Do not pity this old ’35 Ford coupe…even tho it sat forlorn and forgotten in a garage since the mid-‘70’s…it is NOT junk…by any means.
Pat Montoya of Aurora, ColoRODo, ran across this old kustom because of a conversation with friends. You know how those go — “It’s been sitting in this falling-down garage since 1960,” and, “It’s in immaculate shape, rub out the paint and drive it,” and, “It’s an old Barris kustom, gotta be worth a mint!”
Truth be known, it was far from “immaculate shape,” definitely not a Barris kustom and barely ran when uncovered. But Pat recognized it for what it was – a survivor.
The car’s previous owner, Jim Sims, actually bought the car way back in 1957. The old lady he bought it from was told it was going to be restored – un-hunh, sure…!!! Jim and his brother put in a pair of plastic bucket seats, a ’41 Ford front axle, ’48 Ford drum brakes, and a built ‘late model’ 265” SBC. A ’39 Chevy three-speed made power thru the stock 4:11 rear end and then they went drag racing.
After a couple of years of spending money going “fast,” Jim decided to build a ‘show car’. The roof and drip rails were filled, the rear fenders molded on and a pair of ’58 Corvette taillights sunk in. Fifty-nine Chevy quad headlights were added alongside the grille, some Nerfs were bent up and chromed. Since it had a short deck lid, the license plate was frenched in and, in 1962, the car was painted Maroon.
In 1970, the tired 265” gave up the fight and a 307” replaced it…shortly after that the whole car was retired to the dark garage.
Fast forward to 2002. A deal was struck and Pat hauled it home, intent on making it into an everyday driver…but the nostalgia-ness of the car struck him…so he decided to simply update the running gear and keep it looking like it was originally built.
The first thing he installed, being safety minded, was a Super Bell dropped axle with a Posie’s spring on top, then a 4-bar to get rid of the split wishbone. CE discs went on next. Steering was upgraded to a Vega box. The stocker rear end was replaced with a ’78 Granada and a sway bar was added to that.
Under the hood, an Edelbrock Performer manifold/carb was added and a Walker radiator was chosen to handle cooling. A new X-member was installed to accommodate the Gearstar’s 200 4-R tranny and a Swan-type Lokar was attached to it.
With the safer running gear in place, attention was turned to the cabin…the old plastic bucket seats were tossed and a ’46 Ford bench seat installed, upholstered to match the original 1960’s pattern and colors. The headliner was in good shape but new door panels were warranted, also done to match and new gold loop carpet covered the floor. A set of SW “Wings” gauges was installed in the dash and a gold ‘flake three-spoke steering wheel was added.
To accommodate his young son, Pat had moved the spare tire to the outside of the car from behind the seat, then removed the package tray and installed a small jump seat so the whole family could go rod running.
Moving the spare entailed removing the frenched in license plate and hanging it on the rear Nerf…a lettered canvas covers the tire.
In an effort to preserve as much of the original look and body work, the original Maroon paint has not been changed, even tho the 1957 bodywork is now showing signs of age.
Sadly Pat passed away in 2012 and his son is now in charge of the survivor.