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Neil's '41 Dodge
While my wife Margaret and I were attending a car show in Maggie Valley, NC in 1995 I saw this 1941 Dodge club coupe for sale. The first car I remember my dad having was a '41 Dodge four door. I didn't buy the coupe then. The next year I was at the same show and so was the car with the price reduced. This time I drove it. Margaret said "You should buy it". We all know what happened then. A friend hauled it home to La Grange, KY on his trailer a week later.
After some brake work, hoses and a few repairs I was going to local cruises and shows. After a year and a half with 108 thousand miles showing on the odometer the engine started making bad noises. On Sept. 6, 1997 I backed the car into the garage and started to dismantle the front end so I could remove the engine. While the engine was out I started to clean the areas I could reach. One thing led to another and this ended with a bare frame on the flood of the garage and parts all over the house, shed and two countries. I'm still not sure how that happened.
Two trips to Hershey and looking for parts all over the US was a lot of fun. Then a man in the nearby town of Shelbyville who rodded a '41 four door was selling some parts. He had the drivetrain from the radiator to the rear end, tires and much more. The engine had been "overhauled". So I cleaned out his garage with the help of my friend and his trailer. The engine turned out to be good. Seven years later the Old Dodge was back on the road. My job at UPS took me out of town many times during this period so it was a slow process. I had other people with the space and equipment paint the exterior but I did most of the rest of the work myself.
I made this car to be a driver and we have been many places, shows, and cruises over the years. I have driven it several times to shows in Indianapolis and Evansville, IN, Somerset, KY, Lebanon, TN, and Springfield, IL. We even went to a family reunion in Vandalia, OH last summer. I attend all the local shows and cruises each weekend and have been in three Concours shows and in 2010 won a First Junior in the AACA 75th Anniversary National Show in Louisville, KY. I still enjoy driving the back roads and listening to "Oldies" on the local radio station when I can. Last summer I drove 6200 miles between April and November. Even in the winter if we have a few nice dry days I'll go for a drive. I have now driven over 64,000 miles in the last sixteen years.
Now I have a mascot who has been with me almost as long as the car. His name is Jeremiah. He is a bullfrog. He is a good friend of mine. He sits in front of the radiator under the hood while the car is on display. When people walk past the front of the car he says "Ribbit Ribbit". People are fun to watch. Also I have a drive-in tray on the window and under it on the running board a flower pot that plays "In the Mood" by Glen Miller when people walk by. Kids love both of these features and it is fun to watch all their reactions. DJs at shows often play "Joy to the World" for Jeremiah.
The winter of 2011 I took the original engine to a good machine shop for a complete overhaul and I reinstalled it in January of 2012. That old Flathead runs like a top.
For fourteen years I looked for the optional turn signals on the internet, at Hershey, called all over the country with no luck. Then in Evansville, IN at the 2011 Frog Follies I found two sets available. So now the car sports the optional turn signals and I feel a lot better on the road. The following year I found a Fulton sun visor that had been ordered for a '48 Dodge. The car was long gone but the owner had saved the sun visor for some reason.
Disassembly, cleaning and a little paint and what a good addition this was.
A few years ago a good friend named Jim gave me a NOS clock complete with wiring harness. I installed it and enjoyed knowing the time while driving to and from events. While sitting the second winter the clock stopped working. When I opened it up I found the points burned very badly so I started looking for repair shops.
My wife and I commute back and forth to Greenville, SC where she is from. I found a shop there and took the clock to them on my next trip. After much discussion I decided to have a conversion to a quartz movement done. A few months later I picked up the clock and installed it. The minute hand and the hour hand moved together and the set knob came off. Next trip back went the clock.
They corrected the problem before I came back that time. When I went to install it the rear cover had been turned when they assembled the clock and the wires wouldn't connect to the clock. Back went the clock for a re-alignment. This time the clock went in just fine and is working great. (Cars are never really done are they?)
Car: 1941 Dodge Club Coupe
Owner: Neil & Margaret White
KYANA Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America
3821 Hunsinger Lane, Louisville, Kentucky 40220