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The whole story of my 1936 Ford 3 window coupe "barn Find" and how I am preserving it

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by INLAW MODEL A, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> We have all heard the story about the car sitting in a garage that everyone and their brother has tried to buy for years and years and it was never for sale. I too have heard it hundreds of times but never put much faith in the stories. I have an 81 year old friend Willie that has been helping me out a bunch on my Model a truck build. He has a great stash of flathead parts and misc. pieces that are tough to find or expensive to buy. He has a few projects and can always use some extra cash. I try to help him out and buy stuff of him that I can use. Years ago (like 1950) he had 6 36 Fords. The city got after his mother for having old junk in the yard and he got rid of them. The cut up the cars with an axe and took them to the dump. He kept some stuff and even built a 36 Ford 3 window which he later sold. I always liked 36 Fords and I thought I would buy up the parts he had laying around. I dug in the rafters and found a truck load of stuff. Paid him fair market value and we were both happy.


    Word got out that I bought his 36 parts and I heard &#8220;How did you get stuff from him? He would never sell anything!&#8221; My friend Roger told me that he knew where there was a 36 Ford 3 window coupe in a city 30 minutes to the north of me. He would not tell me where it was just that it was real nice and was sitting under a roof covered in paper mill felt. He had tried to buy it but could not close the deal. He offered a low ball amount and the old timer said he was already offered more but did not want to sell it anyhow. Same old story. I never could get it out of him where it was and I let it go.

    Fast forward 4 month. Roger stops by and tells me he could not take it anymore and that he had lied to me about the whereabouts of the 36 Ford coupe. He said it was in town and that Orville owned it but he would not sell it. I put it in the back of my brain and forgot about it.

    I was out driving on Orville&#8217;s end of town on day in August 2012. I thought what the heck and stopped by and rang the doorbell. Orville came to the door. He is 81 years old. I asked him about his old cars and got the nickel tour of them all. He showed me the 36 Ford coupe all covered up under the roof next to the shed. It was not visible from the road and I had a tough time seeing what it was when I was standing next to it. It was covered up with a tarp that rotted away and then another which was rotting away also. There were all kinds of stuff piled on and around the car. I was climbing around it trying to see what I could and saw a 59ab engine, what I thought was grey primer paint, nice left front fender and that was about it. He said it was time for me to go. I left him with a piece of paper with my name and number on it along with a price.

    I did not receive a call back so a week later I called and talked to his wife. I told her I had talked to Orville and I was interested in buying the 36. She said they may consider selling it. I thought great, here is my chance. I told her the price I was willing to pay and she said she would get back to me in 2 weeks. I gave her my number again.
    I called after 2 very long weeks and she was still not sure about selling the car. She said she needed to talk to her sons about it. She would get back to me.
    So from the first time I talked to Orville the owner until now has been three weeks. Another week goes buy and I get a call form Orville&#8217;s wife on A Friday night: &#8220;I thought you would have called us back by now. Do you still want the car?&#8221; I say yes can I come over and take a picture of it the way it is sitting now? &#8220;Sure, come over Saturday morning but call first.&#8221; So I can hardly sleep that Friday night. I wake up and call her and I ask can I come over and take a few pictures? &#8220;no Call back Sunday&#8221; So I call Sunday and ask if I can come over and she says &#8220; my son is here and he is digging out the car, I will call you later&#8221; Wow, it is going to happen I can&#8217;t believe it! So around 5 pm she calls and says &#8220;come and get your car&#8221; I said I will be right over! I hooked up the trailer and grabbed the winch and my dad and went to get it. On the way over I say to my dad you know I never really got a good look at the car, what if it is not worth it? I am already committed to buying it. He says &#8220;don&#8217;t worry, I will buy it if you don&#8217;t.&#8221; This is what we saw when we pulled into the driveway:



    It was beautiful! I could not believe my eyes! I was the new owner of the beautiful car!

    We loaded it up and got the story behind the car. Here is a picture of Orville and I:


    Here is where it was sitting. They put the tractor in its place.

    Last edited: Nov 24, 2015
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  2. Finn Jensen
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 598

    Finn Jensen

    Incredible! You almost let it get away. Nice find.
  3. Wow,,what a great story with a happy ending! HRP
  4. vonpahrkur
    Joined: Apr 21, 2005
    Posts: 905


    Very nice, dig the interior and the old paint! Give it a good wash, go through the mechanicals and drive it.
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  5. monkeyspunk79
    Joined: Jan 2, 2011
    Posts: 553


