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1940 Ford The Ghost

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Legendary Lars, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. Legendary Lars
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 534

    Legendary Lars
    Member

    I bought another car this week, really dont need any more projects but the price was right and I was mesmerized by the story.

    As relayed from the seller.

    Original, survivor 1940/42 V-8 Ford Custom Hot Rod Sports Car "Wanabe Corvette"

    No, it’s not a Woodhill Wildfire, a Glaspar G2 or any number of other low-volume glass-bodied cars/kits that were becoming available in the late 1950's. It is a "Gordon Tulbert Special" and it is one-of-a-kind.

    The term “one-of-a-kind” is often used quite loosely. In this case, it could not be truer. I have included an original sketch done by a Minnesota high school boy back in the late 1950’s. He had Corvette tastes, but was on an old Ford flathead budget. He was not going to be able to buy it, so he decided to build it.

    A lot of these projects get started, but a smaller number get finished. Here is one that made it. Using skills he developed in helping to fabricate some of the first fiberglass fishing boats, he created something magnificent.

    There is a great history between the time this car was built until the modern day. It was traded, sold, not paid for, repossesed and thought to have been scrapped at one time. Sometime after the purchase, I was able to locate the builder only by a crazy stroke of luck.

    If you have read any of Tom Cotter's great books (such as “The Cobra in the Barn: Great Stories of Automotive Archaeology”), you are familiar with stories of unusual cars and motorcycles being re-discovered. If you have not, you should immediately go out and buy a copy of everything he has ever wrote on the subject. Great Reading!

    Back to the story of “the Ghost", as one of its former owner referred to it as. It is built based on a 1940/41 Ford 2-door sedan, the same one pictured in the original, study hall doodling. Imagine driving the original 2-door sedan from the back seat! The North Dakota title lists it as a “1942 Ford”, but as far as I can see, the serial number on the frame is for a 1940 Ford. I suppose it sat on the lot for awhile before being sold.

    The frame is unaltered in length and has the engine positioned in the stock location. A late 1940’s vintage flathead Ford V-8 with a Lincoln Zephyr side-shift transmission is installed. This is the original transmission that was installed when the car was built, but the engine has not yet been verified.

    The body is very unusual, as it is fiberglass laminated over sections of the original Ford sheet metal, including the original rear windows section now used as the trunk panel. Gordon even built an electric motor operated hood! He also "borrowed" the 1955 Thunderbird from one of his friend's dad in order to make a mold for the hood scoop.

    Remember, this car was built by a 16 year-old high school student with limited resources. There are parts that are crude, such as some of the welding, but overall, I am in awe of what he created.


    First of all, I knew I was going to get some guff from Gordon from mentioning the quality of some of his welds! They are what they are. Remember the time that this car was built and the age of the builder.
    Next, the front glass was not a split window. It was a one-piece rear window from a 1950 Studebaker. The gauges were from a 1940 Buick and had white faces. As I mentioned earlier, the original dash is behind the slab of wood that was put in there later.
    Also the hood originally had a mechanically-operated safety latch, built from a 1940 Food door latch, that was cable-operated prior to raising the hood with the electric motor. This safety latch is missing, which might explain why the windshield is missing. There is evidence that the hood came open "at speed" at one time and did some slight damage to the cowl.
    The drivers door was originally equipped with an electric solenoid. All that remains is the outside push button.
    Gordon originally had a hand-built, twin carb intake with progressive linkage. This has disappeared over time and previous owners. The car, as you can see from the pictures, has a factory Ford, single carb manifold. It still does have the owner-built, off-set copper cooling pipes needed to clear the re-positioned generator.
    One last note. MAYBE, just MAYBE the original top, a fiberglass owner-built unit pulled from a buck made from a widened MGA top, may be able to be located. It was reported to be propped up in an old farm shed in the area. We will follow up on this. This would be an important addition to this car.
    Remember, this is not just a kit car. This is a part of HOT ROD HISTORY! There was just one of them. Lots of projects get started, but most never get to this point. Gorden and his soon-to-be wife both drove this car.
    I repeat, this car's history needed to fully documented. I have more information between when it was built and when I purchased it. In addition, I have permission from the builder to give out his contact info to the buyer of the car.


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  2. Master of None
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 2,279

    Master of None
    Member

    Cool story.......damn that's a lot of work...
     
  3. pwschuh
    Joined: Oct 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,288

    pwschuh
    Member

    Fabulous. Looking forward to seeing more. Love to hear more about the "find" process as well.
     
  4. That is an incredible story and it is amazing what youth and enthusiasm can accomplish. Needs to be saved for sure and the story complete.
     
