Mike Bade's 1930 Plymouth Model 30U coupe – a 40-year relationship

Bade 30U

By Mike Bade

It is not often that a classic car owner can celebrate 40 years together.

Mike and Donna Bade are celebrating the 40th anniversary, since Mike bought
his 1930 Plymouth Coupe Model 30U. They are also celebrating the fact that the
'30 has taken a dramatic transformation in the last 10 years and is road worthy
once again, newly overhauled 1930 Plymouth Model 30U Coupe made it's début
at the June 24th Orphan car show in Oregon City.

Bade & Rusher 1930UThe only other 1930U coupe in Cascade Pacific Plymouth Club belongs to Gary Rusher, and it's restored except for a few tweaks to enhance driveability. The two cars were photographed together at the Orphan Car Show in Clackamette Park on June 24, 2012.

Mike bought the '30U in pieces, in 1972, from a family in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for $100.

The '30 was supposed to be a dragster project to take over to the local drag strip,
where Mike and his buddies would try there luck racing other cars. The '30 turned into
a frame off restoration project, on a shoe string budget at the Bade family home;
just North of Spokane, Washington. In little over a year Mike had the '30, back on
the road again. with a rebuilt stock drive train, wood spoke wheels and a two tone
grey and black paint job, done by a buddy of Mikes on the back lawn. 

Mike enjoyed the '30 the last two years of college at EWU in Cheney, Washington.
That’s also where he and Donna met. They drove around in the '30 while dating, not that
the '30 was what attacked Donna to Mike. It never went more than 35 mph so it was,
so it was driven only on back roads most of the time, but it did make into Spokane occasionally,  to cruise with the other cruisers on Saturday nights.

Shortly after getting married in 1979 the '30 got a knock in the stock
4 cylinder engine and so it was parked until there was time to fix it.
The '30 was stored and moved from home to home; while he and Donna taught school,
raised two boys, worked on an endless array house projects, the kids sporting events and stuff.

The transformation on the '30 started about ten years ago. The restoration started with what was billed as a father and sons bonding experience, since both sons Scott and Corey were in their teens; right. Not everyone gets the bug or the passion to own or work on classic cars, hence Mike ended up doing the bulk of the work to restore the '30 himself.
Mike did get a little help from Donna and the kids at certain stages or when muscles were needed to more or hold things, so the project stretched out for longer than anticipated.

The '30's resurrection started out as a traditional frame off, ground up restoration with a
slight upgrade to a 1931 Plymouth drive train and wire wheels, for a little better road worthiness.

Things were progressing well on the '30 and the chassis was almost ready for the new 1931 engine and wire wheels to be installed, when the plans changed.

Fellow Plymouth Club member, Bill Call had a 1933 Plymouth Coupe, which came up for sale. Mike had admired Bills '33 coupe from afar ever since he had seen it in Bills Garage, so it was like it was meant to be When the opportunity to buy it came up. Mike and Donna purchased it to have a working car for the many Plymouth club activities and to tide the Bade's over until the '30 was back on the road.

Buying the '33 would also change the plans for the '30 to a resto rod project, that's another story. The '30 project got a little side tracked because, now, instead of home working on the '30 car project, the Bade's had a car to drive to car events and club activities and the '30 sat waiting at home to be worked on.

By 2005 Mike had upgraded the '30's chassis, with a 2003 Dodge Dakota V-6. Most of the bodywork and paint was done. After a couple of visits from classic car, "Wiring Guru" Tim Winchell, Mike and Tim were able to get the engine to fire up, what a relief.

The project got put on hold again, in 2007 when the Bades built a new home in Happy
Valley and then remodeled the old home to sell it. Then Mike and the Plymouth Club
put on a National POC Meet in 2010 and after a second term as CPPC President in 2011
Mike, finally had some time to get back to work on the '30 project again. Even then, there were a few unexpected bumps along the way that prolonged the completion of the project, but with lots of persistence obstacles were finally over come, so that the project could move ahead.

The highlights of the rebuilt '30 go like this. The front end was changed to a Mustang II front suspension with rack and pinion steering, a boxed frame for more strength, disk brakes front and rear, for good stopping ability. A 2003 Dodge Dakota V-6 fuel injected engine with a one-off custom wiring harness, with automatic transmission, became the new power plant. With Flaming River steering column, split back bench seat, new electronic gauges, polished chrome wheels and air conditioning for than last bit of comfort on hot summer days or heading cross country to explore the country side.

The final stage of the "Overhaul" came a few months ago, when the CPPC Tech Committee Team came over to Mike and Donna's to help install the wood braces between the body and the frame.  This was something that Mike was not looking forward to and needed more hands to be able to do easily.

CPPC member, Gary Rusher came over to help with bleeding the brakes and provided moral support.

The past few months Mike has spent as much time as he could, working on the '30, getting things done one thing at a time. A couple more visits from Tim Winchel to finish the rest of the wiring, a newly restored vintage license plate, a restored newly restored vin tag allowed it to pass the Vin Inspection for the Oregon DMV and it is now legal to drive.

You will be able to see the Bade's '30 coming from a long ways away, with the bright yellow paint job, painted by Mike. The finishing touch for the '30, is pin stripping job by famous Oregon pin stripper, Mitch Kim, to give it a few accents and give a little more curb appeal.

The '30 still needs an interior and bumpers, but it can still go to car shows and be enjoyed, while the last few things are being worked on.

Mike and Donna plan to go "where ever" and "when ever" that the little '30 will take them and they will make more memories for many years to come.