Dateline Los Angeles. My dad had assumed ownership from his oldest daughter a dull blue 1937 Ford sedan back when I was in high school. This was in the late 1950s up until the early 1960s. The twenty year old vehicle was my older sisters but gave up when she moved away. The old blue car stood parked in our back drive way for several years. The old pre-world war II automobile appeared to have no noticeable dents or dings. Paint was a bit dull but could have been restored with a vigorous buffing of rubbing compound. It also could have used a bit of chrome cleaner. Just a little rusts on the chrome but easily buffed off. None the less the royal blue sedan could have been restored to a shiny polished appearance. Yes, both bumpers still had significant buffable chrome as well as the old Ford’s sturdy grill. A chrome grill with horizontal vents from the hood to the crank start hole.
And here is what is amazing, the old Philco tube type radio still worked. Just an on/off/volume switch and a tuning dial. Just click it on and wait for it to warm up and soon it would be playing music or the news.
Now this is what is surprising, all the upholstery was in very good shape. The headliner was also intact. No worn bare spots or tears. The seat upholstery is what they called at the time, Mouse Fuzz. None the less, most comfortable. However could have used a shampooing. The back seats had lots of leg room and there were a hand-hold strap up behind the front seat and a long hand hol rope across the back of the front seat. The front seat was what they use to call a bench seat. Big enough to accommodate three adults.
One of the interesting features of the old ’37-Ford was a crank-out front wind shield. Cranking out from the bottom to allow airflow in to the Ford’s cockpit. It also included a long floor gear shift with a flat wooden gear-shift knob.
The only thing that needed attention was the floorboard. Perhaps a new subflooring with anew floor mat or carpeting.
On two occasions my dad, older brother and I pulled out the flat-head V8 engine and gave it a pretty good overhaul. Honing out the cylinder and replacing the piston rings. Put in new head and oil pan gaskets. Then rebuilding the carburetor. Then replacing spark plugs, points and condenser. I was certainly impressed with what my dad knew about overhauling an old car. Something I thought my dad, an old Okie farmer wouldn’t know much about. But, he did.
What was scary about this old relic was it had mechanical breaks. Push the break peddle and it pulled cables that activated the break shoe. It could easily fail or the cable could snap during an emergency stop. This would need to be replaced by hydraulic breaks.
But before I could make claim to the antique, he sold the 1937 Ford for a mere hundred bucks. Just one hundred dollars to a kid who wanted to turn it into an East L. A. ‘Low Rider’. In retrospect, only if I had the ambition and the presents of mind at that time as a teen boy I could have kept and owned that car. My dad would have given it to me with very little begging. It would have been fun to drive to school and carry all my friends with me. Now here is the bit rub. Today, fully restored it would easily fetch a six figure price for that eighty-five year old automobile. Perhaps Jay Leno would have bought it. Jumping Jiminy Crickets! Better yet I could have kept it.