The Early Custom Pick

The Early Custom Pick

A couple of us were gathered around the latest early custom to call Texas home (Ed note: Mum’s the word Stevo!) last night and began discussing the finer points of the genre. We all pretty much came to the conclusion that the early period of customs is most defined by the perfect stance and the perfect silhouette. Each requires thought and grace to obtain.

The stance. To me, this is the part that takes some sophistication. Many fellas give in to the urge to get a car as low as possible and then call it done.

“It’s slammed,” the say. “I got it right.”

The early custom isn’t slammed. Instead, it’s subtly massaged to get a nose high attitude while keeping the front wheels carefully centered in the wheel well and the rears hinting around at kissing the lip. It’s a ballet of restraint that was born out of necessity. Most of the early custom Fords that I have studied feature a reversed-eye spring up front and the same out back with the addition of longer shackles. That’s it… That’s all it takes.

The silhouette. To me, this one isn’t as defined as the stance but is still every bit as important. Ever noticed how Harry Westergard’s cars look like motor boats creating an asphalt wake as they cruise down the boulevard? Well, I guess I haven’t seen too many cruising around, but I imagine it that way. To me, that’s the targeted silhouette. It’s grace and “bad mother fucker” all rolled into one testosterone laden package.

I dunno that my words can give my thoughts justice, but the conversation was had last night anyway. We all thought around about our favorite early custom… Westergard was mentioned, Emory came up, and so did a few others… There is no right or wrong answer.

Mine? Dean Batchelor sent me the above photo over a decade ago. It’s a ’38 Ford owned by Bill Faris and built by Neal Emory and friends in the late 1940’s. With my fixation of the 1938 Ford offering, this one just sings to me. I could see the rear an inch lower, but I don’t know that anything else needs to be done. I’ve heard the car was Washington Blue. Mine would be black.

What’s your pick?


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