Richard Heltzel’s 1935 Ford Coupe
In the 1960’s, both Locke and I occasionally drove the coupe to high school. It became a spare third car for the Jorgensen household. By this time, some repair work was necessary. We had an inexpensive paint job done, changing its original Cordoba Grey to green. Thereafter, it became known as “The Green Machine”. The old engine was tired and burning oil. Our dad located a later year Flathead, which we changed out ourselves. The babbitt bearings in the original engine were shot, but the entire engine was saved, and used in the complete restoration of the car in the mid 1990’s. We also had a shop install hydraulic brakes, but it turned out to be a poor job. They cut through the Firewall and hung the pedal like a modern car. This was also corrected during restoration. Locke attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the 1970’s, and had the coupe there. He made friends with the owner of the only other vehicle on campus that was 6 volt, as one of them usually needed a battery jump. Sometimes on weekends, he and friends would remove the trunk lid and make their own rumble seat with couch cushions from the dorm. Unsafe at any speed I am sure, but they toured the back country via the old Cuesta Grade dirt road. Locke still tells the story of driving home to Saratoga, and stopping in Greenfield off 101 for gas. A Greenfield cop pulled him over for 30 in a 25 mph zone. Must have been really scratching that day for citations!
For the next decade, the coupe bounced around between my brother and me, and in 1983
he gave me full title in trade for my 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser (wish I had it now). For my 50th birthday in 1995, I decided to have the car restored. Using s o m e S o u t h e r n California leads from EFV8 members, a 3 year project was begun. The car was shipped to Heber Utah to a Ford restoration man, and a body off frame project began. Richard Heltzel has all the documentation and photos of the restoration. I am so pleased that now the car is owned by another enthusiastic collector, who can maintain it and enjoy it. Little Gray will hopefully continue to draw waves along the road, pleasure to its owner, and lively Flathead discussions among club member. It also seems so fitting that Little Gray is back in Sacramento, the city where the original owner, Dr. Robert P. Gober, was born.