Bob Goodrich describes his first look at his grandfather’s 1939 Ford so eloquently it could be the beginning of a novel. In reality, it is the beginning of a love story.
By TOM STRONGMAN
“In 1939, I was 7 years old, and we lived near Eureka Springs, Ark.,” he wrote in an e-mail. “One sunny afternoon, while in the front yard, I saw a pretty, shiny car driving up with its horn honking. It was my grandfather, puffing away on his pipe as he usually did. He wanted to take me for a ride.”
Goodrich’s grandfather, Lee, had just purchased the car, a two-door standard sedan, for $680 from the Crow & Tatum Ford dealership in Eureka Springs.
“We took lots of trips in that car,” Goodrich wrote, “usually on gravel roads that were normal for our area.”
His grandfather developed health problems when Goodrich was 14 years old, so he started driving the Ford on a regular basis. “I took him to doctor appointments and on errands,” he wrote. “You might say I became his designated driver.”
“I was glad the car had the 85-horsepower flathead V-8 because of the mountains around Eureka Springs.”
Goodrich, 81 of Lenexa, said that after his grandfather died his grandmother drove the car until she was 83. His father brought the car to Kansas City and put it in storage. It had 81,000 miles. It now reads 85,544.
Goodrich has since given the car a complete body-off restoration, although the dash remains totally original. He added a heater, radio, right-side sun visor, armrest and a second taillight. “That’s when I realized my grandfather should have spent the extra $75 for the Deluxe model,” he chuckled.
Goodrich and his wife, Delores, are dedicated old-car enthusiasts. They also have a 1931 Ford Deluxe Roadster that they have owned for 23 years. They have driven it in numerous parades and tours, including a tour of the Rocky Mountains, complete with a trip to the top of Pikes Peak, in 1991. It was also in Robert Altman’s 1996 film, “Kansas City.”
Driving vintage cars is something the couple enjoys doing together. “We enjoy life to the fullest,” he said.
Tom Strongman’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org