seven miles away.

CCC-valley-custom-joe_brenner-01-rcThe R&C showed a small snapshot of the Mercury Joe had found in the used car lot. He paid $345.- for the car in 1951.
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The Merc in the early stages with trim eliminated from the top of the hood and nose, and hood side strips in the process of being shortened.
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“White primer was once all the rage and here is a sample of that idiocy.”
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Then for a time, the Merc was covered in red oxide primer. Some other shop made a modest peak to the hood which flattened out as the peak ran aft. Also little peak, if any, on the nose piece.
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Truck was shaved,door handles removed and long skirts added.
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Several years later, I wanted to build a hot flathead Merc engine. In the process of taking the heads off a junkyard engine, I managed to break 24 (Yes 24) studs off flush with the block. The busted off studs were so rusted in, an easyout couldn’t budge them. So having infinite patience, I drilled the largest hole I could into the center of each of the studs. Then with a tiny grindstone in an electric drill, I ground away all of the rest of the stud until I could see a fine black coiled line, the back side of the threads. Then using a pointed tool, the rest of the threads could be broken off piece by piece and the result was that i had a perfectly clean undamaged block once I ran the correct tap through it to clean up the threads.


I then sent the block out to C & T Automotive (Don Clark and Clem Tebow) in North Hollywood to have it bored out and a new crank and pistons installed. They bored the cylinders 30 thousanths of an inch over 3 3/8th inches and that coupled with a 4 1/8″ throw crank, made a 300 cubic inch flathead. (The original Merc engine was 239 cu in). Then with Edelbrock heads and manifold, three stromberg “48” carbs, and an Iskenderian camshaft, that engine was a screamer. Later on, after the Rod and Custom photoshoot, an overheat cracked the block and that was the end of that.

Body work done and painted in ’54 Buick Titian red lacquer by Valley Custom. The longer front door molding strip was made possible by using the left remnant of the cut off hood strip. Where the original front door handle was, a small lockable glovebox door button protruded slightly to electrically open the door. Some of the Colgan black and white naugahyde interior is visible. I had removed the fender skirts by then.
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Taken in Tujunga CA during a rare snow shower, the snow piled up behind the rear bumper shows that the ’46 though ’48 Ford splash pan had already been added.
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Finished, just waiting for fun.
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The Merc was painted Titian Red, a ’54 Buick color. But Titian Red was a bleeder. It showed what was underneath. Buick primed their cars with red oxide primer which gave the finished car a root beer brown appearance. But my Merc was first painted with black lacquer, and the Titian Red put over it. It resulted in a most beautiful cherry maroon. It looked like later day Candy Apple red. And the Titian Red paint was very long lasting even sitting for years outside in the sun.

Soon after the Rod and Custom article, I installed a 283 Chevy Duntov engine in it with 12 to one compression, dual afb carbs, 4.44 gears in the differential. A stick shift 39 ford trans with Zepher gears.

Much to my temporary sorrow, I had to sell the Merc to pay for flying lessons. But, that eventually paid off handsomely, as I became a piiot for the Flying Tigers. During the last of my 30 year career. I was for 5 years a Boeing 747 captain. Flying around the world many times and to 50 countries, I have had more adventures than anyone should have. These adventures are recorded in my book THE MIGHTY TIGER.


Joe saved the club plaque from the Alley Cat Burbank car club he was a member of . The plaque was hanging from rear bumper in the early years he had the Mercury.
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The Restyling on the Mercury

The car was pretty rough when Joe found the car in 1951, but as we can read in Joe’s story, he loved the over all shape of the car. A plan was made for the restyling and he ended up choosing the Valley Custom Shop in Burbank, California to perform the restyling, since he had a job at the shop at the time.  The restyling planned was very subtile, and would enhance the already very nice body lines. The frame was modified in the rear and a Valley Custom lowering kit was used to drop the body with a slight speed-boat stance.

The door handles were removed and the side trim modified since the door handles are part of the side trim on the 1941 Mercury models. The trim on the hood was shortened and the center hood trim removed all together. The two hood sides were welded to a single unit and a wonderful peak was added to replace the trim. The lower hood trim and the piece between the two grille halves was shaved and smoothed. Then a set of 1952-54 Mercury headlights was molded into the front fender. The parking light were obviously also shaved which all resulted in a very smooth front end.

CCC-valley-custom-joe_brenner-10-gettyLow angle photo shows the nice stance of the Mercury. This is one of the images that made it into the R&C article. (Photo by Fred Beindorff courtesy of Getty Images /  The Enthusiast Network)
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CCC-valley-custom-joe_brenner-09-getty(Photo by Fred Beindorff courtesy of Getty Images /  The Enthusiast Network)
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CCC-valley-custom-joe_brenner-08-gettyAnother photo that made it in the R&C article (Photo by Fred Beindorff courtesy of Getty Images /  The Enthusiast Network)
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CCC-valley-custom-joe_brenner-07-gettyThis low angle photo gives us a good look at the nice subtile peak on the hood. It also shows the slight Speed-Boat stance of the car. (Photo by Fred Beindorff courtesy of Getty Images /  The Enthusiast Network)
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CCC-valley-custom-joe_brenner-06-gettyHere we can see the stance even better and we can see the 1946-48 rear splash pan that was added. (Photo by Fred Beindorff courtesy of Getty Images /  The Enthusiast Network)
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CCC-valley-custom-joe_brenner-05-getty(Photo by Fred Beindorff courtesy of Getty Images /  The Enthusiast Network)
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At the rear the trunk was completely shaved and an 1946-48 splash pan added. On all four fenders the trim pieces were shaved, but the running board trim stayed. The team also choose to ad a accessory chrome trim piece for the drip rail accentuating the shape of the roof. But the wider stainless trim around the windows was removed and all holes filled and smoothed. With all the body work done the car was painted, only we do not know what color this was. The R&C article does not mention anything about the color, so all we know is that it was a super glossy dark color. A set of whitewalls was mounted and the wheels were dressed up with a set of ribbed moon aftermarket hubcaps. These hubcaps can be seen on quite a few Customs rolling out of the Valley Custom Shop.

