52 Years of Storage and 55K Miles: 1935 Ford Sedan Delivery

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Like our primate cousins, we are curious creatures.  We dream about what might be inside when we see something that potentially hides a prize.  Like how people playing “Let’s Make a Deal” with Monty Hall on TV would bet on what was behind a door before even seeing the prize.  Looking in the background of the pictures detailing this 1935 Ford sedan delivery for sale on Facebook Marketplace in Smithsburg, Maryland is sort of a car collector’s version of the once popular game show.  Look at that old garage!  Ever seen a garage like that and wondered what lurked behind the closed door?  This time the prize is a good one.  Can you believe this rare commercial vehicle is emerging from 52 long years of dry storage in that garage?  While the engine is a later replacement Flathead V-8, the truck still retains its mechanical brakes and is very original throughout.  Is the $28,000 asking price a great deal, or should prospective buyers pass on this one?  Thanks to Gunter K. for the tip!

Smithsburg, Maryland, the spot where this Ford was found, is a small town just to the west of Hagerstown.  It was incorporated in 1841 and is one of those small, eastern towns that has seen scores of inhabitants over its many years.  In living their lives, they built homes, raised children, and worked to support their families.  A lot of items accumulate in a town like this over the years.  Some get sold, and some stack up behind closed doors.  Every day on Barn Finds we see some car, truck, or motorcycle emerge from hiding.  Some have been stored so long that people who live in the areas they come from are amazed at what was behind the garage door at the old house down the block.  It is this constant cycle that keeps Barn Finds in business and all of us entertained.

The story of this 1935 Ford sedan delivery is one of those amazing stories.  This truck sat for an incredible 52 years in dry storage.  To give you some perspective, it likely last saw sunlight in 1972.  In that year, the Watergate scandal erupted, there was a terrorist attack at the Munich Olympics, the space shuttle program got its start, and the Dow Jones closed above 1,000 for the first time in history.  Just two short years later, this truck was started for the last time.  As for when it was last on the road, that is anyone’s guess.  It was last registered sometime in the 1960s.

That last sentence makes you wonder when this vehicle was last used commercially.  Sedan deliveries like this one were almost exclusively used by businesses of all types.  They offered businesses an enclosed and secure place to store items and were quite popular in cities.  Later, they were the darling of hot rod enthusiasts.  Many ended up with high horsepower engines under the hood, wild paint jobs, and murals inset into the panel sides.  Being commercial vehicles, their survival rate was low.  Finding a stock one in good condition is uncommon today.

This particular truck is in remarkable shape.  The question is how much of it is original and how much of it was restored or refurbished.  A look inside reveals some desirable options that are unusual for a standard trim Ford of the era.  It is equipped with a factory radio, a heater, and a very rare clock in the rear-view mirror.  The door panels, seats, paneling in the cargo area, and the floor all look to be in excellent shape.  On the outside, the vehicle appears to be Cordoba Gray, which is a Ford color for 1935 that looks far more like a tan than it does a gray.  The curious thing is that the chrome seems to be sprayed over as well.  Someone has also added a sealed beam headlight conversion.  The single wiper and single horn are the obvious tip-off that this truck was delivered with standard trim.

Under the hood, we see that the original engine has been replaced with a later engine, likely from a 1937 model according to the seller.  1935 was the dividing line between Babbit bearings and insert bearings, with later cars receiving the improvement.  These earlier engines also had water pumps at the front of the heads and were known for overheating issues if abused and/or not properly maintained.  It would not be uncommon for a Ford of this era to have its engine replaced.  This possibly rebuilt (red paint) engine looks to have received a coil conversion of some sort and it has a whole lot more wires visible than a standard 1935 Ford should have. The seller tells us that it is still a 6-volt system despite the changes.

A few decades ago, the seller would have had to deal with a mob at his doorstep to purchase this truck at the asking price.  Original Fords like this one still are heavily desired, but values have fallen in proportion to the interest the market has in Flathead Fords.  Prewar Fords still have quite a following.  There just aren’t that many people looking to fully restore prewar cars anymore.  Perhaps the best bet for the seller is to join The Early Ford V-8 Club or America and advertise it there.  Introducing it to the specific group of folks who would appreciate a vehicle like this is the best bet for finding this hidden gem a home.

Have you ever discovered a neat car hidden for years in your neighborhood?  What was the story behind it?  Please share your stories in the comments.

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  1. HoA HoAMember

    Well, I’ll tell you one thing, it was well hidden or never would have gotten this far. The mind reels at what this could have been. The siren is a novelty item, and it shows no evidence of a paddy wagon, so it had to be a delivery truck for a very small family business, flowers, bread, newspaper, clean, new things. I saw’r an American Pickers episode, where they rummaged through an old family bakery in Joisey, from the 20s, and in a corner, was the original Ford Model T truck used for their deliveries, so they are still around. Love that clock in the mirror, and at one time, this was quite a truck, again, probably one of the biggest expenses for a company, and not much has changed in 100 years. Great find.

