Fadeaway Ford

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Fadeawayford.jpg
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A photo of Art's Ford from Car Craft November 1960. The photo was taken at the 1960 Renegades Rod & Custom Motorama in Long Beach. Photo by Bud Lang, courtesy of Car Craft Magazine.
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Art Lehner's 1932 Ford 3-Window Coupe of South Gate, California. Art ran Art Chrome Body Shop in South Gate, and most of the work on the car was performed there. The build was started in 1961, and completed sometime around 1961-1962. Known as "The Blue Indigo," it is believed that Art built the car from the remains of Walt Banker's 1932 Ford 3-Window Coupe. According to rumors, the engine from the Fadeaway Ford was installed in the coupe.

Art Lehner's 1939 Ford was featured as "The Fadeaway Ford" in the March 1959 issue of Rod & Custom magazine. Bodyman and bodyshop owner Art Lehner built this car in order to advertise his busines Art Chrome Body Shop. Art also wanted to give his son Bud Lehner something he could show off at auto shows. According to Custom Cars 1959 Annual the car was based on a 1939 Ford Tudor.


Art's Ford was chopped, channeled, Sectioned and fitted with Fadeaway Fenders. The Fadeaway Fenders were handmade by bending sheets of metal around an oxygen bottle. The front fenders were raised, reattached, and leaded to the body. The hood was then sectioned to match. 1940 Ford headlights was used up front. In the rear, hood scoops from a 1957 Chevrolet fitted with 1953 Chevrolet taillight lenses was used as taillights. Bumpers are 1949 Plymouth, and the grille bars are cut down 1950 Chrysler bars. The gently curved windshield on the car was taken from a 1953 Ford F-100.


The car was painted purple, with a bronze naugahyde interior by Gaylord. Gaylord also sewed pleated Naugahyde scuff pads in the carpeting. A 45-degree angled and padded plywood shelf was used as dashboard. The dashboard was the modified with a spread of Buick instruments and a 1956 Ford deep dish steering wheel. It took 6 years and more than 600 hours in Lehner's body shop in Hollydale, California to complete the build. The car was originally powered by a Mercury Flathead equipped with multiple carbs. In 1958 the flathead was replaced by a chrome-trimmed 1958 Chevrolet 348 V8 engine. The 348 was later swapped for a 283 CID Chevrolet V8 with Powerglide.


The Fadeway Ford ran originally on 1950 Mercury wheels equipped with Firestone 8.20-15 in rear and 5.50-15 on Chrysler wheels in front. The car was seen in magazines with both Olds and Edsel hubcaps.


In 1960 the Fadeaway Ford had been fit with a removable top formed from a section of a 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline roof.


After Art sold the car, it was involved in an accident, being hit hard on the passanger side. In less than pristine condition the car ended up at Jim Brucker's Cars of the Stars museum in Buena Park, California. Sam Bergman bought the car from the museum and put the car in storage. In December of 1996 Sam sent the car to Bob Trousil for a full restoration. Bob spent four and a half years restoring the car back to its former glory. To heighten the car, Bob replace the dropped axle with a stock one. Before the car was completed, Sam Bergman passed away, but his sons Lance and Jay Bergman took over the project and completed their father's dream. The restored version of the car features a 1940 Ford dashboard and steering wheel. The original single bench has also been replaced by split lower seat cushions.


Magazine Features

Custom Cars November 1958
Rod & Custom March 1959
Custom Cars 1959 Annual
Custom Rodder July 1960
Car Craft November 1960

Sources

Rod & Custom March 1959
Barris Kustoms Of The 1950s
www.streetrodderweb.com



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