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Intro 34 Coupe find

Discussion in 'New to the H.A.M.B.? Introduce yourself here!' started by carrera600, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. carrera600
    Joined: Oct 20, 2010
    Posts: 45


    have been on the HAMB for quite some time, doing research asking information and advice with regards to my 34 Ford coupe i found in South Africa some time ago.

    I first got into contact with traditional hot rodding in the early 80ies, having found a little scrap book type magazine in a local paperbook store. It consisted of vintage black and white pictures of traditional hot rods racing in the california desert. I was totally mesmerized and the history fascinated me, beeing so much different to anything else i had seen before. I subsequently borrowed the book to an aquaintance who never returned it to me. ( Still want it back - sucker! )
    In those days there were still a lot of US cars around, always beeing something special in a country dominated by british and other european cars. I also remember family trips up to South West Africa ( Namibia) seeing these shapes from the backseat in the far distance that looked like something out of this world. My folks had to stop all along the way and i walked through the desert to find some „diamond in the rust“, (rocks in the dust to others) that were telling stories from a long by gone area. To the dismay of the rest of the family sweltering in the sun. I was able to do rust shell spotting, identifying models, makes and aera, by their shells only. My parents should not have given me the American Car Encyclopedia on my 16th birthday. I looked at these vintage car pictures so often that i learned them all off by heart.

    The cars all gone now, due to overland trucks with welding gear and cranes that travel the country, to cut up anything for scrap metal going to Japan.

    I did own a few cars before, of which a 1966 Pontiac Parisienne kept me going through my adolescent years, not much different to what most pepole have experienced in the US or any other countries, getting addicted to that V8 feeling. It would take me another 30 years to finally find what i was looking for.
    Already then the classic car scene was somewhat of a mafia, members passing cars to another, keeping exact records of what was around and making sure, if it was available, to go to a friend. It was and still is difficult for an outsider to get hold of anything considered special. The more today with globalisation taking place and the internet, especially with Australians having a huge demand for RHD`s , getting into every corner of the world. The competition is just bigger than ever. Anything good would have left the country in the past 15 years due to political and economic reasons as well.

    I never forgot that scrap book and did from time to time look for anything in the 32-34 coupe range, a classic barn find to be restored to what looked like i remembered from that little scrap book.
    Already then people laughed and said it was like looking for „golden hens teeth“.

    It was strange to hear from other people, how they found this vintage car stacked away in a garage or barn for 20 years or longer. My desire faded more and more into oblivion, realising i am not in this car game and Farmer Brown was the first to put his hands onto his granddads car, using cow dung as body filler. Besides, many cars were passed on to lesser income groups and finally ended up as shells with rear axles used for horse drawn carriages or engines utilised for water pumps. A rusty nail has a value and is a treasure to lots of unfortunate people in South Africa.
    Besides Farmer Brown was on the internet by now as well and knew exactly what was lurking in his barn.

    The worst was the own family, who could not relate to ones images and fantasies. Joking, if i was still „chasing Ghosts“ or suspecting some malfunctioning of my synaptical cords.

    Anyhow here is my story.


    I decided to give it another go. By that time i had come across a few 33/34 5 Window coupes during the last few years, but in a price range i was not interested in as they were museum cars, fully restored or overpriced because of overseas interest with no relation to South Africas general buying population.
    The more people insisted that i was „chasing ghosts“, the more i had to try my luck and decided to place an ad in a local farmers magazin classified section:
    „Wanted: anything 32 to 39, what have you got ? “.
    My family was alarmed again and the country beeing so huge, it was a stupid idea, taking a really long shot.

    About 2 1/2 weeks into the holiday, i visited a Mopar Garage that had opened in the suburbs of Cape Town, doing high quality restaurations of muscle cars. I decided to drop buy to see what they were all about. The manager said he was not into such old cars and they are not availble anyhow. I carried a CD with me, consisting of my own private 32-34 Ford reference picture library of hot rods, i collected over the years (Thanx HAMB). When i showed it to him he realised how serious i was and suddenly replied: well on second thought there was a younger chap who brought his dads Ford coupe in a few moths ago and it needed some welding to the aluminium cylinder head. It was in a surprising good conditon, needed work but was definately not for sale.

    I asked him if it was a 5 window, which he said yes to, but was not sure. I asked him to get me this guys phone number and although he tried a few times himself, he could not get hold of him, gave up and passed it on to me a couple of days later.

