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Old 06-04-2007, 02:46 PM   #1
Ryan
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Default Where did Harry Westergard go?

Harry Westergard

The custom car movement is one based around the taste of its followers. As builders influence other builders an...

To read the rest of this blog entry from The Jalopy Journal, click here.

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Old 06-04-2007, 03:43 PM   #2
Stevie G
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Default Re: Where did Harry Westergard go?

They are out there.
I have seen a few in my recent travels that are going to make people just say "Wow".
The more I look at his work, the more I know why I came here.
The billet rods just weren't doing it for me and I needed some inspiration. Thanks to Ryan and Rikster, I have some great ideas going for a couple projects that need a transfusion so to speak.

Anyways, thanks for the perspective and just keep your eyes open.
They are coming.
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Old 06-04-2007, 03:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: Where did Harry Westergard go?

I know they're few and far between but X38 is bulding a heavily influenced Westergard style car out of an Aussie 1938 Ford Sloper. Rikster did a photoshop on it a few weeks back - it's gonna look very classy!

Good post Ryan, it kind of goes hand in hand with your blog on design - Harry's are up there with P51's IMO.
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Old 06-04-2007, 04:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: Where did Harry Westergard go?

I think they are just too subtle. Not enough to catch the eye of someone who doesn't know what they are looking at. Spotlights, fuzzy dice, and a furry dash all draw attention from anyone.

Also, much of the custom crowd has been so infused with a nostalgia for the 50s for so long, it would take quite a while and some new blood to get things changing there. Hot rodders are more impulsive.
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Old 06-04-2007, 04:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: Where did Harry Westergard go?

"It has always amazed me that while there is a very definite move to our roots in the hot rod world, there hasn’t been one all that prominent in the custom circle. Sure, we see lots of 50’s and 60’s styled customs cruising around, but it’s a rare sight to see a subtle and sensible “Westergard style” car sleazing about. I’m not entirely certain why that is the case, but I do hope that changes."


 


It's a tough road to get to in the end (IMHO).  There's really no after market parts made today.  And finding them can take years.  The parts that help define this era for me and what I'm going to use on my 1940 Mercury Custom are: 37 Desoto bumpers, Appleton spotlights (112, 552, etc...), Hollywood flipper caps, Buick skirts (I guess you could by em back then too from places like Eastern), The right taillights, 46-48 steering wheel ( I have a GM deluxe aftermarket, Lincoln, and Mercury steering wheels to use), and a grill (I think I'll choose the 40/41 Packard, just like Harry did on the Famous 39' Ford custom).  Getting these parts has taken me about 6 years to find.  I do hope to see more of these customs on the road soon,  but there are some out there.  I guess it's a Hot Rodders world for now.


 


Ken


Last edited by 53chevy; 06-04-2007 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 06-04-2007, 04:14 PM   #6
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Default Re: Where did Harry Westergard go?

I think there are still a ton of customs out there and quite a few that have been recently constructed.They may not be as radical as Westergard's(and that in my opinion would qualify as a radical custom of it's day)but they are there.

I think that two of the modern day customizers who are carrying on the tradition(whether you like their cars or not)are John d'Agostino and Rick Dorr.Both have done customs that would fit into the radical category but the modifications are so subtle that most would consider them mild(or semi)customs.

There are always the radical(read far-out)customs that seem to have been constructed with no other purpose in mind except to see how many body modifications could be accomplished.This was true back in the 60's as well.

Enclosed please find a couple pics of a good friend of mine's ex car:One of the best looking customs I've seen in a long time.Chopped just under 2" with a single piece glass installed;head and parking lamps subtley frenched;all bumper bolts welded on the back and the bumpers smoothed;classic wine and ivory tuck and roll;and a 500 c.i. Caddy under the hood.Non metallic maroon paint(I like to call it,"MacMurtrie Maroon because Spike has several cars painted the same color).

Unfortunately most of the customs being done today are of the "Ugly" period.
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Old 06-04-2007, 04:18 PM   #7
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Default Re: Where did Harry Westergard go?

I'm not sure that we are not seeing these cars. I can think of 3 that have come to prominence in the last year or so. Coles '36 the one feature here http://www.jalopyjournal.com/?p=683 and Timebomb the '36 that Jeff Norwell penned and was built up here in Canada and I'm sure there have been more. I may be wrong here but I don't think customs have ever been as prevalent as hot rods so it's doesn't seem like there are as many nice subtle customs produced as nice hot rods. I would think though that percentage wise for the number of over all builds in both "styles" of cars you get as many nice customs as hotrods. Or I may be way out to lunch.
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Old 06-04-2007, 04:20 PM   #8
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Default Re: Where did Harry Westergard go?

Once (if? $$$ ) I ever find/buy myself a '35-'48 coupe/sedan to customize, it will have a HEAVY Westergard influence........
Westergard cars are my favorites of the early customs......
His style was all his own.......TIMELESS.
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Old 06-04-2007, 04:23 PM   #9
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Default Re: Where did Harry Westergard go?

