Bob & Eileen Daniels' 1939 Ford Sedan (from Volume 12, Issue 129)

Bob Daniels’ long time love affair with 1939 Fords started when, after graduation from high school, he reported to Great Lakes Naval Training Command. Upon completion he was given boot leave, and told to report to the Navy Radar School in Norfolk, VA. When Bob returned to his home in Ohio, he visited his uncle, who owned an auto agency. During this visit he spotted a beautiful 1939 Ford Deluxe Tudor on their used car lot, and it was love at first sight, though the green paint was in sad shape. Bob talked them into letting him sand out the body and have their shop repaint it...and in the process got a great price from them. Bob had never driven out of his small town, but packed up the car for an all day and night trip to Navy Radar School in Norfolk, Verginia.

After being transferred to Boston the car provided transportation for Bob and his Ohio buddies on long weekend passes from Boston to Ohio and back. Over those many trips he never experienced any engine trouble. Now you know why ‘39 Ford Sedans are so dear to Bob. However, he traded her in for a new 1950 Ford Crestliner just before he was discharged, and didn’t think that a 1939 Ford Sedan would ever be in his life again.

Now for the rest of the story. While attending a show in late 2001 Bob’s dedicated wife, Eileen - a true “gearhead” in her own right, came running up to Bob saying he should come see what she had found. They practically ran to see, and much to Bob’s surprise there was the nicest 1939 Ford Deluxe Tudor Sedan. I guess it was another case of love at first sight! After sever weeks of negotiations and a trip to Georgia the sedan became theirs. After minor work they drove the car to the 1st NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, Kentucky, then to visits in Indianapolis and Ohio. The car has proved to be a great road car and really fun to drive. The Daniels’ described it to us in three words, “We Love It”.

In March of 2004 Bob and Eileen decided to take the car down and start over. They stripped the upholstery, wiring, glass, fenders, etc., and during the summer of ‘04 they removed all the paint, and some rust. The car sets on a ‘39 frame with a Mustang II front suspension, Competition Specialties rear suspension, and chromed American Racing one piece Torque Thrust wheels all around. The engine is a crate 350 fitted with Hooker headers, a Holley carb and fuel system, plus a 350 automatic transmission and a T-Bird power steering unit. The latest in comfort items were added, including power windows, power brakes, a Vintage Air heat and A/C system, banjo style steering wheel, and a neat woodgrain dash finish done by Grain-It Technologies.

Other companies the Daniels wanted to be sure and thank were Steve’s Executive Cars for the body prep, fit and finish, the Radical Rod Shop for engine installation and wiring, Advanced Interiors for the upholstery work, and Jiffy Exhaust Systems for the custom exhaust system.

On the “hot rod” side, Bob’s first ‘39 Ford was the car he first used for racing on the streets of Boston, and then Marysville, Ohio where he met and married his wife, Eileen. They built a ‘32 Ford whereby they both drove the car at drag racing events on sanctioned drag strips. This car was followed up by a Fiat, which they continued to participate in drag race events at the strips.

Bob formed one of the first Car Clubs, which lead to him being appointed as an NHRA Regional Advisor, and began an outstanding career with the NHRA. After being a Regional Advisor helping form car clubs, designing drag strips, etc., he was named a Division Director for the North Central Division. With his wife Eileen by his side and as his assistant, Bob held that position for 20 years, after which he was appointed General Manager of Indianapolis Raceway Park - which consisted of a Drag Strip, the home of the NHRA U.S. Nationals, a .686 mile oval which runs the NASCAR Truck & Busch series as well as USAC events, and a 1-1/2 mile road course. The facility also holds many automotive events such as Goodguys and Super Chevy. Bob retired in 1992, and Eileen retired in 1997, though they have continued to be part of the NHRA doing special events for them. Bob is also the event director of the NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion held in Bowling Green, Kentucky every year.

Bob and Eileen’s careers with the NHRA have spanned 50 years, and they are still very into everything automotive. While still staying busy organizing special events, you will also see them at various shows around Florida enjoying their fresh 1939 Ford Tudor Sedan. It’s pretty neat when you figure things have kind of come full circle, and Bob again has a cool ‘39 Ford to have more fun in...and a nice wife to enjoy it all with. CN