1952 Ford Tudor

David McLain

I am originally from New Mexico and am currently in the Air Force stationed at Minot Air Force Base. I grew up learning about auto mechanics from my dad who made his living managing a full service auto repair shop. This was my summer job and after school job for several years, and ended up being my full time job for 2 years after I graduated from high school. I even ran the maintenance shop for nearly a year as my dad ventured off into the concrete business.

I realized I did not want to be a full time auto mechanic for the rest of my life, so I decided to enlist in the Air Force in 1988. I have been stationed in Spain, Texas, Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, Alabama, and North Dakota. I also deployed to Kuwait in 2006 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

My car is a 1951 Ford Tudor Custom that I fully restored to near-original condition. My dad bought the car in Las Vegas in the early 1970s as a project car, but never really got started on it until I was in high school in the 1980s. My dad and I worked on the car for a couple of years and got it about half road worthy. When I went off to the Air Force, the car sat outside for about 10 years with nothing being done to it. All that was gained had been lost. When I moved to Montana, I took the withered car to begin the project from scratch. Most of the early years was centered on disassembly and cleaning—LOTS of cleaning. I had the body off the frame in my one-car garage and had to reassemble everything well enough to move to New Mexico. Once settled there, it was back to cleaning. Over the three years in New Mexico, a great amount of progress had been made to the car, up to the point of getting the engine finished and body painted. Once again, I had to assemble it enough to move, this time to Wyoming. This was essentially the final assembly point of getting everything together and road worthy. The project shifted from working to showing when I was finally able to start going to car shows around the area. Seemed like every trip out, new challenges surfaced as I slowly worked all the bugs out of the newly assembled 53 year old car.

Through the rest of my moves through Alabama and now North Dakota, I get to show the car off and tell stories of my experiences. The project is never really “finished” but it is a labor of love as I continue to improve the car and show off my progress.