    Incredible find and story. You've got a real gem there. Good luck with the '36 and props for keeping the hobby strong.
  6. VoodooTwin
    Joined: Jul 13, 2011
    Posts: 3,455

    from Noo Yawk

    Congrats, she's a beauty! What happened to Orville during time he first showed it to you, and the time you went to pick it up? Sounds like his wife and sons took over? Inquiring minds need to know! :)
  7. ne'erdowell
    Joined: Nov 30, 2005
    Posts: 342


    Congrats, that's a fantastic find. I love chopped 3 windows, but really like seeing this just as you bought it.
  8. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,542

    from Tampa, FL

    Those mid-30's 3W are the best lookers, eh? Congrats. Gary
  9. briz
    Joined: Dec 30, 2007
    Posts: 80


    I think you did it just right. It sounds like there was some family politics that needed to get settled out before you could close the deal.
    Preserve it and drive it, and be sure to let that old boy see the car from time to time. Itll do both of you good.

  10. 562roadster
    Joined: Mar 2, 2008
    Posts: 1,169


    What a gem! Congrats. What are the plans for it?
  11. Welcome to the '36 3-window club.....
  12. toranaback
    Joined: Jan 18, 2011
    Posts: 27


    wow, good work on being persistant and honest, you deserve to be the caretaker for such a beautiful car. well done!
    Im looking forward to watching the outcome with this one , if it was me i would love to just tidy it up and cruse, it it truly beautiful!
  13. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 3,917

    Hot Rods Ta Hell

    Wow! Bet you couldn't wait to get it on the trailer.
    Sounds like the Son's were ironing out their portion of the inheritance $ from the 36 sale.
  14. bobwop
    Joined: Jan 13, 2008
    Posts: 6,081


    glad to hear it worked out for you Paul
  15. brady1929
    Joined: Sep 30, 2006
    Posts: 8,066


    Congrats, great story
  16. dorf
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 1,087

    from ohio

    congratulations but why didnt the sons want it ?
  17. T&A Flathead
    Joined: Apr 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,667

    T&A Flathead

    Amazing story. Congrats.
  18. So thats what they look like stock. Not too often you see one in that condition.
  19. Not sure

    I want to make it reliable and drive the hell out if it.

    I think it is just an old car to them. They have other favorites they plan on keeping.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  20. kyvetteman
    Joined: May 13, 2012
    Posts: 762


    Wow, what a find! Great story. Thanks for sharing!
  21. bykerlad
    Joined: Mar 14, 2009
    Posts: 260

    from australia

    good things come to those that deserve it,good onya mate
  22. fab32
    Joined: May 14, 2002
    Posts: 13,988

    Member Emeritus

    Fantastic story with a fairytale ending. A '36 3w has never been lower than no.5 on my list of "gotta have" cars. Curiously, I had a nice one about 30 years ago and it left when I had the chance to increase the '32 population. Always regretted letting it go and Harrison's old '38 (which i'm finally putting the finishing touches of a hydraulic brake conversion on) is as close as I've come to replacing it.
    Keep the old boy in the loop as you get yours on the road. He'll probably enjoy seeing it finally operational.

    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  23. Ester Eddie
    Joined: Feb 26, 2012
    Posts: 3,988

    Ester Eddie
    from Alaska

    Man ...Great story....and Awesome car ....Lucky you....
  24. jimbanner
    Joined: Oct 3, 2009
    Posts: 125


    cool story and cool car, congrats and good luck with it
  25. GaryB
    Joined: Dec 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,530

    from Reno,nv

    WOW, that paint might just clean up.congrats on the find.more pics!!!
  26. Thanks for the replies. So here is what happened after I got it home. I determined that the engine was stuck and the rear axle was broke.

    Monday September 24th 2012
    Tore apart rear axle and found broken axle shaft



    Go to Willie's and get a used axle from his stash and install in. I read about using a pipe wrench and a floor jack to loosen stuck engines. I was going to leave it jacked up overnight with the bores full of diesel fuel and transmission fluid but it broke free right away.



    Drag car down driveway in gear to free it up. Turns over good now.


    Rebuild carb and put on new fuel pump.


    Try to start it! It runs but only on a few cylinders.



    Pull heads and free stuck valves. Reassemble and it runs pretty good.


    Saturday evening

    I called Orville and told him to come over. I took him for a ride down the street.


    Here we are talking flatheads:


    Last thing of the day, I took him for a long ride in my Model A truck. When we got back his wife wanted to go so I took here next.
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  27. qzjrd5
    Joined: Nov 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,256

    from Troy, MI

    Thanks for taking the time to tell the story and take the pics. Very cool car!!!
  28. What a great find ! Have you washed it yet ? Can't wait to see what it looks like cleaned up a bit .
    Enjoy your new 3w and like has been said earlier , keep Orville posted on progress and maybe take him for a lap of the block when it's done .

  29. Haha! I posted and then saw your last post ! good on you for doing the right thing :D


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