CCC-valley-custom-joe_brenner-03-rcThe interior was done very nicely in a late 1940’s style, nice rounded shapes with full tuck & roll panels in black and white Naugahyde upholstery which was done by Colgan’s Auto Upholstery on Magnolia, in Burbank.  (from the R&C article)
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The engine was updated with several speed components and the interior was done in a wonderful two tone tuck & roll with light colored piping matching headliner in the light color with dark piping. The whole interior is done in a very nice 1940’s style, which fit the car very good, but which also is perhaps a bit outdated in 1958 when the car was “finished”. This, and many other things on the car show that Joe Brenner wanted to restyle his 1941 Mercury to make it look better, not to score points at the Custom Car shows. All the modifications done on the mercury are to enhance the shape of the car, and the team has really succeeded in this.

CCC-valley-custom-joe_brenner-01-gettyThe Merc’s 300 cu in flathead with three Stromberg “48” carbs, and a dual coil Lincoln V-12 distributor. Note the rare Filcoolater A-4 finned accessory oil filter/cooler mounted on the firewall. “Around that time one of fads young drivers used to show off the prowess of their cars was to zoom up Fargo Street in Los Angeles. Fargo Street had a 32% grade making one of the steepest streets in the nation. From a sanding start, I sped up that street and reached the top at 30mph (helped by the Merc’s 4.44 rear end gears), and immediately slammed on the brakes, as just over the top was a cross road and if you didn’t slow enough to turn left or right, straight ahead was a precipitous drop. Today Fargo Street has been bisected by a cross road a quarter of the way up, so Fargo is no longer the source of bragging rights it once was.” (Photo by Fred Beindorff courtesy of Getty Images /  The Enthusiast Network)
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CCC-valley-custom-joe_brenner-04-gettyA better shot showing the improved hood and nose peak redone by Valley Custom. The peak now ran all the way back to the windshield and was also all the way down the nose. (Photo by Fred Beindorff courtesy of Getty Images /  The Enthusiast Network)
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CCC-valley-custom-joe_brenner-03-gettyBirds-eye point of view shows the hood peak really well. (Photo by Fred Beindorff courtesy of Getty Images /  The Enthusiast Network)
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CCC-valley-custom-joe_brenner-02-getty1952-54 Mercury headlights were nicely molded into the front fenders.  (Photo by Fred Beindorff courtesy of Getty Images /  The Enthusiast Network)
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Joe’s 1941 Mercury shows that 4-door models can be used very well as a base for a Custom Cars. With the right amount of restyling these cars can become really beautiful Customs. The same also goes for the 1941 Mercury in general. Not to many Customs have been based on this years Mercury, even though a few, including Joe’s car show how absolutely wonderful they can look with the right amount of restyling.


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The Mighty Tiger


Joe Brennen later wrote a boot about his 5 years as a Boeing 747 captain. Flying around the world many times and to 50 countries. He had had more adventures than anyone should have. These adventures are recorded in his book The Mighty Tiger (published 2003) And included in the book are some stories about the Mercury and related material.
Below are some excerpts from the book.


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“About the only usable asset I seemed to have was that I have always loved machinery. I especially loved cars from my earliest days, as they were the one form of machinery most accessible to me. So, as I grew up, I had my share of hot rods and custom cars with high performance engines. And, as I also had some talent for improving cars, both operationally and esthetically, I leaned toward being an automobile designer.

“However, that bubble burst while taking a high school drafting class when it dawned on me that I’d have to forsake the beaches and bathing beauties of sunny Southern California and instead live in sooty, snowbound Detroit with its darlings bundled up from head to foot against the deathly cold. Besides, it’d be just my luck not to be among the exalted few who got to design sleek, high-powered sports cars. More likely, I’d be assigned routine tasks like engineering the back side of glove compartment doors for frumpy station wagons. Luckily, my aspirations for a life as a Detroit auto designer died a natural death before I wasted time finding out that wasn’t what I really wanted in the long run.

“My interest then tilted toward the auto customizing business, which was prevalent especially in Southern California at the time. Fresh out of high school, I was employed in 1952 by two of the best customizing artisans in the business, Neil Emory and Clayton Jensen, at their Valley Custom shop in Burbank. But, there, too, in the customizing field, were warning signs on the horizon for those who had their eyes open. More and more, Detroit offered consumers cars that rivaled the best work of any custom shop, and often for less money. I mean (using the 1953 Mercury for example), you could buy right off the showroom floor a chopped and channeled stock car with tuck-and-roll naugahyde upholstery. A year later, the Mercury had an overhead valve engine.

“As the months passed, I came to think that, except for a few diehards, the auto customizing business faced a downward spiraling future, at least for the foreseeable future. Emory and Jensen shared the same opinion and folded shop to enter the collision repair business because insurance companies had more money, plus they paid on time.

(However, our vision was terribly shortsighted. The car modification industry endured a slump of only a dozen years or so. But when the current generation of baby boomers matured, they emerged far richer than their parents were thirty years before. Their abundant discretionary wealth gave rise to a tremendous resurgence of interest in the motor vehicle. As a consequence, the motoring world became extremely lucrative as money was lavished on all sorts of custom cars, hot rods, motorcycles, restorations, monster trucks, etc.)

“I was still hooked on cars, but not into restoration. For in restoring cars, a car is either restored authentically or it is nothing. But, if a car is restored accurately, there is no room for self-expression; you are merely refurbishing someone else’s design. It was the ability to express my own tastes and individuality through departure from the slavish constraints of established designs that I valued more than the mere work of shaping and painting metal or the revamping of things mechanical.

“This ability for design enhancement surfaced in my hobby of building dozens of model cars. One of my creations was an especially good-looking futuristic model pickup truck which I dreamed up at the last minute. I thought it good enough to enter in a national contest whose deadline for entries was mere days away. I worked on it feverishly every waking moment and had it about done as the entry deadline approached, when my wife started to raise a ruckus about my being up late and working on another of those “stupid little cars.” Finally, to end her shouting (which was surely keeping our apartment house neighbors awake), I put my tools and paints away, and went to bed. As a consequence, I entered my model in the contest the next day without having added anything to its interior.

