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Redline Rebuild: restoring a 1937 Ford Coupe racing car

by James Mills
28 July 2020

It’s a matchup for the ages as Tom Cotter – AKA Mr Barn Find Hunter – takes a break from hunting roadside treasures and helps Davin Reckow – AKA Mr Redline Rebuild – strip down a 1937 Ford Coupe racing car, as the pair prepare an exciting new restoration project for the car community to follow.

If there were ever a perfect project for Tom, it’s this one. Years ago, as Tom was traversing the countryside researching his book about barn finds, Tom was tipped to pay a visit to the property of Snowball Bishop. The grounds were packed with a seemingly endless supply of interesting cars, but something about this particular ’37 Ford race car piqued Tom’s interest. It never really left his mind, and when he returned with the Barn Find Hunter camera crew, Tom made a beeline for the vintage racer.

It was the car’s mix of componentry as much as the car itself that caught Tom’s attention. While we call it a ’37 Ford, that is a bit misleading. The chassis is from a 1955 Chevrolet, the solid front axle is from a Ford, and there is a smattering of motorsport parts throughout the chassis., including “wide-five” front brakes from Franklin.

Which is where Davin enters the scene. Over the last 20 years, Davin honed his racing skills behind the wheel of a dirt modified race car on tracks across the Midwest. Tom is no slouch as a racing driver – he holds a Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) racing licenee – but dirt tracks are new territory for him.

Davin plans to leverage both his and Tom’s knowledge to create a car that does more than just look the part – it will tear up some dirt.

With a Chrysler 440 (7.2-litre) V8 under the hood, the racer certainly won’t be lacking for horsepower. Davin also notes that viewers have asked for a car with a slick paint job, something that is on the to-do list. Hagerty’s Redline garage hasn’t had something shiny on its lifts for longer than we care to remember, so it’s time for that to change.

Tom and Davin get the project racer stripped down to its most basic components; next, the heavy lifting will begin. While it doesn’t seem like there could be much left hiding on the body and chassis, Davin must sort a way to blast off the remaining corrosion and paint so he can complete some reinforcement and re-engineering.

To see this racer return to the track, be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel to receive updates with each new Redline Update that goes live.

Watch as Tom Cotter brings Barn Find Hunter to Britain

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