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1935 Ford 3 Window Coupe Build (My dream car at a snail's pace in ultra-slow motion.)

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Pensive Scribe, Nov 26, 2011.

  1. My interest in Cars began when I was very young. There used to be a couple car collectors in my neighbor hood and I’d see them pass by in their treasures once in a while.

    At around twelve or so I used to ride a few miles to the bike shop, and on the way I passed a local Shell station where a mechanic or pump jockey drove a 1935 Ford three window coupe to work. On several occasions I’d see it sitting there or driving around town on fair weather days. That car left a life long lasting impression on me, sparking a desire to one day possess one of my own. I’m 48 now and I’ve had mine a year and a summer.

    I first saw my car back in 1994 I had just purchased a 1948 ford 1 ton and needed a tail light to make it original. I learned of a gentleman 20 miles away that could get me reproduction parts for my truck and proceeded to track him down. I went to visit Dale, a semi retired teacher, who dabbled in distributing reproduction Ford parts.

    It was upon this first visit Dale took me to the garage and showed me his old Ford collection. Some of the cars were a 31 roadster, 46 Merc convertible, a 35 Ford 5 window coupe, 57 T bird and so on. The 35 Ford 3 window looked a little ratty so I didn’t spend much time looking it over, but it was our first introduction none the less.

    Over the next few months I got to know Dale better and offered some help when it came time to move all his cars out of his garage. He was moving the building to the property next door, because that's where he planned to build his new house. This was a chance to get a good look at what he had, because the garage was packed so full there was barely enough room to walk.

    With camera in hand I snapped away as we carefully pulled each car into the sunlight, one by one, using the low first gear on my old 48 to gingerly move each specimen to the lot next door.

    2010-10-30 4 001b.jpg scanned 2010-10-30 001.jpg scanned 2010-10-30 2 001b.jpg scanned 2010-10-30 3 001b.jpg

    Once I got to see the 35 Ford 3 window out in the open it was a little rough. Someone had been doing some body work on It that would cause their experience to be questioned. It quickly became obvious that the car had spent a moment or two on its roof, but I could now see that it did not have a single spot of rust anywhere. Door gaps looked fine the windshield was intact and perfect, and the procedures for repair began filling my head but, when the garage was re-located and ready to shelter the survivors. The 35 got tucked back in with the rest of them.

    I asked if he’d give me first right of refusal for the car on several occasions. The answer was always, “you’re not the only one” or “I doubt you could afford it, I’d want a lot for it”.

    Finally I heard through the grape vine that it was on the market. The price seemed up there and I never got a chance to ask the owner what was truth or fiction for an entire year. I caught up to him at a swap meet a couple years ago and learned the actual price was more along what I thought was fair. I went to see it within a few days with cash in hand and the rest is history, the beginning of a long and happy life together, hopefully for many cruises to come. Even as I was loading the car on my trailer a call came in, to inform the former owner that money was on the way for the car from another party. I heard the words every car guy dreads to hear, “sorry but I sold it, and the new owner is loading it as we speak”. I’ve been on the receiving end of that phrase and had to say it a time or two, but I can’t help grinning every time I remember the moment.

    For most of its time in the previous owner’s possession, it sat for almost forty years in the corner of his garage, getting the occasional visit when he came in to throw a spare part or two, found at a swap meet or on a parts hunt, into it for safe keeping. All those collectable parts came with the car, not to mention the odd piece I’ve been lucky enough to find since it has been in my stewardship. Plans are for a later Flathead dressed for the ball. I want to drive it as a survivor because it will only be this way once. When I stop to do the math this car was in waiting for two or more years before I even saw my first one. Anyone out there believe the connection to their car is an act of fate?

    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
    ChefMike likes this.
  2. draggler
    Joined: Jan 6, 2007
    Posts: 238


    Now thats a love story for sure!
    Maybe pour a little ethyl in your tank and see if the pace picks up a bit???
    Good luck and looking forward to seeing future progress pics!
  3. Wow, you just scraped in as the new owner! Congratulations. I like your plans on preservation, thats how all my cars are. Good luck man, and many happy moments to come for you and the car in the future!H.R.D.
  4. richie rebel
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 1,184

    richie rebel

    i love my 35 cpe..richie......
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  5. nice my favorite body style
  6. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 26,412


    Great story, thanks for sharing. I can relate to it, my 1912 T was the first "Antique" I was given a ride in when I was about 12 years old, I got to buy it 21 years later and need to get it out for its 100th birthday next year. It was restored in time for the 1950 Glidden Tour and still looks good for its age.
  7. Nice Car, Nicer Story!
  8. Here are some photos from bringin it home day.