“Well, I took second place and received a huge trophy. One of the national contest judges told me afterwards that the car that won, which he described as exhibiting “good craftsmanship, but uninspired design,” won first prize, not for meritorious design, but by dint of points alone. And, it had beaten my entry out by only one point—one lousy point! The judge told me that had I even put a steering wheel or a seat in my truck, it would have taken first prize. That “stupid little car” would have earned me a thousand-dollar first prize, plus a college scholarship.”

“Another consequence of that national contest was that the leading manufacturer of model car kits saw my extraordinary little truck in the contest and thought enough of it to offer me a job designing model cars for their firm. I decided, however, that it was time to quit playing with toys, so I declined their generous offer. By now I knew that what I really wanted was to be associated with the real thing. I loved to operate machinery. I loved big. And, the bigger, the more powerful the machinery, the better.” . . .

So, I became a pilot.— Eventually, toward the end of my thirty-year career, for five years I flew as captain of the 820,000 lb. Boeing 747 to fifty countries all around the world.

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Joe also send us a picture and a cool story of another car he owned. A ’67 Corvette, not really a Custom Car, but the story is too good not to tell

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Joe Brenner ’67 Corvette

Here is another car I owned, a ’67 350hp, 327 cu. in. Corvette, that is exceptional for two reasons:

It was ordered new without emblems.
It took top eliminator in both the small block and big block classes on the same day at Lions Long beach CA drag strip. (note the 2 foot tall trophy standing on the back of the hood.)

Having worked at Valley Custom, I especially disliked the chrome warts that disfigured, and took away from, the beauty of a car’s design. So, it said on my original purchase order from Baher Chevrolet “No emblems.” That’s the way I ordered it. That’s the way I received it.

With the intention of owning a true sports cars, I ordered my Corvette without power steering or air conditioning.

When I picked up the car, it had a terrible stance. It stood at least two inches higher in front than in the back. It looked like a motor boat, so I had one size smaller tires put on the front, and larger wider tires put on the back. The result was the car now sat level.

’67 Corvettes originally had tires with a measly 6” wide tread. But with those wider tires, even with its Muncie trans and positraction, the car now wouldn’t lay rubber. But oh man, if it got a grip on the pavement, it would launch with neck snapping ferocity.

The picture taken at the drags shows the car mid-customizing, true knockoffs, a 427 hood, and a ’65 grille, and rocker panels. Inside, all the plastic dash knobs had been replaced with earlier Corvette all metal chrome knobs.

When I first got my Corvette, I was really disappointed by its performance. In the first month I owned it, I had it in three different Chevrolet agencies trying to get its lack luster performance increased, also its poor 15mpg fuel consumption improved.

One thing that really peeved me was the dash pot put on the carb to prevent you from quickly closing the throttle plates in the carb. If you let your foot suddenly off the gas pedal, that dash pot sped the engine up and brought it slowly back to a lower rpm. My favorite thing was come racing up to a stop sign, with the trans jammed in a lower gear, let my foot off the gas pedal, and slow down on compression.

Finally, the last Chevy tech said “Son, it’s an engineering booboo. The engineers have installed a smog device on a performance engine that wasn’t designed for it. Your engine is right on spec. You’ll just have to live with it.”

But when a friend showed me his ’67 Vette first registered in CA, (by some fluke,) had only a positive crankcase hose, I took all the smog devices off my car and threw them into a cardboard box. Then I installed a set of Hooker headers, but because headers make an engine run lean, I had to go two sizes richer on the main jets.

Next, I took the car over to Doug at Doug’s Corvettes, in North Hollywood. And, could Doug ever super-tune a car! He changed the ignition advance, and also the total timing.

Man, now that car screamed! Plus the gas mileage jumped up to a consistent 20mpg. So much for the benefits of CA smog.

When the last of the 100 octane leaded gas was coming down the pipeline, I took my Corvette to the Lions drag strip in Long Beach. When I pulled up to the starting line, I told the starter that all I wanted to do was make a couple of runs by myself so I could get a timing slip.

“Haven’t got time to fool with you. We’re running a race here. You’ll have to run off against the small block next to you. Whoever wins the heat gets the timing slip.”

So, I got on it pretty hard. Beat that guy, and kept going back perfecting my technique, beating one car after another. And don’t you know out of a field of over 30 small blocks, I took top eliminator!

Going over to the winner’s circle to get my trophy, the official told me, “Yeah, you won your class all right, but we’re short of trophies today so we’re giving the trophy to the big block winner, because he’s the winner out of 12 big block Corvettes, and going 10 mph faster than you.”

“Like hell,” I exclaimed. “He’ll have to race me for that trophy.”

So, they got us up to the starting line, and when the light turned green, I was off like a shot. I never saw the big block beside me during whole the quarter mile run, but only as I approached the finish line, I saw him coming up fast, but I beat him across the line by 10 feet. Were the strip 50 feet longer, he would have thundered past me, but I got there first.

Was that big block driver ever mad! I went home with the trophy. Top eliminator in both the small block and big block classes. Same day! How many people do you know that can make that claim?

I originally paid $4,335 for the Vette, and later sold it for $20,000. I think it went to somewhere in Texas to a county that doesn’t have smog checks. If so, that new owner is a happy camper.

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A Trip to Custom City

 

A TRIP to CUSTOM CITY

 

In the 1940s and 1950s there were several second hand Hot Rod and Custom Car lots around. Custom City was one of them. John Hellmuth shared some color slide taken at the lot in 1955.



In the summer of 1955 the Hellmuth family from St. Louis decided to make along road trip to see some relatives out in California, to visit the grand opening of Disneyland, and for their sons Bob and John to see some Hot Rods and Custom Cars on the street. They took their family’49 Dodge Wayfare, loaded in their luggage, four kids, Mom and Dad and took road 66 down to California. It took them 5 days to get there, enjoying the scenery and some Hot Rods along the way.

After arriving at their family in Culver City John and his brother Bob took the car and started to drive around to find Hot Rods and Custom Cars, those cars they had seen in the magazine. While cruising around in Los Angeles they came across the Custom City Car Dealer specializing in Hot Rods and Custom Cars not to far from LAX. The stopped the car to check out all the candy in the dealer lot. The owner was a nice guy, and let them hang around, check out all the cars and take as many pictures (color slides) as they wanted.

