FW 9805 - 1937 Ford V8 Shooting Brake - The Restoration

Restoration update by Bob Brewer

When I moved the V8 out to Potterhanworth the first thing I did was to remove the four wings, front tinwork, all the doors, wheels and interior. I could then have a good look around it and assess the work required and decide which direction to take. I found a lot of corrosion in the rear inner wings and around the lower part of the scuttle where it sits on the chassis, as well as on the wings and rear valance. The running boards are beyond repair and will need to be re-manufactured. The chassis appears to be generally sound apart from a small patch which has been brazed on over some corrosion. I do not think this would be approved of at MOT time and would like to remove it and plate the chassis properly.

1937 Ford V8 Shooting Brake 1937 Ford V8 Shooting Brake 1937 V8 Shooting Brake
Before - the 'V8' prior to restoration During - preparing to remove body from chassis During - body separated from chassis

In view of all this I decided the best approach would be to remove the body, which is built on a steel pan bolted to the chassis and have been working in this direction by removing bolts the hard way and not using the gas cutter unless unavoidable due to the high fire risk. I am nearly there and can then push it outside and, hopefully, lift the body with a forklift and work can then proceed in all areas. But before I do this I would like to see if the engine will run, and have bought a 6v battery with this in mind and am at present rigging up ignition and a petrol supply. The body incidentally appears to be in good sound condition apart from one piece which should not prove too difficult to repair.

In May I went to the Leicester Mercury Rally and introduced myself to some officials of the UK branch of the Early Ford V8 Club of America, who had a club stand there with a selection of cars, but not one like FW 9805. I found them very interested and helpful; some of them had seen our car some years ago when it was in the old building. They gave me a front bumper which turned out to be the correct one! I have since joined the Club and sent them details of the car and its history for their newsletter. This contains addresses of firms specialising in parts for these cars which will be useful. Incidentally 'The Automobile' magazine for August contains a report of Brooks auction held at Goodwood in June in which an identical car made £20,700. They said it was well restored and had been to America for body restoration.

December 1999 - The body and chassis have now been separated, the engine removed and the chassis and wheels shot blasted and sprayed with primer. The chassis will need some welding however.

April 2000 - All the chassis welding has now been completed and the chassis is now painted. It shouldn't be too long now before the wheels are sprayed in colour and tyres fitted with attention turning to the axles and springs.

Ford V8 Shooting Brake ChassisJuly 2000 - There are no signs of visible progress, but at long last the seemingly everlasting job of chassis welding has been completed. The axles have been refitted, brakes checked over and two drums skimmed and all cables adjusted, so there should be brakes. It’s not very encouraging, however, to find that Ford used this particular system for only two years. The wheels have been professionally sprayed and two new tyres purchased, together with four tubes. Two of the existing tyres have been fitted, and an unused remould found in the museum stores will be the spare as it is showing signs of age cracking.

The engine was refitted, and it was all wheeled out into the sunshine where it was discovered it will need another top coat of chassis paint. The reason for putting it outside was a visit by the Secretary of the Midlands and Northern Branch of the Early Ford V8 Club of America (English Regional Group). I joined this club some time ago for information. His visit was in order to get material for an article in the Club’s Newsletter.

Work at the moment involves trying to sort out an exhaust system and some shock absorbers. The exhaust is peculiar to 1937 and 1938, and none of the firms I have tried has a pattern. It’s no use getting one from the States as left hand drive cars use different manifolds, something to do with steering box clearance. At the moment I've sent the front pipe away for a quote. I can get a silencer and should be able to make a tail pipe quite easily while the body is off.

The shock absorbers are a different matter. The car was fitted at some time with Andre-Hartford Telecontrol units, which are now in a sorry state. I would like to fit the original type of hydraulic units but am unable to find any in this country. Some spares are available for Andre-Hartfords so I may be able to get something in this direction, but two of the units in the car must have come off something else as there is no way they will fit either front or back.

October 2000 - Work is progressing as time allows. The front exhaust pipes have been fitted, this being a major job. The radiator and front shock absorbers have been fitted, and work on the front tinwork has commenced.

January 2001 - Now a running chassis in the true sense of the word - this was on show at the Open Day and was driven in to the exhibition hall - well done Bob!

A reconditioned water pump has now been sourced and the front inner wings have been repaired, painted and fitted to the car. Work has also started on removing the rear inner wings for repair which is likely to prove a bigger job than first thought!

April 2001 - Since the V8 made an appearance at the Museum Open Day last November, there has not been a lot of obvious progress. Various snags with the chassis have been sorted, like the water leak which required a new water pump to be found. Progress has, however, been made on the bodywork. The wooden body sits on a steel base which is bolted to the chassis and some of this was very moth eaten. This has had to be tacked one side at a time in order not to weaken it. The inner rear wings are riveted on and one of those has been removed and is at present being repaired as time allows. Once these are both repaired and refitted, it remains to paint the steelwork and then the body can be reunited with the chassis.

