One Off! Ford-Based Roadster Find


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Recently, I’ve become aware of a surge in interest in American “Sport Customs”, a term used by Geoff Hacker at this website to describe postwar one-offs that eventually led to some of the more popular sports cars in the United States. Usually, these cars are based on American chassis, but this presumably unique example is based on a British Ford Prefect. It’s located (not surprisingly) in Riverside, California and is up for sale here on eBay, with early bidding under $4,000 but the reserve has not yet been met.


Given the level of craftsmanship, I’m betting someone out there knows the history or at the very least the origins of this car. I spent a good 30 minutes trying to identify the tail lights and was unsuccessful, but I’m sure one of the first few comments on this post will have me saying “of course.” with the right answer. Don’t disappoint me, Barn Finds readers!


Although I can’t say I love the styling, it does look far better integrated than many of these customs and it seems to have been put together with a purpose. Anyone got a guess on the bumpers’ origins? I can’t quite make out the year on the plate sticker; maybe some of you have better eyes than I do. It’s not a coincidence that I went to the ophthalmologist yesterday.


While the interior looks barren here, you can see a glimpse of it’s former glory (purple and teal?) in the side door panels. There’s also a picture showing gauges and switches and part of the original dash, so you have more to work with than it looks like. It sure is narrow, though!


picture courtesy of

In case you are wondering, this is what the original car would have looked like. As you can see, it’s not just the rear fenders that are different; this took a LOT of fabrication to create!


Mechanically, it doesn’t look like much was changed from the Prefect’s original 1172 cc engine, which would have been connected to a three speed transmission and could propel a stock Prefect to all of 67 miles per hour (according to Ford). On the bright side, there were plenty of “speed” bolt on components available at the time, so my hope is that some of them found their way into this special. But even if they didn’t, how often do you get the chance to own a car that no one else has? There was a class recently at the Amelia Island concours just for cars like this; wouldn’t it be neat to learn the whole history? Please comment if you know anything about this special car!

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. grant

    I’m not expert enough to be positive, but maybe the fins are from a Plymouth Fury?

    Like 1
  2. Wayne

    Obviously built by someone with more time and talent than taste. Although fantastic workmanship. Poor photos

    Like 1
  3. DolphinMember

    Going on the photos only (disclaimer: might not be totally accurate)

    – Black plate CA car!
    – spinner hubcaps!
    – nice custom interior!
    – big power under the hood!
    – ’57 Plymouth fins / tail lights
    – slight problem with trunk access

    Like 1
  4. Jamie Palmer JamieAuthor

    I don’t think the tail lights are Plymouth; 55 Desoto is close but not quite it either. I’m truly puzzled!

    Like 0
  5. Doug

    The tail lights are from a 1956 Studebaker President

    Like 1
    • Jamie Palmer JamieAuthor

      Doug! You win the prize for the day! Thank you, it’s been bugging me for a while now!

      Like 0
    • Richard Holmes

      . . . and a far nicer design. I always wondered what this car would look like with different “C” pillars

      Like 0
  6. Van

    I think 57 windsor
    I’d say a bunch of drunks at the veterans lodge designed this thing.
    Drunks should stick with what they do best, while not driving of course.

    Like 0
    • Paul

      I hope you served to make such a comment……

      Like 0
      • Van

        Sorry, the city of Buford Ga is always making trouble for the veterans at the local lodge. Noise complaints, alcohol complaints, Harley complaints, it’s always something. The city has developed the land around the lodge and is always trying to run them off.
        The veterans owned lots of land that they shared with the community. Some land they have sold to the city, but it’s not enough to satisfy city officials. Last I heard it’s illegal for the vetts to be seen with alcohol, even Red Solo Cups, or to park Harleys on the gras.
        As for me no offense was intended.

        Like 0
  7. Red Riley

    The tail lights are British.

    Like 0
    • Red Riley

      Maybe a Ford Zodiac.

      Like 0
  8. Madbrit

    Rear lights reminded me of a Wolseley 24/80 (built 1962-1965), but having three bulbs above the back up lens is not a normal British thing. Probably something like a Packard……

    Like 0
  9. redwagon

    never stand in the sun and take a picture of a car in the shade.

    Like 0
  10. Bob Hess

    American Pickers need this to put along with it’s bathtub Nash as yard art.

    Like 0
    • george

      I think the bathtub Nash was sold by the Tattoo lady when the boys were on the road.
      The fin looks to me like a 57 Chrysler.

      Like 0
  11. Joe Nose

    Was thinking the rear end could have been from a Daimler SP250 Dart. In any event, some shop class must have had fun putting it together over a semester.

    Had there been a second semester before the teacher was arrested for subjecting his class to this project, they would have tackled the drivetrain.

    Like 0
  12. Socaljoe

    Tag on the left side of the rear plate is 1971. That’s not to say that later plates were not scraped off to show that.

    Like 0
  13. Puhnto

    Maybe it’s just me but I’d rather have the original Ford Prefect, four doors and all.

    Like 0
  14. Matt Tritt

    I agree with Puhnto…. This poor little bugger looks like something that could have come out as a Trabant sport model.

    Like 0
  15. alder

    I don’t know what it is , but I keep coming back to this and thinking about it. My meager skills would be overmatched trying to get this in running order though!

    Like 0
  16. Wiley Robinson

    Man that thing is ugly! I love it!

    Like 0
  17. Randy W

    My best guestimate would be a 1957 Lincoln Cosmopolitan. My dad owned one and I had to hand polish it every Sunday after church, real pain but sure wish I had now.

    Like 0
  18. Blindmarc

    Needs a slanted, shorted windshield. And a big engine.

    Like 0
  19. Milt Sylwester

    The result of an incestuous relationship between a Daimler SP250 and Jowett Jupiter.

    Like 0
  20. stillrunners

    Doug got it – tail lights are Studie – 56 President – yes ask a man that’s owed one…..

    Like 0
  21. Van

    Guys check the 57-8 chrysler windsor.

    Like 0
  22. 68custom

    hurts my eyes to look at that one, but I am sure someone would love to own it.

    Like 0

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