Photo ID # G08.14.10_095_WIL_VIN_0055S_1
Car #: #95
Driver (s) : Bill Wilson
Location: Vineland, NJ
Date: 1955
Photographer: William Curley
Photo provided by: Russ Dodge
Comments: Senior Moment From Russ Dodge:

A Little "Puffy" But Still A Looker!

I am always amazed by the discussions on the 3 Wide Message Board about the comparison of one frame and cage design verses another. " No that's a "So and so", you see how the shock is mounted!" I hate to admit to it but they look about the same to me! The old coupes and coach gang never discussed that chassis stuff much until they started "going high tech" with '55 Chevy frames or Scout frames or whatever.

We showed our stuff by knowing what year the body was! 1935 and '36 Chevys bodies were basically the same but if the doors opened "backwards" it was a '35! 1937 and '38's were a different body design from the previous two years. The grills were different but if the grills were missing, you could check the body for the gas filler hole. In 1938 they moved it out of the back quarter panel into the rear fender! Like who really cares but it was neat to know!

I said before somewhere, God's gift to stock car racing was the 1937 Ford. It had a solid steel roof, V-8 engine, torque tube and cradle springs! His second gift was the 1939-40 Ford coupe! Yes it was a little "puffier", but it had all the existing attributes and finally hydraulic brakes. Now we add another twist to the identification game! In 1938 you could get a new standard Ford coupe and it was the same body design as the '37 except the rear fenders did not blend into the body at the trunk like the original 1937. Also, the Grill and side panels we different. The new 1938 Deluxe design was similar to the photo of the 95 above. The coupe body wasn't quite a sleek and the sedans were so strange appearing, they weren't used too frequently.

Now the question is...what body was used for the Modified coupe 95 driven by Bill Wilson? My guess is a 1939 Ford, based on the shape of the front of the hood rounding down and the open sides. I should add a note that the 1939 and '40 Fords were about the same body but the 1940 had a solid hood, meaning they engine wouldn't be visible. (But come to think of it, not all were the new design!)

I hope you don't mind my having some fun with this. It was a different time and our lives weren't cluttered with so much essential information required in today's world.

The 95 came from the East Broad Street Garage in Millville, N.J. I believe a gentleman name Dan Hand owned the car and always kept it looking sharp. The car was driven by South Jersey's Bill Wilson not to be confused the "The" Bill Wilson of number 7 fame. South Jersey's Bill was a heck of a nice guy, feature winner and good driver. His career however never took him out of South Jersey too much and lasted about a decade.

As always, please send in corrections and comments, they're always welcome.

Senior Moment By: Russ Dodge

Visitor's Comments To add your comments about THIS PHOTO - Click Here
Date: Visitor's  Name:


08.15.10 R.E. Lemasters This is a great picture and information. Russ has posted a lot of spot-on details about identifying the old coupes and sedans. Right up my alley.  As to this Ford coupe, it is either a 1938 DeLuxe or a 1939 Standard. Both shared this hood style but without the hood side panels, the year of this one can't be nailed down.
08.15.10 Ed Duncan Great picture Russ
08.17.10 George A. Sanford Hi Russ.

I remember this style of race car very well, when I was a kid I helped the crew of a white 1937 Ford sportsman car fielded by Bowden Motors, (Roy Shorty Bowden) of Morris Plains. I think Johnny Cabral, Johnny Rogers , and I think Bobbie Cortright drove the car more than once. Roy's son in law Ray Merrill drove it if we couldn't find another driver.

We didn't have a welder so the doors were chained closed. I think the fenders were cut down. I can't remember the car number but it looked a lot like the beautiful picture above. We raced in Morristown, Flemington, Dover, Hinchcliffe Stadium, Langhorne and Nazareth during the early fifties. Our sportsman car was not very reliable so we never got very close to qualifying. A highlight of our racing program was the night the car jumped the fence in Morristown and ended up on the Lackawanna train tracks, it was able to free itself and returned to the pit entrance by driving up Hanover Ave and back in the main gate, fable has it that the driver had to pay to get in the pit gates to race again that night.

Roy also built a front wheel drive car, I think it was a willys and was told it actually won a race at hinchcliffe stadium. It never slid on the turns,our car passed every one on the turns then died on the straightaway's. I
wonder if you know anyone who knew of Shorty Bowden or Bowden motors of Morris Plains it was on Speedwell Ave directly across from the fire house.

Thank You

George A. Sanford