The first color slide that John shared was this one of the Custom City advertising chopped T and a series of Hot Rods and Custom Cars parked in line on the lot. To bad we cannot see more of the signs in front of the lot on Manchester Ave.
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The Custom City used Hot Rod & Custom Car lot was located at 1414 Manchester Ave. in Los Angles. Assumably this shop used to be the well known D & B Auto Sales on Santa Monica Blvd. In 1954 original owner of this lot, Don Britton, had sold it to Marv Gelberg and Park Dana who renamed it Custom City. The Custom City on 1414 Manchester Ave., the one we can see in this article was mot likely related to the one on Santa Monica Blvd. D & B used to advertise their business in the local papers and national magazines, but from the Custom City lot we have not been able to find any advertising so far.

On the Custom City lot there were a number of great looking cars the day Bob and John Hellmuth visited it. Good looking cars by todays standards, probably selling for relatively little money in 1955. Just because they were considered outdated… which was especially the case for the Custom Cars in the lot.

Close up of the great looking chopped T Coupe with ’32 Ford grille, white wall tires, red wheels with ’50 Merc hubcaps. Painted white and used as Custom City advertising. Probably rolling as well as parked in front of the lot towards Manchester Ave.
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My personal favorite photo is this one showing a beautiful mid 40’s styled restyled 1941 Mercury convertible with chopped padded top. 
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Parked next to the ’41 Mercury is another chopped Mercury Convertible with padded top, this time a ’39 Mercury (no vent windows) with its rear window flap removed. The dark green ’40 Ford two door sedan in the back looks very nice as well.
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Close up of the 41 Merc shows the unusual shortened side trim, smoothed hood and what appear to be 53 Mercury hubcaps. Other modifications are the 46 Ford bumpers, the chopped windshield with padded top with three piece panoramic rear window. This was a very fine Custom, possibly slightly updated (hubcaps, and sans fender skirts) along the way, but in 1955 this style custom was very much out of style. I wonder how much the asking price was, and what ever happened to it. 
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Parked next to the white chopped T Coupe from is this 1932 Ford ex-cabriolet turned roadster. Even back in 1955 this was a hot looking Hot Rod. The all black ’32 Roadster with  red steelies and white wall tiers looks stunning as well. Don’t forget to look at the cars in the back row.
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Close up on the ’32 Cabriolet shows that it has some very nicely done body work required to make the DuVall windshield work with the cowl. The license plate has ’53 tags on it. Makes me wonder if it has been parked here since 1953. 
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Ardun powered heavily chopped pale yellow ’32 Ford Coupe. Perfectly styled and proportioned. Makes you wonder why it was not parked out on the front row, where everybody could see it from the street.
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The one car that the brothers recognized from the magazines was this ’53 Studebaker restyled by the Valley Custom Shop. It was parked on the front row, on the other side of the entrance of the lot. 
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Zooming in on the cars in the background sow another mid/late 40’s styled ’41. This time an ’41 Ford convertible with smooth chopped padded top, ’49 Plymouth bumpers and lavender paint. The ’32 Ford Chopped coupe parked next to it looks very modern with its headlight bar missing.
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Close up on the ’53 Studebaker “Stude Italia” created by the Valley Custom Shop in Burbank for owner Stan Mashbum. Those Studebaers came from the factory already beautiful, but the Valley Shop was able to make it looks even nicer. Two years after it had made the cover of Motor Trend magazine is was on the Custom City Second Hand Lot!
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Locations of the Custom City lot (red pin) the D & B Auto Sales in Hollywood, Valley Custom Shop, and for additional distance info the Barris (Atlantic Blvd) and Ayala shops.
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Front-end Swap on Early Customs

 

FRONT-END SWAPS on EARLY CUSTOMS

 

In the 1940s and early 1950s quite a few older cars were Custom updated with more modern front-ends. To make them look more modern and above all better



From early on a very popular method to update your car, to make it look more expensive, or newer was to add a newer grille, preferably from an upscale car. The new grille disguised the cars origins, made it look a lot better, more powerful and more exclusive. At one point somebody, and we have no idea who this was, or when, came up with the idea to not only add a grille from a different car, but rather add the complete front end. One thought is that it might have happened in the case of some frontal damage, and the whole front end needed to be replaced anyway.

In the research about this topic I came across a great number of Fords from ’35 – ’38 that had received more modern front ends as part of their Custom Restyling. In contrast with what was done with “just” a grille replacement, the new front ends used on the older bodies were mostly Ford and Chevy units. And not like on the grille replacements from the more expensive, exotic brand cars. Main reason for this is obviously the size difference which would require a lot of extra work to make both brand cars fit together. While staying with all Ford designed material (or similar sized cars) required a more reasonable amount of work to merge the two components together to become one.

The method of Custom restyling with updating the complete front end of a car with a more modern unit is not described in any of the early Custom Car manuals I have been bale to find. Unlike most other techniques this one, even though it was used quite a bit in the 1940’s, was never discussed or explained, or promoted much.

ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-27-chevy-al-hawkinsAl Hawkins 1927 Chevrolet Phaeton with a ’34 Ford Grill, hood and modified fenders. Perhaps this one does not fit the subject of this article completely, but I wanted to include it here since it does demonstrate how much more modern a car can look with a new front end. From a rather boxy ’27 Chevy to a beautiful streamlined 34 Ford, with a almost sectioned main body. Very clever use of material. The ripple disk hubcaps, teardrop headlights, reshaped front fenders and ’40 Ford bumpers give the car a nice modern custom look in the mid 1940’s.  (Don Montgomery and NHRF photos)
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-011936 Ford sedan convertible with a ’40 Ford front end grafted on. Beautiful early/mid 1940’s look and feel Custom car. It looks like the owner posing with the car is really proud about it as well. The black wall tires and overall look make me believe this car was done during, or shortly after WWII.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-02A better look at the same ’36 Ford with ’40 Ford front end shows how nice the two car components work together. Even though the beltline on the ’40 Ford hood does not match with the lower belt line on the ’36 Ford, it does give the impression that the line is continued on the door character line above the belt line. The convertible doors make this work really well, actually better than roadster doors. Hot (Oiler Hot Rod club member Elrod mentioned on Instagram that this ’36 Ford belonged to Bup Kentner, founding Oilers member. The car was built by Gene Shelby)
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-03Photographed in the early 1950’s, this ’36 Ford convertible is often overlooked as an ‘1940 Ford. The ’36 Ford convertible had its windshield chopped and the beltline smoothed in. The ’40 Ford front end was grafted on, and the hood sectioned with the belt line taken out in the process.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-04The same car in the early 1960’s.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-06And fully restored in 1980’s at an Paso Robles car show now with padded top installed.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-07Chip Chipman took this photo at an 80’s Paso Robles event and it gives us a better look at the work that was done to get the lines of the hood and body match. removal of all body character lines, for a much smoother look than the original ’36 Ford.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-08’37 Ford coupe wit filled rear quarter windows and ’40 Ford front-end grafted on. This is also an original ’40’s custom, although the original builder has not yet been identified. The work on this one was done very nice and the way the belt line of the ’37 Ford body and ’40 Ford hood is really nicely done. The removal of the running boards indicated that this car was originally restyled in the early/mid 1940’s. It was completely restored a decade or two ago.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-22This front 3/4 view shows how great the two different bodies work together. The stainless around the ’37 V-windshield works so much better than the original ’40 Ford coupe windshield frame. To make it all work  the rear of the front fenders had to be extended down to meet the bottom of the body (where the running boards used to be) and the wheel openings were raised for a better balance and make sure the wheels could be turned for sharp corners.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-10Photo taken at the first annual Pennsylvania Autorama in 1954 shows Ralph Hayes’ 1936 Ford Coupe with a new front end that looks to have come from a 1940-41 Studebaker combined with a ’36 Chevy grille, and 49 Plymouth bumpers. It gave the ’36 Ford a completely new bold look. 
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-11Another photo taken at the Pennsylvania Autorama in 1954 shows this 1937-38 Ford coupe with 1940 Ford front end grafted on. A great looking coupe with the rear quarter windows filled in. The ’40 Ford end sure makes the cal look smoother and newer. (Scan courtesy of Craig, Shanon, and Tracy Bowman. scanned by Antiqueynot)
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-12Brian Butler shared these photos of an 1935 Ford Phaeton he found that uses a ’39 Ford front end. The restyling on this old custom was done really nice and everything looks to flow really nice. I really wonder how this beauty might have looked al finished back in the early/mid 1940’s.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-13This high angle photo show how nice the bold, v-haped hood flows with the smooth roadster wrap around cowl. The best of both worlds.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-14Louis Cote 1936 Ford roadster with a ’40 Ford front-end grafted on. Another great sample of this Custom Restyling technique and how it updated the older body. 
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-15The side view shows that the belt-line of the ’36 Ford roadster body and the ’40 Ford hood do not line up at all. The builder took the easy way and reshaped the belt-line section on the cowl, to make the belt line from the hood flow into the door line. 
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-16Low angle front 3/4 photo shows the much more modern look of the ’36 Ford. The 46 Ford bumpers help even more. The dip in the beltline on the cowl is something we have seen one more of this type of restyling. It sets apart the more home built customs from the professional shop built samples.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-17The March 1953 isssue of Rod & Custom magazine showed Dick Reeves 1936 Ford Phaeton with an 1948 Chevy front-end with 48 Cadillac grille grafted on. A set of full fade away fender was added to update the main body even more and the windshield is said to be a Kurtis unit. The article gives credit for the body work to Custom Craft and Valley Custom Shop for the work. I sadly have never seen a picture of this car showing if it has been finished or not. Very interesting Custom.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-18An late 1990’s issue of Rod & Custom magazine shared this ’36 Ford roadster with ’39 Ford front end. There was no information given about the cars origin, but by the looks of it I guess it was based on an 1940’s created custom. 
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-19Trend Books Restyle your Car from 1952 showed this ’36 Ford Roadster with ’39 Ford front-end added to it. Very similar to the one shown above, but on this one the body was channeled with sectioned hood and the fenders cut to sit level with the bottom of the body. 
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-20One of the best known more modern front end swaps is done by the talented crew at the Valley Custom Shop. They used an 1940 Ford front end on an 1938 Ford sedan convertible body for owner Ray Vega. The result is a stunning perfectly balanced more modern looking custom.
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ccc-early-custom-front-end-swap-21To be able to make the ’40 Ford front-end work with the ’38Ford main body the hood was sectioned, the belt line on it smoothed and the bottom of the front fenders on the rear extended down to meet the running boards. The new front end made the car look much lower and wider than original.
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Updating cars with newer front ends was used later on as well,but not as much. I have seen ’39 Mercury’s with ’40 front ends, 46-48 front-ends on the ’41 Fords, ’49 Ford with ’51 Ford front ends etc. All modifications to make the cars looks a bit more modern, but the results were never more obvious than what was done with these early body style cars shown in this article. It is a very interesting early restyling technique with great results, especially when done right.




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Neil Emory 1937 Dodge

 

Neil Emory 1937 Dodge

 

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



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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Dave Peters 1949 Ford

 

DAVE PETERS 1949 FORD

 

Dave Peters 1949 Ford Sedan. The Valley Custom Shop study in restrained Custom Restyling.



Most of the Custom Shops have developed a style of their own. A certain look for the cars that are created in these shops, or perhaps just some details that will tell which shop was responsible for particular Custom. Especially in the early days there were a couple of Custom Shops that were responsible for the styles, the trends, the looks. The Valley Custom Shop, run by Neil Emory and Clayton Jensen was known for their fine restrained, almost factory Custom look. This shop was able to make cars looks amazing with subtle restyling. Restyling elements that are all very balanced, and chosen to enhance the looks of the car.


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Dave Peters ’49 Ford Sedan is a perfect example for the Valley Custom Shop looks and feel. The work done on the car can be considered mild custom work, but the overall effect is a lot more than that, and perhaps is best represented with “the way the factory should have done it”.

Dave’s 1949 Ford Sedan was featured in a two page article in the September 1954 issue of Car Craft, but was in fact already done quite some time before it was published. Most of the photos we have seen of the car show a license plated with 1951 dates on the car. The title of the Car Craft feature was THE CLEAN ONE. And that the car sure was after the Valley Custom Shop was done with it.



