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History MILESTONE CUSTOM CARS: Jesse Lopez '41 Ford

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Rikster, Jul 29, 2005.

  1. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,781

    Rikster
    Member

    The Barris brothers build '41 Ford for Jesse Lopez has always been one of my all time favourite custom cars. The overal lines are just so perfect. Built in the late 40's in that wonderful taildraging style. The chop on this coupe has to be the best ever on a 41 Ford. I have seen many done after this, but never did they look this good. Everything about this custom is just perfect. like mentioned before the stance and chop, the flow of the roof into the trunk, the modifications to the front to accept the Caddy grille. Sam Barris really outdid himself on this one. First shown with singel bar flippers and later with Caddy Sombrero's (or perhaps some aftermarket repops) it must have looke so good in real dark/deep green laquer.

    For long I have read this car was long long lost... but recently I heard the Lopez Ford is still around. Unfortunately I have no other information than that it is somewhere in Indiana, but I have no idear about the condition of this great custom car. I sure hope that now its know the car is still around that its in good hands and hopefully will see a complete restoration soon.

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    How it all started...

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    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
  2. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,781

    Rikster
    Member

    [​IMG]

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    what a profile...

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    Kit Bash likes this.
  3. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,781

    Rikster
    Member

    Chromed dash with green lucite insert. Steeringwheel looks to be from a Merc.

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    The car on the right is obviously not the Lopez Ford. but the interior photo is really nice.
    From the Dan Post Blue Book of Custom Restyling

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    Beautifully crafted taillights

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    Push buttons to open the doors are "hidden" in the roled running boards.

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    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
  4. chrisman
    Joined: Jun 13, 2002
    Posts: 719

    chrisman
    Member

    Thanks for all the pics, Rikster! It sure is a milestone.
    Does anyone know what coupe style it was built on? I've always believed it's easier to get a flowing chop when starting from a business coupe. From a glance, the doors on this looks longer just like on the sedan coupe.
     

  5. seymour
    Joined: Jan 22, 2004
    Posts: 5,125

    seymour
    Member
    from PNW

    that 2nd pic always makes me laugh
     
  6. phat rat
    Joined: Mar 18, 2001
    Posts: 4,448

    phat rat
    Member


    Drip rail running down to edge of trunk indicate a business cpe, the club cpe (long door) drip rail drops down and stops at the beltline
     
  7. TheFrenZ
    Joined: Dec 3, 2004
    Posts: 1,900

    TheFrenZ
    Member
    from Germany

    Thanks Rik ! I fully agree with what you say about the Lopez Ford.Beautiful car in every way and one of my favorites as well.I didn't know the car is still around...how cool is that and yes,hopefully we will see it restored someday.For now we have to keep us satisfied with the old pics which are surely very entertaining as well.

    The Barris Bros started the project with an 1941 Ford Club Coupe in 1946 and after two years the car was in the stage most of us know it.Stance was achieved by channeling the body over the frame which was also kicked up in the rear.The other major modification was the 4 1/2" chop with laid down rear window.Pleasing profile-YES ! While working on the top the driprail was completely shaved and the side trim has been shortened just like on the Matranga Merc which accentuates the body lines and gives the car definition...

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    Grille is '48 Caddy to give the car a more luxory feeling and better looks at all.The sheetmetal above the grille and below the hood needed some major reworking to make the it flow again.Headlights have been flush-frenched-the only way.Front bumper is'46/'47 Ford with matching guards.Like on many other Barris creations,this one wears the oh-so-nice Sombrero hubcaps and the just-right whitewall tire.Jesse Lopez was a member of the "Kustoms of Los Angeles" and this pic shows the Ford with a Road Kings car club plaque so we know at this time the car was already sold to Lions Drag Strip starter Danny Lares...

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    The rear was completely shaved which now has the custom-made taillights in the bumper guards.Nice ! Just like the front bumper the rear one was '46/'47 Ford as well.I guess they had a '46/'47 Ford standing around which had nicer chrome than the one on the already 5 year old '41...

