- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 14, 2010

The chain of Big Bear Grocery stores was founded in 1934 in Columbus, Ohio, and soon spread across Ohio and West Virginia. When the 60th anniversary came, the business planned a two-pronged celebration.

A new 1994 Ford Mustang and a 60-year-old restored 1934 Ford coupe were going to be given away in a drawing to reward loyal Big Bear customers. A West Virginia woman won the 1934 Ford and kept the car for about a year, then sold it to an Ohio man. From there, the black coupe with Tacoma cream wheels and matching pinstriping went to Leesburg, Va., where Michael Mote found it.

“I always liked old Fords,” Mr. Mote said. At one time, he even had a 1937 Ford that he now regrets selling.

The car didn’t steer correctly, but that didn’t slow Mr. Mote in his quest to own it. After purchasing the 14-foot-8-inch black beauty, he took it home to Locust Grove. Some of the documents that came with the Ford indicate that it may have originally been owned on the West Coast.

Once at home, Mr. Mote tackled the deficiencies in his new antique car. The first order of business was rebuilding the steering gear and the Mitchell overdrive unit.

The spare tire on the back of the car is covered by a metal shroud, which Mr. Mote says he is happy to have along with the special locking hubcap. It appears to be a regular hubcap, but it also secures the 5.50x17-inch spare tire and the 32-spoke wheel.

Occupants of the cabin in the deluxe five-window coupe are kept cool at this time of year via fresh air rushing in through the cowl ventilator and - in an effort at flow-through ventilation - through the rear window, which can be lowered with the help of a hand crank.

With the steering gear repaired, Mr. Mote can climb in the cozy cabin and settle behind the three-spoke steering wheel, which can be turned three turns, lock to lock.

A 90 mph speedometer is in the dashboard, and overhead the fabric insert in the roof is still necessary: an all-steel top from Ford wouldn’t hit the market for a few years.

Two dozen louvers on each side of the engine hood help keep the temperature of the 85 horsepower, 221-cubic-inch V-8 engine under control.

Top speed of the Ford when new was reportedly 81 mph with a zero-to-60 time of 16.8 seconds.

A two-barrel down-draft carburetor feeds the engine fuel from the 14-gallon gasoline tank.

Other fluid capacities are 22 quarts for the cooling system and five quarts for oil.

A total of 563,921 five-window coupes were manufactured by Ford in the 1934 model year, with each one having a base price of $515.

The 2,538-pound coupe can be brought to a halt compliments of the four-wheel internal mechanical brakes.

The emergency brake handle protrudes from the floor beside the gear shift lever.

A pair of taillights make the car visible at night and help illuminate the two steps up the right rear fender, which give access to the rumble seat.

A three-speed manual transmission with a gear shift lever sprouting from the floor beside the brake handle transferred the power generated by the engine to the highway.

Second and third gears are synchronized. The gorgeous coupe car be turned in a 40-foot circle.

More than 70 years ago when the Ford was new, the nine-inch ground clearance undoubtedly was quite useful.

To date, Mr. Mote has yet to require that amount of freeboard.

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