Monday, October 29, 2012

Rik Hoving's First Custom Car book.

It has been a while since I wrote my last story for this Rik Hoving Custom Car history Blog. I never intention to go so long without a new input on this blog... But I think I have a very good excuse for it.

For the last year or so I have been spending most of my spare time working on one of my long lasting dreams.
Writing my own book about Custom Cars.
And I'm very proud to say that I just finished this book!

My first book about Custom Cars is at the printer right now getting ready to be printed and bind into my very first and hopefully not my last Custom Car book. The book is planned to be all done at the beginning of December 2012, and if all goes as planned I should have it at the GNRS at the end of January 2013.
More details about pricing and where to get it other than at the GNRS will follow in the next couple of weeks. So far I have been too busy getting the book ready for the deadline that I did not have to much time for the other details yet.

The book is available directly from the publisher at:

So what is this book about
I hope I have created a rather unique book that will interests a lot of people.
The book title is the Jack Stewart Ford and the subtile 
a journey in time with the car and its owners
So basically the book is about one car?... well YES, and NO.

The cover of the book, well a 10% print of it.
This one is not even 2 inches tall. The real book will be
8.7 x 8.7 inches. 

Whats inside
Even thought the Jack Stewart 1941 Ford plays the key roll in the book, it sure has a lot more things to offer. The book starts with a inspiring foreword by Pat Ganahl. And then there is a Chapter about the history of the Jack Stewart Ford, showing many great, never before published photos of this trend setting historical important car. This chapter tells the story on how the car was built, when, where and how it ended up on the Mid West of the US and later in Denmark. 
Then there is a chapter in the book about inspiration, things that inspired Jack to built his custom car in the later part of the 1940's. It shows and tells about other custom cars that influenced Jack, or that were built with a similar theme. 

There is a section on the two major Custom Shops, Ayala and Barris that created this car.
And my most favorite part of the book are the chapters devoted to the four major caretakers. Here they get to talk about their years with the car. But these chapters also highlight many other cars and other vehicles these guys have owned prior and past the Jack Stewart Ford.
The Jack Stewart Ford has always been owned by people that had some very interesting cars, and done some great stuff all around.
On the Jack Stewart Research trip we have interviewed the former owners of the cars, And since then we have been in constant contact verifying the text I had written to make sure the stories are as accurate as they can be.

Jack Stewart had a 1953 MG Custom Sports Car that was customized by George Cerny, and Jack later built his famous 1932 Ford Roadster. Both of these and more are shown in the book with many never before published photos.
Jim Skonzakes (Street) had several very nice custom cars before the Jack Stewart Ford. And the famous Golden Sahara, kookie T and many other projects after he had sold the 1941 Ford. Some of his amazing stories get told in his chapter.
Bob Drake made the Jack Stewart Ford famous by driving it all around the mid West and creating several other great cars during the time he owned Jacks Ford.
And Palle Johansen the current caretaker has done everything in his power to restore the car back to its 1951 version. Plus he has had some great cars in the past and present as well.
All these caretakers had a great collection of wonderful info and photos to be shared in this book.
The book shows a great selection of never before published material on a lot of really great cars.

Some of the pages, again 10% prints cut and folded to make
them look like book pages.

There are some really great color photos in the book dated back to 1948-52 from the collection of Jim Street showing his early customs. 1941 Ford, 1949 Buick both in beige and dark purple and couple of the only color photos we ever found on Jack's 1941 Ford in 1951.
There are also a series of amazing photos of the Golden Sahara with the most accurate information on this fantastic show car ever published including the REAL story with documents on how the pearl white paint job was created.

There were a few people who I told that I would be working on this book, and when I told them in the beginning that it would be about the Jack Stewart Ford some were somewhat skeptical. They where afraid it might not be interesting enough focusing on just one car. But as soon as I showed them the first drafts they all knew they had been wrong and took their words right back.

I have created a small scale dummy of some of the pages from the book and took some photos of them to share here. And of coarse the best pages will not be shown here. For those you need to get yourself a copy of the book.
These photos are taken of 10% size prints and are far from the quality the finished book will be. The photos are just to give a first impression.
The next time I will show some photos of the book will be from the printer in Denmark Hopefully in the next ten or so days.

GNRS 2013
The plan is to have the book available at the GNRS 2013 where the real Jack Stewart Ford will be debuting as well. The car is currently being prepared for this show where it will be shown all done, except for the final paint. Early December the car and the books will be shipped from Denmark to California.
When the body of the car was stripped of its paint the metal underneath it looked so good and the craftsmanship of the Ayala's, George Barris and Bob Metz looked so great that it would have been a shame not to show it. So it was decided to finish the car as far as possible and do all the body work needed in metal and lead and show the car in bare metal.
At the show the car and the original owner Jack Stewart will be reunited again. And we will have the new book available there, and of course we will have Jack there to sign the book for those who want that.

I want to specially thank all the previous care takers of the Jack Stewart Ford, Palle Johansen, Scotty Gosson, Tony Miller and Paul Kelly for helping me out on this project.

Below is a small collection of the photos/documents that did not make it into the book.
I hope you enjoy it.

Rik Hoving

Jim Skonzakes his 1949 Buick in 1951

One of the many news paper articles about the Golden Sahara.
Jim Skonzakes (Street) toured the US Custom Car shows with
this masterpiece for many years.

One of the several early color photos from the Jim Skonzakes
Collection. Each had one of these date stamps on the back.

A bit blurry photo of the Jack Stewart Ford when owned by
Bob Drake in the mid 1950's.

