David Burgard’s Good-Looking Hot Rod Ford Coupe
By Dale Moreau – Photography By the Author
Back in the late ’20s through the ’40s, the Ford models each year featured both a Standard model and a Deluxe one. Some hot rodders liked both, but the Deluxe models seemed to be the most popular, especially for the 1938 Ford coupe. The early Standard models had only one windshield wiper and taillight, and, of course, turn signals were a thing of the future.
David Burgard grew up in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California during the ’50s and ’60s. Starting in the ’30s that was the epicenter of the hot rod revolution. While in high school, there was a guy down the block who had a 1940 Ford coupe with an Oldsmobile OHV V8 engine that he was sliding underhood. At that time, you could buy all the parts you needed to do that at the local parts store and do the whole thing in a weekend—or so they say. By the time graduation rolled around, David had found a 1940 Ford coupe. He dated his future wife in it; they both liked the old hot rod. Marriage has the power to make a guy more aware of the practical side of life, so the coupe had to go. Still, David had dreams of getting another coupe in the future.
Read More: 1940 Ford Coupe With 427 Windsor Power
By the ’80s, David and Roxy had moved to Salem, Oregon, and David, still on his quest for an old hot rod Ford, found himself at the Portland Swap Meet. A mountain of parts and cars, it can take days to take it all in. Quite rare in fact, this 1938 Ford caught David’s eye. It was an all-original 60hp model. David had bucks burning a hole in his pocket, enough to drive the all-original coupe back the 40 miles to Salem. He says the car was not really all that roadworthy. His wife and daughter followed him home on the back roads, stopping for oil on a regular basis.
Being a Ford mechanic at a local dealership, his plan was to build an all-Ford traditional hot rod. Stripping the car down to bare bones and separating the body and chassis, he worked on the rolling parts and sent the body pieces out one at a time when budget allowed. In the meantime, they bought another house, the pieces were attached to make the car a roller to the new house, where they sat dormant for the next 24 years. David, of course, was discouraged, but amazingly, reading the car magazines kept the dream alive.
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After cleaning up and painting the chassis, David added a Super Bell I-beam axle with a Posie spring, Ridetech Coilovers, and a Pete and Jakes sway bar. The Panhard bar was supplied by Speedway Motors, and to this a Saginaw steering box and Mustang disc brakes were added. On the other end, Chassis Engineering came to the rescue with their parallel leaf springs and sway bar. Ridetech supplied the shocks. Seeing that David spent his career fixing Fords, he wanted to make the car all Ford, so he slipped in a H.O. Ford 5.0 crate engine with a C4 transmission filled with a shift kit and then shifted into gear by a Gennie shifter. Cooling the V8 engine is a Walker radiator and shroud. Tying up loose ends is a Ford 9 inch rear end from a 1970 Cougar with 3.25:1 gears.
David had a good, no-rust body to start with, and when master body man Stan Dietz was finished, it was perfect by the time it arrived at painter Steve Arnold’s shop in Salem. Arnold laid on a perfect finish of Dark Cherry Metallic paint topped off by “Line King” Mitch Kim’s stripes. Then David wired it with some help from a wiring harness by Ron Francis.
Read More: Traditional 1930 Model A Sedan With A Twist
The interior is a perfect mix of vintage style with the quality and design of today. Classic Instruments led the class with their timeless gauges and their column-mounted Rocket Tach. The 1937 Ford Banjo steering wheel tops up the stock column with LimeWorks steering column drop and turn signals. Covering the Glide Engineering bench seat, door panels, and headliner is black and gray vinyl by Matt Enos, also of Oregon.
Finally, after David retired, he had the time and money to finish his long-held dream. David says, “It was a longtime coming, but never give up your dreams.” MR
Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of Burgundy Beauty.