1934 Ford DeLuxe roadster
Robert Lomas' name will be familiar to regular readers as the owner of the '34 three-window coupe on our May '06 cover, as well as the '51 Vicky mild custom from our Sept. '11 issue. A lifelong affinity with the Model 40, however, has taken him back to the earlier Ford, and after many coupes, this time it's a roadster that received his touch.
"I have always been partial to Fords, especially the Model 40, ever since I was a kid. I have owned and been driving one for the past 20 years. It started with a '34 Ford truck then two '34 five-windows and two '33 three-windows, then another two '34 three-windows and a '34 phaeton. Next on my list was to own the most desirable Ford of all—at least in my eyes—a genuine, all-original steel and wood Model 40 roadster, in this case a '34 DeLuxe roadster.
"After years of admiring roadsters, seeing pictures and ads, wondering how it felt to purchase one new in 1933 or 1934, and driving it, I couldn't imagine, so after a lot of thought, I figured if I sold a couple of cars I could do it. I wanted a Model 40 roadster pretty badly by this time, and it didn't matter if it was a '33 or '34, it just had to be original. I wanted something that needed restoring or an old restoration, before the reproduction panels were available, when you started with a nice body with original panels, wood, suspension, and frame. That turned out to be hard to find!
"Before I purchased this roadster I had seen an ad in Hemming's Motor News for a green '34 DeLuxe roadster, and of course I couldn't afford it, so I forgot about it. A few years went by, I sold a few cars, kept searching ads and the Internet, when what should appear but this very same green roadster! It was an expired ad but only by a few days, so I called and an elderly man answered, confirming he still had the car. I asked if it was the same roadster that had been advertised a few years before, and he told me it was. He'd sold it to his neighbor who couldn't come up with the rest of the money, and that if I bought it, I'd benefit from the neighbor's down payment! After agreeing to see the car the following day, I hung up the phone, told my wife I'd see her tomorrow, hooked up my car trailer, and left for Arizona. The car was everything I'd wanted, an all-original old '70s restoration from a stock, unmolested original, painted in green lacquer with enough lacquer check to prove its age!
"I wasn't sure what I wanted for the roadster so it sat for about a year before I started to use it. I drove it for a while with the stock 21-stud Flathead and trans, but that didn't have enough go for me and I didn't want to break it. In the works is a hopped up 59A with machine work by Evans in El Monte, California, but being impatient to drive my car I decided to temporarily install a pretty much stock rebuilt 59A and '39 transmission that I picked up from a guy who was giving up on his project.
"I added an early Edelbrock high-rise intake with a pair of Stromberg 97s that I rebuilt. I went through several different stances with it, different tire combinations, and after years of having '50s-style cars, wanted something a little different, so I went for a late-'30s look. I finally settled on the factory 17-inch wires with 550 Denman tires in front and 650 Michelins in the rear.
"The front suspension and steering is stock with the exception of a reverse-eye spring, while the rear has been lowered over the stock 3.78:1 banjo rearend with a reverse-eye, 4-inch de-arched spring. I installed '40 Ford juice brakes and drums with a Richard Lacy conversion, which enabled me to retain the stock spindles and brake pedal.
"The paint and upholstery was perfect just the way it was, the interior a gorgeous dark brown leather, and perfect patina woodgrain dash. The stock top was just a little too high for me, however. I knew I wanted to retain a top and admired the look of early Duesenbergs, Auburns, and Packards, so I set about modifying mine in a similar manner. I cut down the stanchions by 3 3/4 inches, cutting the same from the rear bow and modified the top irons to suit. I retained the original canvas top it came with by reworking the rear. The side curtains and their irons were also cut down. Most of the top and side curtains were sewn back together by hand, thanks to the help of my wife, Erin. The Barons Car Club members also lent helping hands, along with advice and parts. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, but can never leave well enough alone, so will probably change its look again in the future!"