Trading a new bicycle for a ’32 Ford five-window coupe? Sounds crazy, right? But that’s exactly what Ernie Martin of Portland, Oregon, did in 1952.
Ernie had stumbled upon an old Ford coupe. The owner wanted to get a bicycle for his son, and Ernie just so happened to have a new bike. Ernie offered his brand-new Schwinn racing bike for the “piece of junk” ’32, as the original owner called it, and a trade was made.
Ernie enlisted the help of his brother to get the coupe home, but with one stipulation: When they pulled up to their house, his brother was going to cut the rope pulling the coupe and get out of there, so he didn’t have to face the wrath they expected from their dad. As it turned out, though, their dad wasn’t too upset with Ernie’s trade.
From 1952 to 1959, Ernie spent his time restoring and hot rodding the ’32 coupe. He changed the white paint to a Huntsman Red finish and had the interior done completely in white Naugahyde
tuck-and-roll pleating. He also added a 2 1 ⁄ 2- inch dropped front axle and a ’53 Ford rear axle.
Ernie then started work on the drivetrain, hopping-up the original Model B four-cylinder engine. It was really something, according to Ernie. “None of the flathead guys could beat it for the first two blocks.” Eventually, he swapped the four-cylinder for a flathead, and then a 265 small-block Chevy with an iron Powerglide transmission out of a ’55 Chevy.