1950 photos

Robert E Canaan took several photos of Dave Peters 1949 Ford around 1950. These photos have been shared by the Revs Institute. These photos show the car with 1950 California plates and the only main difference we can see with photos taken in 1951, and later are the fender skirts and the Valley Custom Glendale car club plaque hanging from the rear bumper.

ccc-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-revs-05It looks like photographer Robert E. Canaan accidentally found Dave Peters Ford parked along side the road. These photos were not staged. The Valley Custom Shop did a great job in cleaning up and making the Ford Sedan look much more attractive.
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ccc-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-revs-02The use of the Mercury grille, or perhaps it was an Canadian Ford grille and Mercury grille surround with extended down hood looks really fantastic on the car. It makes you wonder why we have not seen this done more often. Notice the frenched headlights, this was done pre the lipped 1952-54 Ford / Mercury headlights with recessed rings that later became so popular. The smooth look of the headlights fits the overall styling excellent.
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ccc-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-revs-04The early version used smooth fender skirts. Possibly modified 1949-50 Mercury units. The later version had cut down lipped 1951 Mercury skirts.
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ccc-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-revs-01Zoomed in for a better look at the great front end restyling done by the Valley Custom Shop.
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ccc-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-revs-06Valley Customs Glendale car club plaque. The plaque fits the Valley Custom Shop Burbank care perfectly.
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CCC-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-06Two of these Robert E. Canaan photos were used to point out the grille in Dave’s Ford as good sample.
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An interesting detail is the smooth fender skirts on the car when these photos were taken in 1950. Fender skirts were available as factory option, or from the aftermarket, but as fas as I know, none looked like these. The shape of them remind me of those created by Sam Barris on his personal ’49 Mercury, as well as on Jerry Quesnell’s Mercury. Perhaps the Valley Custom Shop also converted a taller than the Ford, ’49 Mercury skirt to fit to Dave’s Sedan.
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Detail look at the custom skirts from the rear. 
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1951 photos 

CCC-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-01The front view shows how nice the grille, grille surround and hood modifications work together.
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A 1949 Mercury grille surround was narrowed a bit to fit the 1949 Ford, the Mercury grille was also reduced in with to fit the adjusted grille shell. The top portion of the Mercury grille surround was cut off and welded to the bottom of the Ford hood. This created a wonderful rolling shape from the top of the hood all the way to the back side of the grille and then the grille rolled from its back to the chrome strip that was left from the original 1949 Ford grille sitting on the molded in front splash-pan. The hood was cleaned up the emblems, but the center strip remained, and the hood ornament was replaced with an aftermarket bull nose piece for the perfect look. The headlight rings were molded to the front fenders making them look just a bit longer.



CCC-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-02Shaved emblems and handles, reshaped side trim, lipped and cut down ’51 Mercury skirts now replace the smooth units used in 1950. All this and a super smooth body make Dave’s 1949 For an very elegant ride.
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CCC-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-05Dual exhaust, Chevy license plate surround chrome strips on the rear fenders and an smooth trunk including shaved external hinges made it absolutely perfect. Makes you really wonder how great this car must have looked in color.
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The door handles were shaved and the front section of the side-trim was simplified. A set of 1951 Mercury fender skirts was cut at the top and its top corners were reshaped and the whole units adjusted to fit the Ford body. The trunk was shaved of its emblems, and the exterior hinges were replace with some internal units for an ultimate clean look. The top of the fender line received a chrome welting strip from the drip rails all the way back to the rear splash pan.

A set of Appleton Spotlights was installed, and both the front and rear bumpers received a Chevy license plate frame. The car was lowered mildly both front and rear and a set of wide white wall tires was added with custom moon shaped with one ring aftermarket hubcaps were installed. These hubcaps were a favorite items for the guys at the Valley Custom Show since the used them on a lot of their creations. These hubcaps are so simple, yet so elegant, and they fit this Valley Custom, as well as all the others so perfectly.



CCC-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-03This closer-up photo shows the smooth extended down hood as well as the chrome strip at the base of the Mercury grille opening which comes from the original 1949 Ford grille. Details like this make the Valley Custom Shop built cars so special.
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Once the work on the car was finished the whole body was sanded smooth and coated in many layers of dark midnight blue lacquer paint by Johnny Hagen. The interior, in a matching simple but elegant white and blue tuck & roll, was done by Floyd Tipton, who worked with the Valley Custom on several other cars as well. The engine was rebuilt and dressed up with a set of finned Navaro heads and a three carb intake manifold with three Stromberg carburetors.

CCC-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-04Floyd Tipton was responsible for the very elegant two tone interior in dark blue and white.
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CCC-floyd-tipton-upholstery-01Floyd Tipton at work in another Valley Custom creations, the Ron Dunn 1950 Ford.
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CCC-dave-peters-49-valley-custom-07The clean One two page feature article in the September 1954 issue of Car Craft Magazine.
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The finished Ford is an very elegant restyled Custom which could be used for daily transportation with ease, and that most likely is how Dave used it. The car has the looks and level of details that the Ford Designers most likely had in mind when they first designed the car, but from which had to be stepped back a bit due to production methods and costs. The Canadian 1949 Ford meteor has a similar grille as the one used in Dave’s 1949 Ford, inspired on the 1949 Mercury unit. The car was used in several magazines for its clean restyling as well as the wonderful and creative grille design.

We have no information about what happened to this great Custom by the Valley Custom Shop. Perhaps it is still around, and changed over the decades into a more restyled custom car. Or perhaps it is still hiding in somebody’s garage… or perhaps its long gone. If you know more about Dave Peters’ 1949 Ford restyled by the Valley Custom Shop, please let us know, email us at the CCC.

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In the Works – Gary Emory 1939 Ford

 

GARY EMORY 1939 FORD

 

Gary Emory, son of the legendary Custom Car builder and co-founder of the Valley Custom Shop, Neil Emory, is working on his tribute to the Valley Custom Shop Custom 1939 Ford convertible.

Having been always very impressed by the cars that have come out of the Valley Custom Shop in the 1940’s and 1950’s it was now time to Gary emory to have his own real Valley Custom Shop inspired Custom. The car is being built by Gary’s brother Don Emory and is coming along really nice.
 
