Newly married and with a child coming and a German Shepard puppy swiftly out-growing the TR-3, I started looking for a family car. My mother’s next-door neighbor heard of my plight and called me. She had purchased their 1948 Ford Deluxe sedan new in ‘48 and had just bought a new car. They wanted me to have the old one because “We know you will take good care of it.” It was a pretty car, dark green with all of the accessories available when new; fresh air heater, signal-seeking radio, turn signals etc. Only the two-speed Columbia had been replaced with a standard one when it had “acted up”. It had been garaged since new. I think I paid $300 but I can’t remember. I removed the rear seat and installed a platform for the dog to sit on and covered the upholstery to keep it clean. The only problem: The engine was pretty worn. It had over 100,000 miles on it and had never been overhauled. Luckily, my friend Rodney, who had just become a father, was selling his orange ‘37 Ford with a fresh engine in it for $65, a real steal.
With Carrie’s help (eight months pregnant), I pulled the old engine and installed the new one. She couldn’t zip up her coveralls, because of her condition. When lying on her tummy to help align the transmission shaft to the engine, she couldn’t breathe so we had to act fast. The new engine smoked like a factory. I drove it long enough to seat the rings but that didn’t help. So Carrie and I pulled the pan and heads and installed new rings. The old ones were the wrong size as the engine was bored WAY out, 296 cubic inches from a 239 cubic inch stock engine. Once back together, it ran fine, in fact, too fine. The transmission failed thanks to all the extra horsepower. So it was under the car again, to replace the tranny. We drove it conservatively after that, but the best gas mileage was around 10 MPG. After a year of this, when a woman called me: “My son needs his first car and I’ve known that Ford since it was new. Could you possible consider selling it to us?” I sold it to her for what I had in it, a very fair price. Spring of 1961, was almost here.