A 1937 Ford "Housecar"
One of only six said to have been made per year in the
mid-'30s at the Ford Plant in St. Paul, Minnesota, according to an
article on this car in a 1993 "Old Cars" magazine article (see link below).
Very few others--perhaps none--remain on the road, and certainly not in such
amazing original condition. (The only other known example that I heard of
was supposedly housed in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
But that turned out to be an early 1920s Model T conversion, the
curator told me. He said he'd never seen anything like this '37!)
When discovered in a garage (under a heavy cover) in Northern
Minnesota in August 2001, she had only 19,000 miles, and the owner's
manual was actually still the glove box in like-new condition!
She had always been garaged and treated with
much TLC as a collector vehicle.
The interior, all wood lined, was still the way it appeared
in the '30s and '40s, complete with framed photos of the original
owner on his travels (mainly to Florida) and his cabin in
the North Woods, plus and other memorabilia from the era.
Built on the '37 Ford Pickup frame and cowling
(powered by a 60-hp flathead V8 with aluminum heads),
the rear framing is all wood, with the metal skin wrapped
around it. The roof structure, too, is all wood, over which the heavy,
waterproofed canvas top is still very securely fitted. The structure of the
body is solid, appearing from underneath to be all oak, and still in a
remarkably unaltered, undamaged condition. The door frames are thick,
solid oak, and oak is visible around the window openings (as on the
four side windows in back) -- though it is painted over.
She was a big hit at this campground once we got that
great old flattie V8 hummin'! Note her expanding roof and
the original dark green color, which had been repainted. I figure
the canvas roof was originally painted in reflective silver to keep
it from getting too hot inside. All four side windows open, while
the back one tilts out to three positions. The windshield also
tilts open at the bottom for natural AC while driving.
Here are a few shots of her in August 2001, out on the road
in the Chippewa National Forest north of Grand Rapids, MN...
practicing for her next adventure: "Destination Wavecrest 2001."
A peak inside: a slice right out of the 1930s...just as
the original owner left it. All the windows open, with curtains
on the four side ones and pull-down shades on the back window,
as well as on the driver's and passenger door windows.
A wide storage cabinet is located under the bed.
The wood headliner, with vent and canvas
expanding portion visible. Four wood pieces
hold it securely in the up position, while
clamps hold it down while driving.
More interior views....note the cedar branches hanging
in the corners for that north woods aroma. Cabinets and
aluminum sink (with a wood cover insert) are visible on the
left. All the antiques stuck away inside, as well as those
hanging on the walls, came along for the ride. Also note
the table behind the driver's seat, which folds down.
Want to look anything up?
for more pictures, stories, etc.