    Like 9
    • Lion

      Sorry, HoA but what siren? Do you mean the horn under the left headlight? My ’35 Ford coach had duel chrome horns and a radio but no clock. Those options must have been special ordered to come on a delivery with only one horn and one taillight.

      Like 2
      • Wayne from Oz

        Lion if you can’t see a blue siren, please don’t drive anywhere near my car. If you look at photo #10 in the marketplace ad, you might be able to see a big blue thing on the firewall, that’s a clue.

        Like 0
  2. Troy

    This would be fun to cruise around in

    Like 6
  3. Big C

    Several decades ago $28,000 was around $14,000, so there might have been a crowd. But there’s always the question of why it was last on the road in the 60’s. A very interesting find.

    Like 2
  4. HBC

    Deep clean & wax this sweet ride, do any necessary repairs to the drive train& cruise!

    Like 5
  5. Kenneth Carney

    Get it running, add juice brakes, and
    then put it back to work delivering for
    Door Dash to make the extra scratch
    you’re gonna need to do this truck right. Right after WWII, Ford was offering rebuilt engines to its customers as a way to keep them on
    the road longer til the new Ford’s were
    available. This is a project only for a
    single man though, after all, how do
    you tell your wife or significant other
    that you wanna drop $28K on a car that needs a lot of work? Have that
    problem with my girls.

    Like 8
    • MikeH

      Fortunately, or unfortunately, if I told my wife I wanted to buy an old car that needed a lot of work for $28,000, she would say— if you want it, get it.

      Like 1
      • Jon

        And like my wife would say, ” you snooze you loose “

        Like 0
    • Bub

      This thing wouldn’t do 3 days of Door Dash. That’s why God made Prius. People don’t give a hoot what their food arrives in. They just want it on time.

      Like 2
      • stillrunners stillrunnersMember

        And how many decades has your Prius made ?

        Like 3
  6. jwaltb

    Somehow I get the feeling no one’s making a lot of money delivering for Door Dash. Maybe I’m wrong.

    Like 6
    • Derek

      From over the water; different companies, but the same idea. No, they’re not. I fix their bicycles as part of the day job.

      Like 0

    Barn find or not, I wish they would have spent some time washing and detailing. I would love to have it though.

    Like 1
    • bone

      Look at the last few pictures they posted ; its been cleaned and the missing caps and grille emblem has been installed, as well as brand new tires. Its definitely been repainted, though likely in the same color, and probably the accessories were a later add on, but its a solid and complete work vehicle – Id sure like to know its history , Even by the 1960s I’m sure these were either long scrapped or hot rodded

      Like 1
      • MikeH

        Scrapped, hot rodded–same thing.

        Like 1
    • stillrunners stillrunnersMember

      They did….always look at the ad and not BF – they only have so much space – right Howard ?

      Like 1
  8. chrlsful

    Its fun to be a ‘car guy’ & talk sedan delivery v panel.
    Its fun to travel this country’n no right where Hagerstown is (near Cumberland Gap) even tho a new englander.
    Its fun to come on BF’n see all these great rigs/write-ups, esp the actual barn finds like this! (Must be:)
    A fun evening for me?!?
    Whata great car. Wire wheels, mechanical breaks, 6 volt all gotta stay. I dont even care if the motors not oe. Flathead, ford, that’s it…

    “…share stories…”
    I visit when called out. Boss stays back to wrench/collect the $. They are not great cars but daylies that sat too long for owners to start again when of potential use. Breaks frozen, motors turn (or not), remote gas feeds, ignition & charging issues, missing under-hood parts, etc. I love solving mysteries (Y left there usually surfaces on my few hr to 2 day visits) & getting involved in all the automotive systems (esp since we dont have a tow truck) to run/stop/go to the shop. It is a real kick to get them running w/o bending rods, etc (as I get paid, feel a sense of accomplishment) and they go to my buddie’s garage (he’s a real mechanic) for further return to: grand kid’s commuters, ol man’s grocery getters, etc. Out in the woods, abandoned in fields, sitting exposed ina carport. Rodent houses, even found shed snake skins in some, plant matter growing…

    Like 1
    • Gil Davis Tercenio

      I do believe you are speaking about Cumberland, MARYLAND. Cumberland Gap is where Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee meet.

      Like 0
  9. stillrunners stillrunnersMember

    Yep – most of these got cut up as the war progressed or cut up for storage. That’s what my 1940 was being used for by the widow of the guy that had used it for his business.

    Like 1
  10. Lion

    Wayne from Oz….. Ooops, I did not run through all those photos, how embarrassing. Thanks for the heads up cause I missed a lot of good pics first time around.

    Like 1
    • Wayne from Oz

      All good. A pleasure.

      Like 0

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