Joe Urritta's 1941 Ford

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1941 Ford Convertible Sedan restyled by Sam Barris at Barris Kustoms for Joe Urritta of Fresno, California. once completed, Joe's Ford was the most radical custom Barris Kustoms, or anyone else for that matter, had ever built. The car left the factory as a two door sedan, but it was converted into a Convertible sedan during the build. Joe brought his Ford to Barris Kustoms in February of 1950, but he had discussed the idea with George and Sam a few months earlier. As this would be a major task that would be at the shop for many months, the brothers had devised a plan of radical proportions and saw an opportunity to try a few new ideas.[1]

Sam knew he had to tear the car apart to do what they wanted. The top, windshield frame and upper doorposts were cut off. The floor was cut out and the body was channeled, sectioned and rolled. The channeling job Sam did put the lower edges to the ground, so 3 inches were removed from the lower edges of the body. The running boards and the bulge in the doors and quarter panels were eliminated. With a collection of parts from several other cars, Sam reassembled the sedan and used only half of the original car. He took a window frame from a 1941 Ford Convertible, chopped it and installed it on the cowl. The car was fit with a padded top built by Marian Cottles in Sacramento. The side-window posts were replaced with thin chrome framing.[2]

The front end had to be raised for wheel clearance and alignment. Sam fabricated all the necessary sheet metal and the inner supports faded the fenders into the doors. Front and rear fenders were shifted up, and it was given a full set of Fadeaway Fenders. Front and rear bumpers were borrowed from a 1948 Ford. The rear panel sections were chopped down five inches and leaded in, plastic taillights were molded into the bumper guards. With the body almost finished, Sam still had to figure out the hood and grille. The hood was sectioned and it was barely 2 inches higher than the fenders. The car featured a 1947 Oldsmobile grille and frenched headlights. The front and rear gravel pan were molded in along with th fenders. The doors were converted to push-buttons. A set of fender skirts and large smooth hubcaps were added.

Sam thought the car should be even lower, so they re-rolled the front spring, raised the crossmember, de-arched the rear spring and reversed the spring eyes. By this time they had rearranged so much stuff that the trunk was full of chassis and suspension parts. So the deck lid was molded to the body which gave the Ford a much cleaner, more custom look. The car was first painted fresh metallic green, but several years later it was redone in maroon. There were more than 26 inches missing from the body height inside the Ford, so the seats and dashboard had to be changed. A shallower dashboard from a 1948 Studebaker was installed and new seats were created to suit the smaller space. Urrita hauled the car north to Sacramento where Marian Cottles installed a white and green interior and built the padded top. When it was all finished, the car measured 49 inches high. The complete restyling job on the two-door sedan cost $3600.[1]

Magazine Features

Motor Trend July 1950
Custom Cars Trend Book No. 101
Motor Trend December 1952
Rod Action September 1975


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