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(   Pics of a 1938 Chevrolet Business Coupe being restored after it was found sitting in a Kansas barn for sixty years   ( divider line
    More: Cool  
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35129 clicks; posted to Main » on 22 Jan 2007 at 1:26 AM (10 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2007-01-22 03:15:02 AM  
have a old care can give you some bad police run ins, i have a 52 mg td, that I have got 2 tickets for due to little things. The first one for having White tail lights, and the second because my radio could be heard out side of the car(it has no roof) Both time was mostly because the cops where pissed because i had old sports car
2007-01-22 03:16:58 AM  
Some cute descriptions. Good find, but the slideshow ended about twenty pictures too early.
2007-01-22 03:19:14 AM  
I have a '48 Chevy Panel Truck back home. My Dad likes to drive it and I have no use for it in the city. What was remarkable to me in the pictures of the '38 being rebuilt is how similar the construction of Sweetie and the Panel truck are. Right down to the panel, dashboard, engine layout, even the silly little problem with the lack of an oil filter.

The Panel was indeed fun to drive. We had to rebuild it after it sat around for about 25 years rotting away. No upholstry left inside, engine and axle had to be replaced, but other than that, still original parts. Including the transmission and paint job (which aside from rusted patches, held up amazingly well) - My ex had a '69 Chevy Malibu in which the paint flaked off and lost its shiny coat in roughly 25 years.

Also interesting was the number of people who honked or waved when they saw us driving the Panel truck around. Not as much nowadays, but there's still a number of people out there who can appreciate old cars. Too bad there's nothing else but being able to drive the Panel that could allow me to justify moving back to NorCal.
2007-01-22 03:30:28 AM  
[image from too old to be available]

B-b-b-b-bad to the bone nanananana!
2007-01-22 03:31:43 AM  
neat. I have one of those sitting in the garage with a shockingly similar history. I have a knack for finding cars time forgot. our 36 chevy was sitting for 40 years and is half done being restored. (i wanted to rod it.)

here's another one I found that sat for 13 years in a garage. This is the night I liberated it.
[image from too old to be available]
and now:
[image from too old to be available]

Long live old cars!
2007-01-22 03:48:27 AM  
[image from too old to be available]
2007-01-22 03:57:38 AM  
Turn signals are optional in Maryland, DC, and Virginia.

They may be installed, but no one ever bloody uses them.

//Much prefer the kamikaze pilots in NJ & NY
2007-01-22 03:58:12 AM  
Wow, that's really cool. My uncle does stuff like this; he recently finished a 1936 Ford coupe that he bought as an old rusted-out shell for $200.
2007-01-22 04:54:47 AM  

Shadow Blasko-

Although the procedure isn't recommended, you 'll find a lot of antique tractor guys doing the same thing.

If it's been in a barn, most will change the oil and work the carb. I've seen it dozens of times, and only once did the old iron not fire right up.

If found in a field, it's a different story- most exhaust stacks pointed upwards, and the "exhaust cover"- a tin can- had long since rotted away.

They were just built better.

2007-01-22 05:50:56 AM  
You wouldn't believe the amount of cars that sit in barns in Kansas.

The people there don't use junk yards. Over the years they just scrap-junk them out in barns or fields of their farms fields that aren't in use.

I have tried for a few years now to get my cousin to sell me the 47 Willy's pick-up or the 48 Chevy sedan he has sitting in his barn
2007-01-22 06:04:28 AM  
GAT_00: For some reason "Red Barchetta" is running through my mind.

/Rush FTW
//Been listening to Moving Pictures almost every day this month, which might explain why that ticked in my head.

I Concur.
2007-01-22 06:09:19 AM  
If you like stories like this, check out The Cobra in the Barn: Great Stories of Automotive Archaeology. I got it from a discount book catalog for like 4 bucks, but I think it's well worth the 17 or so Amazon wants for it if you're into that kind of thing. Another good car-guy restoration-type book is The Gold-Plated Porsche: How I Sank a Small Fortune into a Used Car, and Other Misadventures . While part of the book is actually about a guy restoring an old 911, part of it is just about the guy's past, and about his life in general, and how this old German car happens to fit into it all. It's not a how-to Porsche resto manual, but it's still awfully damned good.

