1937 Ford: The car gets more attention

The Flathead Reliability Run is coming up next week so I need to give the ’37 Ford Cabriolet some more love.

1937 Ford Cabriolet blinker

My friend Mark gave me this vintage Auto Signal brand turn signal assembly. It was proudly made in Chicago about sixty years ago. I cleaned it and painted it with Hammer finish but even thought I doused it with paint it still would not “hammer”. However, I like the brown finish so I will live with the end result.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet blinker tape

Once I figured out the wiring I wrapped the wires in Friction Tape from hardware store. Unlike electrical tape it has a matte finish so it looks very old timey. The black rubber wheel in the unit goes against the steering wheel and it cancels the blinker after the turn. Very cool.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet blinker clamp

The blinker assembly is held to the column with a hose clamp. I covered the clamp with black shrink tubing so it would not stick out visually and it protects the column from scratches. I did have to add a separate ground lead because of this.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet blinker finished

After assembly it looks like new.

 

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet blinker installed

Here we are. The color works well with the other colors in the car. The cancelling function works great and the car is safer to boot. Now I don’t have tog o down the road with left blinker on for miles like an old guy!

Hollywood Hub Caps…or, do these caps make me look fat??

It is amazing what a difference wheels and tires can do on a vehicle.

1937 Ford Cabriolet with stock caps

This 1937 Ford Cabriolet was found with black wall tires and cheesy (technical term, really!) reproduction 1937 one piece hub caps. The original caps were actually a two piece cap.

They should be called wheel covers as the hub cap is really just the little cap covering the bearing in the center. But we will go with the popular description.

1937 Ford Cabriolet with 1939 caps

OK, moving along…Here is 2.0: These are 1939 caps and trim rings. They look great and the ripple design adds to the art deco look on this car.

 

16 inch Hollywood hubcaps

I found these on that auction site. These are rare 16 inch “Hollywoods” one bar caps and it looks like they have never been installed. They do have some shelf rash but I can live with it for now and it actually adds to the authenticity. They don’t reproduce 16 inch Hollywoods so I am thrilled to get my hand on these.

1937 Ford Cabriolet with Hollywood caps up close

3.0: Up close and personal…I like!

1937 Ford Cabriolet with Hollywood caps rear

It changes the whole look and feel of the car. I really like it.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet with Hollywood caps front

It went from grandpa’s stocker to cool custom in three minutes flat. I am thinking a tasteful lowering job and maybe a spot light would really add to the looks. Some other project is due first but we will continue to work on this. In the mean time, I will drive the wheels off it!

Now get in the shop and build something!

Project ’37 Ford Cabriolet, exhaust

Project 1937 Ford Cabriolet came with a stock single exhaust and it was hitting the frame so I had to remove it anyway. I decided to start from scratch.

1937 Ford Cabriolet exhaust flanges

These are the old pipes, they look a bit tired.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet  exhaust flange new

I kept the flange and went to work.

1937 Ford Cabriolet spagetti

Look, a 1937 Ford exhaust. What, you can’t see it?? Well, let me show you.

1937 Ford Cabriolet exhaustThese are the smallest Thrush glass packs I could find.

Thrush had an ad in the sixties that said: Put a Thrush on your pipe and…smoke it! I doubt we can smoke anything with this stock flathead but I am counting on some good flathead sound emanating from the dual pipes.

I could not resist adding for the electric cut-outs. I am sure with these small glass packs I will have a nice rumble out the rear but there might be a time when an uncorked flathead will be music to ones ears. Off road of course. They come with wiring and one switch that opens both simultaneously. Yes, I did test them, they work on 6 volts as well. The switch looks like a modern power window switch so obviously I would have to hide it under the dash.
1937 Ford Cabriolet Exhaust work 3

The angle iron: Your best friend when making exhaust.

1937 Ford Cabriolet Exhaust work

It is great to line up tubes when you are going to weld them together. I tacked everything together first and then did a test fit on the car.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet exhaust cut outs

The exhaust cut-outs are designed for 3 inch exhaust pipes. The dual system I am building is based on 1 1/2 inch pipes so we have to be a little creative.

1937 Ford Cabriolet exhaust set up

The mufflers and exhaust cut outs needed to be compact so I came up with the idea of cutting down the muffler and insert it in the Y-pipe.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet exhaust set up finished

Here is the compact solution, the world famous Super Sonic Muffler Cut-Out Device.

