After learning more of the car's history Ralph knew they had to get this thing done and take it back to Detroit. With some help from Moriarty they worked up a deal with the Detroit Autorama's promoter, to create the Sixties show car display at the 2009 show.
As it turns out, Harry and Barbara's son, Scott, Googles his dad's name every so often. Early in '09 he struck paydirt: his search directed him to the Autorama press release that announced the Trojan's return. A little more legwork put the family in touch with the Dave and Ralph.
"When I found out that his family members were still around and interested, it got me excited," Ralph said. "I think we built it more for them than for Detroit, ultimately."
Though a T is a small car, its revival was no small task. "It was in really bad shape," Dave noted. "It looked okay just sitting there, but when we took the body off the frame it literally just fell apart." Among other things, subsequent owners cobbled the pipes and hacked up the body. "It was so bad that the only thing keeping that body together were the five bolts that held it to the frame," he said. "We took it all down to bare metal again-every piece to nothing-and started over.
"After we got it all smoothed out and rust-free we painted the frame black. It was fun putting it back together after we got all the chrome back from Advanced Plating. Three of us actually built the car: me, Ken Lutzow, and Parker Arrien."
"Parker deserves a ton of credit," Ralph observed. "The way he took to this project was just amazing. I'd call and ask how things were coming and Dave would say, 'Parker's not happy so we're stripping the trunklid again.' So he was really the driver of certainly the paint work, which I'm really proud of."
"He's a young kid about 24," Dave added. "We'd all sand on it but we can't take the paint credit; it's all Parker."
According to Dave, the reunion went even better than expected. "Barbara, Harry's wife...she cried like three times the first time we met her in Detroit," he said. "She told us, 'I just can't believe it; you did it exactly like Harry did it.'"
But the restored Trojan is more than a great find or a beautiful car; it's a monument to a man. Harry died in 1977. He was 42-far too young.
Just seeing the car reportedly brings back long-forgotten memories. Among them, "I can't tell you how many oil pans we went through," Barbara mused. "We used it to drive around the neighborhood whenever the sun was shining.
"It was great," she said. "Those were probably the best years of our lives. We enjoyed everything."
Hot Rod and Car Craft both...
Hot Rod and Car Craft both featured the car in their December '61 issues. But in the Hot Rod issue, the Trojan sports '55 Plymouth caps. Though they're not the exact caps on the car today, those are the ones on the car in this photo, likely at the Kansas City show in '61.
An early master of fiberglass,...
An early master of fiberglass, Harry customized this '61 Corvette for Jim White Chevrolet. He also extended the Devin SS's nose to accommodate a Potvin-driven blower. By the front wheel placement and exposed rim, it appears that Harry installed the chrome-reverse wheels seen on the Trojan after it sold.