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Is There Enough There? 1935 Ford Roadster

While most of the stories we write on Barn Finds have happy endings where a desirable car ends up with another lease on life, this story may be of a car that is just too far gone.  The saddest part is that the former owner was in the process of restoring the car when dementia set in.  The ad for this 1935 Ford roadster for sale on eBay out of Dayton, Ohio alludes to the damage being done by the owner while struggling with this horrible disease.  At this point we are left with the question of whether this is now a parts car or if there is hope for this rare and beautiful Ford.  With bidding at a low $1,075 we may already have our answer.

I think the approach to take here is to look at each picture individually to try to identify what is there and what is missing.  In this photo, the large grey block resting on the steering column looks like an upper cowl for a 1935 Ford, but the dash in no way matches up with the distinctive dash of open cars of that year.  I am not sure what it is off of.  We can also see that the doors are long gone, as is this roadster’s top assembly.  At least the gas tank, front fender, a set of correct wheels, and the steering assembly are still present.

A look at the passenger rear of the car shows what looks to be a frame in very good condition and a rear body that looks very useable.  Another bonus is a desirable folding luggage rack.  There even appears to be a correct transmission under the rear section of the frame and an oil pan under the middle section.  On the flip side, the rear fenders and the spare tire assembly are long gone.  You might be able to find another spare tire assembly, but that rumble seat would be very hard to replace.

A look at the passenger front reveals a useable set of fenders complete with most of the headlight assemblies and the dual horns available only on Deluxe models.  We can also see the upper portion of a seat, but it is upholstered incorrectly for that year.  Also, noticeably absent are the two stanchions that hold the also AWOL chrome windshield frame.  These are occasionally reproduced but are frightfully expensive.  Add to the list of missing items the upper and lower hoods for both sides, splash pans, a radiator, radiator support rods, and the extremely expensive chromed grille.

The above picture gives us a better shot at the incorrect dash.  Luckily, we can also catch a glimpse of the engine laying in front of the car.  The engine looks like a Ford flathead, but something about the heads just looks a little funny.  To me it looks a bit like a Cadillac flathead V-8, but I may be seeing things and would welcome a second opinion.  The lack of a specific photo for the engine makes me wonder if this engine is for something else or is not included in the sale.

Seen as a whole, I think if you were a talented hot rodder you might be able to turn this car into something.  The missing rumble seat assembly and both doors would be the most insurmountable obstacles.  It breaks my heart to say this, but I think the best use of this car would be as a parts donor.

Do you think this roadster has any chance at a new life?  If so, why?


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Frame and suspension gear are the only usable parts I can see. If I had a garage full of early Ford parts to put on the frame I’d buy this to build a street rod or to put a complete body on for a restoration.

    Like 2
  2. Bill Bell

    I think you’ll find this car is actually a CABRIOLET and what is there is definitely worth saving. There were 3 times as many of these built compared to Roadsters which certainly increases one’s chance of finding parts,considering a lot of the missing stuff crosses over to ’36 as well. Let’s save the ‘real’ cars…!!

    Like 3
  3. Rick

    That engine in the background looks to be a Ford flathead. It has its exhaust manifolds on the outside of the block. On the Cadillac they were located on the inside adjacent to the intake.

    Like 0

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