1947 Ford Coupe - Justin Lawley

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1947 Ford Deluxe Coupe
Justin Lawley of Napa, CA
Car Club
Squires CC
Built By
Menges Twins Speed Shop of Creston, CA
Justin Lawley
Special Thanks
Nicci Lawley, Squires CC, & Rick Lawley
When talking about styles of cars a tail dragger and a gasser aren’t exactly two peas in a pod that anyone would find relatable. If the discussion revolves around the pod, rather than the peas, polar opposites could very well see each other as a brother from another mother. It’s at this point in our story where Justin Lawley has entered the chat. Being no stranger to customizing cars, Justin’s love for the history and tradition of taildraggers lead him on a collision course of passions when he decided it was time to sell his 1957 Chevy 210 gasser to make way for a 1947 Ford Deluxe Coupe.
Justin was no stranger to early Fords prior to obtaining his ‘47 as he boasts a stable loaded with a ‘28 model A roadster and a ‘31 model A coupe (chopped; of course). A passion for the fat fendered Fords had always been tattooed on his mind and in 2017 he decided to part ways with hauling ass and jump into cruising the boulevard. While surfing the web Justin came across his ‘47 on the Hemming’s classic cars website which has been listed by a fellow model A enthusiast who had bought the coupe for his wife which had undergone a frame off restoration in 1995. The couple drove the car for 2 years prior to it being placed on a non-operational status in 2008 where it avoided the public roads but continued to be driven in their gated community in bubble wrap fashion. Over the next 2 years Justin proceeded to pop every bubble in that wrap aiming to make the coupe his own version of the standard that had been set by the early pioneers of custom restyling.
Whether you are looking at a still shot or watching Justin drive through the streets of Napa, CA the midnight black ‘47 is as sleek as they come while capturing the nostalgia of the early customs scene in one fell swoop. The journey which led to such a bitchin tail dragger took shape over the course of just 4 short months at the Menges Twins Speed Shop where the twins chopped the top 4” in the back and 5” in the rear, followed by body work, glass fitment and paint. One look at the chop and you will notice how well the twins nailed the reverse curve in the chop, retained the drip rails and ensured the rear quarter windows still functioned as they should. It is this kind of attention to detail which sets Justin’s car apart from many others and puts him in a class of his own. Once you are done viewing the overall sexiness of the car take a moment to hone in on the little details that go even deeper than the skirts, Appleton S451 spot lights and Lyons turbine hubcaps. The little details which tie it all together include the shortened hood trim, rear tail lights mounted into the overriders and the grille treatment which consisted of removing 1 bar and relocating the 2 remaining bars in an effort to pay homage to the Sam Gates custom Ford. Despite the level of coolness being raised in the visual appearance of the car, Justin still kept the heat under the hood suffering from the condition many of us fall victim to: the lead foot.
As Justin refers to it, the “mouse house” retains a simple interior consisting of black and white tuck and roll with the addition of a Mooneyes gauge panel to monitor its vitals. The interior is matched by a well planned out suspension and drivetrain which provides the distinct tail dragger swagger for both driver and passengers. Justin and Rick Lawley made it all happen by notching the frame 3” in the rear accompanied by a stock transverse mono leaf spring and drop shackles paired with a 4” drop axle and mono leaf spring up front, all of which are tied together with modern tube shocks at all 4 corners. The 6.70 Firestone zig-zag white walls compliment the static drop and cruise as nice as it all looks because we all know that bags are for groceries and Justin’s coupe ain’t spillin’ no milk until the comfortable interior and cloud like ride get a kick in the ass by Justin’s lead foot and the 255 cubic inch flathead that just may throw your milk and Oreo’s back in your lap. Jeff Jones of Vintage Engine Works in Fresno, CA stuffed an Isky 400jr cam in the 1950 8ba which has been disguised to look like a 59ab accompanied with Offenhauser heads, dual Stromberg 97’s, a Stromberg E-fire distributor and 1 3⁄4” Red’s headers with straight pipes. You can bet all 3 on that tree get worked during a cruise....or burn.
Since its completion Justin enjoys his fat fendered tail dragger with his family and Squires Car Club. Complementing Justin on a job well done he has won the Valve Burners Club pick and the Car Kulture Deluxe pick at two different Sacramento Autorama events. Almost better than a trophy, he was also invited to park in the Customs by the Sea display in Santa Barbara at the Race of the Gentleman in 2019. If there is something to look forward to other than seeing his ‘47 in person Justin has plans to build a 1935-36 Ford cabriolet custom in the future. I will be the first one to excitedly say “We’re waiting.”
Deluxe Coupe modified with a 4” Chop in front & 5” in rear
Nosed & Decked with shaved key holes, gravel guards, and latches
Grille modified with removing 1 bar and placement of 2; replicate of the Sam Gates Ford
Shortened hood trim
1947 Ford Rear Fender Skirts
Stock 1947 Ford headlights
Rear Chopper Taillights mounted to license plate guard
Stock 1947 Bumpers with Bumper Guards
Appleton S451 Spotlights
Functioning Rear Quarter Windows
Metalwork & Bodywork by Menges Twins Speed Shop. Creston, CA
Midnight Black single-stage paint
Paintwork by Menges Twins Speed Shop. Creston, CA
Black / White Tuck and Roll upholstery
Stock 1947 Ford Dash with Chrome Accessory Cover
Mooneyes Auxiliary Gauges & Panel
Stock Steering Wheel & Steering Column
Black Carpet
Stock 1947 Ford frame with 3” C-Notch in Rear
Stock Fuel Tank
Original Steering Box
Chassis Fabrication by Justin Lawley
Front 4” Drop Axle with Mono Leaf Spring & Modern Shocks Conversion
Rear Stock Transverse with Mono Leaf Spring & Drop Shackle
Ford 9” rear end with 3:78 gearing
So-Cal Speed Shop Shocks
Suspension Work by Justin Lawley
Front & Rear: drum brakes
15” x 6" Chrome Reverse wheels with 15” Lyon Turbine hubcaps wrapped in 670-15 Firestone Deluxe Champion Bias-ply 3” whitewall tires
1950 255CI Flathead engine; Ford Green paint color
Mercury Crank dressed as a 59AB
Dual Stromberg 97 Carburetors
Offenhauser 1090 Intake Manifold
Offenhauser 400 Cylinder Heads
Isky 400JR Racing Cam
Grace & Co Dual Air Cleaners
Stromberg E-Fire Electronic Distributor
Reds Headers
Engine built by Jeff Jones of Vintage Engine Works. Fresno, CA
Stock 3 on column shifter - Manual Transmission
 Stock Closed driveshaft
1-3/4” Straight Pipes before axle dump
Exhaust Work by Justin Lawley
2019 Kustomrama : Customs by the Sea (Special Invite)
Sacramento Autorama : 2018 Valve Burners Club Pick & 2019 Car Kulture Deluxe Pick
Photography By:
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