1937 Ford Cabriolet exhaust tip polish

The last 36 inches of the exhaust is stainless so I polished it to chrome finish. Now I don’t have to worry about adding chrome tips.

1937 Ford Cabriolet exhaust paint Once all welded up I coated everything with high temp paint. Yes, I wear a respirator even when painting with spray cans. Most paint spray cans contains nasty stuff. You only have one pair of lungs.

1937 Ford Cabriolet exhaust finished

Here it is. A complete 1937 Ford dual exhaust system.

1937 Ford Cabriolet exhaust insulation

It is tight on the drivers side because of the steering box. I have to dip down below the frame and that makes part of the exhaust close to the master cylinder. I added insulation to the pipe to keep the heat away from the master cylinder.

1937 Ford Cabriolet dual exhaust Here is a side view of the exhaust.

1937 Ford Cabriolet exhaust tip

Well, here we are. All done. A drive around town confirmed a nice mellow note. Also the restored plate is in place and a vintage frame adds the finishing touch.

Ready for the up-coming Ford Meet.

Make your modern battery look vintage

Todays modern dry or gel cell batteries are usually more dependable and powerful than the old style flooded batteries. Also, they are safer without the corrosive acid.

However…BIG PROBLEM…for us who like old cars; They sure don’t look sexy in the engine compartment of a vintage car. It is OK if they are hidden but if they are visible in the engine compartment it just looks wrong. We need to come up with a solution. Working on our Project 1937 Ford Cabriolet we came up with the following:

Battery-in-a-box-solution

1937 Ford Cabriolet Vintage battery fix

Here is my ugly but good 6 Volt battery.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet Vintage battery fix2

Here is a plastic box and top that looks like an old timey battery that I found at the swap meet.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet Vintage battery fix3

Here is the modern ugly battery in the box.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet Vintage battery fix4

Here is the box with the ugly battery hidden by the lid. Looks old-timey to me.

Problem solved.

I may add some faux lead connectors on top of the box if I have time, we’ll see…

Vintage Brochures: 1937 Ford Cars

I enjoy reading the original sales brochures for vintage cars and motorcycles, especially for the cars that I own. It is fun to see how there were marketed back then.

1937 Ford Cabriolet brochure cover.jpeg

I got this one from that auction site and it arrived in a soft envelope stamped “Do Not Bend”.
So what does my fine post office professional do? Yup, you guessed it: They bend it.

I managed to “unbend” the brochure and all is good. However,  the astute eBay peddler stated in his description that “they could be a reproduction but could also be original” Yeah, right! Looks like it was printed yesterday, it looks BRAND NEW, smells BRAND NEW, it probably IS brand new. It absolutely does NOT look like a document printed 74 (SEVENTYFOUR!) years ago. There is a huge difference. I think it is an insult but I pretty much knew what I was getting based on the above “keep-my-ass-covered-description” but I wanted a nice copy basically for the content. So…moving on.

1937 Ford Cabriolet brochure

Because of our Project 1937 Ford Cabriolet I had to immediately flip to the Cabriolet page! …and look at that: I learned something right away:

Can you see what it is? Well, Ford calls it a “Cabriolet Convertible”, not just one or the other. So I guess that would not be a double negative? Or in this case double positive!

New for the year was “Modern appearance, new streamline design”

1937 Ford Cabriolet lid type hood

Another new feature was the lid style hood for easy servicing and under hood mounted battery also made life easier for the Ford mechanic.

1937 Ford Cabriolet brochure flathead v8

Ford also bragged about a modern compact V-type engine, and “Center-Poise Ride increased by smoother action of long tapering springs” and a new worm and roller steering gear with 18.2 :1 ratio that makes the 1937 Ford easier to handle. Man, I feel like I am in heaven already.

Further features includes “Chromium Plated radiator grille and rustless steel running board mouldings and Genuine Leather seats”

How can anyone go wrong? Trade in your old 1932 Ford and pick one up today! Oh, that’s right, I just did.

Well, I will be cruising in style firmly planted on the Genuine Leather seating, barely feeling the road thanks to Center-Poise Ride springs while the Chromium plated radiator grille points the way!

Now that’s STYLING!

1937 Ford Cabriolet – walls of white

1937 Ford Cabriolet White Walls

The rims were treated to powder coating in gloss black and then the new look-like-bias-ply radials were installed. Looks great.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet V8 wheel cover

The stock reproduction caps were in perfect condition but they are rather boring. I found these on that auction site. They are old stock and after some polishing they look very nice. I added gloss black to the V8 logo that matches the rim color. I am not sure if they were a Ford or Mercury item or possible an aftermarket. If you know, let me know.

