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Not Your Father's '38 Ford 3-Window

Not Your Father's '38 Ford 3-Window
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Kevin Oellrich laughs when people tell him, “My Dad had a ’38 Ford coupe just like yours!” He owns a ‘38 Ford 3-window coupe, a car Ford never made. Noel Cain of Tulsa, Okla. built it. He made it from a Tudor sedan. The roof is from a ’40 Ford. Cain had help from Roth Enterprises and Art Mainbourg in Oklahoma.

The car went to a doctor in Kansas City. Then, a friend of Kevin’s who had his ’38 Ford stolen, got a settlement and bought this car. After that, it sat for 15 years. It’s kind of a long story and Oelrich is happy to have it back on the road.”

In the original build, the entire rear section of the Tudor sedan was sliced off so that the trunk section of the coupe could be spliced in. Mainbourg cut the roof off a five-window coupe from the bottom of the door posts up. Then, he used the entire roof of the coupe, rather than blending the coupe roof to the sedan roof. The side door windows were reshaped to have rounded backs and the quarter windows were eliminated. The bodywork was very precise.

The car features red and white seats. There’s also white piping around the doors and stainless trim around the door armrests. The steel dash and inner window surrounds are also cherry red. The dash has white pin striping. There’s a red banjo wheel and vintage gauges. “We tried to keep it ‘50s style,” Kevin noted.

The trunk is trimmed as nicely as the car’s interior. The Thunderbird Hi-Po 302 under the hood, the 1990s-style Mustang II front suspension and a lace-on steering wheel cover are the only things on the car that aren’t old school. Kevin says, “It’s not a car to go fast in, but it will get up and go when you want to.”

It took five years to pry the car loose and then Oellrich had to redo all the hydraulics and go through the water pump, alternator, belt tensioner pulley and brakes. He re-wired the whole car because the wiring was messed up.

Oellrich worked on the car for most of a year and has had it on the road for about seven months. “The first run I took it on to check it out was to a hot rod reunion they had down in Quincy, Ill., he recalled. “It just needed to be driven.”

 Kevin doesn’t drive the car much because his job takes him away from home. He is an oil field worker for Halliburton and works in Africa and Argentina, etc. He was heading for Saudi Arabia the day after we photographed his car.