More Issues

Archived Issues

An Old Friend

Written By Bob Schmeichel


It is pretty hard to have an inanimate object around for most of your life and not refer to it as an old friend. A personal sentimental attachment to an old car can run pretty deep because of the journey it has taken you safely over the years without missing a beat. The joy and memories burned in your brain with all the roads you have been down together continues every time you turn the key, making you feel young again. To me that never stops – even though my body tells me different as I get older.

For Keith Boeyink, his car connection happened as a junior in high school in the fall of 1964 when he noticed a 1941 Ford coupe parked in a driveway in Hudson, South Dakota, while cruising through town. Keith loved the ‘40s style Ford coupes so much, so he had to stop to inquire if the car was for sale. The car belonged to a local banker in Hudson and because old Ford was in the family so long, it was not for sale. Before leaving, Keith wrote his name and address on a piece of paper asking the owner to let him know if he ever changed his mind. As it turned out, Keith got a letter in the spring of 1965 from the owner. The owner admitted to leaving the car outside over the winter with just water in the radiator, which cracked the block. If Keith still wanted the car, he could have it for $175.

A couple days later, Keith pulled the car back home with a tractor to the farm where he grew up and started tearing the old flathead engine out to replace it. Getting the old engine out wasn’t hard, but finding another flathead block that wasn’t cracked seemed to be an issue. Keith bought two other engines, of which both had cracks. Still ambitious and young at the time, Keith heard about an Oldsmobile Rocket engine with a straight stick transmission that was for sale in the area and immediately snatched it up to make the swap within the old Ford. It wasn’t an easy thing to do with having to make mounts and other connections, but Keith was a fabricator and wasn’t afraid to make anything. After all was said and done, the car worked OK, but it always seemed to run hotter than it should. Discouraged, Keith parked the car in a tree grove on the farm to look at later. Later, Keith found a rag inside the radiator, which would definitely slow the cooling efficiency down of the original radiator. As it turned out, Keith let the car sit because of other priorities and directions his life was taking him. Tech school, marriage, a career, and family moved him forward with the ‘41 always kind of lingering faintly in the back of his mind.

Fast forward to 2012 when Keith finally got to a point in life where he felt comfortable enough to retire. He decided to pull the ‘41 out of the trees and restore it. The first thing he did was pull the body and fenders off the frame and set them on a car trailer. Shortly after, he hauled all the sheet metal to the penitentiary in Springfield, South Dakota with an idea of having them do the body work and later paint. The man who was in charge of that part of the prison gave Keith a quote, but told him he really didn’t have a good body man there at the time to do the work. So back home Keith went with his trailer still loaded. About three months later, Keith got a call back from the body shop manager at the prison informing him that he had just got “his good body man back” and if he still wanted to have the work done to bring the body back to the prison. A second trip was made, and the sheet metal was dropped off for the returning inmate to do his magic. Keith said this same guy worked on the car from start to finish for a little over two years with the end result that has to be seen to be appreciated.

While the body was being worked on, Keith did his own thing with completely redoing the frame. With wanting to have an original feel with how the car drove, Keith rebuilt everything involved in the front suspension including the original steering box. He then added a Bronco II rear end in place of the old banjo rear end while using rebuilt original attaching suspension pieces. After that, Keith bought a new 350 Chevy crate engine and mounted it in place with a 350 turbo transmission. Here I asked him about mounting the engine and trans without the body in place to know where the firewall and floor was exactly. He said it was because he had that Olds Rocket in place before he thought it would be safe installing the smaller Chevy engine and transmission in the same location, which turned out ok. After Keith had everything mocked up on the frame, he tore it all apart and had everything powder coated. He then put it all back together, readying it for a trip back to Springfield to have them put the body back on the frame. Once the body was on the frame, the same guy who did all the body work and paint installed a new Baron LaBonney interior along with front windshield and rear window glass. On December 9, 2014 Keith finally got to bring the car home and after doing a few little details along with aligning the front end, he and his wife have been driving and enjoying it ever since. I have to say that this 1941 – with its “one year only” front end design and dressed with all the extra “Super Deluxe” model trim – is very distinctive and quite pleasing to look at from any angle. I see now why Keith wanted the car to begin with 55 years ago.


  • article image thumb
  • article image thumb





Google Analytics Alternative