1937 Ford Cabriolet white wall tire

Of course I can’t want to see the caps on the rims so by laying on the floor we can get a sense of what we are looking at.

1937 Ford Cabriolet in the air

With five blades removed from the rear spring I think I got the rear sitting right. It centers the tire in the wheel well. I think the front need to come down a smidge.

1937 Ford Cabriolet white wall centered

Like that!

1937 Ford Cabriolet exhaust

Since I got the car up in the air it’s time to attend to the exhaust system. A stock single exhaust is no way to treat a flathead engine. The plan is for an all new dual exhaust with remote electric openers. It may be fun to make a little noise from time to time. The short glass packs should ensure a nice rumble from said flathead when going through the 1939 syncromesh transmission during cruising…and cruise we will !

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet stainless pipes

Instead of adding chrome extensions to the rear of an exhaust i opted for 1 1/2 inch stainless pipes for the last bit of the exhaust. As you can see I had to test polish and it will look good when done.

I have another hot rod to work on so…more later…

Let’s continue on Project ’37 Ford

As spring is fast approaching the pressure is on to get the Cabriolet ready.

Whitewall, dual exhaust, side mirror, full service and other small things will make this a nice cruiser. So let’s get started:
1937 Ford Goddies

Santa came early…or late…depending on if you are a glass half full or half empty kinda person. As much as I like things with a little patina and some history I also have a soft spot for nice new chromie thingies!! Outside mirrors, glove box, radiator cap, tank lid, battery holder downer (technichal term) and more.

1937 Ford Cabriolet Torpedo with mirrors

Mirrors installed. The enclosed hinge pin did not fit these hinges so I just made a pin. With the small back window in the convertible top the mirrors will be a welcome addition. The glass in these reproduction mirrors are not wide angle so they are still limited in what you can see. We will see how well they work once on the road. BTW: Check out that super cool torpedo hood!! This baby is sporting some LINES !!

1937 Ford Cabriolet Whitewalls.jpg

Man, Santa came again. He is a busy man…in the middle of April. Probably bored…

This time he brought snow white colored white wall tyres. How nice! As much as a car like this is predictable with white walls I still think they will be the cat’s pajamas on this maroon cabriolet. I plan to powder coat the wheels black and add a nicer Mercury style cap. I will keep the trim rings as well. Reliable sources tells me that more chrome and shiny stuff makes the car run better, faster and smoother. Honest!

1937 Ford Cabriolet tank lid

 The lockable filler cap is a nice option but what an ugly contraption, eh?
I opted for a smooth new one.

1937 Ford Cabriolet new tank lid
Mo betta! Strange reflection, though!

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet glove box

 There would not be a place to put my gloves unless there is a glove box.
I got this snazzy reproduction part but I realized quickly why the restorer/builder did omit it. They worked really hard on making the car look original. The original car did not have a voltage regulator but the more contemporary ABA flathead came with a generator that uses the more reliable but separate voltage regular. By now you have figured out where they hid said voltage regulator. Yup, where the glove box goes.

I have to move the regulator, maybe even to the engine compartment as it is not a big deal to me if the car looks totally stock. I do however like a place to put my gloves!

 Mo later…

Let’s detail the 1937 Ford

The last weekend offered temperatures in excess of seventy degrees, something that is unheard of in Late March in this part of the country. Needless to say it would be a felony to leave an open car in the garage under such circumstances…not to mention the fact that the open car in question is a super cool flathead powered 1937 Ford Cabriolet!

Anyway, the car got some miles on it and the only problem I encountered was to wipe that stupid grin off my face but the weekend is over and it is time to look over this beauty. I need to detail it, do a service and check general tune of the car so it’s ready for action this summer season.

1937 Ford Cabriolet art deco nose

How can you NOT like this Art Deco style?

1937 Ford Cabriolet clean rear

Daum…this thing is clean in every corner. I am not a big fan of blue dots but they will stay for now.

1937 Ford Cabriolet headlight

Love this! OK, I am getting a little too excited now. Let’s get back to work.

I am sure you have seen those ads for some snake oil miracle paint rejuvenator or some other auto detail product: They usually have a slightly faded but super straight rust free 1967 Camaro Z-28 or a 1970 Hemi Charger they just found in a barn and all it need is a detail. Yeah right??
If and when
I find a Hemi Charger in a barn it would be rusted up to the door handles, the engine replaced with a stuck slant six and the interior would have been eaten alive by various animals who made it their home (and toilet!)  Sure, that will BUFF out !

