1933 Ford-Jenson Custom Hot Rod Roadster
Two Tone Dark Green and Black with Brown Interior
This all-steel Ford Roadster was first customized in the early 1950s in New Jersey and began as an exceptionally rare car, the Jensen-Ford. Although inextricably associated with Clark Gable because of a promotional photo showing him leaning against a black one, he did ever not truly own one. The cars existed thanks to Percy T. Morgan, a Hollywood entrepreneur who wanted to sell 1933 Fords with custom Jensen bodies made in the United Kingdom. He and Clark Gable ordered the first two cars, a black one and a silver one, and upon the arrival of the first one in California, Gable decided he wanted the black one and not the silver one as they had previously agreed. Morgan held his ground and Gable reluctantly accepted the silver one, only to return it a few days later and purchase (another) Duesenberg. As an apology, he agreed to pose with the black car for promotional photos, creating a strong association between Gable and the car. Approximately twenty examples were built, making them exceptionally rare and interesting vintage American cars.
This particular car was first modified in the 1950s and found its way to California by the 1980s. David Simons of Tiburon California acquired the car in 1985, and comprehensively restored it, both mechanically and cosmetically, and re-powered it with at 350 c.i. Chevrolet V8 and 3-speed automatic transmission. The front axle is a stock `33 Ford unit with `46 Ford brakes. The steering assembly is Vega. The rear end is an 8” Ford Maverick. These changes make it a user-friendly and reliable mix of pre-war aesthetic charm and modern drivability.
During the restoration, a 1950 Ford radiator was located between the frame rails providing a full sized core, despite the reduced grille and body height. The stock `33 cowl was sectioned and the dash brows made of hand-formed sheet metal. The dashboard is wood with Stewart-Warner gauges, resembling sports cars of the time. The trunk came from a mid-30s Terraplane turned upside down. The fenders, running boards, and fuel tank cover are all stock `33 Ford. The headlights are from a 1940 LaSalle, and the upper part of the grille is from a `35 Ford, while the lower half is custom built. The front splash apron is from a Model A Ford, turned upside down. Once the body restoration was completed, the car was painted from bare metal in two-stage PPG urethane in dark green with black fenders.
Eventually, the car was purchased by famed Bay Area car collector Martin Swig, who subsequently sold the car via Fantasy Junction to its current owner in 2007. Since then, the front brakes were upgraded to the Lincoln-style Bendix brakes that hot rodders often use to upgrade vintage Fords, and new cylinders shoes, and high capacity master cylinder were fitted.
Having seen few miles since the complete restoration, this custom roadster remains in excellent condition overall. The craftsmanship of the body is evident and the paint was done to very good standards. Despite its age, it shows well, with a few chips and light scratches and the occasional surface blemish. The brightwork is very nice, as are the glass and lights.
The interior shows very few signs of use or wear, with excellent upholstery and dashboard wood. The gauges are very cool vintage Stewart Warner items and the carpet is excellent aside from some light wear near the driver’s heel pad. The car is fitted with a high quality cloth soft top. Both the engine compartment and underside of the car are tidy, confirming the limited use since the restoration. The engine looks obviously updated, with Edelbrock valve covers and an alternator.
This is a fascinating one-off car with a genuinely unique story. The build has a very period feel from an aesthetic standpoint, with the uniquely English appearance of the Jensen body left intact. The car has decades of known history and was built to high standards and is thoroughly documented with photos. It also comes with a set of red disc wheels with wide whites and moon discs.
Fantasy Junction +1 510 653 7555 Emeryville, California 94608 USA
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