    I went surfing that particular afternoon and slipped a disk, probably because i was not „there“ ! I was kind of preoccupied with the remote possibilty of the car beeing a 3 window instead of a 5 window, not concentrating on surfing technique. Everbody was sorry, but secretly felt relieved because i couldnt go anywhere in danger of buying anything big, rusty, non functional and unnecessary like a ball and chain.
    Well, they would be in for a surprise.

    3 DAYS TO GO
    My holiday came slowly to an end and there were 3 days to go before my flight back to Switzerland for contract work. I decided to call this farmer one more time and leave my details on his answering machine so he could call me back, since i did not want to buy the car, but to marvel at it and tell him how lucky he was.

    I was on my back, lying in bed not beeing able to move much, when i received a call from an elderly gentleman who read the ad i placed in the farmers magazin. He realised i spoke with a german acent. That helped because he knew of a car that a german widow owned and that seemed to be in the line of what i was looking for, in the Cape Town area as well.
    Besides the fact that i had difficulty driving, i knew i had to move „fast“ !

    After having contacted the lady, a meeting was arranged to see that garaged car the dame day. Because my father was on a job upcountry and only came back that evening, Mum had to help and drove me there, good thing, we rocked up at this lovely modern house. I took my camera with „ just in case“ so i could say - hey i was right, these things still existed.
    When the garage door opened i was stunned. A 1929 Ford Pheaton in 100% original condition, everything was there from the torn leather seat to the water temp. radiator cap, original ford radiator enamel emblem, dunlop tyres and the Mobile Horse decal on the windscreen. Surely it needed restoration, but was complete, very little rust and original black and red colour scheme, even the cloth canopy was there...a true barn find in a modern Garage. I went to the car and sat in it, opened the bonnet and inspected it in detail, took some photos to prove my point. But what to do with it. I liked the car a lot, but it was way too small for me. I could not see myself in that car. The Lady said i was the first person that actually touched the car after somebody else had looked at it and made a distant offer. She said her husband would have liked somebody to appreciate the car and touching it was something he always did, passing some magic on, reviving it like pheonix from the ashes. No jokes, she was very serious. My Mum and her got along very nicely.

    It turned out that her husband collected old vintage tractors from all over South Africa and Namibia and had a fair size collection in Germany. He found the car in its present state and always wanted to restore it.
    I said i will give it a thought and get back to her.

    Back home I decided to print out a picture showing the 29 in its full glory, so i could prove my find to my dad the same evening, maybe twist him into a father and son project.

    In the afternoon I called some trustworthy Vintage Car Club member to speak to him about the Pheaton, what my options were and got his vow not to mention anything to anybody. I believed him.......big mistake.......youre definately better off confiding to an old dead tree in the backyard, but never ever to a Vintage Car Club member.

    Dad arrived in the evening, showed my picture of the `29, Mum tells story, Dad shakes head in disbelieve and I get at least credit for a true barn find. But not for us.

    2 DAYS TO GO
    Call in the morning from an unknown Vintage Car Club Member wanting to see the car desperately and offering me a reward. I said i would call him back because i was only able to move like a turtle on its back and i was quite exhausted with car stuff.

    We had a rest at lunch time when i got a call from somebody who introduced himself as the 34 coupe owner and i could come and have a look, about a 60 min drive, but the car is not washed. I walked up to my parents who were able to drive, but had no intention whatsoever to skip their well deserved lunch time rest. My mum turned around on her other side, waved her hand with a flimsical whim and said: „Iam too old for that boys stuff“

    Pathetic, i had to sort of kneel down and beg for a drive ( its like family relations never grow old, its today what it was like back then) and shouted it was the last and only chance in the search for the holy grail.
    It worked for my dad, except that we had a furious argument while i was lying on the back seat and he was rightfully beeing pi**ed off, wasting time on somthing that is not for sale anyhow. I had grabed the photocopy of the 29 Pheaton when snailing out of the house into the car, for unknown reason and he was beeing ironic as if that was going to be any help.
    I did not even voice any arguments because i knew he was right, it was going to be crap talk, look and get lost, total defeat and everybody saying: well what did you expect ?, making a complete dork out of myself. I was just thinking to get there as fast as possible, to get peace of mind its nothing. The better i would be off, so „RIP“.

