Fat Stance

Brian Ge­orge’s ’47 Ford sedan

Street Rodder - - Contents - BY ROB FORTIER • PHOTOGRAPHY BY JORGE NUNEZ

If you were into street rod­ding back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, you know it wasn’t all Deuces and T-buck­ets—the scene was ripe with fat-fend­ered coupes and sedans back then … very ripe. It was the on­set of the bil­let wheel (which some­how seemed to at­tract pas­tel col­ors like a mag­net), so be­tween the pro-street look and the time­less steel­ies ’n’ caps resto style, there was a huge va­ri­ety of Tu­dors as well as ’40s-era Bowties to ad­mire from coast to coast. Most sig­nif­i­cantly, the ’46-’48 Fords are what re­ally cap­ti­vated the fat-fend­ered fad. But, nearly four decades have passed … where have they all gone?

Thank­fully, while the Vanilla

Shake paint and mauve tweed in­te­ri­ors may have faded off into the street rod­der’s sun­set (I’m fine with look­ing back in ret­ro­spect, as it was dif­fi­cult enough typ­ing those style-de­scrip­tive words just now

…), the ven­er­a­ble full-fend­ered Ford sedan has not left the scene. It just so hap­pened to wind up be­ing Brian Ge­orge’s first street rod project— well, his first fin­ished one, that is.

“My fa­ther got me into street rod­ding when I was a young kid,” Brian re­calls. “We talked for years about build­ing and/or hav­ing a street rod of our own. When I was 18 we bought a ’48 Ply­mouth coupe project. With a com­bi­na­tion of lack of time and lit­tle to no re­sources, we never com­pleted that car. Hon­estly, even though we didn’t fin­ish it we still had a great time talk­ing for hours about what we were go­ing to do with it. After a few years of that car sit­ting in his garage un­touched we sold it. My dad died in 2012, so I de­cided to com­plete our dream of own­ing a street rod. I searched for months for the right car, and in Au­gust of that year I at­tended Goodguys Na­tion­als in Pleasan­ton and this cool ’47 Ford was one of the first cars I saw. The next day I tracked down the owner and we struck a deal.”

But why a huge Tu­dor and not some­thing smaller and more eco­nom­i­cal? “My wife (Amy) and I have three kids so I knew it needed to be a sedan,” he ad­mits. “Plus, I have al­ways thought the big-fen­der ’40s cars were cool if they were built

with the cor­rect look. I have al­ways been a fan of the un­der­dog. I like the cars that you don’t see ev­ery day done to the nines and I like to make them over-the-top nice. The

’47 was re­ally straight with no rust at all. The per­son I bought it from had owned the car for 38 years. When I bought the car it was a gloss black with a very ’90s style to it. Pur­ple to blue tribal flames, heavy bil­let wheels, tweed seats, and so on, but I thought it was great! For about a year I drove that car to a bunch of lo­cal car shows.”

It’s no longer black, nor flamed, and the style’s def­i­nitely a bit more re­cent than the ’90s—is this a dif­fer­ent sedan? “The sedan—the same one— had a big-block Chevy with some kind of three-speed au­to­matic, both of which were get­ting tired. After check­ing out mul­ti­ple shops in our area I landed on hav­ing Ro­seville Rod and Cus­tom do an en­gine and trans­mis­sion swap for me. I am a big Ford fan, so hav­ing a Ford with a Chevy pow­er­plant never sat well with me. When it came time to swap, a Ford crate mo­tor was the way I wanted to go, so we or­dered the Boss 302. When it got to Ben’s Shop (Ben York is the owner of Ro­seville Rod and Cus­tom), he men­tioned we might want to go through the fron­tend since it was an older-style Mus­tang II. As I was re­search­ing dif­fer­ent op­tions I came across Hei­dts air sus­pen­sion setup. This would give me the look and stance I wanted to achieve. Since we were go­ing to do the front we de­cided to do the rear

on air as well and com­plete the setup with an Ac­cuAir con­trol sys­tem.”

That ex­plains the stance, but what about the non-black, non-flamed ex­te­rior? “At this point of the build I re­ally wanted to change the rear tail­lights—and this is when the con­ver­sa­tion of paint­ing came up. I de­cided to fin­ish the car ex­actly how I wanted it. The car was taken apart and stripped down to metal and prepped for paint. I was just go­ing to paint the car black again but, a day be­fore the car was sched­uled to be sprayed, I changed it up on them and de­cided to do a sil­ver. After a few spray-outs we had the per­fect color. I call it ‘Sil­ver Mist.’ The last owner had the hood lou­vered and I thought that was a cool look. When I bought the car it had no trim on it but I think the trim is one of the coolest fea­tures of the ’46-’48 body style. So we found most of the orig­i­nal trim and sent it out to Sherm’s to have them plated. The in­te­rior is some­thing I am re­ally proud of. The con­trast be­tween the sil­ver ex­te­rior and the red in­te­rior re­ally pops. Then to top it off I had Dave Put­nam up­hol­ster a child booster seat to match the leather and pat­tern. So when my kids come along they can ride in style too. The rest of the build went fairly straight for­ward. Ben and his crew make it a very easy process. He is open to ideas and knows how to in­cor­po­rate them to make an award-win­ning car.” Cu­ri­ous, are we on the verge of see­ing a fat-fend­ered resur­gence? That afore­men­tioned creamy white goes just as well with a red in­te­rior as sil­ver—and they still make 14-inch tires … I think.

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