Frank Monteleon's 1941 Ford

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George Barris next to Frank's Ford. This photo was published in Motor Trend December 1952.
George Barris and John Manok working on the framework for the Fadeaway panels. Photo from Hop Up January 1953
An in-progress photo of the car with the 1950 Oldsmobile fenders grafted onto the car. The car is still in primer.
The 1950 Oldsmobile taillights are still on the fenders.
Front shot of the car used in the 1955 Motorama Official Program.
Andy's Ford at the 1955 Motorama. Photo by Andy Southard[1]
The car as it appeared in May 1956. Photo by Jim Potter
Photo by Jim Potter
Photo by Jim Potter
Photo by Jim Potter
Another version of the car featuring, scallops, pinstriping and 1957 Cadillac hubcaps
The scalloped version of the car displayed at the first annual Renegades Rod & Custom Motorama in 1958.
Photo from the Barry Mazza collection
Photo from the Barry Mazza collection

1941 Ford restyled by Barris Kustoms for Frank Monteleon. Frank had originally taken his Ford to a guy in Burbank called "Hoot". Hoot peaked the hood, chopped the top, and tacked on 1950 Oldsmobile rear fenders. The work stopped there, and Frank's car sat for months. Frank became more and more frustrated over Hoot. While attending a humongous party at Balboa, Frank met George Barris. He told George about his problems with Hoot, and George told him he could bring his car down to his shop. George also allowed Frank to come in and help build the car. Frank worked at the Los Angeles Times newspaper at the time, and the job gave him free time to work on his car.[2]

Frank drove his unfinished kustom down to Barris Kustoms around 1949/1950. At Barris Kustoms the front fenders were also replaced by 1950 Oldsmobile fenders. The rear fenders were extended towards the doors using sheet metal. Functional scoops were made on the rear fenders to cool down the brakes. Perforated mesh was inserted into the scoop openings. In Hop Up January 1953 there was a story named "Custom Hints" that showed how George Barris and John Manok created the Fadeaway panels for the car.[3] A 1951 Oldsmobile rear bumper was placed between the Oldsmobile rear fenders, taillight lenses from a 1954 DeSoto were chosen for the reworked rear end. The grille shell was borrowed from a 1950 Mercury and the grille was made out of bent tubing and wire mesh. The front bumper was a reworked 1950 Mercury unit[4], and 1952 Ford headlight rims were frenched into the Oldsmobile fenders. Little was kept from the original hood, except for the center portion. The outer edges were swiped from a later model Cadillac.[4] A removable top was made out of a 1938 Ford 2-door roof. The Ford was nosed, decked and shaved of its door handles. Doors, hood and deck lid were push-button operated.[5] The microswitch for the doors were hidden inside the scoop. Total height of the car was 56 inches.[4]

The frame was Z'd in order to lower the car in the rear; up front the axle was steeply dagoed and sprung a de-arched spring. The engine was hopped up and the exhaust from it routed through tailpipes that emerged from the lower fender edges in the rear.[5]

Once the bodywork was done, the car was painted shocking pink, charcoal metallic, and finishing white.[4] Gaylord's Kustom Shop did mostof the interior in pink and white Naugahyde. White buttons were used in the pink sections. The headliner contained more than 500 1-inch pleats.[4] Frank's father was in the upholstery business, so Frank installed the TV and record player himself. While working on the car, Frank went in to the service in 1955. When he got out they got the car ready for the annual Motorama show that was held October 14-23, 1955.[2] Frank's car was also featured in Rod & Custom May 1956. Until it was finished in 1955 the car came and went to and from the shop several times,[6] according to Rod & Custom January 1957 it took 7 years to fully complete the build. At one point the car was voted as Kustom Car of the Week, and George Barris and Frank appeared together on "Double Time", a KTLA TV show.[2]

After a while the car received a makeover including 1957 Cadillac hubcaps, black scallops, and pinstriping. When Frank bought the car he paid around $500 for it. After spending around $8,000 restyling it, he eventually sold it for $1,000 or $1,200. The guy Frank sold the car to destroyed it, and Frank remember the car ended up in a junkyard.[2]

Magazine Features

Motor Trend December 1952
Hop Up January 1953
Rod & Custom May 1956
Rod & Custom January 1957
Trend Book 133 Custom Cars 1957 Annual



Rik Hoving Custom Car Photo Archive


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