Restore or Rat Rod? 1938 Ford Standard Tudor

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This 1938 Ford Tudor gets fairly regular use, but the owner says that he can’t see why it couldn’t be used as a daily driver. It looks to be a solid car and will offer the next owner a world of possible alternatives as a project vehicle. The Ford is located in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding is currently sitting at $2,750, and the reserve hasn’t been met. There is also a BIN option available, and this has been set at $15,000.

One of the first things that you might notice in the first two photos is the fact that the old Ford is wearing two different types of wheels. This is where the next owner faces their first choice. The car can either come fitted with the original 16″ wheels and tires, or the red 15″ rims with the white-wall tires. The choice would be theirs to make. The Ford’s body actually looks pretty good, with no major panel damage. Rust appears to be limited to surface corrosion, and the worst of this is on the running boards. The paint is really showing its age but has developed the right look for anyone who might be viewing this as a potential rat rod project. Still, it looks like not much more than a simple repaint will have the Ford looking its best once again.

The interior of the Ford is going to require a complete restoration, but there’s no reason why the next owner couldn’t throw a blanket over the seat as an interim measure, and use the car as-is. The seat has been repaired at some point, and all of the upholstery will need to be replaced to return the car to its best. The dash appears to be complete and is only in need of some fairly light restoration work. One welcome modern upgrade is the fact that the Ford is now fitted with turning signals. Otherwise, it’s all as it left the factory.

Under the hood would originally have been the 136ci flathead V8 engine, producing 60hp. That unit has been pensioned off in favor of a 239ci V8 of 1948 vintage. This provides the Ford with a very useful boost in performance, as this engine delivers 100hp, which is fed to the rear wheels via a 3-speed manual transmission. The Ford has also been converted to a 12-volt electrical system and is said to run and drive really well. It appears that the car has been well maintained over the years, as the owner says that the old Ford’s steering is incredibly light, and he attributes this to the fact that the front end has been greased on a very regular basis. Given the fact that the original engine is now consigned to the pages of history, the next owner might choose to perform some further upgrades to the engine, transmission, suspension, or brakes, to make the car even more practical, and an even better performer than it already is.

This 1938 Ford Standard Tudor appears to be a solid old car that will offer the next owner a world of possible options as a project car. It would appear that it would be capable of being used on a daily basis with little work, it could serve as the basis for restoration, or it could also form the foundation for a street or rat rod project. It appears that the only restoration work that it will require will be of the cosmetic variety, which could make it a great project to park in your workshop in preparation for the approaching Winter.

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  1. stillrunners

    Nice car- it’ll be a good test of the market.

    Like 2
  2. Fred H

    Another “Pull it out of the hat ” price.

    Like 3
  3. Xpletiv

    Why would you RR anything?!?

    Like 7
    • glen

      Seems like every car that is pre mid 50’s or older that is posted ,the same question arises, “…or rat rod?”. Maybe something less complete could be considered, but nothing this nice.

      Like 9
  4. Mike
  5. bobhess bobhessMember

    Paint, new interior, a right rear taillight to go along with the lever on the column and you’ve got everything you need. The later flat heads moved these cars along just fine so nothing to do there either. Nice old car.

    Like 3
  6. Gaspumpchas

    Some satin rustoleum (poor mans POR-15) on the running boards, Mexican blanket on the seats and many trips for ice cream. Nothing like the sounds of the Purr of the flatmotor. Looks so cool the way it is, maybe resto down the road. Leave it alone, Tyrone!!! Good luck to the new owner!!!

    Like 6
  7. CapNemo

    Just mentioning the idea of rat rodding this should make somebody’s trims undergo a reslap.

    Like 6
  8. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    This car, BBQ ribs and I’m in hillbilly heaven.
    God bless America

    Like 0
  9. bobhess bobhessMember

    Expand on Xpletiv’s comment… Why the drive to suggest rat rod on almost everything built before the ’50s? If you find an old body shell in the desert or wherever, fine. Cutting up a complete car for one is nuts. Street rod, restomod, etc., fine.

    Like 2
  10. canadainmarkseh

    Rat rod hmmm….I think we’ve come up with the perfect word for half assed restoration or the perfect word for I lack the skills, tools, and money to do it right. Rat rods are for dabblers. People don’t realize these pre50’s cars are starting to get scarce. More importantly have they survived this long only to be mutilated. To me it just seems wrong to cut up a car that is essential at this point a piece of history. So when you’ve got your saws all out and yours cutting this car up remember There not making anymore of them. I long for the day when we stop calling rust patina and we stop cutting up complete running car to make these rat rods. Look….! everyone and there dog can do a scabby weld across a fender and then not grind it smooth, where is the demonstration of skill in that. Rat rod another name for mediocrity. Just my not so humble opinion.

    Like 3
    • Gaspumpchas

      Bravo, Canadianmarkseh!!!! I’ve seen some done well and most are downright dangerous. I have fought rust all of my life and would be hard pressed to glorify it.

      Like 0
  11. TimM

    I would redo the interior to make it a more comfortable ride and drive it as it is!! The flathead is perfect with enough horsepower to move it along nicely!! The paint is still in good enough condition to buff the car and put a coat of wax on it!! I would address the running boards cause there’s just to much rust on them and it takes away from the rest of the car!! I don’t clear coat over rust and call it patina!! This car does have most of its original paint and for a car this old it looks good to me!! My opinion of coarse but a full paint job and it wouldn’t be something I’d want to park in a parking lot or on the street!!

    Like 3
  12. canadainmarkseh

    Of course you know that if your going to clear coat your going to have to at least wet sand it to get the clear coat to stick. With paint this old and thin you’ll blow right through the top coat and you still won’t be addressing the rust. ( it has no problem living under the paint and it will continue to eat this car apart. ) the difference between quality restoration and a rat rod are obvious when parked next to each other one looks professional the other looks amateur.

    Like 1
    • Gaspumpchas

      Good commentary Mark. In addition to looking amateur it will look stupid. Either Primer or paint it or leave it alone, Tyrone. Sweet looking coupe, bet that flatmotor Purrs like a kitten.

      Like 0
  13. Duaney

    Why even say “Rat Rod”?

    Like 0

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