/911s are overpriced.
//I'll just take a 944 Turbo.
///Porsche elitists be damned!
2007-01-22 06:21:44 AM  
Cool. I wish i would find such a sweetie. Some years ago a friend and i restored a 1933 motorcycle (german built Hercules 100cc, 2 gears, gearshift lever attached on the gas tank). Just plain fun!

/Too bad we sold it :-(
2007-01-22 06:36:08 AM  
Ghostalker: I think I get the reason why the right-hand turn signal was optional. When you think about it, you don't really NEED to signal that you're going right, as you're not cutting off any lanes of traffic. You can take a right hand turn as easy as you go straight.

Right hand turn signal is more of a convenience for people in the opposing lane of traffic making a left to see you're going to be in front of them making the turn on the same road, not yielding the right-of-way to them.

I hope that kinda makes sense.

Considering that you worked up that theory based on an inadequate grasp of the facts, no.

It had no turn signals at all, other than the driver making hand signals (do they even teach those anymore?). The right tail-light was an option.

TommyymmoT: A bunch of Febreeze on the headliner also, that's gotta smell pretty musty.

They replaced the headliner. I'm an inattentive dumbass and even I spotted that much.
2007-01-22 07:26:22 AM  
I'd love to do something like this eventually, especially with an El Camino.
2007-01-22 07:47:56 AM  
I wish someone would do this to my wife. :(
2007-01-22 08:07:35 AM  

I wish someone would do this to my wife.

- what, put her in a barn for 60 years?
2007-01-22 08:18:15 AM  
Just a bit of history. The tail lights were not for turn signals. They were brake lights only. I don't recall when right side brake lights became manadtory but turn signals came much later than dual brake lights. The reason was that a single burned out tail light would have a backup. Tail lights were on the left side only in the early days was because cars parked on the right side of the road and you could tell where they were in the dark from the reflection of the cover.
2007-01-22 09:06:08 AM  

I read that book, and then saw the movie, and like to have barfed. Two hours and fifteen minutes of utter tripe.

Then, some decades later, I rent the movie for my son, having forgotten how crappy it is, and experienced the miasma again.


2007-01-22 09:15:02 AM  
6 volt positive ground electricals are teh suck

/so are stovebolt chebbies too, but anyone with a flathead will tell ya that...
2007-01-22 09:19:08 AM  
did it come with the moonshine, or do you have to make it yourself?
2007-01-22 09:26:45 AM  
I know this is not anywhere near as cool as that, but I recently picked up a 1995 Jeep Wrangler in decent shape for $1,500.00. The week I bought it I had three different people offer me up to $4,000.00 for it.

Once my brother-in-law (the most mechanically inclined person I know and a source for auto parts at cost) gets used to living with a newborn, along with one of my friend's husbands are going to strip the thing down and rebuild it. However, this one is just the practice round.

My friend's husband is joining this endeavor because he has a 45 Willy's Jeep sitting in a garage at his grandparent's ranch that will get the deluxe treatment once we finish with mine. Should be a fun summer.
2007-01-22 09:49:58 AM  
I founf the constant references to the car as "Sweetie" really farking annoying
2007-01-22 10:12:33 AM  
Say Sweetie one more time and the kid gets it.
2007-01-22 10:35:08 AM  
[image from too old to be available]

Hey, I love an awesome car as much as the next guy, but calling this car "Sweetie" is a bit much.

/My baby was "Lucille" (Cool Hand Luke reference).
2007-01-22 10:35:45 AM  
It's named Sweetie, we get it.

/Sweetie can drive
//Sweetie made a turn
2007-01-22 10:41:15 AM  
Hey, Ark City is where I grew up! I remember in the '80s a really rare old hand-built car from the 1920s or '30s was found in a building there after an eccentric local guy died. It was, I believe, stowed away in the basement. His widow was able to sell it and pay off a bunch of debt he had left her.

Southern Kansas is crawling with kick-ass "barn find" vehicles. Just last summer I picked up a 1970 Honda 450 motorcycle that had been parked after a fresh oil change in 1979! I drove out to the little BFE town where it was located, rode the thing home (160 miles). I even flipped the odometer over to 10K miles myself!
2007-01-22 10:59:10 AM  
photo 20


any guides here?
2007-01-22 11:06:40 AM  
I wish they would have taken the time to do a complete body-off restoration and a complete engine rebuild. It looks as though they had the resoruces to handle that level of work.

