Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Jack Stewart Ford Project goes GNRS

For the last two or so years I have been part of the Jack Stewart Ford Project team. My biggest part in this project was creating the Jack Stewart Ford book which was finished in November 2012. After that I have been very busy with all kinds of things that needed to be done to prepare everything for the other really big part in the project, getting the Jack Stewart Ford as complete as possible and ready to be shipped to the 2013 GNRS in Pomona California. 

Palle Johansen and his team took care of most of the hard work restoring the car in Denmark. In early December 2012 the car was - as planned - put in a container along with the printed books and shipped to California. Here David Martinez would do some finishing work on the car to get it at its best to be shown to the visitors at the show and to to Jack Stewart who was very anxious to see his old custom being brought back to the looks it had when he drove it in 1951. 

The car at David Martinez his shop in Desert Palm Springs
moments before it was put in the trailer to be driven to the
GNRS in Pomona. 

The first plan two years ago,was to completely finish the car, paint and all, and ship it to the GNRS. But once the car was stripped from its 1972 paint job a wonderful bare metal and lead custom sculpture was revealed. It was then decided the car should be show in bare metal so that everybody could see the great workmanship from the Ayala brothers in the late 1940's and early 1950's as well as the fine tuning work of George Barris who did the finishing work on the car for his friend Jack Stewart in 1951. 

Before we left for the GNRS the team had created some large 3-D "Jack Stewart" letters copied from the 1951 Hot Rod Show display. We also made some framed display signs and Palle had a series of stitched patched made from my Jack Stewart Ford Project logo artwork.

The stitched patches arrived the day before we left for the US.
They came our really great. 100 patches were made.

This last decision was welcomed by a lot of custom car enthusiast who came to see the car in person at the show. Through out the whole show the car was mostly surrounded by people admiring the metal work done 60 plus years ago. Never before was such an iconic Custom Car built by both the Ayala and Barris shop displayed in bare metal. 

The car was pushed into the Custom Car building at the GNRS.

The highlights at the GNRS for the Jack Stewart Ford Project team was when Jack Stewart and Bob Drake inspected the car. It was the first time that the original owner of the car Jack Stewart and the fourth owner of the car Bob Drake met in person. Both had very emotional moments when viewing the car in bare metal for the first time. Bob had traveled all the way from Indiana with the help of his daughter Tanya. Both talked in length with each other and shared many personal moments they have had when they owned the car. Both Bob and Jack spend all three days signing copies of the Jack Stewart Ford book, and talking to people who wanted to know more about the car.

Me hanging the Kustom Kar Books banner on the back wall
of our booth.
The finished booth, ready for action.
This was my view from behind the booth. 
A personal highlight for me was when I presented Jack Stewart with my book during set up day on Thursday. Jack had been so kind to wait receiving the book until I could personally hand him a version at the show. He kept looking in the book, and each page he opened and each photo he saw a new story about the car and the time was shared. It was an absolutely great day that will never be forgotten.

Jack Stewart in his old custom. He sat in it for some time, reliving
old memories.
Bob Drake, owner of the car from 1955 to 2006 on the left
and Jack Stewart  on the right talking about the book in which
they both play a huge roll. They were both pre-signing books
before the doors of the show opened.
Another highlight of the show was when Jack Stewart handed
over the award Jack won with his Ford in 1951. The same
award that can be seen in the popular photo with the car on
the display with the wall and Jack Stewart letters behind it.
Jack also gave me something really nice. But more about that
in a later post.

I had never before had a booth at a show like this so I had no idea what to expect. I had, as on previous times when I visited this kind of show, brought my photo camera and try-pod to make as many photos as I could. It turned out that I was so busy during the entire weekend selling books and talking to the people that visited our booth that I did not even have the time to visit every building at the show, let alone take photos of all the cars I liked. 
The book sales started already on set-up day when people came over to ask about the book. And the rest of the weekend there were always people getting a signed copy of the book right there and some even traveled from far with the previous acquired books to have them signed by Jack, Bob and Palle.

The Jack Stewart Ford book is available directly from the publisher at:

Out great friends Pat and Paul Bragg came over from Paso Robles.
Paul had brought his book which he had ordered when the book was
first released to have it signed by Jack, Bob and Palle

Pat Ganahl came by to pick up a book.
And so did Junior Conway.

Palle Johansen showed Keith Weesner every little detail about
about the car, and once inside he would not leave it for some time.
Here Palle takes a snapshot of Keith sitting in the Ford on Keith his
iphone. I guess Keith will cherry this photo for a long time.
After the show was over the car was transported to a photo studio.
Here the Jack Stewart Ford Project team carefully rolls the car
from the trailer.