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“We elected to drive it the 525 miles home, not a decision to be made lightly with an unproven car,” Mr. Girman says.

Before heading home to Vienna in their new/old car that rode on a 115-inch wheelbase. the couple made a stop at Jiffy Lube where the oil was changed (they didn’t have a filter that fit), and the coolant was drained and replaced with unadulterated water.

After looking at the 239-cubic-inch flathead V-8 engine that develops 110 horsepower, one of the attendants explained to his compatriots that this was “one of those flattop engines.”

Indeed, Ford started building flathead V-8 engines in 1932 and continued on through the 1953 model year.

In two cars the Girmans drove to Columbus, where the rental car was returned, and then continued on to Cambridge, Ohio. It was close to midnight when they stopped at a motel.

The next day, a Sunday, was not a good day. It was midday before a AAA truck finally got the reluctant Ford started. The farther they drove, the worse the car ran. The stopped in Morgantown, W.Va., to refuel themselves and their car. Fortunately, they parked on a hill before shutting off the engine.

As expected, the Ford would not start. Fortunately, a few sympathetic passers-by offered to push the car downhill and when Mr. Girman popped the clutch, the engine roared to life - as did many of the spectators. “The engine always seems to promise more than it can deliver,” Mr. Girman says.

They struggled the rest of the way home without shutting off the engine.

Safely at home, Mr. Girman discovered the new-looking spark plug wires were quite old and cracked. The battery was the wrong size (too small). Additionally the spark plugs were old and were gapped at varying dimensions. An incorrect Stromberg carburetor wasn’t giving the correct signal to the vacuum advance of the distributor.

“Put all that together and you get the picture,” Mr. Girman says, “a tough trip home.”

A couple of years of fine tuning the Ford has left the Girmans with a reliable car that brings back fond memories.

“It was meant to be,” Mr. Girman says.