The rest of the paint job is also special. Ward said
the Ercoupe was designed by aeronautical engineer Fred
Weick during the streamline era, and Ward thought its
lines cried out for a paint scheme that harked back to that
genre. He pointed out that all original new Ercoupes—at
least at that time—were delivered in bare metal with silver butyrate dope on the wings’ fabric and the Ercoupe
emblem on the sides of the cowl. After laying on the
white base coat, he got busy with the masking. The pattern came from his AutoCAD computer program, and he
was able to lay out a facsimile of the pattern on the wings’
leading edge. For the horizontal stabilizer, he was able to
generate a full-size template. He said, “The tricky part of
the design was accommodating the sweep of the leading edges so the tips of the scallops came out even—you
know, as if the paint were streaming back in the wind.”
According to Ward’s stopwatch, he put 14 hours into
masking the design.
The interior is a standard Airtex kit that had been waiting patiently, new in a box, at Barry’s shop for eight years.
Avionics consist of a Microair M760 comm, Microair
T2000 transponder with encoder, and Garmin 295 portable GPS mounted on the glare shield. Plenty to shepherd
Ward halfway across the country to Wittman Regional
Airport (OSH) and home again.
One unique feature on his Ercoupe that Ward pointed
out is the counterweights on the ailerons. “They were
part of the original design, but in 1947, the factory issued
a memo to owners that the weights weren’t required, so
most threw them away,” he said. “I like the bigger-airplane
feel they give—more stability—so I left them on and
incorporated them into the paint livery.” Ward believes
the reason everyone discarded them 50 years ago could be
because they might snag when taxiing through tall weeds.
He said he stays clear of untrimmed turf—we wouldn’t
want any Ercoupe de grass incidents, would we?
NC93337 took about three and a half years to complete,
starting early in 2005. As they were closing in on the
finish line, Ward discussed the ownership status with
Barry, and they agreed each should take one of the airplanes rather than co-owning both. Ward said, “Barry has
been so wonderful to me, and I wanted him to have this
one, because it incorporated all the experience we had
gained in rebuilding both. Well, Barry insisted that I take
NC93337 for myself. He has some health issues, and I feel
as though it’s his way of ‘gifting’ the airplane to me. It
took a couple weeks’ soul searching, but I finally decided
to let him have his way.”
As a result, you will find two names painted on either
side of NC93337’s award-winning cockpit. On the left is
painted Ward “Cleaver” Marsh (he’s chosen “Cleaver” as
his unofficial call sign after a lifetime of people asking if
he’s “Beaver’s dad”). Over on the right side, though, B.B.
“Bearcat” Wells will grace NC93337 as long as Ward owns
it, which he intends to be a long, long time.