If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. This motto might not have originated referring to hot rods, but you can't build one without falling back on it at least one. When Jeff East bought this '47 Ford sedan back in the mid-'90s it was a typical '80s redo. It had a front clip, Ford 302, and 15-inch Boyd wheels. Jeff started by swapping on some dropped spindles with larger front rotors and some other minor tweaks. Then in 2003, he decided he wanted to go a little deeper and rebuild it the way he really wanted.
He learned about a shop opening up run by the son of a friend of a friend and took the sedan over for some work. After seven months past with basically nothing being done, Jeff got impatient and started investigating other alternatives. On the advice of another friend, Jeff talked to Kevin Francis at KA Custom in Huntington Beach, California, and asked him about taking over the project. Kevin was packed at the time but he said would see if he could juggle a few things and fit in the sedan.
Once there was room, the '47 was dug out of the other shop and brought over to KA Custom where Kevin could examine the project and help come up with a plan. It was quickly determined that by the time Jeff paid to have the improvements made to the stock frame, he would be better off spending a little more and stepping up to a new custom-built MaxG chassis from Art Morrison, which would give him the handling and ride qualities he really wanted. With the foundation set, Kevin and his crew moved on to the powerplant and dressed up a new Chevy small-block backed with a 700-R4 trans.
Although the body looked decent, you never quite know what is underneath, and Kevin didn't want to take a chance with fresh paint. The sheetmetal was sent out to be walnut-shell blasted and came back sans driprails. Jeff wanted to retain most of the factory trim, and completely smoothing the missing driprails wouldn't look right, so he had Bill Hernandez weld in some new steel and blend it into the roof to give it a smooth, almost factory look. While he was cleaning up a few things, he also decided to remove the vent windows and cowl vent. Bill, along with Elio Islas and Tony Villasenor, took the rest of the body and worked the metal back into shape. When it was ready, they sprayed the PPG Mystic Emerald paint.
When it came time for the interior, Jeff and Kevin took a little more liberty than they had with the basically stock exterior sheetmetal. The dash retained the stock trim but was upgraded with a Rod Tech insert with VDO gauges and an ididit tilt with a Billet Specialties wheel. Vintage Air A/C was added to keep the cabin temps down. The sedan was sent over to Eddy and Son in Bellflower to have the Glide buckets and custom rear seat and door panels covered in light cream vinyl. They also built the center console, installed the Wilton Wool carpet, and concealed a host of Infinity speakers and Kenwood amps.
Although at times it looked like Jeff might not end up with his sedan (he actually sold it during the buildup while going through a divorce, but ended up buying it back), he kept trying, and it's easy to see he got it right in the end.
1947 Ford Tudor
Jeff ordered a ZZ4 short-block and then had the Engine Factory (Lebanon, New York) enhance it with a load of Edelbrock equipment (roller cam, aluminum heads, intake, and carb). Sanderson small-tube block-hugger headers and Flowmaster 30-Series mufflers complete the dual 2.5-inch exhaust system. Engine dress-up comes from Mooneyes valve covers and air cleaner, and accessory brackets from Bill's Hot Rod Company. A Lokar shifter controls a 700-R4 from Bowties Overdrives and helps Jeff put some comfortable miles on the sedan.
After getting the estimate for fixing all the problems with the modified original chassis, Jeff figured he could spend a little more and get an Art Morrison MaxG Chassis with everything he wanted. The list includes Air Ride Technologies ShockWaves and 12-inch four-piston Wilwood discs at each corner, a triangulated four-bar with a Currie 9-inch, and a Morrison IFS.
American Racing 16x7 and 17x11 Hopsters are wrapped with BFG g-Force TAs (195/50ZR16s and 285/40ZR17s) and tuck up nicely in the stock fenders.
Jeff appreciated the look Ford designers built into the original body and chose to leave most of it as it rolled out of the factory, but that doesn't mean it couldn't use a little tweak here and there. The wind wings were removed, the rain gutters were shaved, and the cowl vent was filled. All the trim and chrome was retained to help set off the PPG Mystic Emerald paint.
The interior has lots of modern touches without losing too much of the original feel. Glide Engineering SS2 Sport Buckets provide plenty of comfort and were covered in light cream vinyl along with the custom rear seat and door panels by Eddy and Son Upholstery (Bellflower, California). Eddy and Son also built the custom center console. The stock dash was dressed up with some new chrome pieces and a Rod Tech gauge insert filled with VDO gauges. A chrome ididit tilt column was topped with a Billet Specialties Chicayne steering wheel.