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Unmotivated 1937 Ford 2 Door Sedan

front right

The 1937 is one of my favorite Fords. It is the first time for fared into the fender teardrop headlights. This Ford, listed on eBay in Papillion, Nebraska has been sitting for 25 years and is ready for a new life. It’s very original and complete, except for the engine. It appears rust free. It is rare to find an old Ford like this that wasn’t modified long ago. Bidding is just over $4,000 but the reserve has not been met and there are 4 days to go.

front seat

The seats look almost useable, but the door panels are gone. The floors look solid though.


The dash and instruments are complete and original. What a great looking steering wheel!


The trim seems to be all there. What appears to be primer might actually be oxidized paint.


It would be nice to see this survive in some original form, but it’s probably going to be a resto rod or hot rod of some sort. It would be fun with a modern engine and suspension. What do you think this will sell for? What would you do with it? I look forward to seeing your comments.


  1. JW454

    I’d like to see this one with a good 85 HP. flat head, 40 Ford juice brakes for safety, and a smooth maroon or dark green paint job. Top it off with a complete tan mohair interior and it would be ready for a Sunday cruise. Nice car.

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  2. jim s

    these were were also used for dirt track racing. i hope this one is put back on the road. great find

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  3. grant

    Well, what JW454 said, except midnight blue with a nice custom pinstripe. A modern power train would be a travesty.

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    • Alan (Michigan)

      Dark tint paint, no matter the color, and certainly a flat-head for power. Awesome. Cruising slowly can be ultra-cool.

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  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    This is a restoration project if I ever saw one. If it’s running the 21 stud motor, fine. If it’s been upgraded to a 24 stud, that’s OK too, although I’m rather partial to what it came with. I understand why so many people want to upgrade to juice brakes. However, the old mechanical ones work quite well when they’re adjusted properly. A good flat (and preferably empty) parking lot is always a good place to adjust mechanical brakes. One advantage of mechanical brakes is that, should you break an axle (which happens on old Fords), with juice brakes, your entire system just failed; time to toss out that anchor. With mechanical brakes, you’ve still got a couple of wheels to slow you down. A good friend of mine was cruising south of Kalispell, MT, when that happened. He was going to convert his car to juice brakes when he got home. After that little emergency he kept the cables, and always keeps them perfectly adjusted.

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    • Mark S

      Hi Geomechs correct me if I’m wrong as I only have my dodge as a reference. Here’s how I see it I assume most people want hydronic brakes thinking that they are easier to maintain, however they too need to be monitored as they are also manual adjust brakes, so if the cable brakes work just as well and all that they need is to be manually adjusted then in a car of this age I would see no advantage to changing to juice brakes as you call them. Am I correct in this assessment. As for the car emerald green with black fenders would be my choice. I would also stick to a tan interior but in leather just because I like it more. I also agree that this car should have a flatty under the hood.

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      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi Mark. The earliest car I ever saw self-adjusting brakes was on my friend’s ’41 Cadillac Fleetwood limousine. Interesting enough, many of the parts were passed on to Olds and Buick with Pontiac still using them in ’57. Until the ’50s the vast majority of cars required brake adjustment(s), usually in the form of positioning the shoes properly away from the drums. The E-brake cable adjustment was also required. If you had mechanical brakes you not only had to position the shoes but you had to adjust cables/rods so that all corners pulled the same load. That took a lot of extra time and you still might get a tug to one side, Juice brakes, for the most part, eliminated the need to be constantly under the car with wrenches and a can of penetrating oil. It was a pain in the butt. I would have to say that the most significant change to brakes was the dual system which ensured that you had at least one end of the car you could rely on. With a single system, you blow a line, your brakes are gone; you lose a wheel, your brakes are gone.

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  5. Charles

    Great find! Restore it to original specs.

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  6. Jim Mc

    What a beautiful car! A flatty for sure with the stick that’s there.
    And to reply to geomechs, the brakes are the one thing I would upgrade. Sorry. Would love to have discs all the way around. I’ve driven enough old cars to seriously appreciate modern brakes.