They should have taken the extra steps - but although easy for me to say, that's probably a committment of time and money they didnt' have.
2007-01-22 11:25:22 AM  
bake420: photo 20


any guides here?

Don't install seat belts seems to be #1?
2007-01-22 11:30:57 AM  
Sweet! I wouldn't think many on Fark would appreciate a link like this, and it's good to see that some folks do. Never pulled a car out of a barn and restored it myself, but I've helped put a '71 Cuda and a '69 Chevelle SS396 back together that were in barns. Both still run (and haul ass) to this day.

As for old cars that I know are just sitting around, there seem to be some everywhere you go. There's a guy a couple towns over that has a barnlot and a barn full of 60s/70s muscle, mostly Chrysler stuff, and he won't sell a bit of it. Old Roadrunners, Challengers, Cudas, all rusting into nothing while the old dude sits and...well...looks at them, I guess. I know it's his right, and they're his cars, but dammit...stuff like that deserves better than to rust away in some dude's yard in central Illinois.

Also, in a local junkyard around the way there sits (or sat) a 1955 Chrysler New Yorker ambulance. It wasn't made into an ambulance by some company, either. It was an ambulance off the assembly line, with the red lights molded into the sheetmetal on the top. It's got the old Crossfire Hemi and the (acid-etched) back glass was intact. Rusted to the ground, of course, but probably still worth the cool thousand that ol' boy wanted for it. I didn't bother, as I don't have the time, space or money for a such a project, but it still sits there, as far as I know.

GalleyWench: I love Cars In Barns, although it usually just makes me sad when I see some dude with an original AAR Cuda rusting and falling apart in his driveway or something.

Maxheck: Very nice! When can we expect the "Maxheck Land Yacht Restoration Company"?

Mr. Horse: He's lucky he just bent a pushrod.

And I'm glad I'm not the only one who saw that and said "Aww, man, please don't do that..." I assume he would have been mighty pissed to destroy the original engine.
2007-01-22 11:46:59 AM  
Dumle: Don't install seat belts seems to be #1?

i was referring to a joke about safety first
it means before you go down the river, into the cave, or over the edge, you fire it up ;)

i guess back in the day, it meant before you drove too!!! ;)
2007-01-22 11:53:42 AM  

Thanks for posting that... there goes my day.
2007-01-22 11:56:06 AM  
It will be a nice ride when it's done, but not a "restoration" - he's using modern day parts.
2007-01-22 11:56:06 AM  
HomerToeclipper: I wish they would have taken the time to do a complete body-off restoration and a complete engine rebuild.

I thought about that too, but it is just a '38 Business Coupe. And before the Chevy guys jump all over me about "just a '38 Business Coupe???", this guy doesn't look like a hot-rodder or a concourse-show guy. He looks like a farmer that wants to putt around in a cool old car and maybe go the car show at the local Fall Harvest Festival or whatever. Plus, that level of restoration calls for some long-term car care that maybe ol' boy doesn't want to mess with. This way he can just park it in the garage next to his truck and tinker with it at will. And if some jackass kid in a Neon slams into it trying to re-create "Tokyo Drift", it's not the end of many hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not that a Neon would do a hell of a lot to a 1938 Chevrolet, but I digress.

My point is, this ain't that kinda car, and the owner doesn't seem to be that sorta guy. I know a couple guys like this. One of 'em is in his fifties, got grandchildren, and has a '57 Chevy truck in his garage that he goes out and cruises in and does burnouts with and whatever. It could be a concourse-new show truck, but then it wouldn't be any fun. It'd just sit in a climate-controlled shed under a cover with no fluids in it. Boo. He'd rather be able to go out of an evening and tinker with it in his garage. Have a couple beers, sand a quarter-panel, replace a seal or a gasket, whatever. My guess would be that Sweetie's owner is that sorta guy.
2007-01-22 12:02:07 PM  
Diggin: My complaint is the lack of proper restoration.

Yeah, mine too. Why do I feel jay Leno is cringing while following the picture links?

/I hates field mice.
2007-01-22 12:19:51 PM  
2007-01-22 12:31:27 PM  
is it me or does the guy in "pic 69" look like he belongs on a box of rice krispies?
2007-01-22 12:35:42 PM  

//Much prefer the kamikaze pilots in NJ & NY

Easy for you to say. And I thought getting out of New Jersey would lead me to better drivers. I'm at school in upstate New York, and boy was I wrong.
2007-01-22 01:34:00 PM  
lionfish: here's another one I found that sat for 13 years in a garage.

