I bought a restored '37 Ford Woody in '66(first car I remembered was my Dad's '37 Flat-back Tudor) by being in the right place at the right time, Soon after I joined the Early Ford V8 Club, and started attending local meets. The best one was held every Thanksgiving in Ormond Beach(Daytona) commemorating the Birthplace of Speed. Most of the cars at that time were "true classics"and ford V8's were "tolerated". I attended regularly, and in '70 or '71 a local wealthy car collector showed up with a '32 German Coach-built(Deutsch) Cabriolet. I had read articles about European Fords, but had never seen one., And although I thought it was fantastic, I never gave any thought about owning it. Especially on a school teacher's salary!
The car was at the Birthplace of Speed meet for a couple of years..then vanished... I never found out what happened to it. I figured it had been sold. Nooo! It sat in the owner's garage from the '70's until 2001, with a cat sleeping on its convertible top. The owner passed away and his widow was selling the accumulated collection, but the '32 was one of the last remaining as the widow LOVED the car. A fellow I somewhat knew helped her sell the cars, but wouldn't take any money offered for his effort. So she gave him the car! He showed it at the Amelia Concours It was advertised in Hemmings, but didn't sell, and after attending a local weekend get-to-gether I talked to the owner,,not about cars..but about WW2 airplanes! I had a model that he didn't have..ME-109..so I went to show it to him. We talked for a while and I said I'd like to see what he was working on. He opened a door and there..in a museum-like atmosphere..was the '32. I couldn't believe it. He said he was selling it, so I said I'd buy it right away. It was in somewhat bad shape after sitting for so long, so I started gradually correcting its problems. In the previous owners restoration paperwork was a letter from another '32 German Cabriolet owner in San Diego, I started corresponding and around Christmas '02 he told me he was promoting a "Custom-built" class at Pebble Beach.... Ford's 100th Anniversary. He said I'd be getting an invitation, but I didn't believe it.
Sure enough the invitation arrived and my sons and I had six months to get it ready. We BARELY made it. That was the ultimate car experience ever, for all of us. A local V8'er called me afterwards and said there was a '35 German Cabriolet on Ebay. It was in Portland,OR, so I flew out to see it and ultimately bought it too! How do you ever reconcille having two of the rarest WW2 survivor Fords ever! God has really been good to me! The whole time we were restoring the '32 I was praying we'd be able to get finished..and we did!
It is being professionally restored...for the last time...as the two previous ones weren't very good. Luckily the restorer said he'd take it...in pieces..and put it back together. It REALLY needed it, and it saved it from future rust problems. Over the years I bought quite a few Early V8's..mostly rare ones, but nothing comparable to the '32 and '35. At local shows many say they were unaware that Ford built cars in Europe! I have a 100 page album..both sides of the plastic sleeves with ONLY Custom-built European Fords . Fords Forever!