SEDGWICK – David Moore isn’t exactly sure why he went to check out the 1950 Ford Club Coupe that had been sitting, wasting away for 40 years. It’s not like it was a favorite kind of car to him.
“I had a ’50 years ago,” he said. “I kept it about a week and then I sold it to my brother-in-law.”
But Moore’s brother, Lynn, who had 20 years earlier bought a ’34 Ford from McPherson auctioneer Warren Johnson, remarked that he thought Johnson still had the ’50 Ford that he had seen way back then.
“He said it was in good shape when he saw it. So I called and asked if he still had it and he did, so I went up to see it. It was on my 55th wedding anniversary,” David Moore recalled.
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Johnson named his asking price, but Moore told him it was “too for gone for that” and made a take-it-or-leave-it counter offer. The auctioneer took the offer and Moore had a new project, one that showed the effects of sitting outside for many years.
“I was just going to drive it like it was and shoot a little primer on it,” he said. “But then it got to where it wouldn’t stop. My grandson, Richie Goforth, gave me the parts to fix the brakes for my birthday. It just snowballed from there.”
“I had already fixed the floor pans … and I put new shocks on it. I put every piece of glass (cut at Discount Glass and Mirror) in it except the back one.”
Nephew Lonny Moore, owner of Lonny Moore’s Collision Repair in Park City, also got involved in the restoration. He made his uncle a deal he couldn’t refuse.
“I had this old ’50 Chevy pickup, no rust, and we did some horse-trading. He said he wanted me to have a nice car, not just an old car in primer. He said he would do all the body work and paint the car if I paid for the materials and gave him that old truck,” David Moore said.
The rusted-out rocker panels were replaced and the rear fender seams were welded and smoothed. Only one piece of side chrome trim had to be replaced.
“They scraped her clear down to bare metal. The car was in a million pieces. I asked Lonny if that thing was ever going to look like a car again,” he said.
Moore wanted to keep the car as original as possible, right down to the brown paint color. But with all the body work finished, the coupe’s sheet metal was treated to a major upgrade, in the form of a beautiful Harley-Davidson Root Beer paint job.
The bumpers and grille assembly were smoothed and replayed at Dawson Brothers Inc. and provide the perfect sparkle to complement the fresh paint. David Moore himself saved the iconic hood emblem, polishing the metal base to a high luster and then saving the clear plastic crescent insert with some additional elbow grease.
Surprisingly, the old flathead V-8 engine, a ’49 model that had been retrieved from a chicken house to replace the original engine, started up and ran without major mechanical attention. It did develop a rear main seal leak, though. But Lynn Moore and Boone Reichenberger repaired that while David Moore was recuperating from back surgery.
A new, single-exhaust system was fabricated at Don Bolain’s car barn, where most of the mechanical work on the car was done. When David Moore indicated that he planned to cover the front seat with an Indian blanket, Bolain wouldn’t hear of it, insisting that the entire interior be reupholstered at Joe’s Seat Cover and Car Wash.
“Don Bolain is responsible for the interior in this car,” said Moore, who picked out the light-colored fabric and the dark brown leatherette for the seat bolsters.
The coupe still employs its original 3-speed manual transmission and factory 15-inch steel wheels, but now rolls along on P205/75R15 thinline whitewall radial tires.
“That thing will run 80 mph slick as a whistle, but I don’t drive it that way,” Moore said. “This car is like a 30-year-old race horse. You can put it out there with the 2-year-olds and it can run with them for a while, but if you push it too far, it will fly apart,” he grinned.
So he and his wife, Joyce, will settle for cruising to car shows at 65 mph or so and enjoy sharing the ’50 coupe that came back to life after 40 years with anyone else who appreciates a great comeback story.
Reach Mike Berry at firstname.lastname@example.org.