Unsafe at any speed!
2007-01-22 01:35:40 PM  
Shadow Blasko:

Since you already hate me, you might as well hate me a lot... :) Here are my girls in reverse order:

Miss Craka, the '66 Coupe de Ville:

[image from too old to be available]

She was my daily beater for a few years. I sold her to a collector.

Miss Fleetwood, the who originally belonged to some oil heiress and later to a funeral home, sold to the same collector:

[image from too old to be available]

And my first love, The Witch. I bought her for $200 even before I was legally able to drive, and my birthday and Xmas presents for the next two years were things like brake discs and TRW coilsprings. I pretty much had to rebuild her from scratch (why do you think I got her for $200?) I gave her electronic ignition and fuel pump, a tuned exhaust, replaced her "mallo-matic" suspension with truck coilsprings so she could turn a tight corner, and ended up with the ugliest, nastiest, best camoflaged beast that could outrun any stock product of Detroit. I also put over 400,000 miles on her for work, mostly around the D.C. beltway. She was stolen in 1994, and if ever I meet the person who did that I will take them apart very, very slowly.

This picture was taken right after she was the front car in a 4-car accordion pileup. She was the only one who drove home that night, all I had to do was look in the trunk for a bungee cord to tie the trunk down. That would be the other advantage of old non-uniframe cars.

[image from too old to be available]

Look around... Old Cadillacs are incredibly undervalued cars and available for next to nothing, and they're practically indestructable. Old men with barns are their natural guardians.
2007-01-22 01:40:08 PM  
I'd give him a couple of bucks for the Harley Sportster gas tank he found in the trunk.
2007-01-22 01:53:53 PM  
Wow, looks like fun. Too bad he doesn't have the original invoice; it's always fun to see what was optional on cars back then. My Galaxie's original options include two (deluxe!) seat belts in the front, a clock, and an AM radio. The car had been parked under a partially enclosed shelter ever since my grandfather purchased it, so the paint was almost gone and most of the interior was dry-rotted. He had maintained it mechanically runs great, and looks almost like new after restoration.
2007-01-22 02:13:53 PM  
They're restoring pics of a car? Crazy talk!

/I keed
2007-01-22 02:18:34 PM  
You find good deals once in a while, I just brought home a 1988 Chevy Caprice classic, Old guy bought it new his wife drove it till she got sick and they parked it int he driveway in 2002. 35,000 original miles. Sun was hard on it though. Paint on the roof and hood are completely faded off, dash is cracked up and tops of the door panels are faded.

Brought it home put a battery in it, changed the oil, dumped fresh gas in in it. Cranked over about 10 times and fired up.
Put 4 new tires on it and started driving it around
Body is perfect except for the faded paint and everything works

He also had a 1988 3/4 ton Suburban that had not been plated since 1996. 72,000 miles on it. Body is a bit rough but all it took was a battery, dist cap and rotor, one brake line and tires. I'm keeping it around for a beater since I really don;t like driving my new truck in the woods getting firewood.

Bought them both for $250. The wife likes the Caprice so we are keeping it for a daily driver for her and selling off her pickup. Besides the insurance is cheaper on it. Buddy of mine is going to paint it in the spring
2007-01-22 04:11:13 PM  
Why are they restoring the pictures when they should be restoring the car?

//not original, but who cares
2007-01-22 06:48:35 PM  
It's a deathtrap. A pretty-looking antique classic, but a deathtrap none the less. In an accident, the car will sustain minor damage, but you'll be pulverized in your seat, as all the energy of the collision is absorbed by your face hitting the dash, steering wheel, windshield, or all three.
2007-01-22 07:48:21 PM  
Wouldn't it be cool to drive around in that car wearing period clothing and try to convince the guy at the drive thru that you are lost and very very late.

Maybe he'd let you have a burger and Coke for a quarter.
(It would have to be a 1939 quarter.)
2007-01-22 08:04:09 PM  

I would SO do that!
2007-01-23 12:42:52 AM  
I love to see old cars restored. I've never tried this but I know a few guys who have and it's magic. There's a guy near me who has restored several 1970 Barracudas. He's done a black Hemi Cuda like in Vanishing Point and a beautiful 440 6pack Cuda. Man, what a ride ...
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