George Barris and Bob Drake checking out the engine in
Jack's old Custom. This was in the 1980's as George his
Jacket and glasses clearly shows.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Danny Hall 1940 Ford Coupe - another surviver

By Dick Page and Rik Hoving

This is how Danny Hall's 1940 Ford Coupe looked
when it was featured in Custom Cars July 1958

This 1940 Ford coupe was owned by Danny Hall of Tacoma, Washington when it was featured in the magazines. When Danny bought this 1940 Ford he had great plans with it… Full custom was the only way to go for him. So Danny contacted Schneider's Custom Shop in Tacoma to do the heavy work for him. The top on Danny's coupe was chopped 3 inches, with the windshield raked back at a very pleasing angle. The drip rails remained, but where shortened around the rear side windows. Unusual for a chopped 1940 Ford the rear window was chopped as well. The hood was welded and nosed, the trunk decked and the rest of the body trim was also removed. Electrical solenoids where installed to open the doors and trunk from the dash. Danny used a 1941 Lincoln front bumper bumper and an 1950 Chrysler bumper at the rear. The license plate surround comes from a 1953 Studebaker. A very nice Custom parts that is not used a lot. He installed the Studebaker taillights, and those are the best looking taillights for any 1940 Ford Custom.

The Studebaker license plate surround on the rear bumper

Wonderful flow of the top and this view also shows the
shortened drip rail

The interior in Danny's Coupe was done in red and white naugahyde in a very nice but unusual tuck & roll upholstery pattern. The body was painted in a really deep Titian red lacer. Danny installed some new smooth hubcaps, but a set with a nice revile in them to give the car just a bit more flash, but not to much. I think he made a perfect choice with those. The car already came with a set of spotlights, so they where put back on. Back in the 1940's and 1950's you needed to have a set of Appleton S-112 or S-552, but those seamed to be less popular in the later part of the 1950's. A lot of the cars started to use Dummy spots from Cal Custom or other aftermarket companies. But Danny wanted to use the real ones, perhaps they where Appleton's, but not the famous Custom Series, these where a bit smaller. Still they look very good on the car. Danny was a member of the Tacoma Toppers Car Club.

Danny Hall's 40 Ford coupe was a big deal to Dick page as well. Danny worked in the neighborhood where Dick Page lived, just a very short walk from his house and he always loved looking at it up close.  When he heard that it was for sale in a body shop in Bremerton around 1970 he went to see it and was shocked to see it radically changed and sitting outside in primer. After that the car was painted lime green with gold trim.

I only found this small scan of the car
around 1970.

Later Bob McCutchen owned the car. For the last sixteen years it has been owned by John Dixon of Olympia Washington who loved the car when he first saw it in its present form and has no plans to change it. So the car is still around today… it sure does not look anything like it did in its glory days in the 1950's. But the new owner feels otherwise.

This photo of the former Danny Hall 1940 Ford and now owned
by JohnDixon was taken in the summer of 2011 by Dick Page.
It pretty much looks the same as it did in the 1970's
But far from how it looked when owned by Danny Hall.

Dick page helped the John Dixon identify his chopped 1940 Ford coupe as the Danny Hall 1940 Ford, showing him some hidden signs that nobody knew about. But Dick was able to find them. Positive ID.
Could this 1940 Ford be brought back to how it was in the photos shown above. Yes I think it could. It would need four new fenders, possibly a replacement hood and most likely a new old chassis. But the rest is all there, and most of all the great chop performed by Scheider's shop is still perfect today. I sure hope in the near future we could see this old custom get restored again.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bruce Rosengren's 1936 Ford Cabriolet.

Bruce Rosengren from White Bear Lake, Minn. has owned this 1936 Ford Cabriolet from 1955 till 1958-59.
He would like to know if his old car is still around, and also who was the original builder of this great looking Custom.

Bruce Roseengren and his 1936 Ford Cabriolet in 1958.
Bruce had to remove the hood and hood sides in the summer to
prevent the engine from overheating.

Bruce bought the car in 1955 as a used custom from a news paper ad in St Paul for $350.-  The car was obviously customized in the 1940's with a chopped windshield, a padded top that most likely is an original Carson Top Shop top and one that was made none removable for unknown reasons. The interior was done in red lather for the seats and red velour for the rest.
The stock grille was replaced with a custom made panel and Packard grille with solid hood sides. The taillights where 1948 Chevy units. All the work was really well and most likely done by a professional body shop. The car was painted a two tone light green and cream color when he bought it. And after Bruce had made the changes it was painted with gray primer, he never got around to give it a final paint job and wen the car was sold it was still this same gray primer.

When Bruce bought the car in 1955 everything and especially the natural aging pointed toward this being an old custom car from the 1940's, but Bruce was not really interested in its history at the time, so he never asked about the cars past owners and where it was originally built.

The car with its smoothed hood and solid hood sides.
An amazing early looking Custom Car for 1958.

Bruce had Dick Freudenberg rebuilt the 59ab Flathead engine and had a local shop french the Chevy taillights and set in the rear license plate.

A better view of the Dick Freudenberg rebuilt Flathead engine with
two carb intake.

Bruce went into the Navy in 1957 and had parked the car at his parents house. His father sold the car a few years later, after first asking Bruce if this was okay with him.
Ever since the car was sold Bruce regretted ever letting him father sell it.

This fuzzy photo of the rear shows the set in license plate and 1948
Chevy taillights.

Over the years Bruce has always wondered what happened to his old Car, if it is still around. With all the restorations of old Custom Cars going on in the last couple of years Bruce now also wondered who built this car in the 1940s, and he really regrets never asking more info on the car when he bought it in 1955.

So if anybody who sees these photos of this great looking 1940's styled 1936 Ford Cabriolet recognizes it and can shed a bit of light on its history or current whereabouts, please let me know and I will make sure to pass it on to Bruce. (

Without the mid/late 1950's car in the drive way this photo could have
very well been taken in the 1940's.