The Frantz Custom

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The Frantz Custom is a heavily restyled shoebox Ford Sport Custom owned by Woodrow Frantz of Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
A photo of the Frantz Custom from Hop Up July 1953.
A photo of the Frantz Custom taken at the 1954 Indianapolis Custom Auto Show in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo from The Wally Troy Photo Collection.
Woodrow's Ford as it appeared when it was featured in Trend Book 105 Restyle Your Car.
The Frantz Custom on the cover of Speed Age November 1953.

The Frantz Custom is a heavily restyled shoebox Ford Sport Custom owned by Woodrow Frantz of Nazareth, Pennsylvania. The body on Woodrow's Ford was channeled 7 inches. The doors were shortened, and Cadillac fenders were installed in the rear. Five bumper guards were used as part of the grille design.[1] In 1953 The Frantz Custom was featured on the cover of Speed Age November 1953.

It blew me away!

Don Kessler grew up in Nazareth, and in November of 2020 he told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama that he knew the Frantz Custom very well. "He was in some sort of steel construction business," Kessler recalled. "He built the car in the early '50s. He used Cadillac parts and Ford and Oldsmobile parts. It had a 303 Olds motor in it." The first time Don saw the car he was sitting on the front porch playing with his toy cars when Woody pulled up to his sister's house with it. "I was 7 years old at the time and it still blew me away. My Dad told me when he got the car done and was driving it to get it inspected he got pulled over and the cop gave him a ticket for no inspection sticker. He also built a hot rod. It was a '30 Ford roadster with a Jaguar motor in it." Don believes Woody built the Ford in the mid-1960s.[2]

Master Welder

Franklin Thompson's father, Dr. Frank Thompson, was one of Woody’s close friends. "They would typically meet every morning at the local diner for coffee and guy talk, in Nazareth, Pennsylvania," Franklin told Sondre Kvipt in April of 2021. "I would often be allowed as a boy and teenager to hang out at Woody’s shop, and there was always something interesting to watch there. On several occasions, Woody took me for a ride in his custom red roadster, and that was quite a thrill for me. His main business was ornamental iron, and he was a master welder. He was intelligent and very creative. Woody had a lot of energy, and he had a lot of interesting stories to tell also. I sure enjoyed his company, and so did my Dad."[3]

The last time

The last time Don Kessler saw the custom was in 1969. "I was at the car wash washing my car and he was there washing his kustom. He then showed me how he updated the car. He built a tube frame for it. He put a 455 Olds motor and a Turbo Hydromatic trans in it. He also made the front fenders and hood all one piece and rigged up a hydraulic system so the whole front opened up and tilted forward sort of like an XKE."[2]

Still in the Family

In 2011 the Frantz Custom was owned by Woodroow's grandson Justin G. Matase of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the time it had been garaged for a few years, and according to Justin it looked very similar to how it appeared in 1953; "The most changes were made to the interior throughout its life." Justin also owns a Ford Model A that belonged to his grandpa: "The other car is a Ford Model A that was customized and the wheel base extended, with an extended hood, to make room for the straight 6 Jaguar engine."[4]

Magazine Features

Trend Book 105 Restyle Your Car
Hop Up July 1953
Speed Age November 1953



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