Jack Stewart's 1941 Ford
1941 Ford restyled by the Ayala Brothers and Barris Kustoms for L.A. Roadsters member Jack Stewart of Los Angeles, California. Jack bought his car after graduating from South Gate High School in 1947. According to an interview with Jack Stewart in Rod Action july 1974 he took the stock coupe over to Regg Schlemmer's southern California custom shop in 1948, where Kenny Lucas chopped it 4 inches. Jack did the 6 inch channel job himself and installed a flat rear crossmember.
In 1950 Jack brought it over to The Ayala Brothers with intensions of getting a full Fadeaway Fenders treatment applied. Gil Ayala fit the coupe with front fenders from a 1948 Ford installed 2 inches higher than stock. The hood was scratchbuilt by California Metal Shaping, made to look like a 1950 Ford hood. All the hinges were handmade. A 1949 Cadillac grille was added. Jack choose the 1949 Cadillac grille because everybody were using the 1948 Cadillac grille.
The car was sitting half finished outside the Ayala shop for a while, Jack grew tired of waiting and brought it over to Barris Kustoms later in 1950 in order to get it finished. George Barris applied his talents, cutting up the into the top to add 2 inches of glass to the windshield so Jack could see out. The rain gutters were removed from the top, and the back window was left its original height, but laid nearly flat. The corners of the doors, hood and deck were rounded, and the gravel deflector pans front and rear were extended. Barris also hammered the horizontal line from the front fenders and changed the wheel opening shape. The stock line in the rear fenders was modified to match the fade-aways. Custom taillight lenses were formed and molded to the fenders. Every piece of trim was removed from the body panels, and all the holes filled. A chromed dash from a 1946 Mercury was installed, the center section was built up by hand, incorporating a flame design. Barris removed the firewall and built special panels in its place, installed dual spotlights on the car, and fit it with Cadillac Sombreros.  The car was powered by a 1948 Cadillac engine that Jack installed. The car was covered by white primer for about a year until it was painted pink. Once the bodywork was completed in 1951, the coupe was painted in a bronze color that Barris chose. In Motor Life February 1954, the car was fit with a 1952 Studebaker front bumper and a 1950 Ford rear bumper.
Jack owned the car for another year until he sold it at a car show in Anaheim where he won Best Custom. The car was sold for $2800 to Jim Skonzakes aka Jim Street of Dayton, Ohio in 1951. Jim owned the car until 1953. In a conversation Rik Hoving had with Jim Street, Jim told that one day he was driving around town with his wife in the car, they stopped at a diner in order to grab something to eat. While they were at the diner Jim noticed that a man had opened the hood on the car. Jim ran out and asked the man to close it and get his hands of the coupe. When they left the diner Jim didn't notice that the hood wasn't closed properly, so after a while the hood flew open and a hinge broke of. The hood was badly flipping upside down, damaging the hood, front fender, and roof. Jim repaired the damages and tried to match the bronze paint. He could not get the color right, so he repainted the car black instead. The photos of the car wearing "wire" wheels are from after this accident when the car was painted black.
After Jim sold the car, it was later hit by a train and almost ended up in a junkyard. In the late 1950s, around 1958 Bob Drake was working on his 1940 Ford Coupe at home in Indiana when a friend dropped by and told him about an old wrecked Ford custom he had seen in Ohio. Bob got the location from his buddy, and set out to see if he could find the car. He found the car, and what a sight it was. The remains of the car was laying in a farmyard, and a tractor and a chain had to be used to drag the remains from the barn. There was no front suspension, so the car was crunching along the nose and lower edges of the front fenders. The farmer who owned it told Bob that he was taking it to a junk dealer who figured it was so full of lead he had offered $200 for it. Bob offered the farmer $300 on the spot, and got the car. Home and up on stands, the car showed signs of a tremendous crash that had ripped out the front suspension. The front axle had broken and pierced the 1948 Cadillac engine pan, lodging between the crank and cylinder block. The rearend had also been torn loose from the transmission and frame. Bob spent the next 14 months working steadily on the restoration. While working on the car, Bob realized that that the custom work on the car was very well done. There was not as much lead on the car as the farmer indicated, areas such as the fillets between the rear fenders and body were hand-formed sheet stock with just a touch of leading to smooth the seams. Bob built a new fuel tank from 1/8 -inch steel for the car. New suspension was installed using Teflon between the spring leafs. The frame was painted black, and pinstriped in red. Underneath, an entirely new exhaust system was also fabricated for the car. Bob was lucky enough to locate the original upholstery for the car who had been stored in the attic of a car wash. How it got there was a mystery. After 14 months of hard work on the car, Bob got married. His wife Sandra shared Bob's enthusiasm for cars, but the car was set aside in order to complete a few other projects. The car spent the next 14 years waiting for its time. Then in February 1972, Bob and Sandra decided to complete the restoration of the car in time for the Nationals in Detroit. They had agreed to travel with a group that planned to leave for Detroit on July 12 at 7:20 a.m. On July 6, the car had no paint, and Bob would not take it in primer. So he began the paint job that evening using enamel. By July 10th, Bob still had to install the interior, glass, and wiring. Working around the clock, Bob and Sandra managed to complete the restoration in time for the 7:30 deadline.
In 2009, the car was up for sale at Icons of Speed & Style where it was sold for $ 27,500 USD. April 2010 the car was up for sale again on eBay, the car was sold by Symbolic Motor Car Company in La Jolla, California, and advertised with a buy it now price of $39,000 USD. The auction ended early, and the car was sold after one day to Palle Johansen from Denmark. After Palle had bought the car, he found out that the car was registered as a 1972 Ford. Most likely the new date on the title was given to the car after Bob Drake had finished the complete restoration in 1972. Before Palle shipped his car to Denmark he had to fix the registration in order to not pay taxes on the car like it should have been a 1972 model car.
Trend Book 101 Custom Cars
Hop Up March 1952
Motor Trend December 1952
Motor Life February 1954
Street Rodder November 1972
Rod Action july 1974
Street Rodder July 1981
Street Rodder November 1991
Hot Rod Deluxe May 2010
Did You Enjoy This Article?
Kustomrama is an online encyclopedia dedicated to traditional hot rod and custom cars. Our mission is to protect, preserve and share traditional hot rod custom car history from all over the world.
- Find out how you can become a contributor.
- Forward this article to a friend.
- Subscribe to our newsletter and receive updates on Jack Stewart's 1941 Ford and other subjects featured on Kustomrama.
Help Us Make This Article Better
If you have additional information, photos, feedback or corrections about Jack Stewart's 1941 Ford, please get in touch with Kustomrama at: email@example.com.