Warren Dorrill's 1949 Ford

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The first iteration of Warren'a Shark was featured on the cover of Motor Trend November 1952.
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The second iteration of the Shark in primer. Photo courtesy of Peter Sample.
Photo courtesy of Peter Sample.
An old 8mm home video showing the second iteration of the Shark sporting a bright red paint job. The video was provided by the family of Werran Dorrill. Click the play button to check it out.
Photo courtesy of Peter Sample.
Photo courtesy of Peter Sample.
Photo courtesy of Peter Sample.
Photo courtesy of Peter Sample.
Photo courtesy of Peter Sample.
Photo courtesy of Peter Sample.
Photo courtesy of Peter Sample.
The Shark as it sat in Alto, Texas in 1988. Photo by David McNurlen
The March 1976 Oklahoma Inspection sticker. Photo by David McNurlen
The Shark sitting on the street in Diboll, Texas. Photo by David McNurlen

1949 Ford Club Coupe owned and restyled by Warren Dorrill of Gallup, New Mexico . Built over a span of two years, the car is also known as "The Shark".


Warren was a well-known bodyman and painter, and he began by building the "Shark" from a 1949 Ford Club Coupe. He had a basic design in mind, however, he worked it out in metal as he went along. The front was redesigned by extending the front frame rails to support the downsweeped front fenders and hood. The shark nose hood featured air scoops on each side. Another scoop was located beneath the front bumper to provide enough cooling, by this way a grille was not necessary. All body seams were filled, the deck lid seam as well. The front wheel wells were redesigned and fender skirts were added in the rear. Three Cadillac taillights were mounted on the rear end, and the exhaust was routed through were the stock taillights once was. Inside the car featured 35 different switches and signal lights and 11 gauges.[1] November 10 thru 16, 1952 Warren's Ford was shown at the third annual Motorama.[2]


Second Iteration

Sometime after the car was shown at the Motorama, the front was restyled. The shark nose was removed and replaced with a grille. Two more grilles were also added up front before the car was painted Red.


Found in Texas

Sometime around 1987, Larry Davidson heard about an old custom that was supposed to be located in Texas. Larry did some digging and found it sitting outside in a fenced area behind a Alto, Texas building. It turned out it was the old Shark, the car had another color and some changes had been done to the front. However, the rest of the car looked exactly as it sat when it was featured in Motor Trend November 1952, even the tires and wheel covers were the same. The car had a full-house flathead with a Vertex magneto. All the Stewart-Warner gauges and Cadillac taillights were still intact. It had a March 1976 Oklahoma inspection sticker. In 1988, David McNurlen drove to see the car once again to take some pictures and meet the owner. The owner was a roofing contractor who went by the name of "Crazy Man". He passed away in 2004, and David was told that the car was sold to a used car lot in Houston in 1988, and eventually sold to a guy up north.[3]


Where is it Now?

According to rumors, Warren's Shark is still around, and last we heard it was located in Tennessee. Warren's family are currently trying to locate the old family custom, and if possible buy it back. Please get in touch with Kustomrama at mail@kustomrama.com if you know where the Shark is today, or if you have any additional info to share about the car.


Update

In April of 2018, after posting the car in the Kustomrama Lost and Found section, Benny Grable told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama that he saw the car in Jacksonville, Texas a couple of years ago.[4] A couple of months later Sondre received an email from "Bill," who could tell him that he was the current owner. Located in Tennessee, Bill had owned it for more than 20 years when he wrote Kustomrama. When Bill bought the car it had been painted in black primer.

Magazine Features

Motor Trend November 1952
Trend Book 109 Custom Cars 1954 Annual
Soup Up Magazine No. 6


References



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If you have additional information, photos, feedback or corrections about Warren Dorrill's 1949 Ford, please get in touch with Kustomrama at: mail@kustomrama.com.


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