Arthur Lellis' 1939 Ford

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Art's Ford was featured in Hot Rod Magazine September 1948. The same story did also feature Jerry Moffatt's 1939 Ford convertible. Jerry and Arthur were companions at Art & Jerry Custom Shop, and their cars were almost identical.
A close-up of Art's Ford from the Hot Rod Magazine September 1948 story. Photo courtesy of Hot Rod Magazine.
A photo of Art's Ford next to Jerry Mofatt's 1939 Ford from Hot Rod Magazine September 1948. Photo courtesy of Hot Rod Magazine.
A rear end shot of Art's Ford from Hot Rod Magazine September 1948. Photo courtesy of Hot Rod Magazine.
Art's Ford was also featured in Hot Rod Magazine May 1950. This version of the car had been painted Metallic bronze. It also ran the "Panoramic" Runyan top.
When Art's car was featured in Hot Rod Magazine May 1950 it did not run the dual spotlights. Photo by Medley, courtesy of Hot Rod Magazine.
Photo by Medley, courtesy of Hot Rod Magazine.
Photo by Medley, courtesy of Hot Rod Magazine.
Photo by Medley, courtesy of Hot Rod Magazine.
Photo by Medley, courtesy of AHRF.
Sometime between 1948 and 1950 Art advertised the Ford for sale. According to the ad it ran a full Evans 1942 Mercury engine with a 3 5/16 bore and 3/8 stroke. At the time it had been tached at 120.35 mph at El Mirage. Photo courtesy of the HAMB.
In 1952 a photo of Art's car appeared in the February issue of Auto Sport Review. The story was titled "Hollywood Roundup," and it featured pictures of people like Clark Gable and Gary Cooper with their cars. Current owner of the car was Alan Young, a British born actor who had settled down in Hollywood. Photo courtesy of the HAMB.
A photo of the restored version of the car taken at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Photo courtesy of The HAMB.
Art's old Ford as it sat when it was offered for sale at the 2010 Pebble Beach Auctions.
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The Ford as it sat when Hyman Ltd. advertised it for sale in December of 2010. Photo courtesy iof Hyman Ltd., from the Jalopy Journal.
Photo courtesy iof Hyman Ltd., from the Jalopy Journal.
Photo courtesy iof Hyman Ltd., from the Jalopy Journal.
Photo courtesy iof Hyman Ltd., from the Jalopy Journal.
Photo courtesy iof Hyman Ltd., from the Jalopy Journal.
Photo courtesy iof Hyman Ltd., from the Jalopy Journal.
Photo courtesy iof Hyman Ltd., from the Jalopy Journal.
October 15, 1950, Art clocked the car at a speed of 120.35 mph at El Mirage. The race was sanctioned by the Cal-Neva Timing Association. Photo courtesy iof Hyman Ltd., from the Jalopy Journal.
Photo courtesy iof Hyman Ltd., from the Jalopy Journal.
Photo courtesy iof Hyman Ltd., from the Jalopy Journal.

1939 Ford Convertible originally owned and restyled by Arthur Lellis at Art & Jerry Custom Shop in Los Angeles, California. Art restyled his Ford in 1946. At the same time, Art's companion in the shop, Jerry Moffatt, restyled a 1939 Ford as well. The two partners built two almost identical Ford's that they could to cruise the streets of Los Angeles in.[1].


Contents

Channeled

The sleek body on Art's Ford was channeled 4 inches over the frame. The front and rear fenders were left in their normal position, with a small section trimmed off the bottom ends. A 4 inch section was removed from the sides of the hood, according to a featured story in Hot Rod Magazine May 1950, the most complicated part of the whole procedure. The car was then nosed, decked and shaved for handles and sidetrim. The running boards were removed for a more sporty look, and both bumpers were replaced by 1937 DeSoto ripple bumpers.[2] An aftermarket grille from Eastern Auto Supply that covered parts of the original grille was installed.[3]


Chopped

The windshield frame was chopped 3 inches before the car was fit with a padded top.[2]


Mercury Power

The chassis was kept stock. Power came from a 1941 Mercury engine that had been ported and relieved with 3 1/16" bore and 3/8" stroke using a 1949 Mercury crankshaft. The engine featured Eddie Meyer heads, a Weiand manifold, Winfield R-1 camshaft and a Meyer rebuilt ignition. The flywheel weight was reduced to 22 lbs. Most of the engine accessories were chrome plated, as were the exhaust headers that were made by So. Calif. Muffler Co.. The transmission ran Zephyr gears and the differential had 3.54 gears installed. The hopped up engine was cooled by a radiator from a 1941 Ford truck. According to Hot Rod Magazine May 1950, "Art's car shows up equally as well in performance as it does in appearance."[2]


Upholstery

The interior was upholstered in Maroon and Green leather. It was carpeted to match.[2] The build cost Arthur more than $2000 to complete.[1]


Hot Rod Magazine September 1948

Art and Jerry's Ford were featured in Hot Rod Magazine September 1948. That version of Art's car was painted Metallic Green. It was dressed up with dual spotlights and custom hubcaps.[1]


Hot Rod Magazine May 1950

In 1950 Art's Ford was featured in Hot Rod Magazine May 1950. When the story was made, the car had recently been painted Metallic bronze. It had also received a "Panoramic" top covered by Runyan of Hollywood. The rear window was made from flexible plastic material, and according to the story a special frame was manufactured for the padded top.[2]


El Mirage

October 15, 1950, Art clocked the car at a speed of 120.35 mph at El Mirage. The race was sanctioned by the Cal-Neva Timing Association.


For Sale

Sometime between 1948 and 1950 Art advertised the Ford for sale. According to the ad it ran a full Evans 1942 Mercury engine with a 3 5/16 bore and 3/8 stroke.[4] The top was listed as a Carson Top in the ad.


Hollywood Roundup

In 1952 a photo of Art's car appeared in the February issue of Auto Sport Review. The story was titled "Hollywood Roundup," and it featured pictures of people like Clark Gable and Gary Cooper with their cars. Current owner of the car was Alan Young, a British born actor who had settled down in Hollywood.[3] The car flowed through the hands of several West Coast owners until it ended up on the East Coast in the mid 1950s. While on the east Coast, the front end was damaged and replaced with a 1940 Ford DeLuxe front end.[5]


Restored by Bill Dreist

In 1988,Bill Dreist of Saginaw, Michigan entered a Duesenberg-Cord festival in Auburn, Indiana. At the show Bill noticed Art's old car, it caught his eyes and he ended up buying it. The car was in an unrestored condition, so Bill decided to restore it. The car was given flared fender skirts, 1939 Lincoln taillights, 1948 Ford bumpers, and a 1952 Oldsmobile dashboard that housed Stewart-Warner gauges. A pair of Cord 810 foglights were mounted on the front bumper. After the restoration, the car was powered by a healthy 1948 Mercury engine.[5] The restored version of the car was finished off in a 1950 Ford Sportsman Green color.[4]


August 14 and 15th, 2010 Art's old Ford was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Autions. The estimated sales price was between $120,000 - $160,000. The reserve wasn't met, and the car didn't sell.[4] In December of 2010 the car was advertised for sale by Hyman Ltd..


Magazine Features

Hot Rod Magazine September 1948
Hot Rod Magazine May 1950
Auto Sport Review February 1952
Rod & Custom December 1995


References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Hot Rod Magazine September 1948
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Hot Rod Magazine May 1950
  3. 3.0 3.1 The HAMB - Old Custom Photo
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Gooding Company - 1939 Ford Custom
  5. 5.0 5.1 Rod & Custom December 1995





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