    I once had a ’65 Electra 225 two-door, 401, fender skirts, power everything, the whole bit. Bought her for something ridiculous like $180 I think, I can’t even remember. It was the very early 80s, nobody wanted a 8-10 mpg car. The brakes were gone, I knew that when I bought her. Brought along a couple cans of brake fluid when I handed over the dosh for the title. The leak was at the right rear wheel cylinder. Filled the master, started her up, had the seller pump the brake pedal (power, of course) and when it started leaking I crimped the line closed tight with a pair of vise-grips and duct-taped the handles of them to the frame. Drove like that for a couple weeks till I finally ran new lines all around. Three-wheel brakes. Funny pull to the left, but power steering and strong arms made it just functional enough.
    Ah, the joys of an mis-spent youth.

    Back to the subject at hand – this is a beautiful old Ford and I hope it stays 90%+ original.

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    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Jim. I don’t blame you at all for wanting to upgrade. Disc systems are good for stopping but like I just mentioned to Mark S, a dual system, whether you run discs or drums, is the safest way to go.

      I like your fix to that leaking cylinder. When I got my ’47 Ford pickup (hard to believe I’ve had that for 49 years next month), I was amazed that it would stop at all; you had to pump the pedal like mad to get it to slow down. I saw a buildup of grease on both rear drums so I ran it into the shop and took the back end apart. There was a chunk of rubber missing out of the cylinder cup on the right side. To fix that the former (original) owner removed the line, stuck in a nail then reinstalled the line. The left rear drum was worn completely through, the ribs just flopped around loosely, making a helluva racket. I fixed them the best I could with a used drum and rebuilt shoes and seals, which ate up all of my take-home pay from setting pins at the local bowling alley and sweeping out the annexes at one of the local grain elevators. I actually had them working quite well. I later fully rebuilt the brake system and it served me well for 30K miles before I took it off the road for a full restoration. Joys of mis-spent youth. I continually wonder how the devil we survived…

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  7. mike young

    Right on guys….. Keep the overrated 350’s where they belong. Not in a nice old Ford!

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    • Charles

      Nothing wrong with a 350. Drop a 350 with a Tremic 6 speed in an 80’s Camaro and have a blast! This car looks too complete to modify. I can appreciate good brakes though.

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      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi Charles. I agree with you; drop a 350 in something that looks like a 350 belongs in. I was on a flathead page on another site and saw a couple of Camaros sporting dressed up flathead V8s. Retribution for all those SBCs replacing the early flatties maybe? Oh, the humanity!!!!

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  8. scott

    I see in the ebay questions/comments that someone offered $6500 and was turned down. When you add the resto costs to whatever this owner thinks he should get, isn’t the buyer so upside down as to make the project untenable? Asking for a friend…

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  9. Danny

    Jim Mc wrote
    “The leak was at the right rear wheel cylinder. Filled the master, started her up, had the seller pump the brake pedal (power, of course) and when it started leaking I crimped the line closed tight with a pair of vise-grips and duct-taped the handles of them to the frame. Drove like that for a couple weeks till I finally ran new lines all around. Three-wheel brakes. Funny pull to the left, but power steering and strong arms made it just functional enough.”

    And we have to share the roads with idiots like this. If I was stupid enough to do something like that, I’d be too ashamed to admit it.

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    • Rando

      Somewhere in the past, many of us have done something similar, just to get a project working for the moment.I thought it was an interesting tale, I got a chuckle out of it. Would doi everything in my power to NOT have to do this today, but would if I had to. Of all the cars on the road today, there are probably way worse things going on around you all the time. To call someone an idiot is just out of bounds, in my opinion.