That is beautiful.
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Old 06-04-2007, 04:35 PM   #10
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Default Re: Where did Harry Westergard go?

im still on the prowl for a 35/36 ford roadster
immediate post war correct customs are it for me

if i could afford it or had the skills I'd be building one right now instead of all of these "hot rods"

someday

this is my absolute favorite car of all time
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Old 06-04-2007, 04:40 PM   #11
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Default Re: Where did Harry Westergard go?

Zach, that is one of my all time favs too...
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Old 06-04-2007, 04:53 PM   #12
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Default Re: Where did Harry Westergard go?

When I started on my roadster I wanted to stay in the post-war era styling. That is not easy to do when so many aftermarket parts are available to make the build fast and easy.You cannot buy style ,it is an internal vision that when you see it in your mind, the final product, the real result of all that hard work, and all the years invested in the project,only then can you sit back and say Wow!!! Harry would be proud.I`ve had some great comments on my roadster and they came from great peolple who are plugged in to my style of building. After looking for parts and pieces for 7 years to finish this car,I would be hard pressed to do it all again.Take a look at my web-site and see for yourself it don`t come easy.God Bless Harry Westergard
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Old 06-04-2007, 04:59 PM   #13
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Default Re: Where did Harry Westergard go?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrpontiac View Post
I think they are just too subtle. Not enough to catch the eye of someone who doesn't know what they are looking at.
You might have something there.

Both in hot rodding and customs less is more, but in different ways

I love early customs more than anything else, and an eye for detail and understanding of the form of the vehicle is what its about. Interesting thing is, there are lot of ugly ducklings that would come up nicely. http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/s...d.php?t=163864
Not dissing other kinds of rides, but a beatifuly executed early custom will always take my breath away.
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Old 06-05-2007, 05:59 AM   #14
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Default Re: Where did Harry Westergard go?

"perfection is acheived, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away"
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Old 06-05-2007, 06:22 AM   #15
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Default Re: Where did Harry Westergard go?

Kudos Flatattack. Yes, my project is heavily and unashamedly Westergard. It goes back to my youth. Basically what nailed it for me were Hot Rod annuals from 73/74. They had anniversary coverage featuring early lakes racing (highboys) and the Spence Murray R&C roadster project. That project included as a style guide a Robert Williams rendering of an imagined Westergard custom 36 Ford roadster. That image was burned into my brain from that point as was the name Harry Westergard. I think I was about 13 or 14 at the time. So...a lot of time has passed but I've got the highboy and I am finally knee deep in a dream custom project.

Here's to Harry. And Dick Bertolucci.
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Old 06-05-2007, 06:46 AM   #16
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Default Re: Where did Harry Westergard go?

Thanks for the post Ryan, this is perfect and timing is everything.
You just pumped pure adrenalin into my system, which is going to help me big time in the garage to get my '37 Chevy on the road soon.
Riksters' thread that you linked to is fantastic (as usual)!
For me, the Westergard style custom is what it's all about. I love hot rods, but there is something to be said about the class of an early custom.
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Old 06-05-2007, 09:18 AM   #17
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Default Re: Where did Harry Westergard go?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan View Post
Sure, we see lots of 50’s and 60’s styled customs cruising around, but it’s a rare sight to see a subtle and sensible “Westergard style” car sleazing about. I’m not entirely certain why that is the case, but I do hope that changes.

Although my car is a 50 chevy, and therefore too late to be very Westergardian, I try to embrace his ethos when making design decisions. When guys don't realize that I've done anything to it, I know I've done it right.

My fellow Poor Boy, Roger, won best chop at Autoramam Extreme this past March, but was almost passed up because the judges couldn't tell that his roof had been chopped and stretched 4". That means it was done juuust right.

I think that the return to traditional styling in hot rods may be more evident because they are easier to build (not easy, but easier) than a custom, especially one like a Westergard (and before you guys get your panties twisted up, I'm talking about the "traditional" rusty variety of hot rod that is supposed to look "worn"). I mean, how long has Cole been working on the Kirk Hammet car?


There's a guy on the board here that has a purple suede mid-30s Ford with stretched front fenders and zoomies that I think really nails the classic custom look with a 21st century twist. Maybe someone can remember who that is. The point is: they're out there.
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Old 06-05-2007, 09:34 AM   #18
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Default Re: Where did Harry Westergard go?

Ryan,
Keep posting these old blogs!
It's fun to re-read ones that haven't been around in a while.
It's also good way for others to comment who may have missed them the first time.
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Old 06-05-2007, 12:00 PM   #19
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Default Re: Where did Harry Westergard go?

The National Auto Museum in Reno has a 39 Ford he built there. Theres so many subtle things done to it you would need to park a stocker next to it to see them all
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