    When we got to the farm, the farmer a chubby nice friendly looking guy with all honest and serious intentions, was entertaining a few friends with Klipdrift Brandy and Wine. His son had taken the car for a check up to the Mopar Garage many months ago and was actually in charge of dealing with it. He happened to be in hospital for an operation and just got back and decided to give me a call.
    Guess what, we did go to a barn, the doors opened and there was lots of dust and farm stuff with a british unfinished sedan lurking in one corner.
    In the opposite corner I immediately spotted „Washington Blue“. A 3 window 34 Ford, complete and solid, original keys, running. My father actually touched the car !

    There are things which do make your emtions put rational thinking aside. That beautifull backside and those two hooters got us going!! Small talk and to get rid of the pain as quickly as possible, we asked if the car was for sale: NO WAY ! Because what else were the owners going to get ? What could possibly be a substitution. Besides, they wanted to do weddings on their farm with a vintage car, it would perfectly suit the setting and generate another form of income.

    Before i even realised what was about to happen here, my dad was gone and i have never seen a 70 year old man disappear and reappear that quickly. He became Houdini in his old age and while mocking at the brides veil or the grooms hat, flying off into the distance, while either one had to take to the rumble seat, my Dad waved the photocopy in his hand and said: „WE have the solution“ !
    The farmer took off to his party of friends with the picture of the 29 Pheaton, came back, had a short whispering conversation with his son and said: „a swop, once we have seen the car, would be an idea“.

    There was only today to secure the deal. We tried to arrange a meeting with the lady the same evening to all look at the 29 Pheaton, which was coincidally just around the corner !!!
    They were the guys towing the car on a flat bed trailer to another location so she could reuse the space, making things easier on her. I called her from the farm house at about 15:00, no answer. We decided to go there and see if she was home and did not answer the call. Nothing, everything closed up. We went to visit friends that happened to live near by and luckily were open to our rare „surprise“ visit.

    I called about 15 times for the rest of the afternoon to no avail. A good couple of Gin and Tonics later, my frustration level was clearly visible to everybody, we decided to leave as the night came up and i knew the deal was off. But i tried a last time and she answered. I told her i wanted my old man to see the car as well, now, because we were currently in the area visiting friends. She agreed, i called the farmer and his son to meet us there and to have a look how they are going to secure the car on the trailer. While we waited for the „towing people“ to arrive we spoke to her and i made her an offer, a little less than she requested, which was moderate but not exactly a bargain. My father stepped in and said her price was right and he would think its fair... my new set of white walls were gone. She would have to call her son in Germany to ask if it is alright, since she had not spoken to him about actually selling the car for definite!!

    The farmer arrived, introduction and me explaining the situation of checking the car prior to transport for safety reasons. I told the farmer before, it is a delicate situation and they need to be tactfull. First thing they rush into the garage and start climbing and crawling all over the frigging car, the interieur, the tyres, openig up the hood and asking for a torch to inspect the frame underneath because they forgot theirs. The night had fallen on us and the lady asked all the time what in gods name they were looking for.

    When the farmer asked if the old compressor, that was standing in one corner, was available as well, she finally got through on her cell to Germany and spoke to her son. It turned out that he was not so keen on that price, because it was a quite rare car on any terms. She told him that she wanted me to have the car and she had made the decision now to make the deal. The money was also only to be transfered once i was back in Germany. That meant she had to let the car go without the actual money having changed hands. My dad was as pale as a sheet, while trying to assist her with the conversation and taking her out the firing line of second hand bargain requests. I did not know what i was doing, just hoping it would all be over soon and my back was killing me.
    The initial agreement with the farmer to let us know if they were in for the swop by saying the words: "Yes, we can do it“ got lost in the reigning chaos and confusion.

    After the farewell and arrangements to fetch the Pheaton the next morning, we stopped a few metres down the road and the deal was struck, the farmer was impressed.
    Driving home numb, my dad acting extrovert and hyped like i have never seen him before. He is raving on keeping the car absolutely original, luggage rack and Tacoma colour spoke wheels. I look out the side window into the dark and see a fenderless 34 3W chopped coupe with big n little tyres on red `40 solids, louvered hood and side panels off, light reflection off a polished dual tall rise intake with 2 x Strom 97`s and helmet type air filters. Two chicks in the rumble lifting their tops in the warm summer night and the dual exhaust blabbing out my anxieties, no luggage rack in sight.
    I realised instantly that my real nightmare was to shift into highest gear when telling people what i was planning on doing to that sweet `34.

