More often than not, when someone gets involved in the hot rod hobby it’s because they already know somebody immersed in the culture. That’s how Eddie Lindsey, from Weston, Missouri, was drawn in. His dad, Gerald, had a full-time job at TWA when Eddie was a youngster but, on evenings and weekends, Gerald and his brother ran their own salvage yard, so Eddie was surrounded by vintage cars from a very early age.

Eddie has always loved the cars from the ’30s-70s and, from the time he was 15 until he was 40, he competed in demolition derbies (claiming the state championship for some of those years, too). A few years back Eddie thought he’d like to own a ’39 coupe, but first he’d have to sell his ’41 Chevrolet sedan to finance the project. That didn’t bother Eddie too much because, even though the car was a reliable street rod, he thought it was ugly!

He found this ’39 Ford DeLuxe sedan at an auction in Centralia, Kansas, but it was intended as a parts car as it was so heavily rusted. Some of the parts had been stored in a barn (a good thing) but others were strewn across a field rusting away. But, for $450, Eddie thought he’d got a good deal.

He spent the next six years working with his brother, Jim, and his dad on reconstructing the sedan, which was a chore, as every lower panel section and doorskin needed attention (it was probably some sort of karma coming back into play for all those other cars that were banged up in the demolition derby!).

A rolling chassis from Total Cost Involved Engineering got Eddie a good base to build upon. A ’57 Ford 9-inch (3.50:1) went in out back with a set of RideTech airbags and a TCI Engineering Mustang II–type IFS (with another set of ’bags) was installed up front. To fill the fenderwells of the ’39, Eddie chose a 20x8.5 and 18x7 Intro wheel combination, wrapping them in Goodyear Eagle rubber (225/40ZR18 and 275/45R20).

The engine Eddie wanted for his ride is something you don’t see too often in a hot rod: a ’57 Ford 312 Y-block. He didn’t have to look far for the block (his dad owns 20 or so ’57 Fords!) and Eddie enlisted him to assemble the engine after the block came back from Camble Machine bored 0.030. An F-code cam went in, and an Offenhauser manifold went on, topped by a trio of Barry Grant Demon 98 carbs. Other performance pieces include a muffler system from Butler Muffler, a set of Red’s Headers, a Mallory ignition system with Taylor wires, and a Walker radiator. The engine was backed up to a ’68 C4 trans, assembled by Smithville Transmission.

The firewall was set back 1-1/2 inches and the rear wheel area was slightly tubbed to accept the bigger wheels. Smoothed running boards, a custom fuel door by Hagan, a V-butt windshield, a filled cowl vent, and shaved handles and decklid trim all followed before Paul Reed (Plattsburg, Missouri) began the body and paint prep work. Reed and Eddie’s brother, Jim, painted the car using PPG Beechwood Green paint below the stainless steel trim line and a blue/black paint above.

Details that followed included Eric Campbell lettering the valve covers and adding the winged Mercury logo to the air cleaner, wiring up the ’39 teardrop LED taillights from Technostalgia, and bolting up the ’39 Ford standard bumpers.

Inside the cavernous interior a ’49 Ford dash had been cut up and sectioned together to centralize the gauge hole, which was filled with a five-in-one gauge from Hainline. Controls for the Vintage Air system are located just below the gauge, and the ’39 Ford steering column and banjo wheel (restored by the owner) helps retain the car’s old-time feel. The stock-appearing ’36 Ford window cranks control the electric windows supplied by Carolina Custom.

Bob Gossi, of Gladstone Auto Trim, used Mazda 626 seats to build the interior for Eddie, and covered everything with a khaki-colored vinyl. Dynamat insulation can be found under the short-loop carpet, and a Kenwood-based stereo system was installed by N.W. Audio in Platte City, Missouri.

Though he thinks he might have liked to have installed a five-speed instead of the C4, Eddie is very happy with the outcome (it does look better than when he first brought it home!), and believes the project was time well spent with his dad and brother.

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