CCC-itw-gary-emory-eric-black-01Eric Black created this wonderful Artist impression of how Gary’s 1939 Ford Convertible Valley Custom Tribute will look like finished.
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Automotive designer and Illustrator Eric Black just finished the artist impression for Gary. Gary has his own ideas about the custom, invluenced by the creations created by his father, but also his brother Don had a few things to say about the design. So the 1941 Buick skirts Gary had planned to use have been tossed advised by Don, and Don also “hates” white wall tires, so despite the Eric Black illustration with white wall Gary will also prepare a set of black wall fitted wheels to keep everybody happy.
Speaking of wheels. Gary is still looking for a full set of Single Bar flipper hubcaps. So if you know about a set, similar to the once in the photo below, let us know and we will pass it on to Gary.
 
How it all started back in 1957
The front half of the car was done in 1957 by Gary’s father Neil Emory and his uncle Clayton Jensen. It was part of a Rod and Custom how to channel series in the December 1957 Issue of Rod & Custom magazine.
The body has been channeled over the frame, with the fenders left in stock position. The cowl and hood are sectioned and the rear quarter panels cut to allow the body to be dropped.
 
CCC-itw-gary-emory-39-ford-rc-01The four page R&C article from 1957 shows the steps needed to channel a 1940 Ford. This was one of the specialties of the Valley Custom Shop.
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CCC-itw-gary-emory-39-ford-rc-02
 
CCC-valley-custom-shop-channel-01A the 5-inch strip has been removed from the firewall and cowl, and the body has been repositioned. The gap is in the process of being seam-welded. Lotsa bodywork lies ahead.
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CCC-valley-custom-shop-channel-02Since the Â’40 was to be dropped 5 inches, a 5-inch panel of metal was welded to the stock flooring, following the outline of the frame. The floor was then cut out along the inside edge of this panel and rewelded to the top. In the Â’50s it was not uncommon to see the body welded to the frame after channeling, but devising rubber or leather body isolators is preferred.
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CCC-valley-custom-shop-channel-03In order to retain the stock height of the rear fenders, an arc was cut in the body from the bottom of the wheel opening to the deck opening.
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CCC-valley-custom-shop-channel-04Once the body was dropped inside of the lower arch, the overlapping metal was cut away, and the pieces were seam-welded. A load of metalwork? Yup, but leaving the fenders at stock height looks better and emphasizes the lowered look.
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CCC-valley-custom-shop-channel-05Once the reinstalled body was welded to the fabricated 5-inch step, the floor was welded atop the step. Here, Valley CustomÂ’s Neil Emory does some final body welding.
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The work done on the car as of the end of May 2015
Gary and Don have joined the ’40 standard coupe customized in 1957 with parts of an ’39 DeLuxe Convertible, to create a phantom 1939 Ford DeLuxe Convertible. The car will have no running boards, similar to the Glen Hooker 1939 Mercury the Valley Custom Shop built. Further inspiration for the car comes from the Ralph Jilek sectioned 1940 Ford and also from the 1937 Dodge convertible, Gary’s father built in the 1940’s, before Gary was born. We will keep you posted on the progress on Gary’s 1939 Ford here on the Custom Car Chronicle. Stay tuned….
 
CCC-itw-gary-emory-39-ford-02The back of Gary’s ’39 will have 2 set in plates, just like his fathers 1937 Dodge. One for the license plate, and one for Throttle Stompers Burbank club plaque.
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CCC-itw-gary-emory-39-ford-01Chopped windshield and top of the cowl from the 39 Ford convertible has been added to the 1940 lower cowl section.
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CCC-itw-gary-emory-39-ford-03Gary is still looking for a full set of these single bar ripple disk hubcaps for his Valley Custom Shop tribute project.
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CCC-itw-gary-emory-39-ford-primer-01Updated on June 25, 2015. The car is now in primer, and nearly ready for the black paint.
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CCC-valley-custom-shop-ralph-jilek-01One of the cars Gary was inspired by to create his 1939 Ford was the perfectly proportioned sectiond 1940 Ford convertible the Valley Custom Shop created for Ralf Jilek.
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CCC-niel-emory-1937-dodge-01Gary’s father’s 1937 Dodge Convertible which Neil built in the early 1940’s was the inspiration for the the double set in license plate set-up.
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CCC-itw-gary-emory-eric-black-02Amazing style and details in Eric Black’s illustration.
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Historical Customs at 2015 GNRS

RESTORED CLASSICS

The 2015 GNRS was filled with fine customs, amongst those were no less than three recently restored historical Custom Cars, lets take a closer look at those.

 
Historical Customs at 2015 GNRS. For some time we knew about at least two of these historical Custom Car being restored and planned to debut at the 2015 GNRS. The teams and owners shared some material of the restoration. But if the cars actually get finished in time is always the question. Fortunately both cars, the Ron Dunn 1950 Ford as well as the Bob Pierson 1936 Ford were finished in time. We also knew bout the third one, the Valley Customs Ray Vega 1938 Ford wanting to attend at the GNRS. However the car was put on the waiting list and about two weeks before the show the light for the car being displayed at the show went on green.
The Bob Pierson and the Ron Dunn Customs have been faithfully restored to one of their well known versions. And both cars are restored with a lot of respect to the original builders, and have been rebuild in a way they are probably nicer and cleaner than they have ever been before, but still with respect for how they looked back in the 1950’s. The Ray Vega Ford has been updated with some of the owners preferences. But done in a ways that in time the car can always be brought back to how it looked in its heydays. Lets take a closer look at these restored Historical Custom Cars on display at the 2015 GNRS.
 
 

The Rob Pierson 1936 Ford

Current caretaker Jim Bobowski bought the Bob Pierson 1936 Ford coupe as a street rod in late 2010. In late 2010 a big historic Custom Car event was planned to be part at the 2011 GNRS. The Customs Then & Now. Jim knew about this event, and knew it would become an amazing event and wanted to be part of this with the Bob Pierson Coupe. Jim took the Coupe to Jimmy White’s Circle City Hot Rods in Orange who had less than two month to turn the street rod back into a more suiting custom look for the show. The car was entered at the show still in bright red, but now wearing wide whites, proper wheels and hubcaps, DeSoto bumpers, Spotlights and a few other items that changed the cars appearance completely.