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  5. Moondog13
    Joined: Sep 7, 2006
    Posts: 732

    Moondog13
    Member

    Awesome!!! More pics please! :D
     
  6. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,460

    Squablow
    Member

    It's neat looking, I'd like to see it from more angles. Some of these "specials" were really horrendously proportioned, but this one looks good overall.
     
  7. Legendary Lars
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 534

    Legendary Lars
    Member

    Yeah I should get it in about a week or so and I will get some pics up then and figure out what to do with it.
     
  8. Unbelievable amount of work there. Gordon had quite an imagination. I think we've all become somewhat "jaded" over the yrs. by some of the cars that have been created, but can you imagine the impact this car must have had in the late 50's.
     
  9. Excellent story , more pics man!!
     
  10. my2nd40
    Joined: Dec 11, 2003
    Posts: 198

    my2nd40
    Member
    from Tennessee

    This post is a perfect example of what moves me to visit Jalopy Journal every day. A history of custom cars and hot rods that I've never known about and never would without the vision of Ryan to create this site. Lots of us made doodles of cars in study hall, but this young man made his dream come true. I'd like to know what he has done in life since his teen years, he obviously was a talented young man.
     
  11. sodbuster
    Joined: Oct 15, 2001
    Posts: 4,947

    sodbuster
    Member
    from Kansas

    Neat! Post more pix and how you found this car.

    Chris
     
  12. JAWS
    Joined: Jul 22, 2005
    Posts: 1,850

    JAWS
    Member

    Yes please, more pics. More history.
     
  13. Manche
    Joined: Dec 11, 2010
    Posts: 111

    Manche
    Member

    good looks. reminds me or european stuff, ¿Is the mechanics bone stock?
     
  14. weps
    Joined: Aug 1, 2008
    Posts: 528

    weps
    Member
    from auburn,IN

    Great story, I love his 'doodle' with the bulbous top all "X'd" out!!
     
  15. Legendary Lars
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 534

    Legendary Lars
    Member

    It appears to be pretty stock running gear, old flattie in it. I am waiting on shipping to get it to Cali from North Dakota. When I get it I will do a full picture spread of it.
     
  16. schaefer
    Joined: Aug 8, 2003
    Posts: 187

    schaefer
    Member

    Cool car with a great story!
     
  17. Manche
    Joined: Dec 11, 2010
    Posts: 111

    Manche
    Member

    I dont know if i'd touch it.... perhaps push the engine back to improve the mass distribution, and clean the rough edges.
     
  18. Legendary Lars
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 534

    Legendary Lars
    Member

    Yeah I think leaving it as much as it was is prolly for the best. Though it looks to have been modified a bit since the original owner had it. So I will call him and see what is what :)
     
  19. Legendary Lars
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 534

    Legendary Lars
    Member

    Here is a pic of the Rear angle

    [​IMG]
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  20. boldventure
    Joined: Mar 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,766

    boldventure
    Member

    Great car Lars and an even better story! Good that you saved it.
    This link is to a site dealing with fiberglass cars: http://www.forgottenfiberglass.com/
    Although yours is not strictly a fiberglass only car I think they might enjoy what you have here. Who knows they may be able to help with your research.
     
  21. LANCE-SPEED
    Joined: Aug 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,259

    LANCE-SPEED
    Member

    Thats really cool!! Is the original builder still alive? And is he the one your buying it from?
     
  22. Legendary Lars
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 534

    Legendary Lars
    Member

    He is still alive, though he long ago sold the car.
     
  23. TERPU
    Joined: Jan 2, 2004
    Posts: 2,230

    TERPU
    Member

    Shhhhh,

    I'm going to steal it and paint it black with a silver cove and have a red interior put in it with some sombreros on Steelies when you're not looking.

    Tim
     
  24. Legendary Lars
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 534

    Legendary Lars
    Member

    Ok so we now have gotten the car and looking it over, it drives the flathead sounds mean and nasty, I love it. I am going to ponder long and hard what I ant to do with it. I will fix up some of the safety issues, and get the windshield back in...
    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
     
    lothiandon1940 and kidcampbell71 like this.
  25. captainjunk#2
    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 4,364

    captainjunk#2
    Member

    damn what a great story and find , i really dig it , what a cool piece of auto motive history ,
     
  26. custom300
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 156

    custom300
    Member

    Now that is a great find with a killer story to go with it.
     
  27. Legendary Lars
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 534

    Legendary Lars
    Member

    If you look in the rear you can see the old back window from inside this thing is so fun.
     
  28. rahhavit
    Joined: Jul 26, 2011
    Posts: 1

    rahhavit
    Member
    from Michigan

    Great story. Thank you for sharing!
     
  29. ..... soooooooooo ..... then what happened ??
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.

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