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Classic Used Oil Generators: 1937 Ford Coupe
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By Vern Parker

Despite what the author Thomas Wolfe wrote about not going home again, Dick Shafer proved him wrong.

Back in 1954 Shafer was about to enter high school in Richmond, Virginia when hefound an irresistible 1937 Ford Standard five-window coupe.

When new, 17 years earlier, the sleek Ford sold for $586. The teenage Shafer thought he got a bargain at only $320.

Shafer proudly drove that no frills Ford all the way through his high school years. He says his only mistake with that car was, "I let it go after high school.”

The car may have been gone but it was not forgotten.

There were extensive stylistic alterations between the 1936 Fords and the 1937 models including teardrop headlights in the fenders as well as all steel body construction prompted by the General Motors "Turret Top” feature introduced in1836.

The two-piece windshield still is functional and can be cranked open at the bottom to allow fresh air into the cabin.

On the cowl, forward of the windshield, is a ventilator which can be pushed open to direct cooling air onto the ankles of the cabin occupants.

Unlike earlier Fords this one has an engine hood hinged at the rear which can be opened by twisting the aerodynamic hood ornament to the side and then lifting the engine hood.

Once opened, the 221-cubic-inch flathead V-8 engine is exposed. It is crowned by an oil bath air cleaner. The engine has an output of a mighty 85 horsepower.

There were 46,481 V-8 engines manufactured that year by Ford. The low-endcoupes like Shafer's weighed 2,496 pounds and rode on a 112-inch wheelbase.

The 1937 Ford was one of the first efforts by Ford, or any other automobile manufacturer, in Detroit to address streamlining.

The design of the 1937 Ford proved to be eye-pleasing as well as practical. A recurring overheating problem in the past was eliminated by relocating the waterpump.

Of the 18 various models that Ford offered in 1937 the stylish standard five-window coupe was at the bottom rung of the economic ladder which goes to showthat attractive styling doesn't have to be expensive.

Shafer first saw his second 1937 Ford at a car event in Hershey,Pennsylvania. It was just like his high school car. He purchased the Ford in October 1980 and had it delivered to his Great Falls, Virginia home.

As soon as I saw it,” he says, "It's got to be me.”

Climbing in behind the three-spoke steering wheel Shafer felt right at home looking at the 100 mile per hour speedometer.

Because this Ford is the low end Standard version there are no armrests and only a single windshield wiper and one tail light.

Shafer has rectified the one taillight situation in the interest of safety. Besides, he says, the two taillights look better.

A new Stromberg carburetor helps the car cruise nicely and a complete new brakesystem makes for stopping without white knuckles.

By April 2013 Shafer had moved to Great Falls, Maryland and has his 1937 Ford in the driveable condition in which he was comfortable.

Since then, he says, "I use it to go to car shows.”

Reliving old memories comes along whenever Shafer takes his old Ford out for exercise.

Such experiences could be construed as going home again.



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