Rare Breed - Philip Linhares' '41 Graham Hollywood

by Peter Vincent

Rod & Custom | December 2010 Issue


Approximately 1,400 of these cars were produced in 1940, and 400 in 1941. Phil Linhares has had a '41 Graham Hollywood on his mind since he was 14 years old-more precisely, when a straight-piped, dirty white Graham happened to cruise by him on Virginia Avenue when he was growing up in Modesto, California. From that point in time, he knew someday he'd own one.

Phil says he's owned over 60 cars and has been interested in them since shortly after birth. In Modesto, he lived only a few blocks from Gene Winfield's shop. He participated in "dragging tenth" in the '50s and graduated from Modesto High School in 1957. He worked at Burge's Drive-In sweeping the parking lot during the morning shift and attended drags at Kingdon Dragstrip and the local airport. Also, the sports car races at Laguna Seca in Monterey drew him in as did the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

He has owned everything from Ford and Chevy hot rods to Citroëns, Audis, Cadillacs, and VW Things. Even with this "golden era" Central Valley upbringing, Phil has stayed in touch with his roots and is now Chief Curator of Art at the Oakland Museum of California.

From the cowl back, the '40-41 Graham Hollywood body is a carryover from the '36-37 Cord 810/812, designed by Gordon Buehrig. The hood and front fenders were designed by John Tjaarda. The Graham was originally equipped with a Continental flathead six-cylinder engine, with some having superchargers. The body is of a "monocoque" design in that it has an integrated subframe front and rear rather than an individual frame. Buehrig originally designed the car as a two-door, with the rear doors later being designed in and cut to a template to accommodate the rear fender.

When Phil put out the word that he was looking for a Graham, Jim Stroupe called one day saying that his neighbor had a '41 Hollywood for sale. Glen Stuhlmacher, a lifelong mechanic, had started a restoration/modification of the car installing a 302 V-8, automatic trans, and an IFS from a '77 Mustang. The car was a roller thanks to a narrowed 9-inch rearend, and the engine started, but it needed assembly, bodywork, paint, and interior. Phil ended up buying a "parts" car for the grille and other miscellaneous missing pieces, which he later sold, breaking even in the overall process.

Phil ended up contacting Bill Ganahl, who agreed to take on the job of finishing the car. He was establishing his own shop while also working at Roy Brizio's place in South San Francisco. Phil mentioned that Ganahl was great to work with and handled everything by the book. Phil was anticipating a good daily driver and he attributes Ganahl's knowledge, judgment, and skills to be exactly what he needed to get the car where and how he wanted it. The biggest problem, according to Phil, was getting the ride height right, or the most practical, for everyday driving. It was originally too low, causing a leading fender edge to get scraped when pulling into his driveway. He took the car back to Ganahl and had it raised 2 1/2 inches, and while still low by stock standards, it was much more driveable. The wheels are painted steelies from Wheel Vintiques, which Herb Martinez applied the accent pinstripe on, with Firestone staggered-size (205/70 and 205/75) 15-inch radial tires.

The basic body remains stock, with the only modifications being bear claw latches for the doors and a custom fabricated trunk latch that Ganahl put together. Joe Compari at Brizio's Street Rods applied the '40-41 Ford Cloud Mist Gray paint and Buena Park Plating redid some of the bright stuff. The dash insert is a polished and bead-blasted piece of stainless and the gauges are all stock, albeit recalibrated and rebuilt. The upholstery is as tasteful as the outside paint scheme and works well overall. The tan with green piping vinyl tuck 'n' roll upholstery and the German square-weave tan carpeting were installed by Jack Buchanan in Healdsburg, California. Needless to say, this car is a fine example of tasteful design and Phil's color choice only accentuates that good taste.

Rod & Custom Feature Car
Philip Linhares
Bay Area, California
1941 Graham Hollywood