“Barb” – Ron & Cary Zipperer’s 1939 Ford Standard
Cam Miller’s HS Customs of Logan, Utah, teamed up with Ron and Cary Zipperer of nearby Clinton to produce this subtle-but-stunning 1939 Ford Standard sedan, earning them finalist status for the new GM Retro Iron Builder of the Year award.
Sponsored by Chevrolet Performance, this is one of two Builder of the Year awards designed to honor the professional shops that keep the hot rod hobby moving forward by consistently building incredible vehicles. The Retro Iron award goes to a non-GM vehicle with a GM engine.
This ’39 Ford has been in and around the Zipperer family since the 1960s. Ron’s father, Douglas, bought the car in 1978 and gave it to Ron in 2014. As Ron and Cary researched how to rebuild the car, they decided on a custom street rod theme that would leave the body of the car as close to original as possible. Ron performed some of the initial work while accumulating parts for the project, but once he decided to turn it over to professionals, HS Customs was a natural choice. The shop has produced its share of highly recognized cars through the years, including a killer ’69 Camaro that helped the shop win the 2016 Battle of the Builders at SEMA, and a ’70 El Camino that was the Goodguys 2019 LMC Truck of the Year.
Modest modifications to the car’s stock body included shaving the trunk hinges and license plate bracket in the rear and smoothing the firewall. Cort Sessions at HS Custom applied the custom-mixed PPG color – a mostly gray hue that leans toward green in bright light that was christened “GrayZGreen” by Ron and Cary.
Utilizing a TCI chassis as a base, RideTech coil-over shocks handle dampening and control on the independent front suspension and the four-link rear setup locating the Currie 9-inch rearend. Wheelsmith 18-inch artillery wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport tires. Wilwood disc brakes (six-piston in the front, four-piston in the rear) handle the stopping tasks.
Under the hood, a 430-horsepower, 6.2-liter LS V8 pushes the power through a GM 4L65E automatic transmission, topped by a Lokar shifter. An aluminum Griffin radiator works with a Vintage Air Front Runner accessory drive system to handle the cooling chores.
The understated but elegant interior was stitched by Bob Riggs at HS Customs, making use of two-tone vinyl on a Glide front seat and stock rear seat. A stock dash houses Dakota Digital gauges. A banjo-style steering wheel sits on an Ididit column.
In a world of flashy, in-your-face styling and color, Ron and Cary’s 1939 Ford proves that a salute to classic style can truly shine with the best.
Photos by Todd Ryden