Brian George’s ’47 Ford sedan
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.