My Father-in-Law: The Mopar Man Part III

February 2, 2012

Here is Part III of my blog series on my father-in-law, Tom Fletcher. To see Part II, please click here >>

Tell Me About Your Work on the 1939 Dodge Sedan.

I was looking for a "retirement project" and since over the years I had collected many additional parts from other '39 Dodges, I had fenders and lots more to start something else. I had always longed to have another open car (I had a '30 Ford touring car and a "T" bucket and sold them) and I wanted to cut the top off a car and make a big convertible.

I was careful not to butcher something nice and collectable—the '39 Dodge sedans were neither and I had a lot of spare parts. Barb and I looked for a year at cars in NJ, CA, and MA—they were all pretty nice, but the best one was a four-door sedan and I found it just four miles away! It was pretty ragged and then we discovered that it was FULL of wasps! I had to leave the barn unheated for weeks as I got the wasps out of every nook and cranny in the car. Everything went into trash bags and out to the street.

Then, I cut the top off, removed the windows, boxed the frame for strength, and installed a '85 Dodge 318, 727, and rear end. I left the front-end stock, rebuilt everything, and added disc brakes and rack and pinion power steering. Five years later, it is nearly finished, but I haven’t retired yet, so now I need another retirement project!

1939 Dodge Sedan (notice how the hood opens like a butterfly)

Air filter

Closeup of engine

Closeup of engine (notice the Mopar logo)

Oil pressure gauge

Steering wheel




Front end

Key hole

Hood ornament

The cowboy hat was in the back seat, I swear!

Read Part 4 »


About the Author

Natalie Josef is an automotive expert at RepairPal, the leading online source of auto repair resources and estimates. With many ASE Master certified mechanics on staff who have decades of experience, RepairPal knows all the fine points of car repair.

1 User Comment

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By , February 14, 2012
Great story and pix, Natalie. Keep it up! David Sturtz