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    I always like to see people standing next to a car which makes you appreciate the car's proportions.Those cars are seldom seen over here and it surely helps to get a feeling for their size and great flowing lines,especially when chopped.Also nice about this pic is the stock Ford parked next to it.Compare ! It seems the Lopez Ford was a crowd magnet back in the day and it cartainly would be today too...

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    Jesse Lopez standing next to his Milestone Kustom Ford.A car that truly inspired leadheads all over he globe to build something similar and it's easy to understand why.What a car...

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    What the Calori Ford is for '36 Fords, is the Lopez Ford for fat fendered '40's Fords although the Jack Brumbach '42 Ford is VERY nice as well.Too bad there's a shortage of pics on that one...or does anybody have more of it than the one pic we all know...?
     
  8. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,781

    Rikster
    Member

    Thanks for the additional photo's and info TheFrenZ...

    Here is a better picture of your last posted photo...

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    ...and one from the Brumelback Ford which is a '42 coupe, and yes I too would love to see more photo's of this one as well.

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  9. 53chevy
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 1,570

    53chevy
    Member

    As always, oustanding! Thanks for the great pics and read. later

    Ken
     
  10. Rot 'n Kustom
    Joined: Sep 24, 2004
    Posts: 1,967

    Rot 'n Kustom
    Member

    OOOH BABY!
    Harry Bradley says that there is one angle that defines every good custom.
    It's the one that tells everything about the car. This is it.

    I never noticed the extra length in the roofline on this car
    - most photos are the 3/4 front or rear which foreshortens the length.
    Looks like this car was originally a club coupe. Most customizers shorten a club coupe roof when chopping to get the flow going.
    This one embraces the long roof and makes it work with the rest of the car's bulk.
    What a beautiful restyling job that was.
     
  11. lulabelle
    Joined: Aug 25, 2002
    Posts: 1,247

    lulabelle
    Member

     
  12. Kommuter
    Joined: Feb 9, 2002
    Posts: 147

    Kommuter
    Member

    I've always wondered about this photo...

    First, they cut right through the window, so obviousy they finished with another top, or put it back together.

    Second, by the tail lights and dash, I'd say this was a 41 Merc, not a Ford.

    So, the question is: Is this really where Jesse's car started, or is this a different car?

    I remember reading that it took Sam several tries to get the Matranga chop right, so maybe he did this one a few times, too.

    Truly a timeless classic, and a beautiful car.

    Any more news on it's present-day whereabouts?
     
  13. 133
    Joined: Dec 30, 2003
    Posts: 1,655

    133
    Member

    Rik, your posts are so awesome. i love the photos and the back story on these cars. this is one of my favorites as well. i love the Barris stuff. keep these posts coming! thanks again for an awesome post.
     
  14. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,781

    Rikster
    Member

    Kommuter,

    Very interesting. I had noticed the Merc taillights as well, but figured the Lopez '41 Ford was a mild custom before they started cutting the top. It has smooth hubcaps and was already lowered. We all know ofcoars that George Barris has been making quite a few mistakes in his photo captions...

    As for the rear window. I was always in the impression the rear window was also chopped a litle, not much but just perhaps an inch or so just to get it better balanced with the rest of the top. Sam was know to get things just right. I'am not sure if that was done to the Matranga merc as well. But when Kent Vikmo (ak JB) and Wolf Christiansson chopped the top on his '40 Mercury they chopped the rear window 1.5" in the center and 2" on the sides to get it balanced with the new top... so that might have been done with this as well.

    Unfortunately all I know about the current whereabouts is that it is still alive in somewhere in Indiana... no information about its condition or who is the owner... but as soon as I know more about it.. I will add it to this post.
     
  15. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,781

    Rikster
    Member

    And a few more pictures

    from Popular Mechanics

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    Close up of the front.

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    And in front of the Barris shop with the Jack Steward original Ayala built 41 Ford coupe along side it. Both 41 Fords... such different looks after customizing...

