1937 Ford Roadster d’ Elegance

This is a one-off 1937 German-bodied Ford, redesigned by Steve’s Auto Restorations (SAR) in Portland, OR, and recreated into an elegant one-of-a-kind street rod consuming some 15,000 man-hours to produce. This Roadster d’ Elegance winner began life as an original Koel custom coach-built 1937 Ford Cabriolet A by Karl Deutsch. The 1937 Ford chassis was first shipped to Grue & Company, a Ford dealership in Copenhagen, Denmark, then sent on to Deutsch, where an extensive custom one-only body sheet-metal fabrication was required in the build. Very little of the original body remains, such as the rear fenders, the top of the hood, the top reveal lines of the body and the upper portions of the doors. The lift-off top was hand-fabricated from aluminum.

The interior was finished in hand-chosen furniture-grade leather, and there is a hand-formed and painted steel console that runs from the dash through the interior into the back seat area. The original German gauges were upgraded to 12-volt with modern components to marry up to the 514ci Ford SVO racing engine.

Rumor has it that in 1937 Baron Von Kuhl and his wife the Baroness, known as “The Ice Princess,” saw this car while on vacation in Copenhagen, purchased it on the spot and promptly sent it to Herr Frisbie Fabrikation in Germany, where he proceeded to turn it into Germany’s first street rod. The Von Kuhls founded the Klub Schness Street Rods of Germany in 1938. For a short time, they enjoyed shows, wandering and carousing with their fellow club members.


However, the club fell out of favor with the German ruling party because they had “too much fun” and their car had won Best of Show honors over the vehicles of several members of the party at the time. In addition, and unknown to party members, Von Kuhl was aiding the Allies through the acquisition of top-secret maps and other vital information. The Von Kuhls had to hide the car and escape to France, with evidence found in the car that seems to back up this claim.


These items have been restored, along with the car itself. Unfortunately, the building hiding the car (behind a false wall) was bombed. The Von Kuhls never made it back to Germany. What was left of the car was taken out to the country and stored with many other avant-garde European classics by a local farmer. Eventually, the 1937 Ford was sold and ended up in Switzerland. The owner of Steve’s Auto Restorations found it there while on a sightseeing trip after taking metal working classes at the Echold Kraftformer Co. He purchased the car and had it shipped to the U.S., where the restoration and restyling of this all-metal work of art commenced in 2000.