The Lellis ’39
So after yesterday’s post on ’39 Fords, I got to thinking – Who made the best? Although there has been a number of iconic 1940 Fords built through out the years, not many ’39s have made the same impact. Then, I remembered a piss green ’39 Convertible a friend of mine hunted for many years.
Arthur Lellis was a partner at Art & Jerry Custom Shop located in Los Angeles and in 1946, he decided to build himself a 1939 Ford Convertible. He started by chopping the A-pillars 3″, channeling the body 4″ over the frame, and then finally sectioning the hood. From there, he dropped in a 1941 Merc motor with Eddie Meyer heads, a Weiand intake, and a reasonably hot cam. Zephyr gears transferred the power.
The rest of the car was finished off with clean, simple, and finer points. Desoto ripple bumpers, custom grille, deleted running boards, simple interior, etc…
The end result is a damn nice car by any standard, but Hot Rod was impressed enough to feature it in September of 1948 and then yet again in May of 1950. For the first shoot, Art’s car was finished in a metallic green and for the second? A metallic bronze that Hot Rod described as “dark and mysterious.”
Decades later, the car surfaced in a 1950 Ford color called, “Sportsman Green.” Bill Dreist had done the restoration. You might remember it from this feature in 2010. Rad, right? Obviously, the car went through a ton of changes through the years… and I think what makes this car special is that it really managed to avoid that awkward stage that many historical customs go through. For all intents and purposes, this thing started beautiful and ended in the same fashion.