A garage-kept three-win­dow, ques­tions about Grabowski’s T-bucket, find­ing the right Jug­gers car club, and more.

Hot Rod Deluxe - - Contents - Dar­rell Fletcher

My “garage find” is a ’33 Ford three-win­dow coupe. It hadn’t been out of the pre­vi­ous owner’s garage dur­ing the past 41 years. The car has never had rust or even a door ding. It’s been garage-kept its en­tire life. The pre­vi­ous owner, Ken Pen­ley (of the Asheville, North Carolina, area), pur­chased the car from the sec­ond owner in 1970. I’m in­clud­ing a photo of Ken, snapped on the day he was buy­ing the car.

About nine years ago, my good friend Don­nie Smart told me about this in­cred­i­ble coupe, and sug­gested I give Mr. Pen­ley a call. I made an ap­point­ment to see the car and was floored by its con­di­tion. But I fig­ured that buy­ing it would be out of my range of pos­si­bil­ity. Over these past years, I’d pe­ri­od­i­cally call and chat with Mr. Pen­ley. Each time, I’d gen­tly in­quire about the car. A few months ago, he told me his health was fail­ing and he was con­sid­er­ing sell­ing me the car. It took him a few weeks to be­come ac­cus­tomed to the idea, but he fi­nally told me, “We have a deal.”

Since Ken knew both the orig­i­nal owner and the sec­ond owner, I told him that by sell­ing the car to me, I would also in­tro­duce him to the car’s fifth and sixth own­ers, my son-in-law and grand­son. He thought that was pretty cool. On the day I took de­liv­ery, my grand­son, Nathan, ac­com­pa­nied me and my neigh­bor. Nathan is shown steer­ing the car as we pushed it out of the garage for the first time in 41 years. Af­ter we had the car loaded onto the trailer, Nathan told Mr. Pen­ley, “This car will never be sold out of this fam­ily.” Yes, Nathan is an old-car fan.

Mr. Pen­ley was 14 years old in 1956 when the orig­i­nal owner sold the car. He loved the car, but buy­ing it was out of the ques­tion for him. He met the sec­ond owner and told him that he hoped to buy the car from him one day. By 1970, Mr. Pen­ley had fin­ished school and his mil­i­tary ser­vice. He heard the car was fi­nally up for sale, for $1,000. He ob­tained the funds and went to make the pur­chase. He was told that famed NASCAR chas­sis builder Banjo Matthews was try­ing to ne­go­ti­ate a lower sell­ing price ($700). Mr. Pen­ley gladly paid the seller’s $1,000 price.

The orig­i­nal owner swapped the grille and hood out in fa­vor of ’34 ver­sions. The sec­ond owner al­lowed the orig­i­nal en­gine to freeze and cracked the block. So the orig­i­nal en­gine had al­ready been re­placed with a ’48 flat­head by the time Mr. Pen­ley pur­chased the car. It’s un­clear who had the car con­verted to hy­draulic brakes (’40 Ford), but the job was done with­out butcher­ing the fram­erails. Mr. Pen­ley said that all of the car’s own­ers have loved and cared for it, and that it was al­ways garage-kept, since new. I vowed to con­tinue that tra­di­tion. Mr. Pen­ley said he had only one re­quest for the car’s fu­ture: Don’t chop the top! I told him noth­ing could be fur­ther from my mind.

My plans are to do me­chan­i­cal re­pairs, up­date the elec­tri­cal sys­tem to 12 volts, up­date the light­ing to make it brighter, add turn sig­nals, and lower the nose with a dropped axle and re­versed-eye spring. I pic­ture the car with wheels that match my five-win­dow pro­ject, which has mag­ne­sium big win­dow Hal­i­brands on the rear and kid­ney bean ver­sions on the front.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.