Jack Calori is probably most famous for his stunning ’36 Ford Coupe that appeared on the cover of Hot Rod Magazine. It was the first chopped ’36 3-window to use the 39 LaSalle grille and had ’40 Chevy headlights molded to the fenders.
With its Buick teardrop skirts and 41’ Hudson tail lights, Calori could not help but turn heads with his coupe that he built with friend Herb Reneau. He bought it as a stocker in 1947 from its original owner in order to tow his ’29 hi-boy roadster to the lakes, but by ’48 the full custom treatment performed by Calori and Reneau would be complete. The roadster, on the other hand… and while holding a few records, stood out from the crowd as well with its dual pipes coming up the side of the car past the doors (see pics) and would ultimately gain Calori nearly as much attention as his beautifully customized coupe.
As a young kid in 1939 Jack remembers some of his first runs on the lakes: “…as I pull up to the line to go I looked over to my right at starting and there were three bodies covered with a sheet. Well, my legs were already shaking from my first experience. And it didn’t help any. I went through and my best time that was which, uh, in those days I won 101 with, uh, 4-cylinder and that was a respectable speed.”
However, after joining the Lancers car club Calori would familiarize himself with the speed techniques of the day and ultimately run a speed of 128.38 with his roadster at an SCTA dry lakes meet at El Mirage on September 21, 1947. This newfound achievement in performance must have made Jack Calori feel satisfied with a job well done, as he would soon after let his trusty roadster go down the road with a new owner in fellow Lancers member and dentist, Bill Potts. Because Calori was more interested in his ’36 custom coupe than his hot rod roadster, he would keep the hot motor from his roadster after its sale and install it in the coupe. Proving that Jack apparently wasn’t done with his days at the dry lakes, he would run the coupe up to 114.50 mph at a 1948 Russetta Timing Association meet. Soon after, the coupe would grace the cover of the November 1949 issue of Hot Rod magazine and forever place itself, and Jack Calori, firmly into the annals of custom car history and lore.