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Restore or Rod It? 1937 Ford Tudor Slantback

I’ll admit, I’m more of a purist when it comes to car restorations; I guess it’s the museum archivist gene and history lover in me. But Google “1937 Ford Tudor Sedan” and see what pops up on the Images page. Wow. There are dozens of cool, beautiful hot rods and customs to feast your eyes on. And they all accentuate the flowing lines and that graceful slanted back of these timeless Fords. I’m no restoration guru, but on the surface, this ’37 Slantback seems to have good bones for a restoration. Located in Hanover, Pennsylvania, and for sale here on eBay, this ’37 Ford has generated 27 bids, but the highest bid of $5,800 hadn’t met the seller’s reserve as of this writing.

The seller doesn’t offer a lot of information about the Ford’s background or history and supplies a basic number of photos. About all that is shared is that it doesn’t have any serious rust, the flathead V8 runs, and that it has new brakes. Under the “Will Need The Following To Be Road Worthy” list is “some” wiring, but no details given, the gas tank needs to be cleaned or replaced, a battery, and some of the glass that is delaminating. The seller ends the description by saying, “This is a nice, solid car that would be a nice project to restore or hot rod…We do a lot of restorations and don’t get many cars as solid as this.”  Based on the photos, it looks pretty solid with no major rusting or body issues, but it would’ve been nice to have had photos supplied of the undercarriage. The Ford’s paint, which was a light gray at one time, is shot as are the chrome bumpers. The missing hood pieces are in the back seat area and the original almond-shaped headlights have been replaced. And, ya gotta love that Lincoln Zephyr-inspired sharp “V” grill.

Inside, the Slantback’s interior isn’t perfect by any means, but we have seen far worse in 85-year-old cars. The driver’s door panel is missing but the floors look solid and the steering wheel isn’t cracked. There are a few empty holes in the dash, but overall it looks to be pretty complete.

Ford offered two V8 engines in 1937: a 60 hp or 80 hp. Since this appears to be a Standard, not the De Luxe Tudor Sedan (De Luxe trim offered two windshield wipers, a clock, and walnut woodgraining inside, for example.) I’m guessing this is the 60 hp V8. 86,439 is listed as the odometer reading, but it’s not mentioned if those are the original miles or not. Like most solid survivors of the 1930’s, there’s the big “What would you do to it?” question. Restore to original specs? Hot Rod? Rat Rod? There will be fans of each option, but for me, I just want to see this old Ford Slantback made roadworthy again so the new owner can enjoy it and get the thumbs up it deserves. What would you do with it?


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Have seen a couple of these in street rod form and they really do stand out. The comments about the only folks interested in cars like this are the older generations are true but the real hot rodders don’t seem to have an age limitation. The 30’s Fords were works of art and I think that still excites the newer generations of custom car builders.

    Like 10
  2. Harry Allen

    Resurrection restoration is really the only choice with good bones and majority of the body panels, as I see it. They are only original ONCE but to represent the history of automobiles these mostly solid cars need to be preserved. I have no issue in updating the suspension and braking for safety in mind but to just cut something up because you might think it needs 800 horses is ridiculous.

    Like 12
    • Gaffen Charles

      To me, stylewise, this car needs nothing but a clean up, a nice coat of paint and a comfortable interior. If possible I’d bring the motor back to reliable operating status, modernize the brakes, drivetrain and other functional parts, perhaps some mild hotrodding of the engine and call it a day.
      I would not try to restore it to original or show quality, so paint choice and upholstery fabrics would be whatever I liked at he time. It would just be a ‘mild custom’ that respects the art of a ‘37. (which my Dad had)

      Like 3
  3. Rick

    That’s not the 60 HP engine. If it was it would only have 17 head studs per bank.

    Like 5
  4. David Scully

    The car is a standard model(one wiper, one tail light), but a regular 21-stud motor (not a V860). In my miid-’50s San Diego rodder environment, the ’39 & ’38 Fords were considered the ugly step-sisters of all pre-war offerings and were universally ignored until the mid-’70s when they finally moved into the resto mainstream. This is a fairly well-preserved example, although IMHO, the most butt-ugly of the line and the last Ford with Edsel Ford’s fingerprints in the design elements..

    Like 1
  5. pwtiger

    I would build a Merc flathead and a 3 speed with OD and hit the road…

    Like 3
    • bobhess bobhess Member

      Add a front dropped axle and juice brakes and you’d have what I was referring to above. The Merc we had in our ’32 5 window moved it along quite well thank you.

  6. Morley Francis Brown Member

    Good looking car, with a lot of potential—-BUT I wish It was a half ton truck. Where are they?????????????

  7. Joe Haska

    The comments are always the same, when you show an old Ford from 1929 to 1940. The very first two comments sum up it ,for both sides. Everything will fall into, one opinion or the other ,and thats the end of the coversation. No one is going to change their mind. Restore or Modify . (period)

    Like 2
  8. dogwater

    When I see these old cars it give me a headache, been storing cars for 40 years with today cost to build sometimes it just not worth it you can buy a car for half of what it will take to restore this one

  9. Mike T

    The 80 horsepower V8 had aluminum heads and steel washers under the nuts. I can’t tell if there are washers under the head nuts in the engine picture. If there are no washers then this engine is 60 hp with cast iron heads.

  10. Gary

    Imo the flatback has a much nicer look than the trunk back. Put a Coyote motor in it, paint it dk blue with light blue wire wheels and suspension parts, light blue interior

  11. chrlsful

    these R where the ‘classics’ began (not necessarily this 1 as it has to have some speciality to be desriable). The lines show the era tho. I stop in the very early ’50s (B4 what I call the ‘bulge-mobiles’ enter). Less than 20 yrs but has some european in there too (’30s – late ’70s). What about you? Is a pre-muscle like the great ’64 Grand Prix on today’s list a “classic” for you? I skip the Tri5s and the like for these (Thunderbolt’s nother).

    Like 1
  12. karl

    Wow ,what more can be said …. or did it ????

    Like 2
  13. DON

    My father had a black (like most of them) 37 Tudor slantback with the 60hp motor. He had it just before the war broke out and left it in someone’s garage until he came back from Europe. When he did come back he brought a bride , and this was the car they used for everything, including my fathers job as a traveling electronics salesman ; no company car , he had to use his own ! In 1949 my father , like many others bought the new styled Ford ; the dealership didnt even want the ’37, so he sold it for $50 to a guy that bought it to race at Thompson ,CT. speedway . I’ve always wondered how the 37 made out racing there , needless to say its long gone now !

    Like 3

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