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History The Ron Brooks 1940 Chevy Convertible Survivor Custom

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Rikster, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,793

    Rikster
    Member

    I think a lot of us Custom Car enthusiasts have seen or read about this car...

    photo by KustomBuick
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    This car has been around for a long time, and it has been featured in several magazines including an excellent feature in Kustoms Illustrated #19. But Ron has recently acquired a scanner, and has scanned some of his old photos he has of this car. So I thought it would be time for an update on the history of this great looking early 1950's Custom Car.

    In 1974 Ron Brooks bought this 1940 Chevy Convertible Custom. Ron drove the car around for some time, basically just the way he bought it.
    But in 1978 Ron decided it was time for a repaint, and while at it he decided to make some modifications to improve on the looks of this already very fine looking Custom.
    Ron, his brother and some friends did most of the work on the restoration of this survivor Custom Car from in 1978.

    But lets back up first and lets go back to the early 1950's when this car was first built. Fred and his brother Don Crellar from Concord California built this 1940 Chevy Custom starting in the late 1940's and finished it in 1950.

    Photo from the Fred & Don Creller Collection
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    The brothers used a 1949 Cadillac grille and surround at the front and added a 1948 Buick front bumper both front and rear. They removed the running boards and hand made a filler piece to cover the frame below the body. They chopped the windshield and had Hall's Top Shop at San Pablo Ave. in Oakland do a very nice proportioned padded top. Today the car still has the original Hall plaque on the inside of the tops header.

    The car was lowered a few inches and a set of aftermarket moon type hubcaps where mounted on wide white wall tires. In some of the photos it looks like the rear wheels have a set of Lyon's hubcaps while the front ran smooth hubcaps. In those years the car never had fender skirts.

    Fred Crellar sold the 1940 Chevy to his brother Don in 1958, who kept it until 1974 when he decided to sell it to Ron Brooks.

    Photo taken after Fred sold it to his brother.

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    This photo was taken in 1963, and the vertical Caddy grille bars had been removed by now.

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    And this photo was taken at Ron's Driveway in 1974.

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    So now we are back to 1978, Ron was going to repaint the car, but decided he wanted to take it a step further. He always thought the 1949 Cadillac which the brothers added made the front look a bit to wide. And when he bought the car the vertical grille bars where already missing. So Ron molded the Caddy grille surround into to front fenders and would later paint it body color, making the front look less wide. Ron kept the Caddy horizontal grille bar, but added slightly modified 1953 Chevy grille teeth to it. Ron also decided to cut holes into the front fenders and drop the headlights down a bit and also moved them back to improve the looks of the car. Two 1948 front bumpers where used on the car, but he always felt they where to wide. So he took 6 inches out of them and moved them a bit closer to the body for better proportions. And sectioned the front bumper guards. He also added a sunken antenna at that time. The car was repainted, but the diamond button black interior was kept the way he got it.


    The car with all the paint stripped, and preparation work for the new paint job underway.. again in the drive way.

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    Fresh paint... awaiting assembly.

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    Finished at one of Andy's Picnic's

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  2. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,793

    Rikster
    Member

    Ron drove the car a lot after finishing it, and in 1991 he decided to enter the car into the 50th Grand National Roadster Show, and decided it was time for a complete redo again. He had been using the Chevy a lot over the past near two decades, and the car needed to be freshened up.

    The care was stripped of most of its paint and Ron repainted the car in his back yard. Doug, a good friend of Ron had recently taken a night course in upholstery, and he bought a used sowing machine and together with Ron they redid the complete interior himself. Although the original headliner was kept in place... this was and still is the original Hall piece.

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    Ron Sewing

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    This is how the old interior looked.

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    Doug with the new upholstered seat.

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    Ron also removed the taillights, filled the holes, and created bumper guard taillights. Ron wants to Thank Rod Powell for helping him out with some very good explaining how to do this.

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    Ron has driven the car a lot since he got it back on the road in 1991, and the car can be sean at a lot of events and run in California.
    Restoring a survivor Custom like this is something special, but driving it around to enjoy it, and let everybody else enjoy it as well is something really special.

    Some time after that the engine had developed a knock so Ron had it rebuilt with a few more goodies, and added a newer 3-speed with overdrive and an open drive-line.

    [​IMG]

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    Thank you Ron for the scanning the old photos and telling some more about your car. Ron told me he would join the HAMB real soon, so hopefully he will join us here and tell some more historic facts about his 1940 Chevy Convertible.


    This photo shows Ron Brooks on the left, with Fred & Don Creller the original owners on the right.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2011
  3. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,793

    Rikster
    Member

    This photo shows a bit of the original Hall headliner. (photos by Rob Radcliffe)

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    And the Hall tag.

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    Andy Southard took this photo of the car in 1975-76

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    Last edited: Apr 13, 2011
  4. Moondog13
    Joined: Sep 7, 2006
    Posts: 762

    Moondog13
    Member

    Awesome, beautiful breezer! I love the fact that he rebuilt and kept the 216 and didn't just throw a 235 in there. :D
     

  5. heywacha
    Joined: Feb 19, 2009
    Posts: 295

    heywacha
    Member
    from Orange, CA

    Hey Rikster, like always I look forward to your posts... You've provided us with more than just cool pictures. And thanks to Ron and his new scanner, we can see cool before and after pictures and the history of this car. Which brings me to my question....
    The car went from Fred, to Don, and then finally to Ron. And each owner seems to have a different license plate for the car. Did the previous owner keep the plates? Or did the car have to change plates everytime it was sold? Definitely not important, but I am curious!
     
