Reader Sighting: Eighty-Sixed 1927 Essex

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From Jason – I came upon this gem while looking at a property for sale in NW Colorado. I have no clue how much longer it will be there once the place sells. I had never heard of Essex until I came across this one. This property and the others around it all have homestead style cabins that have been there 100+ years, so I don’t have much doubt that this car has lived its entire life in that area.

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The body and frame are blanketed in rust, but it appears to be just surface rust.  There wasn’t a rust hole to be found on the entire car (the bullet holes don’t count).  I banged on the panels and frame to find they were still solid! I looked everywhere for the original power plant and transmission but I’m guessing they were removed long long ago.

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Inside the car, the rear fenders, passenger door and some other odds and ends were found. Someone with a bit of ambition and money might just be able to put this thing back together and make some sort of Franken-rod out of it?

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They might want to put new shingles on that roof first though…

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Comments

  1. Jason Houston

    Wow, I love car stories and finds like this!

    As far as some goon making a Frankenrod out of it, how about Mr. Frankenrod go look for a 1998 Toyota station wagon and make a Frankenrod out of that, instead, and leave the good stuff for the responsible car people to deal with? Why must it be destroyed, just because its been sitting there undiscovered for better part of the last century?

  2. Rick

    The Joads and family rode in a similar vintage Essex cut into a truck (in the movie “The Grapes of Wrath”), many believe that vehicle was the inspiration for the George Barris-designed and similarly modified 1922 Olds used by the Clampetts and driven by Jethro in “The Beverly Hillbillies” TV series.

    • francisco

      Where’s beautiful Rose of Sharon?

  3. Jason Houston

    That’s very true. In fact most, if not all, caricatures of old jalopies were based on the Joad’s car.

    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      Some of the early Essex’s had aluminum bodies. Clearly this one is steel judging by the oxides.
      While I understand the man who doesn’t like Frankenrods, I’m restoring one. Glad the car made it this far and to me. Cars are consumable items, it is what makes them rare now.
      The car a 1934 SS1 Tourer that had it anemic original flathead first replaced with a Dodge truck flathead six with a manual transmission and a late 50’s era Hurst shift kit. The transmission made it easy to later refit a DeSoto hemi of sub-300 cubic inches.
      If anybody knows of a correct Standard-era flathead…rossw.lovell@yahoo.com

  4. Mark S Member

    A friend of mine restored a 1928 suicide door Essex coupe, complete with rumble seat and pored babit bearings. He had the complete car to work with and about a half car worth of parts. He is a stickler for detail and a gifted steam engine mechanic. Because these are so rare it took him 15 years to complete the car, that project started 20 years ago. Good luck finding parts for this one

  5. Mark S Member

    A friend of mine restored a 1928 suicide door Essex coupe, complete with rumble seat and poured babit bearings. He had the complete car to work with and about a half car worth of parts. He is a stickler for detail and a gifted steam engine mechanic. Because these are so rare it took him 15 years to complete the car, that project started 20 years ago. Good luck finding parts for this one

  6. Jason Houston

    Congratulations to your friend. That’s the kind of dedication and perseverance I truly admire in someone. An acquaintance of mine is still restoring a 1922 Essex touring car he pulled out of a deep canyon, piece by piece on his back, where it has sat and rusted for 40+ years.

  7. George S

    Is that car in Oak Creek, CO? I swear I’ve seen that car 45 years ago as a kid.

  8. MikeH

    Essex are not that rare, over a million built, or that difficult to find parts–HET Club, Hudson-Essex-Terraplane. Essex is credited with producing the first low priced enclosed car around 1922.

  9. Jason Houston

    If I could find one of these in presentable, serviceable condition, I would drive it as my daily car.

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