A car like this 1936 Ford Cabriolet really has two distinct histories. One begins nearly 90 years ago when Henry Ford himself was busy creating the incredible history of his eponymous automobile company. 1936 was quite a year for the Blue Oval.
With America mired in the Great Depression, Ford nonetheless was out there dominating the market with the likes of their Model 48/68 series. This year brought a more modern vee-shaped grille and pressed “artillery” steel wheels to replace the previous wire style.
At the time, Ford was making their own steel bodies – no outsourcing back then – and this particular car is still sporting those original factory panels. In fact, when the current owner discovered this drop-top coupe in a barn six years ago, it was a virtually untouched example.
With a car like this, the story is best told by the owner themself, so here it is…
In September of 2013, this beautiful barn find was discovered in Georgia. An awesome, rust-free Henry Steel cabriolet ready for a frame-off build. This car was purchased and delivered to begin the six-year build. The project was long, intense, and satisfying.
Choosing the right car was difficult as many of the cars in this barn were representative of fine examples of classics of the past. The final selection decision was due to the superb quality of this particular 1936 Cabriolet. Consideration was given to the absolute rust-free condition as well as the fact that the majority of the original parts were obviously intact.
Not only was it rust free, but it was also in primer that had been applied many years prior. The overall condition was astonishing! The original exterior and interior hardware were evident. The convertible top frame was in place and operable, the seat framework had been redone and the chassis was in good condition.
The motor and transmission were present; however, they were not in operable condition. This car was ready for a frame-off build. It could have been restored to original as then condition was superb; however, we made the decision to create a driver with flexibility, style, and dependability to travel across country.
Making the 58-mile journey to be built was the beginning of a long journey to a detailed, well-planned classic vehicle that would eventually become an award-winning 1936 Ford Cabriolet.
Photos of this fine automobile reveal the unbelievable condition this barn find represented, as well as the excellent custom-built chassis that it would soon receive as its overall foundation.
The first step was to remove the body from the chassis. The work was performed in a careful, tedious manner. The original chassis was complete with the motor, transmission, driveshaft, radiator, etc. It was in very good condition and was sold to be used for another build.
The new custom-designed chassis was delivered and prepared for this awesome body, new motor, transmission, and components to be installed. The 350 V8 Chevrolet engine was acquired from a very reputable local Chevrolet dealer.
A totally rebuilt 700R transmission with overdrive was ready for installation. All the crated parts were awaiting their new purpose, to power a well-planned street rod. All parts were carefully chosen, purchased, and installed one step at a time.
The initial foundation build began with the assistance of Georgia Street Rod members assisting along the way. The car was transferred to Romero’s Upholstery Shop in Loganville, Georgia. The convertible top, new custom designed seat, carpeting, and upholstery was installed.
A tan canvas convertible top was chosen. The upholstery fabrics selected were a tawny leatherette with leather snakeskin inserts. The carpeting is midnight blue with tawny trim.
A shoulder surgery and move to a new home precipitated the transfer of the car and all parts to be moved to a professional building garage for completion.
The builder took two years to complete the part of the project that would give the car its beating heart powertrain. After completing the body preparation, primer, and paint, the car was ready for final installation of new glass, interior and exterior hardware, as well as new custom wheels from Wheelsmith of California and Diamondback Wide Whitewall tires.
The car was ready to be transported back home for fine tuning. Newly chromed bumpers were installed, remaining hardware was installed, and the car was prepared to take its first drive.
Ready to cruise and attend shows, the car has been a hit at car shows from the first time it was shown.