Re-Born '49 Ford 'Shoebox' Slapped on a BMW Platform Wouldn't Make Sense to Bimmer Purists

There are not a lot of rules to design when it comes to the world of hot rods; most times – anything goes. Today's feature car might pass as a hot rod at first glance, but it isn't. It's got the same tire profile as a stock LaFerrari. It's an all-around cocktail with a classic American body, German engineering, JDM-inspired aero, and tasteful custom finishes on the interior. This here, ladies and gentlemen, is a chopped and widened 1949 Ford Tudor 'Shoebox' dropped on a BMW 335i.
1949 Ford Tudor on BMW platform 13 photos
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/AutotopiaLA
1949 Ford Tudor on BMW platform1949 Ford Tudor on BMW platform1949 Ford Tudor on BMW platform1949 Ford Tudor on BMW platform1949 Ford Tudor on BMW platform1949 Ford Tudor on BMW platform1949 Ford Tudor on BMW platform1949 Ford Tudor on BMW platform1949 Ford Tudor on BMW platform1949 Ford Tudor on BMW platform1949 Ford Tudor on BMW platform1949 Ford Tudor on BMW platform
Shawn of AutotopiaLA YouTube channel recently featured a unique custom build by John Malozsak of Maniacsgarage. It's a 1949 Ford Tudor, a.k.a 'Ford Shoebox,' placed on a BMW platform (E92 335i). The team at Maniacsgarage christened it 'Born49ain' (also on the license plate). Believe it or not, it has nothing to do with religion – but second chances.

We've noticed a trend in custom car builds. They always have an interesting backstory. For John, it started with a $1,000 purchase of a goner 1949 Ford Shoebox shell.

Most people would have gone the restomod route given the opportunity to work on the 1949 Ford Shoebox project. But John and his team aren't like most people, and their workshop name, Maniancsgarage, says a lot about what you could expect from their products – far from ordinary.

"It needed to be kind of ratty, kind of, you know, controversial; it had to be chopped, it needed to be widened. I really wanted the car to be ridiculous," John explained his initial idea for the build.

The 1949 Ford Tudor was a 20-year-old work in progress

1949 Ford Tudor on BMW platform
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/AutotopiaLA
The Ford Tudor, bought from Phoenix, Arizona, was a work-in-progress build from an old timer who'd begun working on it 20 years prior(it was chopped 7-inch when he bought it).

His idea was to develop a very controversial build – something this project has stupendously achieved. It also needed to be affordable; as a result, he was looking to get a Nissan 350Z or Mazda RX8 donor.

However, what happened next was nothing short of divine. His trainer crushed his 2008 E92 BMW 335i, and that was their light bulb moment. He bought it for $2,500 from the insurance company; the rest was history.

John and his team felt the 59-year-old gap between the two donor cars made a fantastic cocktail. The Ford's classic appeal, paired with BMW's modern tech and engineering prowess, was an epic mashup.

Customizing the build wasn't a walk in the park

1949 Ford Tudor on BMW platform
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/AutotopiaLA
Merging two cars developed more than half a decade apart in different regions isn't what you'd call a walk in the park. The Ford has a body-on-frame fitment, while the E92 3 Series has a unibody construction.

The process included taking the body off both cars, then re-bodying the 2008 BMW 335i with the chopped 1949 Ford Tudor.

You'd expect the BMW platform to be wider, but according to John, it's not. Believe it or not, both cars were about the same size. For the team, it was one of those unexplainable things that fall into place and feel miraculously unreal.

"At the end of the day, we're about an inch over on each side on the '49 coming down on the BMW rockers. So the BMW rockers are still inside the '49 rockers, and then the front and the back we're about three inches and three inches," John explained the builds fitment.

Previous owner shortened the 1949 Ford Tudor by 7 inches

1949 Ford Tudor on BMW platform
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/AutotopiaLA
The 1949 Ford Shoebox had been shortened by 7 inches by the previous owner 20 years ago. That came in handy while merging the two cars because it was within one inch of the BMW wheelbase – talk about luck.

Most tuners would have swapped out the engine on this Frankenstein build, but as we said earlier – John and his Maniacsgarage team aren't like most tuners. They retained the 3 Series' original twin turbo 3-liter N54B30 engine. It runs on a tuned stock transmission, and the setup was last dyno'd at 615 hp (624 ps) and 489 lb-ft (663 Nm) of torque.

To further emphasize their plan of an out-of-the-ordinary build, this Ford/BMW custom car has a shifter customized from a mountain bike handlebar cut in half.

You wouldn't miss the huge Garret Motion turbo (62 millimeters) sticking out the hood. The turbo is oil and water-cooled (John admits it was a pain to fabricate).

Neat modern interior with creature comforts

1949 Ford Tudor on BMW platform
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/AutotopiaLA
On the inside, the team went for a full Alcantara interior with red Status racing seats, a roll cage, and BMW pedals. The team also grafted the original BMW gauges, AC, and heater into the build.

BMW purists will notice that the build still retains the BMW 335i steering column. Maniacsgarage also slapped Audi TT vents to complete the look.

To further compliment the widebody look, the team installed coilovers and custom fender flares to give it a proper stance. John asked Hostile Wheels to custom design a set of 20 by 12 (front) and 20 by 14 (rear). The outcome was impressive, they are currently on sale as a cast version.

The Ford/BMW Frankenstein build wouldn't impress anyone looking at the aesthetic aspect of the build. The team decided to keep the welds visible to keep the story of their build journey alive. It seems like a work-in-progress to non-car people, but it reads like a treasure map to the Maniacsgarage team and custom build buffs.

"It's very well thought out. It's very creative, and in my opinion, you brought it together,"
Shawn confessed about the entire build.

Are you itching to see this Ford/BMW custom ripper bolt down the road? We recommend catching that action and more in the video below.

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About the author: Humphrey Bwayo
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Humphrey is a car enthusiast whose love and passion for automobiles extended into collecting, writing, driving, and working on cars. He got his passion for cars from his Dad, who spent thousands of hours working on his old junky 1970 E20 Toyota Corolla. Years later, he would end up doing the same with a series of lemons he’s owned throughout his adult life.
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