This car was built pre-war on a Hudson Essex frame with a Ford front frame system lapped over the frame rails. 1940 Mercury fenders were modified for the car, and the body was built from scratch. The car was modified in the early 50s by Frank Kurtis, and it won the 1952 Motorama show at the Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles. Called a 'full custom' by the builder, the car is not a customized car, nor is it a custom body on a Ford chassis. The car defies description. A Ford column shift transmission, Columbia two-speed rear end and a Ford flathead V8 make up the drivetrain. Rudy Stoessel of Coachcraft created the body.
It is known as the 'Yankee Doodle' roadster and is a relatively conservative-looking sports car. It was the vision of 17-year-old Seward Allen. The rolling chassis was built with help of an instructor and students in his Palisades High School shop class.Also photographed at :
Rudy Stoessel had built a solid resume working with such distinguished automakers as Pierce-Arrow, Kirchoff & Company, and as foreman for Howard 'Dutch' Darrin. This German-born artisan formed a partnership with Paul Erdos, Charlie Roxenberger and Burton Chalmers in 1939. This partnership was Coachcraft, Ltd., located on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, Ca. With their close proximity to the film industry, their list of clients would soon include many famous actors and individuals such as Clark Gable, Keenan Wynn, Al Jolson, Preston Foster, and Dick Powell.
All of the creations produced by Coachcraft, Ltd., were unique and done to the highest degree of quality. The work was easily identifiable for their clean and crisp lines coupled with stylish, handcrafted bodies and graceful fenders.
This example is known as the 'Yankee Doodle' roadster. It was built for 17-year-old Seward Allan. The rolling chassis was built by Allan with help of an instructor and students in his Palisades High School shop class. The center section of a Hudson Essex was welded to a narrow set of 1940 Ford front and rear frame rails making up the chassis. A Ford column shift transmission, Columbia 2-speed rear end, and a Ford flathead V8 made up the drivetrain.
Rudy Stoessel was commissioned to create the body. Fenders from a 1940 Mercury were used, and the graceful lines were emulated throughout the rest of the hand-crafted all-steel roadster. There are features on this car that are of Howard 'Dutch' Darrin influence, such as the V-windshield, pigskin leather cockpit, and low-swept door lines.
The bodywork cost $1,500. Allen kept the car in Los Angeles for four years; when he went overseas with the US Navy, he brought the car with him. During this time overseas, the car earned its name 'Yankee Doodle Roadster.'
Allen's service in the military was completed in 1948. Upon arriving to the US, the car was brought back to the Coachcraft showroom where it was offered for sale. Ownership passed to a machinist from Valencia, California, named Ted Johnson. Johnson commissioned the legendary race-car builder Frank Kurtis to create a signature grille for the car. Other work included a reshaped hood and cowl, and a new dashboard.
The car won an award at the Third Annual international Motorama held in November 1952 at the Pan-Pacific auditorium in Los Angeles.
In 1984 the car was purchased by Rudy Stoessel's son Bill who kept the car for a mere four months. Ownership passed to the present owner, Larry Harvey, who put it into storage for nearly 20 years. When it emerged from storage, a complete restoration by Bob Mosier of Mosier Restoration, Inc was commissioned. It was completed in the mid-2000s.
In 2007 it was shown at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance where it was in the featured 'Cars of Coachcraft' category. That same year it was brought to the Gooding & Company Auction held in Pebble Beach, California where it was estimated to sell for $400,000 - $500,000. Sadly, the lot left the auction unsold as it failed to find a buyer willing to satisfy the cars reserve.