    For starters, None of what you see in the back ground is for sale. It was all the same cars back in 94 stuffed into a two bay garage instead of this nice big workshop. The 35 is one of the very few cars he has let go in fifteen years.

    1935 Ford 3W coupe 002b.jpg
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    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  9. shooter54
    Joined: Apr 25, 2006
    Posts: 5,145


    Very cool. Congrats!
  10. More From the day it came home. I figured the safest way to get loose parts home safe was to attach what I could to the car.

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    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  11. Original57
    Joined: May 5, 2010
    Posts: 159


    Couldn't agree more. Congratulations.
  12. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 26,412


    NICE! Looks like the grille and windsheild frame have been replated, should be a nice build with only some tail pan work needed.
  13. Funny you should mention the grill and the tailpan. The grill is actually a really nice original. I remember seeing and admiring it in the rafters of his old garage. At the time I thought it belonged to the five window he had. It had sold to a guy in Montana about the time I got to know Dale. It was a cherry 30,000 mile original that some kid inherited and started stripping the still shiney black paint. Anyway, I assumed it was the grill for that car. Imagine my delight when he dug it out to give to me for my car.

    1935 Ford 3W coupe 001b.jpg

    When I got this car I was determined to hold off working on it, because I am swamped with projects. I figured it would be the incentive needed to thin the herd. I wanted to sell sell sell til the rest were gone, then I'd have all my efforts for the favourite. That plan failed however, strictly because that tailpan was begging to be fixed, or at least cut off. What an eye-sore. It was brutal under there.

    35 Ford tail pan 002b.jpg 35 Ford tail pan 005b.jpg 35 Ford tail pan 008b.jpg
    35 Ford tail pan 012b.jpg

    Once I received the new EMS piece I couldn't wait to make things right. I've at least improved it's cosmetics by temporarily attaching it til more time is available to tweek the inner structure. You'll also notice that some sandpaper slipped into my hands and some surface rust got removed and primered. I have no Idea how that could have happened.

    35 nov 09 001b.jpg
    35 nov 09 002b.jpg

    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  14. koolkemp
    Joined: May 7, 2004
    Posts: 6,008


    Wow I am glad to see you starting on the ol girl...cant believe how solid it looks!!
  15. resqd37Zep
    Joined: Aug 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,217

    from Nor Cal

    I love the 35 3 window. What a beautiful car. Best of luck on your build.
  16. It looks worse than it is. How's hunting koolkemp?
  17. koolkemp
    Joined: May 7, 2004
    Posts: 6,008


    Havent been doing much...severe lack of funds lol ! I did add a 49 Merc parts car to the Merc pile...wont be getting it home till the spring though, but it should give me enough body parts to try and bastardize a coupe together...I am even contemplating a 3 window of sorts...Rikster did a really neat rendering of one a few yrs ago and its got my gears a churning! Hopefully building that will keep me busy after the 47 is roadworthy ...should give me a little more time to scrounge 35-36 stuff!
  18. Got a used chain for $450 and its not even galvanized let alone a gold one.

    Shortly after getting my car home I went to a swap meet. I was stoked to find a later flathead for the new jewel. My hopes were high to find a motor that was runnable. Plans were to just be able to drive it in and out of my garage or on and off a trailer, so I could present it as found.

    I found a mid forties vintage flatty at a space full of trailer with piles of auto wares for sale. I had a good look at it and started asking questions. Answers came like so: It wasn't seized when it went into the quonset years ago. Should be ok now cause its been dry ever since. If it doesn't rotate it can't be bad, it was under a workbench. I been putting oil in the cylinders. $650.

    He let me pull the plugs to peer down the holes with a flashlight, and the valves were spotless. I was encouraged. Borrowed a big wrench to turn it over. It wouldn't budge. I thought maybe if I took it home and got it in the car I may get it lose with a big bar and some leverage. I've been lucky before. Talked him into giving it to me as was for $450 it might be worth chancing. Began hauling it out to my ride's truck. Told the seller I'd be right back with his chain. He told me not to worry about it.

    That's the long version. Short version is motor was solid with rust in one cylinder. Took two days to get the heads off. Six visable cracks. That was one expensive chain. Oh, and I guess I got a boat anchor too.

    Took these pictures when that motor was still in place.