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    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
  16. I agree. I've seen many coupe chops where the deck lid and ass end seem too long and out of proportion to the rest of the lines. This one has balance in the roof, hood, deck, and overall length. The height proportions seem very natural, as does the flow of the chop. When this car is compared to a stocker, the factory styling seems forced and disjointed. Like Mr. Bradley says, it's all about the purity of the line and this coupe has that in spades.
     
  17. bobbleed
    Joined: May 11, 2001
    Posts: 3,101

    bobbleed
    Member
    from Awesome

    This post rules.
     
  18. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,781

    Rikster
    Member

    Mr Harry Bradley's tribute to the Jesse Lopez '41 Ford and the Nick Matranga '40 Mercury.

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    Last edited: May 12, 2011
  19. 00 MACK
    Joined: May 10, 2004
    Posts: 3,682

    00 MACK
    Member

    This car with th roof cut off is DeCarrs 41 Merc. As you can see by the short door,its a business coupe unlike the Lopez car. It too is alive today.
     
  20. 00 MACK
    Joined: May 10, 2004
    Posts: 3,682

    00 MACK
    Member

    The Brumbach car is amateurish compared to the Lopez car. The roof is too low in the back and the quarter windows come to too sharp a point.It is a beauty but not perfection.
     
  21. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,781

    Rikster
    Member

    Anthony, are you talking about the in progress photo where the top is lifted of the body? beeing the DeCarr Mercury?
     
  22. 00 MACK
    Joined: May 10, 2004
    Posts: 3,682

    00 MACK
    Member

    yeah.
     
  23. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,781

    Rikster
    Member

    mistery solved... thanks Anthony.


    Bill DeCarr '41 Mercury, although this photo is listed as beeing the Jack Stewart '41 Ford in the Barris book. I love the lines of this '41 Merc the beautifull flowing lines and fadeaway fenders, but I always wondered about the way to hight placed rear window. The Lopez Ford has it fitted just perfectly. Both customs however share a lot of lines.

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  24. 00 MACK
    Joined: May 10, 2004
    Posts: 3,682

    00 MACK
    Member

    The back windows too high. By the way,anytime tells me about the car in Indiana,I wonder if they are confusing it with the Jack Stewart car.
     
  25. TheFrenZ
    Joined: Dec 3, 2004
    Posts: 1,900

    TheFrenZ
    Member
    from Germany

    Friends,you are right about the rear window.Bothers me every time I look at it.
     
  26. For my money, the Matranga Merc is one of the finest Customs ever. Balance, line, form, restraint, and tasteful elegance. But, being me, I'd have to lose the spotlights.
     
  27. loogy
    Joined: Mar 6, 2004
    Posts: 1,234

    loogy
    Member

    If ever a car was sexy, I'd have to say this is it.

    Thank you guy's for spreading the custom gospel. I for one am a true disciple.

    Chris
     
  28. Bass
    Joined: Jul 9, 2001
    Posts: 3,348

    Bass
    Member
    from Dallas, TX

    I was thinking the same thing. Speaking of that, here's an unpublished photo of what the Jack Stewart Ford looked like in the early 70's.
     

    Attached Files:

  29. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,781

    Rikster
    Member

    Bass, Thank you for the unpublished Jack Stewart photo. I wish I knew more about the Lopez Ford in Indiana story... but I dont unfortunately. I really hope the rumors are tru and this car is not the Steward 41 or perhaps another 41 custom that appeared in a Custom Rodder years ago claimed to be the Bill DeCarr '41 Merc in somebody's garage (which would be very nice too, but looking at that photo I doubt if it was the DeCarr 41). I will try to locate that small picture and scan it... but I'am unsure if I can manage that before going on vacation... will try.

    Another picture of the Lopez Custom, this one comes from Dan Post's Blue book of custom restyling.


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    And one from a 50's outdoor show.

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  30. buckeye_01
    Joined: Jun 20, 2005
    Posts: 1,441

    buckeye_01
    Member

    Thanks for the read! Rikster, your photo archive is amazing! I can forsee many hours being spent there.
     

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