1936 Ford Roadster – The Long Beach Legend
The original intent of the project was to build a mild street rod, with updated drivetrain, and a mild hot rod exterior. Upon dis-assembly and stripping of the car there was literally very little to work with, simply a pile of parts that encompassed approx. 6’ x 6’ floor space! The body went to media blasting as one piece and returned in multiple pieces. The body had various “repairs” made of gas welded street signs and galvanized steel, chicken wire, fiberglass, and bondo. Someone had “repaired” the original frame with strips of sheet metal pop riveted to the frame rails and covered in bondo. At this point abandoning the project seemed inevitable.
Troy was confident that the car could be brought back to life. But in the process since all of the sheet metal was going to require re-work, re-creation or repair; the idea of some custom modifications came to mind, so Eric Black was called. Eric redesigned the dimensions of the car to correct some of the historic mis-proportions caused originally by Henry Ford’s vetoing of a longer wheel base frame. This is why the grill on the original 36’s sit ahead of the fenders in profile view.
So the front suspension is moved forward 4”, the front fenders moved forward 4” to sit forward of the grill in profile view. The grill leaned back a few degrees, the hood shortened 2” and the cowl extended 2”. In the process the entire front fenders were re-shaped to flow into the grill, and made one piece, eliminating the seam. The running boards were then extended to align the fender/board seam with the vertical door /cowl seam. The body line and bottom of the doors were cut off, the doors shortened, and a continuous body line integrated into a new fabricated lower rocker in order to keep the lower bodyline continuous from the rear of the car all the way to the front without any brakes to disrupt the sightline. This body line was also added into the re-designed hood sides, to extend all the way to the grill.
Original 36 headlights were used but shortened and relocated, as well as the 36 horn grills. The stock windshield stanchions were chopped and reshaped to add a few degrees of angle. The original roof irons were re-shaped to change the overall roof profile as well as operate with the chopped windshield.
During this re-design process, the owner thought it would be interesting to use a V12 Lincoln flathead, built by H&H Flatheads, for power… thus the legend was born. This evolved into a hand made firewall with 9” setback. To continue the Zephyr theme a 37 Zephyr dash was sourced and modified to fit the 36; fitted with original unrestored Stewart Warner gauges. Additionally, Zephyr wheel covers, steering wheel, gauges, taillights, and decklid handle were integrated into the project.
The front and rear bumpers respect both the 36 and the Zephyr, by splitting 36 bumpers and adding the split center similar to a Zephyr. Additional nods to the Zephyr were fabricated such as the continuous chrome strips along the bottom of the running boards and the stainless seat bar above the bench seat.
John Jr. at “The Shop” sprayed the 1957 Porsche Stone Grey exterior color, while John Harb hand painted the wood graining on the Zephyr dash. Julio of Julio’s Interiors stitched the art deco inspired leather interior and rumble seat.
The chassis is a modified original 36 Ford frame. The pre-war suspension was modified and re-engineered to get the car low to the ground including narrowing the front 4” drop front axle 5” to center the bias ply tires in the fenders. All engine, transmission mounts, cross members and brackets are hand riveted to the frame for a factory stock appearance. Front and rear suspension is original split bones, transverse leaf springs and friction shocks. Brakes are early Lincoln drum brakes with custom machined vented Lincoln backing plates, wheels are original wide 5 pattern 1936. Axle is 1936 banjo converted to open drive. The frame is coated in a light texture emerald green, while all engine/drivetrain components are a dark forest green, while all “moving” suspension pieces are coated in a light texture silver graphite. Colors and textures were specifically chosen over chrome and polish on many of the chassis items to give the car a original factory feel.