Anyway, THIS car is actually like that snake oil car. It just need a proper detail and it should really make for a nice 1937 Cabriolet. The reason for this is of course the fact that it was completely restored and not driven much since then. That kinda helps!!
1937 Ford Cabriolet up in the air

Well, let’s get this thing jacked up…so to speak. After removing the rolling stock I get a chance to see the suspension properly and I can only confirm that everything seems to be in great shape.

1937 Ford Cabriolet clean suspension

The wheel wells also looks very nice and clean. All brackets have been cad plated and all rubber seems fresh. I can’t complain.The fenders have a rubberized coating under them to protect them from “tned”. That is “dent” backwards. That is what you get when a rock leaves the tire at high speed and makes a dent from the inside. Dent but backwords = tned. Now you know…

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet brakes

After removing the drums I discovered new brake shoes and hydraulics so there was nothing for me to other check adjustment. My work is done here.
1937 Ford Cabriolet banjo wheel

When did you last time polished between the spokes??
1937 Ford Cabriolet license plate

A swap meet visit yielded this vintage license frame for $15.00. It will help dress up the restored 1937 WA plate. I think I need to make a backing plate for this as well since it sits on top of the post with the backside exposed.

1937 Ford Cabriolet tires

I plan to add wide white walls to this car but the tire I want is on back order so I have to roll on these black walls for now. That will not be a problem as the Pirelli piecrust tires are in great shape. Kinda cool, actually…

More later…

 

Vintage Vehicle License Plates

Just like most things even license plates were nicer in the “old days” Plates were replaced every year and it keep the prison population busy with work. Just like cars back then each year offered a different look or color.

1930WAplate

In these days of globalization and standardization even license plates are becoming a boring commodity with every year looking the same. Luckily for us vintage car and motorcycle enthusiasts Washington state has a YOM (Year of Manufacture) program that allows you to register your collector car for life with a YOM plate. You only need one plate and that itself is a blessing as many vintage cars looks their best without a distracting plate in the nose. Also, sometimes you can only find one plate.

HOT ROD PLATE

The first job is to locate a plate of the same year as your car. Your car needs to have a current registration in order to apply the YOM plate. If you don’t have your car currently registered all you have to do is pay for one year of registration. You will also pay a one time fee for the YOM plate addition. It is usually the same fee as a vanity plate. Once registered with the YOM plate you never have to pay for plates or license again. You are somewhat restricted as to how much you can drive the car as this program is not designed for daily drivers.  You can use the vehicle for pleasure driving, to and from car shows and test drives etc. It is not a good idea to abuse this as politicians are always keen on looking for new ways to milk our automobile fleet in order to fund new pet project.

OLD PLATE

I look forward to install this beauty on our Project 1937 Ford:

plate

BTW: “C” stands for Spokane County. Not only will collector plates save you money in the long run, the plate itself makes your vintage vehicle look…you know…vintage.

1937 Ford Cabriolet

After I installed the fenders on my ’32 Ford I felt I had done all I could do…so to speak.
The car was good looking car but I did not love it. I also like comfort and the ’32 with it’s short wheel base was not comfortable for me. Since I did not build it from scratch I knew I would have to some day blow it apart and build it back up with a stick shift, better suspension etc…

I also would like an open car but a ’30-’32 Roadster would just be…kinda boring…to me that is. Sorry roadster guys, hope I did not hurt any feelings!  
It would be great to have a car that can be converted to an enclosed car and have the heater keeping you comfortable. What do they call that? Oh yeah, a convertible!

Well, a friend wanted the ’32 and I can’t be Milner anymore so off it went.

I always liked the art deco styling of the ’37-’38 Fords. I few well placed want ads later and this thing found it’s self in my garage

1937 Ford Cabriolet highres

1937 Ford Cabriolet. It is an older restoration but it has not seen much action since. It is very stock but a 24 stud flathead, ’39 box and juice brakes makes it a driver.

Immediate plans calls for dual exhaust, different color rims with ’39 caps?,lower the rear end and wide whitewalls. A spot light on the drivers side post would be cool too me thinks.

Then I plan to drive the wheels off it.

1937 Ford Cabriolet int high res

Leather interior looks and feels great. All stock dash is hard to improve on. The stock radio is connected to a late model radio via wires.

1937 Ford Cabriolet

The car looks great with the top up as well. Me dig!