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A Special Announcement
Written By: Tom Olsen
We’ve introduced you to retired Sioux Falls businessman Joe Floyd and his amazing collection of 1936 Fords in the past. But now, there is a special announcement to be made. Joe has donated his entire 18-car collection of ’36 Fords to the Early Ford V-8 Foundation Museum in Auburn, Indiana!
According to the Foundation News, “The Early Ford V-8 Foundation Museum exists to collect, preserve, exhibit and interpret the history and heritage of the products manufactured by the Ford Motor Company between 1932 and 1953. We seek to capture and display the character, culture and charisma of America’s love affair with open roads and the Fabulous Fords that helped conquer them. The museum is an educational and research model for all to enjoy.”
Most folks don’t know it, but Joe’s collection of rare Fords has been residing quietly in his shop in Harrisburg, SD. While it’s unfortunate that the collection is leaving our area, there is some good news for area automobile aficionados. Joe is going to open up his facility to the public for a “farewell showing” of the collection on Friday, May 25th.
I visited with Joe recently about the collection, and how he got involved with 1936 Fords. Joe became a car guy through working in his dad’s Hudson dealership when cars started arriving in 1946, following WWII. After his dad closed the dealership in 1953, Joe worked for Prather Motors, the Pontiac and Cadillac dealer. Joe’s first car was a 1946 Ford, but some of his buddies had ’36 Fords, and Joe always liked them.
“I just thought they were the neatest car in the world!” he shared. Joe always had a love for cars and, like most car guys, “was always trying to make a car go faster.”
As Joe approached retirement, his late wife Elaine once asked what Joe was going to do to entertain himself in retirement. Joe’s response? “I don’t know, maybe I’ll start working on old cars again. I’d like to do a 1936 Ford.” And that’s how this collection began.
In 2002, Elaine was in Houston when Joe spotted a ’36 Ford Cabriolet advertised on the internet. Elaine went to the seller’s home to look the car over, and bought it. The car was shipped to Eden Prairie, MN, where Joe had it built for use in road rallies. As Joe tells it, “then we picked up another ’36 and had it restored. Then we just kept looking and picking them up as we found them.”
Joe wanted a Woody Station Wagon for the collection and went to Ft. Lauderdale where one was to be at auction. That one turned out to be so rough he passed on it, but a ’36 3-window came through, and Joe bought that. (Even though many of these were built, most were “chopped” by hot rodders over the years; an intact one is a rarity now.) Then, an extremely rare Club Cabriolet came through, and Joe bought that.
“Once we got that, we felt we could fill in the gaps,” he said.
There were 14 different “production” models of 1936 Fords built, and four specialty-built models. Joe has them all.
One of the rarest of the specialty vehicles is the Stainless Steel Sedan, which we’ve featured in The Motor Market in the past. Only six of these were built, and four exist today. Joe has the only one which has a totally polished exterior. This car has been displayed locally at Winterfest of Wheels.
Another unique car is the Boulevard Delivery. (Also called the two-purpose sedan.) Two hundred of these were built based on the 2-door Flat Back model. An opening was cut into the rear of the car by Briggs Manufacturing and a back door was installed. These were purchased by National Cash Register Company for salesman use. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) also bought several of these. Joe’s was a TVA car.
We’ve shown you the Glasser in a previous issue. There were 27 of these built in Germany before WWII by Glasser, a German custom builder. Many of these were confiscated by the German government as the war ramped up, but a few cars were driven out of the country before the war. Presently in the U.S. there are three 1935’s and one 1936. Joe, of course, owns the ’36.
The latest addition to the collection is the Flat Back Sedan. Joe had just about given up on finding one. Joe tells me this was a “bread and butter car…lowest priced and high production.” Joe pointed out that “it doesn’t matter how many cars of a model are made, it’s a matter of whether people thought they were worth keeping.” That being the case, most of these were scrapped at the end of their life. Joe found this one, already restored, at an auction just last Labor Day. That completed the collection and is already at the museum.
While assembling this collection, Joe and Marty Anfinson became close friends. Marty and his wife, Jodi, own Straight Lines Custom Restorations in Tea. Straight Lines is responsible for the complete restoration of eight cars in the collection. Of the cars that Straight Lines didn’t fully restore, they have had at least some involvement with nearly all of them. Marty, Jodi, and the crew from Straight Lines will be present at the open house to talk about the cars, the restoration process, and answer any questions.
After assembling the collection, the question became, “Once you finish doing this, what do you do with it?” Joe would like to keep the collection intact and to have it preserved as long as possible. He has served on the Board of Trustees of the Early Ford V-8 Foundation, and his son, Craig, is on the Board presently. Joe, Craig, and the Board developed a plan whereby Joe is donating the cars to the Foundation Museum. In addition to the donation of the 18-car collection, Joe is funding a 10,000-square-foot addition to a new museum project which is already underway. This area will house the Floyd Collection in the theme of a 1930’s Ford dealership. A program has also been established to support maintaining the cars and the building for 20 years, thus keeping the collection intact for at least that long.
The open house on May 25th will be from 2PM-6PM at Joe Floyd’s shop, 220 E. Industrial Drive, in Harrisburg, SD. This is a rare opportunity for the public to view a collection of this caliber. In addition to the Floyd family, dignitaries from the Early Ford V-8 Foundation are anticipated to be in attendance. As noted earlier, staff from Straight Lines will also be present. There will be a free-will donation option to the museum, and a just-released hardcover book detailing the entire collection will be available for purchase.
This is your opportunity to see this most impressive one-of-a-kind collection right here in our area. If you have an interest in rare, museum-quality classic cars, you won’t want to miss this!
For more information, look for the “Floyd Ford V-8 Collection Open House” on Facebook.