Jay Johnston’s Shoebox
I first saw Jay Johnston’s shoebox in Andy Southard’s “Customs of the 1950’s” book and as the owner of a shoebox Ford at the time, I freaked out. Sure, it’s a pretty extravagant custom and I typically don’t go for such cars, but this one is different. Why? Because just about every single modification made to this little car was done with a total vision. There are no hap-ass changes for the sake of changing… Just well thought out modifications that result in a car that looks like it’s hauling ass while it’s sitting still.
The hard-topped chop is the most pronounced change. And while we’ve all probably seen hard-tops done in a cleaner and smarter fashion, this one isn’t so bad. The heavy crown gives the car a bit of a forward slant and when seen in conjunction with the a-pillars, level stance, and amplified “fender peak/spears,” you are left with a feeling of speed. In my mind, that’s the over-all feeling just about all cars should leave you with – custom or hot rod.
In any case, I had forgotten about the little shoebox and just happened to see the January, 1955 issue of Car Craft Magazine in my bathroom this morning. I don’t believe I ever knew or had recognized that the car was painted coral and yellow – two colors that don’t work so well in my mind’s eye, but pop perfectly on the cover of my well worn Car Craft.