Vintage vehicles, Automotive history and stories from motoring's past. 

Fords for '37 - Some Beauties and Some Beasts

The last column was about Ed DuVall's '35 Ford. The ' 36 Fords were basically identical. The grill was the most noticeable change for that year. 

Ford was still using mechanical brakes, and would continue through 1938 with that type of brake system. Most of the other car manufactures had gone to hydraulic brakes, some as early as 1933. Ford’s last year for mechanical brakes was 1938. That year went from metal rods to cable. 

This proved to be a big mistake, as the cable was prone to stretching which made the mechanical brakes practically interoperable. Those who kept their ’38 Fords generally changed over to '39, or '40 Ford hydraulic brakes when they became available.

1937 Fords were the first of all Fords produced to have a solid metal roof. Until this time all cars produced had a fabric center section in the roof. Engineers thought the roof would buckle if it was a solid materiel. All cars used a “ladder” type frame that could flex as the car went over bumps etc.

The '37 Ford is a sought after model to hot rod. Both the “slant back” and the “hump back” are about equally sought after. These terms relate to the trunk area on a car. 

The hump back gave you more room to put stuff. As to what looked better is a mater of individual preference. Ford also had a four door convertible, with roll up windows. This model is the hardest to find of all the other models produced for 1937. The Phaeton would be next. This model was like the convertible, but used side curtains. Either one would suit or friend Denny. 

The trucks for 1937 and 1938 can only be described as ugly! Both years used a fish mouth grill. The '38 truck used basically the same grill as a '37. If they were trying to make it look better, they failed. Some find these years to be so ugly, they are cute. I'll stick with ugly!

The last year you could get a four cylinder motor was 1934. (B motor) For '37 you could have either the 136 cubic inchV8 60 (hp) or the 221 cubic inch 85 hp V8 motor. The V8 60 really didn't have enough power to push a full-size sedan. Many owners replaced them with the full size V8 motors.

The V8 60 became a motor that was sought after by midget racers in forties and fifties. The '37 also shared the wide 5 lug pattern started with the '36 Fords. Ford would later go to the 5 ½ on 5 pattern used through 1948.