- Written by webmin
A while back, Paul Bellefeuille let us borrow a few of his copies of Ford Times, Ford’s in-house monthly magazine that ran from 1908 to 1996, and after some perusing, we came across somebody who should be familiar to faithful Hemmings Blog readers, Ray Russell, he of the Gadabout and the hydraulic-drive and plastic-bodied cars. In the January 1954 issue, Russell received a few paragraphs about his latest creation, a sectioned 1953 Ford. They wrote:
Ray Russell, Detroit industrial designer, is shown below with one of the cars he has restyled. The principal change in this new 1953 Ford convertible is that it has been midsectioned seven inches, which means that a horizontal slice seven inches thick was cut out of the center of the car.
The job involved placing a chalk line around the car at a carefully determined distance above its floor level. Then the second line of the section was scribed around the car with a pair of dividers. Vertical lines were marked both before and behind the openings of the front fenders, and dropped below the headlights to preserve the fender flange. The same procedure was followed at the rear fenders and below the rear deck lid.
The doors and the hood were worked on separately, and remaining body members were hand cut or torched off. When all the center section had been removed, the top of the body was lowered onto the bottom half. Then, with welding, finishing, and painting completed, Russell’s car with a different look took to the streets.
This was just about the same time that Russell was working on the fiberglass Detroiter, which we already know was a sort of cut-down contemporary Ford. Could this modified ’53 have been the body that he took the Detroiter mold from?
In the same article (Ford Times frequently ran articles on modified Fords at that time), we see something that doesn’t look at all like a Ford.
The sports roadster shown above is the completed dream of an uncle and a nephew, Paolo Cordero di Montezemolo and Beneventani Marco, of Turin, Italy. The men bought a used Ford V-8 engine and collaborated on building a special tubular frame. The designed the body, which was built by a Turin firm.
The engine was reworked to four liters, approximately 244 cubic inches, and equipped with four carburetors, overhead valves, and 8:1 heads, to develop 180hp at 4,000 rpm. Marco says that the car can be completely dismounted in a few minutes, and has been clocked at more than 130 mph.
Paolo was no mere enthusiast. Unless his is a common name in Italy, he’s the guy who gave his name to the Cordero di Montezemolo winery. Presumably, he’s somehow related to Ferrari chairman Luca Cordero do Montezemolo, though after a quick trip through Luca’s family tree, I don’t see exactly how.
A little more identifiable as a Ford, H.M. Bennett’s 1953 Victoria, also mentioned in the Ford Times article, nonetheless had some extensive work done to it.
The unusual rear effect of the 1953 Victoria, above right, owned by H.M. Bennett of Dearborn, Michigan, was achieved by cutting off the taillights and fender backs, leaving enough metal for welding, and inserting fourteen-inch lengths of ’53 fenders. The result is a rear fender length of twenty inches greater than normal, six inches of which is due to special taillights.
Keep in mind that these were essentially brand-new cars that Bennett and Russell were cutting up and welding back together, just to see what they’d look like with different styling. They either didn’t see the cars as hefty investments or they had big brass ones. By the way, no word of whether Bennett was any relation to the infamous Harry Bennett.