July 2001 - A lot of time has been spent on the lower part of the body since my last report. The wooden body is built on a steel platform and a lot of this had disappeared. At the time of writing (16 April 2001) all the welding on both sides is complete except for the inner wings, which look a bit complicated. When they are done all the metal can be painted, and then the body is ready for remounting on the chassis. That will leave the 4 wings to repair plus one or two other bits, and the welding will be completed. I have also obtained an exchange water pump to stop the water leak which appeared at the Open Day last November.

May 2002 - All the body welding is now complete and the body has been refitted to the chassis. The detachable outer wings have been patched up as necessary and then sent to A & B Bodyworks for finishing and then spraying together with the bonnet top and sides and spoke wheel cover. They came out and resprayed the scuttle after I refitted it to the chassis. They used two colours of cellulose mixed to provide as near a match as possible to the original.

At the moment the wings etc, have been sprayed and are waiting to be polished. Two bumpers were found but lend themselves to rechroming. They are with the plater at Bilsthorpe together with the radiator grill and various small parts.

Two new over-riders and four wheel discs have been obtained from the USA at a cringe-making price!

The running boards were a problem as they had mostly vanished, but I have made two new ones with help from T R Weston & Sons. They are fitted, but still need covering with rubber which I will do when the wings are fitted. A quote has been obtained from Lincoln Upholstery for recovering the seats, but they have not been collected yet. Some of the body side windows had delaminated and these are being renewed at the moment.

May 2002 - The seats are being reupholstered and a new wiring loom has been obtained. Several parts have gone away for rechroming.

Ford V8 at Waddington Air Show July 2002

July 2002 - Apologies for the lack of information on progress lately, but Bob has been doing lots of welding with not too much to show for it! All the welding is now complete, including two new running boards manufactured. The body is back on the chassis and reassembly has been started. Five new windows have been purchased to replace the oned which had delaminated. The headlight reflectors have been replated and the bumpers and various small bits are at the platers for chroming. the seats have arrived back from the upholsterers. Some things such as four hubcaps and a set of door hinge pins are having to come from the States. Most of the trim parts and a new wiring harness have been obtained in the UK. the four wings and the bonnet sides and top are away for painting, so when it all comes back there should be fairly rapid progress (we hope!).

October 2002 - Work has started as a team effort to strip the varnish from the woodwork on the body sides and doors.

January 2003 - Bob Brewer and Richard Thorpe have almost finished removing the old varnish from the bodywork.

April 2003 - The trafficators of this car are also undergoing an overhaul. Bob Brewer and Richard Thorpe continue to work on the body.

July 2003 - Aaron Tiper has shaped a piece of timber for one of the wheel arches.

October 2003 - Bob and Richard have finished sanding down the wooden body-work and are now in the process of varnishing the exterior woodwork.

January 2004 - Bob Brewer has fitted the radiator grill. The wiring loom has been laid in place. The lighting switch has been stripped and cleaned, with its body sprayed with wheel silver paint, ready for fitting.

April 2004 - The headlight switch has now been reconnected and refitted. Fords have always been different from other makes, and in this case the switch is mounted at the bottom of the steering column, and is operated by a rod that passes through the centre of the column. All the mudguards have now been fitted.

October 2004 - This is now really looking the part. The running boards have new rubber covers, rear lights have been fitted and rewired and a new 6 volt battery installed. The rewiring will be completed in the next few weeks and the registration plates have also been fitted.

January 2005 - Bob and Ian have been hard at work fitting new rubber matting to the floor area. Note - no carpet as this is a working vehicle! Ian has maded a bracket to carry the flashing indicator switch which will save having to drill holoes in the dashboard. The flashers are fitted and working, making far safer driving in traffic. The semaphore trafficators will be fitted to show how signals were given from pre-war days up to the 1950's. Bob has spent hundreds of hours on the V8 and at last she is nearly ready to return to the roads of Lincolnshire.

April 2005 - On Saturday 12 March 2005 we drove the V8 under its own power from the back of the museum into the yard. Two problems were found - firstly the dynamo was not charging, and secondly the vacuum wipers did not function. The dynamo has been removed, cleaned, connections checked and the output current tested. The wiper fault is still being investigated.

July 2005 - Friday 6th May 2005 was MOT day for the V8. At the end of the test a slight problem occurred with the petrol pump, otherwise everything was OK. The V8's first rally for over 35 years was at the Newark & Notts Show followed by the Society Annual Rally at Lincoln Castle in June.