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      • Alan (Michigan )

        +1, Rando.
        In the 70’s, a brake line failed on my 1965 Chevelle wagon. That was in a parking lot, late in the evening. Lightly tapped the Firebird ahead, as the single master system went completely inoperable.
        Made it home using only the parking brake to come to a full stop, by slowing the car via downshifting the I-6’s 3 speed (column selector). Double clutch needed for the non-synchromesh first gear, doncha know.
        Oh, and I was on a double date, it was snowing, and I was 40 miles from home. Dropped the other three off individually, and got to the family’s home on a suburban cul-de-sac without incident. I sighed a “made it” 15 seconds too soon. Coasted past the front of the house when my foot found the brake pedal for the first time in several hours! Oops.
        Repaired that car right where it sat, before driving it again.

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      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi guys. I think most of us are guilty of doing stuff to keep our cars on the road, especially in an emergency. My sister ruined a wiper blade while driving through a blizzard. She took out some wire zip ties and lashed a bright red mitten to the ailing wiper; it kept the windshield clear enough to drive home…

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    • Jim Mc

      Gee, you sound nice. It must be a charmed life in your glass house there.

      I was 18 or so at the time. But I was very careful while I drove, and really never had it above 35 or 40. I got it fixed c.10 days later which was as soon as I could, and she was a great highway cruiser after that.

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  10. Wayne

    Rando, if that resulted in your wife and children being wiped out, would you still think that calling him an idiot, would be out of bounds?

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    • Alan (Michigan )

      IMO, those who are forced by circumstance to drive somewhat compromised cars are more likely to be hyper-cautious on the road.
      I’D trust them more than today’s average distracted driver by a large margin.
      Your “if” scenario amounts to Chicken Little hyperbole.

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  11. Roy Crader

    You guys will probably say i am nuts, but, I feel the complete restore is outta site for the average enthus. I believe the fun to be had with this sweetheart is to drop a nice small engine in it with auto and all the comfort of mordern A/C, Heat , lights, and sound proofing.

    a paint job that would really turn heads, and let this little lady carry me all over the place , using it as a user for my regular day. After saying all that and know that if i had a full restore in it i would never take it further than the shows. So , keep it simple and actually have some fun with this one!

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  12. Rocco

    I hope I don’t get called an “idiot” for this question, but why is there a wiper on the pass. side, and not the driver? I’ve seen it the other way but this doesn’t make sense.
    Someone must know the answer.

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  13. charlie Member

    Had a ’56 Chevy for 14 years, lost the brakes twice, drove to the shop each time, a few miles of suburban streets, downshifting and using the parking brake, and by driving cautiously, and at low speeds (like less than 25 mph) did just fine. Much more scary was losing both the service AND the parking brakes driving through lots of water during a hurricane. So much water in a basically low lying area that you couldn’t drag the brakes to dry them out until we got up out of the marsh land. The “foreign car” version of the parking brake worked well, as did the pistol handle of my ’56 Chevy, the left foot operated brake on my Camaro worked well if you knew enough to hold the brake release with your left hand, but I see no way to modulate the electric control on my new Audi. It is ON or OFF. Or the electric release on my ’93 Caddy for that matter.

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  14. Alan (Michigan )

    The electrically operated brakes on some newer cars have apparently been engineered to be for parking.
    From my experience, activating them while moving will not produce lockup, but they will gradually bring the car to a stop.
    I personally prefer the mechanical system. I want to decide on the level of activation, not depend on some pre-determined rate of deceleration capability.

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  15. Charles

    Many years ago we lost the master cylinder on our E-350 van decending the grade from Newfound Gap to Cherokee NC in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We were towing a 32 foot Holiday Rambler travel trailer. I slowed to 25 MPH, dropped the transmission into second gear to hold our speed on the 7-10% grades. Used the emergency brakes on the rear axle and the electric brakes on the trailer to stop when needed, but otherwise engine back pressure kept our speed in check. Arrived at the bottom of the mountain without problems. Setup the camper at the KOA. Called a wrecker and had the van towed to a shop and repaired. Piece of cake! The kids spent the next day swimming in the pool and trout fishing in the creek. By evening we had our repaired van back. The next day we towed the trailer a few miles, and three of the electric brakes failed. The magnets shorted out. A local RV service center rebuilt all four brakes in a few hours and we were on our way. What does this story have to do with this Barn Finding. Not much, but sense we’re talking brakes…

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