  6. JimA
    Joined: Apr 1, 2001
    Posts: 4,796

    JimA
    BANNED

    Very cool!
    As far as the plates, they were all changed as the state issued new ones. The first shown are 1951, then they issued ALL cars with new ones in 1956 (the light colored ones), and again in 1963 (the black ones still on the car).
     
  7. Mobart
    Joined: May 25, 2008
    Posts: 81

    Mobart
    Member

    Pure Art......................
     
  8. heywacha
    Joined: Feb 19, 2009
    Posts: 295

    heywacha
    Member
    from Orange, CA

  9. koolkemp
    Joined: May 7, 2004
    Posts: 6,006

    koolkemp
    Member

    Thanks Rik,its always great to see the "unseen" pics you track down as well as the history of the car.
     
  10. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,255

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    that's a cool car. I've seen it 100 times in the past, I have never seen it with the hood open. for some reason I never wondered what it had for a motor. goes to show you, if you build a cool custom and take it to the shows and leave the hood closed, no one will miss the fact that you can't see the motor.
     
  11. jerseymike
    Joined: Sep 25, 2008
    Posts: 680

    jerseymike
    Member

    thanks for posting rik, always wonder when i see a picture of previous owners reunited with a car they built many years before what it must feel like for them. just to be able to get back part of your own history that obviously meant so much to you at one time must be unbelievable.
     
  12. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,793

    Rikster
    Member

    I forgot to mention that I met Ron at the GRNS Custom Then & Now gathering. ANd we had a nice talk. Ron then promised me to send me some photos when ever he got the scanner he planned on buying... Ron a man of his word, send me the fresh scans of the photos moments after he brought home his new scanner... now we have to wait and see what other Custom Car goodies Ron has to share with us...
     
  13. happy hoppy
    Joined: Apr 23, 2001
    Posts: 2,328

    happy hoppy
    Member

    love this car, big thanks to Ron and to you Rik.
     
  14. customcory
    Joined: Apr 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,832

    customcory
    Member

    Thanks Rik, I always wanted to know more about this Chevy. I used to have a side cover like that on the engine, looks like a Nicson.:D
     
  15. emiliedk
    Joined: Dec 29, 2004
    Posts: 614

    emiliedk
    Member
    from denmark

    Thanks Rik!
    in my opinion..it did get better and better for every job it had done to it!
    and cool history!
    -palle
     
  16. Awesome history lesson once again Rik!
     
  17. SuperFleye
    Joined: Jul 17, 2005
    Posts: 2,049

    SuperFleye
    Alliance Vendor

    Great story and photos :)
     
  18. lowtruck
    Joined: Aug 26, 2009
    Posts: 259

    lowtruck
    Member
    from Omaha

    Awesome car. I love that the Hall tag is still on the header.

    Thanks as always for sharing.
     
  19. Beautiful car! It's really something to see a car like this one that has stayed pretty much in "showable" condition it's whole life and has been on the road the whole time as well, compared to so many "survivors" that are run down and ratted out needing everything redone to be nice.
     
  20. OLLIN
    Joined: Aug 25, 2006
    Posts: 3,076

    OLLIN
    Member

    another five star post. thanks Rikster!
     
  21. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,793

    Rikster
    Member

    Here is another old photo of the car from 1959.

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    Another great thing about this car is the stainless steel covers on both the front and rear fender to cover the holes where once the running boards where. They where most likely bought as an aftermarket product by the first owners of the car. And where a lot easier to use than to weld the holes close with some filler metal back then. But Ron decided to keep them all these years. I think they really ad character to the car.
     
  22. Zed
    Joined: Dec 4, 2005
    Posts: 952

    Zed
    Member
    from FRANCE

    Thanks Rik for this kool story, and Ron for the pics :D

    Not really what i would call a restoration, but it look far better now ;)
     
  23. Black Panther
    Joined: Jan 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,854

    Black Panther
    Member
    from SoCal

    Rik...awesome...love this thread...thanks!
     
  24. shoebox1950
    Joined: Jul 17, 2008
    Posts: 1,209

    shoebox1950
    Member
    from California

    Fantastic history lesson, Rik! I was unaware that the headliner is the original Hall piece...really cool!

    thanks,
    Rob
     
  25. Nads
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 11,723

    Nads
    Member
    from Hypocrisy

    Thanks Rik, but this one's got a face only a mother could love, I'm glad she's still here though and the quality is spectacular.
     
  26. R&C RON
    Joined: Apr 14, 2011
    Posts: 378

    R&C RON
    Member

    Rik,
    Thanks for posting the story,you did a great job! Your enthusiasm is amazing. Thank you to all who commented . I'm going to enjoy being a member
    Ron Brooks
     
  27. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,793

    Rikster
    Member


    Welcome on board Ron!
     
  28. Kinky6
    Joined: May 11, 2003
    Posts: 1,765

    Kinky6
    Member


    Speaking of history, I just wanted to make note of the steering wheel with the built-in brody knob or spinner. This was a one year only ( 1940 ) optional steering wheel.

    I think that they are too cool! ;)


    Later, Kinky6 :cool:
     
  29. What a great thread for a great custom,thanks for posting Rik.It was really nice seeing this car in building 9.
     
  30. Love these Custom/Survivors, Awesome!
     

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