    35 nov 09 004b.jpg
    35 nov 09 005b.jpg

    Saw him at another swap meet and shared the experience. All I got was, "I gave you a good deal and my best chain." Live and learn.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  19. koolkemp
    Joined: May 7, 2004
    Posts: 6,008


    ^^^ Your experience is what scares me about building a flatty someday, I have had guys tell me they bought 10 motors before they found one that wasnt cracked let alone usable :eek: that can get pretty pricey as you are finding out!
  20. heyitsnate
    Joined: Apr 8, 2004
    Posts: 1,616

    from tacoma,wa

    I think it's epic that you pried that car from the hands of a hoarder! I rented a room from an old sf streetracer, he had 2 32 3w coupes rotting in a field and his brothers old 32 roadster street racer in storage, and about 50 years of other projects and vintage hotrod parts. I was building a period roadster and couldn't get so much as a nut or bolt from him. Congratulations! 35 +36s are worth every bit of work to get them squared away...
  21. If you can pull the heads and look carefully around the bores water jackets and bolt holes you can eliminate most engines before you buy. If the seller won't let you pull a head, walk away, it's better for your wallet. I would think in your province the cars would rust before the engines got as many miles as around here.

    I knew I was taking a chance, but I've made more on car stuff than I've lost so it's all good. Besides I did get what I was looking for. I'm trying to let the story unfold in the order the events happened.
  22. Hi heyitsnate I have an ot 68 Karmann Ghia that was originally sold at Pete Lovely. I picked it up at Sunnyslope wreckers in `83. I've even got the liscence plate frames and plates. Is that dealership there still? I grew up just north of the 49th.
  23. On a side trip while returning from a swap meet, I went to visit a man with a sweet `36 roadster. He had a pair of skirts for a `37, that wouldn't fit his car. He let me photograph them so I could take a crack at making my own.

    While I had the fender off the car I decided to replace some cracked areas with new metal. There was some awful brazing work done on this car.

    Did you know that the rear wheel openings differ upto a 1/2 inch in curve from side to side? My right fender skirt curve won't fit the left side even reversed.

    Fransis shots two 055b.jpg
    35 fender skirts 009b.jpg
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    35 fender skirts 006b.jpg

    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  24. fab32
    Joined: May 14, 2002
    Posts: 13,988

    Member Emeritus

    Great story on getting the car. I've pried a few away from guys that never let anything go but usually you don't make a great score that way. Most times it's a dog and the owner likes dangling a piece of meat in front of you finally relenting to your persistance just as the "gotta have it" fever makes you overlook a lot of flaws. Buyer's regret can be a bitter pill, especially if you've dug yourself a financial hole with the buy that sets your plans back a significant amount.:( LIVE AND LEARN!!!

    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  25. Itchy-Pit
    Joined: May 7, 2008
    Posts: 452


    Hey Doug. I just got myself a 36 3W. It's a real project. But I am REALLY excited about it. I signed up for the Gene Windfield / Gambino Customs metal working workshop so I can get started. I have some extra parts if yoiu need some. Let me know. - Dennis AKA Itchy-Pit
  26. Thanks Fab32 and Itchy-pit.

    No, they don't come free when you buy out of a collection. I've had a lot that has come my way for cheap or free that kind of offsets the drain on the wallet. Another way to look at it, a place to keep it has cost the previous owner plenty over the years too. It was inside all that time. If costs average $50.00 a month over 40 years. Taxes utilities other items that he couldn't keep for not having room left. The parts he had purchased for it. I got a bargain.

    All I can think of right now that I need is a damage free trans cover, headlight switch, the tack strip over the rear window and a couple strombergs for my dual intake. I have some spares too so hopefully when the time comes I can trade for something needed.

    I am subscribing to all the 35-36 coupe build threads I can find. Do you have one yet?

    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
  27. Itchy-Pit
    Joined: May 7, 2008
    Posts: 452


    No build yet. Aquiring parts - trading etc. I am attending the Gambino's Gene Windfield 2 day hands on metal fab class. I'm going to bring my deck lid and a couple fenders to see if we can make 'em pretty. We'll see.
    custom_lettering likes this.
  28. Pinstriper40
    Joined: Sep 24, 2007
    Posts: 3,287


    Wow! You're a Lucky Sun of a Gun Doug! I really like your plan for the car... "dressed for the ball" is a very descriptive way to put it for a flatty... yet it still leaves a lot to the imagination! ;) I wish you the best of luck with your build- since chopping my buddy Bill's '35 3 window I've had a real hard-on for 'em. I hope you keep yours unchopped though!
  29. Even though I like the chopped ones very much. The thought of doing this one however, is short lived. I'll keep pretending it used to be chopped and I unchopped it for something different. HA ha.

    The flathead should be plenty for me. The previous owner is running a stock flatty in his 36 roadster and just regaled me of his trip down through the US and back through Eastern Canada. That's 4000 miles roundtrip.

  30. heyitsnate
    Joined: Apr 8, 2004
    Posts: 1,616

    from tacoma,wa

    Yes. I like this thread very much. Flathead, unchopped, this is good stuff.

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