    When we got home that evening rather late, we could not say a word to raised eybrows and cold dinner, we simply forgot to call. Except for a Vintage Car Club member who called several times to speak to me about the whereabouts of a spectacular barn find, a 29 Pheaton.
    My dad had to leave the next morning on a job upcountry and i had to get my flight to Switzerland in the late afternoon the next day as well.

    In the morning me and my mum drove back to the farm to sign the necessary papers for the 34 and the Pheaton. I had a last look at the 34 Ford which had been rolled out the barn and had been washed. I forgot to take a picture the day before, when it was all dusted up lik a mummy. How stupid can one be?

    Papers were apparently there but not on hand, the greyhound that was originally with the car, although it was not on the car when we saw it, got nicked a long time ago, so was the Ford enamel badge on the hood ornament. Peanuts !!

    Off to the lady with the farmer and his trailer, the pheaton got loaded and i signed the sales papers. The lady let the car go without any form of payment except for my promise to transfer the money, once i was in Germany.
    Because we were not far from the airport and had 3 hours to kill, we drove to the beach and just lay there not saying a word, trying to find some rest.
    My mobile phone rang and the Vintage Car Club Member tried to find out the whereabouts of the car, once more. I told him that the car was sold and i would explain to him once i was back again. My back was finally getting better.

    Today were all on good terms and a friendship has sort of resulted with laughs for everyone.
    The cars papers/ title was never found and it turned out that the frame number was different to the archived number, so the frame has been swopped at some stage, but that is a different story. I finally got the cars title and police clearance last week. The engine is overheating..well thats no surprise. The frame is solid and has not been tampered with.

    Looking back at all the cars faults and work to be done, i liked the idea that i was meant to have it. Especially because i found out that there was some knowledge in the vintage car clubs of the car and people have been trying to locate it without success. It was quite a surprise to that this guy, whom nobody knew, got hold of a `34 that literally was a „ghost“ .

    I got kicked in the ass a few times and had my doubts after realising what it meant to build a traditional hot rod, the time, effort and research involved, the investment beeing more than what expected. But then again its 3 W Coupe and for that iam willig to get a few more kicks in the butt if i can get it right.

    I wrote this story to show my appreciation to the HAMB and its members for their support and unsurpassed knowledge. Also hoping that my fate and build will be of interest to people that are not gifted with technical ability or a bench press like most HAMBers.

    I will put my build plan up shortly to ask for some advice and to clear some questions i could not find answers to on the HAMB, which are specific to a 34 Model B

    Because i have to log most stuff to South Africa i have to be absolutely clear of what iam doing.
    Because iam only sporadically there, my posts on the build will not be as steady as others.

    Thank you,
  2. carrera600
    Joined: Oct 20, 2010
    Posts: 45


    Found some odd rear floor panel situation and was wondering if that joined effort looks original and the way Henry build it. The rear floor pan cover to the gain access to the rear axle is missing, unfortunately. Also added some pictures of the front suspension.

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  3. carrera600
    Joined: Oct 20, 2010
    Posts: 45


    Hmm, the attachments did not go through with the story, ill try again !

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  4. Great story and an awesome find. You are on top of the world, save some beans and do it up. Right hand drive 34 3 window, don't get much rarer!!
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  5. Don Martin
    Joined: Nov 2, 2006
    Posts: 156

    Don Martin
    from West Tenn

    That's one hell of a story!!! Good luck.
  6. elgringo71
    Joined: Oct 2, 2010
    Posts: 2,805


    Congratulations, on a great find. I bet that people don't think that you are crazy anymore. Now you can build it the way that you always wanted. Welcome to the Hamb and great first post.
  7. Welcome to the US & HAMB
  8. Smokey2
    Joined: Jan 11, 2011
    Posts: 920


    Q. Did you sleep with The Farmers Daughter???

    (Great Find, Need more details, Ha !)
  9. alpo
    Joined: May 7, 2011
    Posts: 686

    1. 34 Fords
    2. Mississippi Hambers

    Great find and Welcome aboard
  10. ss34coupe
    Joined: May 13, 2007
    Posts: 4,070


    Awesome story and very nice three window!
  11. jfreakofkorn
    Joined: Apr 13, 2010
    Posts: 2,640


    welcome to the show .... nice story and score ...
  12. Great find Randolf!
    Looks like the cars each found their rightful owners.
  13. carrera600
    Joined: Oct 20, 2010
    Posts: 45


    Hi Guys, iam glad you like the story. Now its finding and getting the right parts for the build. Thanx for the support !
  14. great story, enjoyed it very much. tom

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