Peter Brock's 1946 Ford Convertible - The Fordillac
1946 Ford Convertible owned by Peter Brock of Menlo Park, California. Brock is an American automotive and product designer known for his significant contributions to the automotive industry. As a 20-year-old GM designer, he sketched what would become the 1959 Chevrolet Stingray Racer and later the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray.
Originally restyled by Art Lellis and Jerry Moffatt
In May of 2021, Brock told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama that the original work on the car was done at Olive Hill Garage in Los Angeles, California. "It was started by the first owner whose name I was never able to learn. I believe he was a young man who went into the Army and was killed in Korea. His family placed the car on a used car lot in San Francisco, where I discovered it. I was more into sports cars than customs at the time, so I sold my MG TC to buy this car as I could see the potential."
When Brock bought the car, the body had been sectioned 5 and a half inches. It was channeled another 5 inches. The fenders were raised, and the wheel openings were reshaped and radiused. The hood was sectioned to fit the raised front fenders. All exterior trim was removed to give it a cleaner appearance. The stock bumpers were replaced with 1946 Oldsmobile bumpers that fit the car nicely instead of the stock slim Ford units. The windshield was chopped 3 and a half inches and fitted with a padded top made by Carson Top Shop. The taillights were relocated to the license plate guard. The car was painted bright red once completed, Moon hubcaps on white walls wrapped up the style.
While studying as an automotive designer at the Art Center Design School of Los Angeles, Pete started sketching new ideas for the car. He brought the custom to Norm's Auto Body to have them carried out. The second time, the rear end was restyled by recessing the license plate into the rear pan. Push bars replaced the Olds wrap-around-type bumpers. Taillights were taken from an Austin-Healey. Aluminum welt was fit in the fenders seams. The unique nosepiece was made from two Mercury grille shells that were spliced together. "I used the nose of a 1941 Hudson and two 1950 Mercury grill shells to make the radiator intake," Pete recalled in 2021. The interior was re-upholstered by Dick and Dale's Upholstery Shop of Redwood City, California. It was done in white and blue pleated Naugahyde. The tonneau cover was white with dark blue stripes. Once completed, the car was painted Artic white with dark blue Cunningham racing-style colors, which was pretty unique in those days. A dropped axle was installed, and 8.00 x 16 tires were installed in the rear, giving it a forward rake. The Ford was sported by a 1954 Cadillac engine connected to a 1938 LaSalle transmission.
Sold to Jimmy Burrell - Last Seen in North Carolina
Pete sold the car to Jimmy Burrell, who did most of the later work for Peter at Norm's Auto Body. "I sold the car to get some funds to pay for school at Art Center College of Design in 1956. I then went to Detroit to work as a designer for GM. Jimmy drove it "home" to North Carolina where it disappeared, and I’ve not heard or seen anything of it since then," Brock told Kustomrama.
The Legacy of the Fordillac
According to Pete, "it’s interesting to note that Briggs Cunningham was the first to use these "racing stripes" which I added to my car in honor of his participation as an American at Le Mans. I later used those stripes in designing the livery for the Mustang GT350s we built at Shelby American starting in 1965."
Where is it Now? The Quest for Brock's Lost Custom
Embarking on a quest of automotive history, we're piecing together the missing chapters of Peter Brock's 1946 Ford Custom's narrative. This iconic vehicle has slipped through the cracks of time since Brock parted ways with it back in 1956. Now, we ask all car enthusiasts, history buffs, and sleuths alike: "Where is it now?" We're eager to hear from anyone who can shine a light on this mystery. Whether you have first-hand knowledge, a promising lead, or even a hunch about the car's current whereabouts, we're all ears. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and join us in tracing the tracks of this automotive legend. Your insight might just be the key to unearthing a treasure from the annals of car history.
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