After the show the car was taken to Bill Ganahl’s South City Rod & Custom shop in Hayward, California for a complete restoration. The car was disassembled and stripped from its bright red paint. When most of the car was restored, it was put back together and prepared for one of the famous Rodder’s Journal Bare Metal Studio Photo-Shoots, for the Rodder’s Journal issue #63. After the photo-shoot the car was taken apart once again for more fine tuning and of course final paint and detail. Compani Color did all the paint work and Plante Interior did the upholstery.

The team finished the car just moments before the show doors were opened at set-up day. Owner Jim Bobowski was awarded with the Bruce Meyer preservation award.
If you want to see more on the restoration of the Bob Pierson Ford, check out the CCC-Forum post on the restoration.
 
CCC-gnrs-historic-customs-01-piersonBob’s Ford was not just for looking good…
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CCC-bob-pierson-36-ford-resto-09This is the only very early color photo there is of the car (as far as we know) It was of course very helpful during the restoration. (photo courtesy of Robert Genat “the Birth of Hot Rodding” book)
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CCC-bob-pierson-36-ford-resto-14This is how Jim bought the car. Quite a different look that we know from the 1940’s and early 1950’s.
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CCCGNRSCustoms161DaveLindsayDave Lindsay snapped a few nice photos of the Ford during Set-Up day at the 2015 GNRS. The cars unusual off white color looks really beautiful and is now, and most likely was back then very refreshing from the mostly dark organic colored painted Customs.
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CCC-GNRS-Customs193-RobRadcliffeRob Radcliffe took some photo of the car on Friday. These show not only the beauty of the car but also the nice work the team did on the display and the amount of information about the cars history they shared. 
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CCC-GNRS-Customs188-RobRadcliffeChrome plated dash and chrome plated dash knobs and Appleton handles… (Rob Radcliffe photo)
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Ron Dunn Valley Custom Shop created 1950 Ford

Current owner of the Ron Dunn Ford, Steve Frisbie is also owner of Steve’s Auto Restorations, Inc. in Portland. Which is of course very convenient if you want to restore an historic Custom Car. The Ron Dunn 1950 Ford was originally built in the early 1950’s by the Valley Custom Shop. Ron Dunn drove the car regularly and showed it at many car shows in the early/mid 1950’s. The car was featured on the cover of Hop Up magazine and had full features in many magazines. In 1956 or ’57 the car suffered a side-swipe type accident resulting in a re-customizing by Valley Custom Shop.

In late 2005 Steve Frisbie rescued the car from open air storage in a fenced off driveway in Burbank, California where it sat out in the weather for many years under the ownership of Ron’s nephew. During that time the car was partially disassembled and left to the hazards of the elements, though being in Burbank for all those storage years the deterioration was at a minimum. Steve brought the car up to Portland, Oregon where it immediately went into heated dry secure storage awaiting the chance to be restored.

Steve Frisbie felt it would be sacrilegious to dispose of “Valley Custom Shop” sheet metal work of the second version of the car, or to hang it on the wall, only to then shape new S.A.R. sheet metal to mimic the first version. Thus Steve has decided to restore the car to the existing version (1957 version) that it is now. The team at SAR in Oregon has been working very hard in the last year or so restoring the car to its last Valley Custom Shop version and to be able to debut the car at the 2015 GNRS.

If you want to see more on the restoration of the Ron Dunn Ford, check out the CCC-Forum post on the restoration.
 
CCC-gnrs-historic-customs-01-ron-dunnRon Dunn with the Shoebox in the second version.
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CCC-gnrs-historic-customs-02-ron-dunnAnother photo showing Ron with the car and some of the trophy’s he won with it. The trophies came with the car when Steve bought it.
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CCC-gnrs-historic-customs-03-ron-dunnThe unrestored car was cleaned up and set on some new tires for a photo shoot.
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CCC-ron-dunn-dave-lindsay-photoDave Lindsay took this photo of the Ford during Set-Up day at the 2015 GNRS. The team had just finished setting up the display with enlarged magazine features, original 1950’s photos and a lot of info about the car’s history.
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Ray Vega Valley Custom Shop 1938 Ford

The Valley Custom Shop built 1938 Ford for Ray Vega has been completed for about a year or so. But this was the first time the car could be seen at the Grand National Roadster Show. Originally built in the early 1950’s based on an 1938 Ford phaeton with a 1940 Ford front end grafted on. The hood was sectioned and reshaped to fit the ’38 body. The car was originally painted a wonderful deep maroon with a white padded top. For and Valley Custom Shop creation the car was extremely low.

The car has been in the hands of the current owner Tony Handler since 1963, when he rescued the car from and impound lot. He later cut out the rear wheel openings, added slicks and raced it for some years. He has been working on the car to get it back in shape and ad a few of his own touches to it since the late 1990’s.  The car now has a black padded top, the hand tooled leather interior, one of the original versions high lights, is long gone and replaced with an all black tuck & roll upholstery. The bumpers have changed and so did the 1940 Ford headlights and the car is now running on tall white wall tires which raised it a bit more for better drivability.
 
CCC-gnrs-historic-customs-03-ray-vegaThe Ray Vega Ford made it in color on the May 1952 Hop Up Magazine cover.
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CCC-gnrs-historic-customs-04-ray-vegaTo be able to make the 1940 Ford hood work with the rest of the body, the belt line was completely hammered out. Bumpers are 194t Ford units.
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CCC-gnrs-historic-customs-02-ray-vegaThe side view shows the wonderful over all proportions and how low the car really was.
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CCC-gnrs-historic-customs-01-ray-vegaPat Ganahl took these photos of the car in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. It shows the car with no top and the rear wheel openings cut out to fit the slicks.
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CCC-GNRS-Customs-133-Jim Wray(Jim Wray photo)
 
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CCC-GNRS-Customs199-RobRadcliffeVery interesting was the original Car Show Sign, framed by the current caretaker of the car. (Rob Radcliffe photo)
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We at the Custom Car Chronicle hope that the large amount of Custom Cars attending the 2015 GNRS and especially the restored Historical cars on displayed is a new trend. And hopefully these bigger indoor shows will house more Custom Cars in the future. We know that these Historical Custom draw a huge crowd, and people are traveling from all over the world especially to see them on display. Lets hope the next GNRS will be ask good or even better on Customs as this year.

More photos of from DaveLindsay can be found on his website SocalCarCulture
 
 
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